The barge has been towed away from the marina after 4 days, costs most likely continued until it reached its home berth. Not having anything to do with being cagey or having evil intentions but the operators will at times moor the working barges out of site of the last job. They do it to save expenses, it also gives them a little more jingle, it would be nice if the owner shared the windfall with the crew. My experience has been it’s about 50/50 depending upon the financial condition of the company and the demeanor of the owner, this guy seemed like a good one. As I was riding my scooter down to the garden I came across him carrying 3 5 gallon propane tanks so I asked him if he wanted to toss them in my wagon and I’d take them for him. He obliged, as we were going down the hillside of the Levee I made the comment “man I bet that was expensive.” He smiled, when I asked who hired him the State or the County he told me it was the County, my answer was “wow”. He knew what I meant, I have no interest in how much it cost, and I truly mean that my intent is nearly always trying to figure out how things work. Starting to write off topic is never a good course of action, but after watching the dredging of the sailboat then writing a blog on it a little update is OK.
Deciding to take my writing outside to the riverside deck provides a different perspective than sitting in the house looking out a window. The bunny lady was out and about this morning when I returned to the house from the garden, we talk about the rabbits. There is a lot I don’t understand about them, they are delicate creatures, so gentle they seem. She was telling me that there is pressure on her (her? why?) to do something about the overpopulation.
Part of this Rabbit adventure we have been on for the past several years is how people react to them. Personally, I don’t mind them too much, I get a little bugged when I walk to the garden and see they have eaten my Artichoke plant. Just irritating as they are only one species attracted to the plants. Rabbits eat grape leaves also, there are so many of them (leaves) on my vine the only way I know they eat them is when I see them in the act. The vine produces grapes but we have never eaten them or gotten as much as one ripe globe. Rats and Squirrels (mostly Rats) eat them all, it’s easy pickings up against the fence.
If we’re not careful we might learn something, that is the case when I’m talking to the bunny lady. Rabbits cannot look up when she told me that I was dumbfounded, how could they survive? Little bunnies are most affected by it, they look for shadows on the ground cast by flying predators then scramble to safety. Being the contents of other animals lunchboxes makes for a precarious life.
Sitting inside one not so nice day looking at the big Pecan tree outside my window I saw the female Hawk land in it. She has been around for many years, her mate is about 2/3 of her size, they had a roost in a snag across the road. That snag had to be cut down, I understand it was a danger to the farmers’ outbuildings, the chicken coops were in the most danger. Getting back to watching her in the Pecan tree she flew off after just a few minutes of scanning the area. She made a circle around the house re-appearing in the sliding door facing west, that’s where the bunnies spend their time on the grass. Streaking out of the sky like a dive bomber the Hawk zero’ed in on a small Rabbit, in the nick of time the bunny saw it and scrambled under the grapevine and the fence. The big Hawk slammed into the fence, I didn’t think they ever missed that badly. Bouncing off she picked herself up and shook her body and backed away. Staying on the ground for 2 minutes she leaped into the air, landing on a post she sat still for a while.
Besides the Hawks, which is impossible to keep track of all of them, there are other predators as well. Two Owls are on the prowl, the thing is with Owls is upon spotting them the number has to be doubled. They do not, at least as far as I know, fly with their mates as one of them stays in the nest not leaving the eggs or fledglings alone. Our resident Barn Owls live in the Pecan Tree, I built a nesting box for them several years ago and have raised many young birds successfully. Every night for the past years, perhaps 5 or 6, between 8 & 8:30 pm a Barn Owl flies past the big window on its nightly hunting rounds. Depending upon how many young are in the nest they and the youngsters can devour as many as 30 rodents a night, every night. That makes them our friends, there are a lot of mice, rats, and gophers in the country. Unfortunately, small Bunnies round out their diet.
As they do for the Barred Owls, these guy’s are a little different than the Barn Owls, they hunt during the day as well as at night. One of them will roost in the Bay Tree I am next to while writing this, I took a video of it a few years ago. The video was deleted as I knew nothing about what I was doing, I focused on everything but the Owl, he was blurred. I took a photo with my cell phone, I don’t like using it, and posted it on Facebook back when I had a page. My neighbor told me it was a Great Horned Owl, they look similar, it isn’t one but I agreed with her anyway. Nature boy screwed up I guess, I told her, but it is a Barred Owl, they appear similar to a Great Horned but are much smaller. Bunnies are on their diet as well, again it’s a tough life when you exist to fill someone’s lunch box.
I have to add another Owl, the Great Horned Owl, they are sometimes migratory as the one frequenting our area is. They arrive in early November perching high on Sailboat masts or in this case at the top of a tall Douglas Fir in my neighbors’ property. Great Horned Owls are apex predators the bunnies (and full grown ones as well) make up a portion of their dietary needs. As do other Owls, especially Barn Owls, the large birds will go into the nests and take the young often putting an end to the parents. Nesting boxes are the answer when constructed correctly, the critical aspect is the size and shape of the entry hole. A 5-inch oval hole will serve to deter two predators, one is the Great Horned Owl and the other Racoons which are Barn Owls other main threats. Tree-dwelling Snakes are a major threat as well, but the design of the nesting boxes are not able to deter them. How they are fastened to the tree can however and is subject to another blog.
Birds are not the only predators hunting Rabbits the sneaky Fox is on the prowl after dark. One day while I was out here I saw a streak of red/copper colored fur run up the fence line. I was unable to get a good look at it and did not make out the big fuzzy tail but the color and speed are incriminating factors. That plus Skunkpuppy would not chase it are indications of it being a wild canine. I have seen signs of them, footprints, scat, and dead Bunnies which make a good case they are active.
Along with the Coyotes being here for most likely the past thousands of years. They are a bit different than the others as their hunting habits have been used by generation upon generation. Every night three patrol the Levee, quickly running along the top, if it was not productive they would not be here every night.
I don’t mind the Rabbits living here, yes they do eat some of my garden plants and dig holes but other than that they do no harm. There are some people with no tolerance towards them. Wanting them done away with some are being shot and others trapped. Due to her always being the Rabbit rescue lady some of the knotheads are blaming her for the overpopulation and demand she does something about it. A bunny rescue organization is located 25 miles from us, she told me she has been trapping them and that organization has been accepting the gentle creatures.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, I appreciate it. I will attempt to photograph the Owl nesting box, there are fledglings in it and they look out the entrance from time to time. Skunkpuppy and I need to get with it now so until next time Adios.