Friday, December 31, 2010

YEAR OF THE BUNNY!

Well, Chinese New Year of the Rabbit.


And so many bunny people, in greetings throughout the year, say "Hoppy Birthday", "Hoppy Holidays", etc, etc, etc.

As I must also classify myself as a bunny person (as evidenced by the very blog you are reading), I find myself obligated to wish everyone a:
"Hoppy", healthy, prosperous, fun, funny and interesting (in a good way) 2011!

How did you celebrate the New Year with your pets?

Roll call!

Bunya knows his name, although he may choose to ignore us (unless we come bearing treats), and Alice clearly knew hers. "Roll call" is our way of trying to teach the bunnies their names. It is a little more confusing when there are two new baby buns at the same time.

Roll call is when one of us has a handful of treats, calls out a bunny's name and then gives the treat to that bunny. Bunya knows what's up and so he's already jumped on the sofa to try to get closer to the treats. He has become "treat aggressive", a bad habit he picked up from Alice; the two of them would be running parallel across the room for treats and Alice (maybe 3 pounds soaking wet) would body slam Bunya on the way over, so she could get to the treats first. She was feisty!

Anyway, here's an early roll call. You can see Bunya try to take the treats as they are held out regardless of whose turn. And little Ethel is such a dainty (read that slooooow) eater, I am not sure she gets her share.

video
As I watch this, I can see that they have improved and we will have to video an updated roll call.

(P.S. Did you catch the bunny slippers? Hint: They were the two not going after the treats.)

Does your pet know its name? How did you teach it?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter holiday card - "Hoppy" New Year, Everybunny!

I do not want to violate anybody's copyright, so I'll give you a site where you can buy some (maybe you want to stock up for next year): http://www.zazzle.com/its_not_worth_it_roy_card-137560073463610663

 Personally, I think Alice posed for this...

The joy of treats

video

What kinds of treats do your pets like?

Bunny Habitat - Change in location

Having been profoundly chastised about housing the bunnies in the "basement" (referred to as "the B word" in said epistle), this is to announce that the bunnies have been relocated. They are now housed in the "lower level".

Fortunately, I did not have to move them.

In the future, should I forget and use "the B word", in your mind, please translate this to "the lower level."
Thank you.
Huh? What'd he say?
Don't worry about it. Pass the cilantro.

Where do your pets live?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bunny care - The Cardboard Jungle, Part 2

Forgot to include these photos of all the bunnies cooperating on putting a skylight in one of their favorite boxes...

 

In compliance with Bunny Union rules, you can observe the shift change on the skylight project. 

Our concern is when they are about to break through, one of the bunnies is going to hop up top and get a big surprise...
and an education about gravity and weight.

Bunny care - The Cardboard Jungle

Bunnies may be chewers, diggers, or both. Lucky me, I got both.

Bunny-proofing the area in which you allow them to range is very similar to baby-proofing -- if your babies were born with teeth that can cut wire with a single bite, were fast as lightening and could jump 4 feet straight up. Yes, you have to pay attention to higher surfaces and what they might use to get to those higher surfaces; think floor ... to chair ... to table or desk. (Desk? Oh boy, look at all those computer wires! Yum!)

The flip side of attempting to remove things that can do them harm or that you do not want destroyed (and believe me, they will think of something you haven't) is giving the bunnies something upon which they can exercise their natural inclinations.

Hence, what I call "The Cardboard Jungle". There is no mystery about who is the focus of our basement decorating scheme.



Ethel gives Lucy a kiss goodbye and then winks at her through the little tunnel window. 


 
We recently purchased a precut high rise. They all love it. Sometimes I hide treats in it. Here Ethel is on the top floor, chewing on the penthouse wall (another perk).

Whenever you can, buy your supplies from your local HRS (where this came from) to help support the rescue efforts.



"Do you have any fresh white pages today?"

As a matter of fact, yes we do. I just learned this one from one of the HRS volunteers. White pages only and tear off the glossy pages (covers) and personal injury attorney magnets (but you knew that).









Please note that the elevated tunnel is anchored so that it does not fall off and hurt anybunny. This was done by cutting a slit in the supporting boxes and inserting the flap of the tunnel box into it. Avoid tape and staples. Look for "natural" boxes without a lot of glossy/ink/colors. Cut in windows and doorways; leaving the flaps to the windows and doors is a bonus (more to chew).

