This essay was actually contracted and paid for by Country Woman magazine, but never published. It concerns a flourishing vegetable garden, a hungry rabbit and a dog who, I understand now, believed whole heartedly in peaceful coexistence.
That Summer Saturday began innocently enough. The clear, pleasant morning gave no indication of what was to follow as I took a cup of coffee and stepped out on the back deck.
It had been a busy week with many hours spent preparing and planting the plot of backyard land that would become my garden. I had tilled the soil and placed new seeds in the holes I’d dug then gently covered them with just the right amount of dirt. The plants I’d started a month before in the house were next, spaced just so to allow them ample room to grow.
“Better put something out there to keep out the rabbits.” My husband made the suggestion as the green shoots and young leaves began to flourish.
In my heart, I knew he was right. Drastic measures are sometimes necessary to combat the unscrupulous menace, the rabbit. Substances such as dried blood are sprinkled along the garden edge as a deterrent. Scarecrows decked out in Dad’s patch riddled jeans, Mother’s frayed paint shirt and Aunt Margaret’s once favorite straw hat, stand in silent vigil with a common goal to stop the crafty foliage robbers in their tracks.
Ah, but for me things were different. I had no need for such elaborate defenses. Patrolling my carefully tilled garden patch was my own man’s best friend and all around good dog, Jason. Born of mixed heritage, Airedale and Hound among them, he had the best traits of hunter and herder. Jason wouldn’t stand for an intrusion of his turf. I had a weapon no rabbit in its right mind would dare to challenge.
As I proudly surveyed the beginnings of my garden that day something beige at one corner caught my eye. I looked closer and my worst fear became a reality. A rabbit! In my garden! Contentedly chomping on my sprouts! With ravenous abandon no less, and absolutely no regard for the sweat and toil that went into producing them.
Leaping to my feet, I called out for Jason. Surely by instinct he would know what to do. After a number of bellows from me, he appeared from around one corner of the house looking slightly perturbed at being so rudely summoned.
“There’s a rabbit in the garden! There’s a rabbit in the garden!”
I’m not sure if I sounded more like Paul Revere or Chicken Little. I could tell by the dog’s expression that he couldn’t decide either, and really didn’t care.
Apparently convinced that he would have no peace until he at least investigated, Jason came cautiously forward. Falling into step behind him, I remained in hot pursuit, arms flailing wildly as I hollered, “Sic ‘em!” with all the confidence of a general in command of a top-notch platoon.
Jason strolled to the middle of the yard, looked first at me behind him, then at the rabbit in front of him and made a valiant attempt to slip into the house. Being quickly thwarted in that maneuver when I pivoted to block his way, he calmly sat down to contemplate his next move.
“Get ‘em!” I ordered. Arms around his chest, I picked up the reluctant dog and aimed him toward the enemy.
Casting me a self-righteous, no rest for the weary glance, he dutifully meandered forward. Reaching a particularly sunny patch, he suppressed a yawn and lowered himself to a prone position. Ready to strike, I thought, until he rolled slowly to one side and settled his head comfortably on the soft grass.
Seeing that my ally had as much as gone over to the other side, I took it upon myself to bark and growl at the offending rodent. My taking control of the situation seemed to suit Jason just fine as he closed his eyes to catch a nap.
And the rabbit? He left quietly after eating his fill. Or maybe he was just tired of all the commotion.
As I mentioned, most of this post consists of a formerly written, but not published, manuscript. I certainly have plenty of those. The one here actually sold, by the way. I received the check and everything, but for whatever reason it was never used.
Some of my other ‘unsolds’ are now up as free reads on my website at WEBSITE
If you’re so inclined, enjoy.
Nothing wrong with getting something for nothing huh?
Just ask that rabbit.
My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. And I have no clue what I'm going to talk about next time.