Having bunnies has influenced the boxes I look for at Costco. "Why, yes, I do need this 3 foot square plain brown box to carry out my purchase of dental floss."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kitten cousins

These are my kittens-in-law, or however you would say that ... they are my son's and daughter-in-law's. They each have their respective chair and that's where they snooze. You can rescue more than bunnies. Dogs and cats, too, if that's how you roll. Or scratch. Or hop.

Alas, they will never meet their bunnies-in-law.



Do your bunnies have non-bunny roommates?

Bunny care - Chew-chew (not a train)

At an early age, Bunya tuned us into the fact that he would be an avid reader. It is not wise for bunnies to share space with your paperback book collection. Or hardbacks. Or coloring books.
Mmmm ... corners ... yum!

Take a hint: Bunny-proof the area the bunnies will inhabit; there are some resources in the links in the right-hand column.
Get all electric wires off the floor (they will disconnect your speakers from your stereo). And still, they will manage to find wires you have forgotten, so just buy some electrical tape now.
Cord = white. Bunny repairs = black.

Then, populate the area with stuff they can chew and tear and rip to their little hearts' content.
More on that another time (see Bunny care - The Cardboard Jungle and Bunny care - The Cardboard Jungle, Part 2).

What interesting or funny things have your pets chewed?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Affection for bunnies

Affection for bunnies can manifest itself in many ways. Like someone who takes endless bunny pictures and videos, looks for bunny treats and playthings, and maybe even starts a blog about them.
Ahem.

Anyway, for my wife, there have been a couple of ways that affection has shown itself. Until we had bunnies, WE did not know she had a “pet” voice, a bunny voice to talk to them. You know it … it’s like a “baby voice”. It really just came out of nowhere and I was pleased to hear it; it’s like a whole other side of someone’s personality.

Until we started dating, I never knew there was a cooking channel. I never knew there were so many publications about food, but she gets them all, I think (Food & Wine, Saveur, Food Network Magazine, Knife and Fork, Fine Cooking … this just scratches the surface – and don’t get me started on the shelves and shelves of cookbooks).

Well, these are sacred to her. They go back years and years. I didn’t realize how much she loved the bunnies – and I don’t think she did – until she got a magazine that included a recipe for you-know-what.

She immediately ripped it out.
Wow.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The battle of the bunny slippers

In the right column, there are various items which I swear, we did not buy (all of them). But I have to fess up to the bunny slippers. I got them for my wife; they, like the bunnies, were too cute to resist. The timing was good - her old (non-bunny) slippers had worn out.

Now if you look at the "Togetherness" picture at the bottom of the page, you can discern that these slippers once had whiskers. Bunya made fairly short work of them. At first, they were bent out of shape, all whompy-jawed. Not too much later, he snipped them completely off with his sharp little teeth.

"We were just minding our own business" the slippers were overheard to say.

We thought that was the end of it until we were playing Scrabble one night. My wife had her feet stretched out under the coffee table and she all of sudden gave a shout.

Bunya had tugged off that slipper, hauled it across the room at lightening speed and was giving it what for. We are not sure what the slipper did to offend him or challenge his leadership, but the slippers have not ever tried anything since then.

Peace on Earth.

Don't you just loooove the salad bar at this place?!?

Oh yes, yes I do!

(Ethel: Do you have to take the picture while I am still chewing?)

(Thanks to my daughter for capturing this one.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Vanity license plate - Bareman


Okay, this one is easy to read, but what does it mean?
Maybe a nudist?
Is the driver naked? Thankfully, I did not get close enough to answer that question.

Could be a last name. A quick internet search turned up a Bareman Dairy in MI.

Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where everyone was trying to figure out who would order a license plate that said "Assman".

Bunny Conga line?

Kinda' goes with Lucy & Ethel, if he were Ricky.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vanity license plate - N2SUSHI

What can I say ... I like them. Some of them. Not the ones just with someone's initials. Some are little puzzles to decipher while you drive. Some are just funny, like this one. I guess I like this one because I agree with the sentiment.

New position to hypnotize Lucy

This is actually the second picture of this pose. It is more in focus than the first but she popped open an eye to see what I was doing. Until then, she was zoned out...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lucy hypnotized

Personality-wise, Lucy is both the most skittish and most mischevious of the three (more on that another time). However, my wife has a move that can put Lucy in a trance.

She flips Lucy and holds her like a baby. Lucy's ears drop down over her arm. At first, Lucy is wide-eyed, like "What'd you do?!?"

The she begins to stroke Lucy's forehead and ears. Slowly, Lucy turns to mush. Lucy relaxes, closes her eyes, slows her breathing and goes limp. You can move her legs, rub her ... she is gone...









Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rabbit Habitat - Why I am explaining where they live

Bunya, Lucy and Ethel live in the basement. When we are home, they often get the run of (most of) the basement. At night or when we leave, they sleep in a pen, pictured below.

The small cage in the upper right corner of the cage is Bunya's original. It was sold by the pet store from which my daughter bought him. Basically, they didn't know much, if anything, about rabbits. It was too small, even when he was small. It is now one of their litter boxes. We think he may be emotionally attached to it, kind of like Linus and his blanket.

Don't buy rabbits (or any pets) from pet stores. Rescue them from a shelter.

Anyway, there was an interim, larger cage, but I was still not happy with that one. Bunnies need to be able to jump high and take three straight jumps. And bunnies can jump high and far.

So I settled on the arrangement below. They seem to really like it; this assessment is based on the fact that when the door is open and they can run around, they usually end up hanging around inside their pen (after they run around - see definitions, NASBunny). Bunya's picture at the top of the blog shows him leaning on the bar that is the threshold, with the door open.

Why am I explaining this? Because in many of the pictures and videos I post, you will see the pen or the picture is shot through the pen. If I happen to have my phone or a camera, I have to take the best shot I can without moving. If I move too much or make noise, they will stop what they are doing. So that's just the way it is.



As you can see, there is a lot of cardboard; bunnies are chewers (and/or diggers). The white thing near the bottom of the picture is a 5 foot long, six inch tube they like to crawl through or sometimes hide in. Thanks to my daughter, it has a blue Tar Heel sticker on it.

Alice Flops (video)

One of the definitions in the right panel is of a "flop". This video shows one of Alice's. This was actually a rather calm version, almost in slow motion, for her. Most often, the flop would be very fast; her head would twist in the direction she was going to fall and then her body would follow. Bunya gives her some head licks once she lands.
video

The names “Lucy & Ethel”



When I realized we were going to add two girls to the mix, I tried to think of girl names that went together.

Thelma and Louise popped to mind but I didn’t want a bad ending.
Butch and Sundance? Wrong sex.
Laverne and Shirley? Nah.
Paris and Nicole? So over that.

Then I remembered that my wife wanted to call one of the bunnies “Lucy”. So I was trying to come up with a name that went with Lucy.
Lucy and…
Lucy and …
Lucy and Ethel!

I have found that naming the girls Lucy and Ethel has dated me. Ouch.

If you are that young, Google “I Love Lucy” and check out some old episodes. They were a great comedic pair. You will find out about Ricky and Fred, Babalu, and the Mertzes.

And no, we are not renaming Bunya to Ricky. Or Desi. He knows his name and it's been his for over 3 years now.

TV Remote ... another memory of Alice

No buttons on the basement remote control. Alice found them to be some sort of bunny delicacy and chewed the rubber buttons off. I assume they have been tossed with the bunny pellets. Perhaps those few that had some extra bounce.

When you watch TV in the basement with the bunnies, you have to use the force to change the channels.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Alice got adopted!


Alice was the first bunny we tried to adopt. It was a long bonding period but they finally hung out together. They made a cute couple and then Alice got deathly ill. She was at the vet in ICU for a week. When she returned, we thought there would be a cute reunion and prepared to video it.

Well, Alice turned into the Tasmanian Devil and an extra from The Exorcist combined. She was jumping in the air around Bunya, doing twirling 360s. Bunya's fur was flying. We had to separate them. We tried to re-bond them for weeks but it was not going to happen in our lifetime. We took her back to HRS and have now adopted Lucy & Ethel in her place.

Alice's nickname at HRS was Cujo. She was just an angry little bunny (but soooo cute). Never before or since have we heard such a verbal bunny. She had her own little growling noise.

We visited the HRS today and were happy to find out that Alice got adopted. There was a real possibility Alice might have lived out her days as a sanctuary bun at HRS. We understand that she now sleeps in bed, snuggled next to her new human. Sometimes, Alice will settle on her new owner to hang out. And the new owner knows that Alice does not like to be touched and does not touch her. Perfect for Alice. No other bunnies on her turf.

We miss her and wish her well.

Pictures from better times...


How we ended up with 3 bunnies

My daughter brought home a bunny one day. She researched and found out that she wasn't allergic to them (and she is to cats and dogs). About 6 months later, she left for college. That was about 3 years ago. That's how we got Bunya (the brown one).

Reading about bunnies, I learned that they are social creatures. I already didn't like that he was alone while we were at work all day. So, we decided to adopt a rescue bun, Alice, for company. After months (very expensive ones at the end), she unbonded from Bunya and we feared for his safety.

So we returned Alice to the shelter and thebunnylady pulled a swift one on me and I went home with a "twofer", having exchanged one for two. That's how we got Lucy & Ethel (Lucy = black & white, Ethel = all white). The three of them have basically been together since the day after I brought them home. There was one night apart; the bonding was nothing. We love it. Bunya loves it - he started binking again shortly after the three of them got together; that was wonderful to see.

How they got into the "Togetherness" pose: One bunny comes over for a head skritch; I don't recall who was first. Well, then another one sees this and hops over for some similar loving. And, of course the third follows. So they all snuggled down next to each other, just as you see them, all getting their heads & ears rubbed at the same time, eyes closed, heads smashed flat to the floor. I added the slipper, my wife pulled away her petting hand and I shot the picture.
You can buy this picture on a mouse pad at Zazzle.  A portion of the proceeds benefit the Georgia House Rabbit Society, an all volunteer nonprofit that rescues and rehabilitates homeless, abandoned rabbits, and adopts them into loving permanent homes. Or you can just donate at  GHRS

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bat in My Belfry


Okay, here's the scoop.
Last night, I got home after a wonderful dinner with my oldest son and daughter-in-law and went down to the basement to let the bunnies out. When I flicked on the lights, this unidentified thing was flying around close to the ceiling (which is not that far from my head). At first I thought it might have been a bird but then changed my mind to [potentially blood sucking, rabies infected] bat. Its outline looked exactly like when Commissioner Gordon signals for Batman.

I amazed myself by not screaming like a little girl. My wife refused to come home from Baltimore or DC, wherever she was, to take care of it. The curse of "stuff happens when my wife leaves" the city on business -- still solid (house floods, deathly ill bunnies...).

After flying around some, it disappeared in the basement kitchen. Based on internet searches and phone coaching from the ladies, I tried a couple of things. Put the bunnies back in cage, turned off all the lights and opened the door, with the porch light on. Nothing except we all froze (we = the bunnies and me). Trying to give it a more direct path, opened top of window facing kitchen with outside light on. No results.

After searching around, I thought I found it (hanging upside down) in a space behind the kitchen cabinets (they do not go all the way to the walls, leaving a little L-shaped opening in the corner). I rammed cardboard against the bottom and threw towels on the top to try to block it in.

The bunnies and I watched TV with eyes wide and keeping low to the ground, necks covered.

This morning, internet searched and called a service. "Tim" called me when he was on the way to the house and I left work to meet him. He looked around outside for entries. Found none (house recently painted, caulked and such). Went into basement and I showed him where I had blocked. He put on gloves and looked up the opening with his flashlight. Nothing. Then he followed the light into the adjoining cabinet, opened the door and found our visitor.

He removed it (that's his hand holding it) and tied it in a grocery bag. He continued to look at the fireplace, in the ceiling tiles, up vents, in can lights and such but never found any more or anyplace where it could get in. Climbed on the roof - the chimney looks good. Cut him a check and that's it. Starting to flurry and rain/ice from Alabama predicted, so going to try to go grab lunch and get back home before it's a real mess.

I am getting an ankle bracelet for my wife that will shock her if she tries to leave town.

Oh and when I asked Tim what happens to it, he said he might put it in the bat box he has in his back yard, about 30 feet off the ground.
P.S. The title of this post is a cliche, but, hey, how many times do you get to say that? BTW, a belfry is a bell tower. This was really "Bat in My Basement".