Monthly Archives: July 2011

Birthdays, Blue Birds and Kindness …

27th July 2011

I walk into the café this morning to bouquets of flowers on the shelves.   There is a birthday in the house!  And this is a very special birthday – Brenda’s 50th.   Yet it is as always, “business” as usual.  Brenda says she would not wish to spend her birthday anywhere else but here in the place that is such an expression of her own self.    Except we all know this place is not about business, but pure hospitality and the delivery of good things – service, food, conversation, comfort and even kindness.  

Let’s just think about the power of kindness because it is so important to me, and I believe tends to make a difference in the lives of both the giver and receiver.

There are many who pass through these rooms, or sit at these tables, who are here in some way to find comfort, whether in the form of a place to read the paper, share a meal with friends, or a quiet space to just indulge in the simple pleasure of a cup of tea or a slice of cake.   Several conversations this week have centred around the theme of how we all seem to put on brave faces, and muster up courage to hide away our pain and miseries behind smiles or even humour,  we work hard not to crack and let our supposed “weakness” (read “humanity”) show, and yet the quickest way through those walls or facades, is a simple act of kindness .  

How often have you been battling though some personal trauma, tragedy or stressful time, thinking you are coping very well, and then someone says a kind word, or offers you a small gift, or, in our case, Brenda delivers that hot drink, with a plate of cake and a single rose carefully placed on the napkin?   And the tears break free and fall?   I know only too well what that is like.

These past few weeks I have felt the weight of life’s sorrows upon those near and dear to me, with so many tragedies and difficult circumstances rising up to challenge them.   I have one friend who lost not only one beloved parent but both, a week apart.   I have another who is suffering from a terrible illness that causes great pain and there is no cure;  several other close friends have recently lost their life partners, including my younger sister, and yet another friend is struggling to break free of an abusive relationship and rescue herself and her children.  And that is just in my immediate circle, without even mentioning the world of friends I connect with online and whose own life stories are at times so poignant, heartbreaking, even tragic.   Even in my own life, I have my own share of hardships to deal with, not the least of which is a debilitating and very painful chronic illness  and a deep sense of isolation.   I know that these small moments of pleasure we allow ourselves, are the medicine our souls long for and when we give ourselves permission to take a break from the pain and sadness, and savour the tiny precious moments of what IS good in life, no matter how fleeting, then we open the door to healing and future happiness.    We all deserve this much!   And we must not wait for others to bring it to us on a plate, these are things we can give ourselves.

 

In my case, I won’t bore you with details of suffering, but suffice to say, no matter what kind of day I am having, even when I can barely walk at all, I only have to go outside into my garden and there awaits the best medicine anyone could ask for.   Not only do I have fresh air, wide open spaces and trees, nature and bird song, I have something particularly unique.  I live in the country, miles from main roads and with state forest all around.   In my garden, I have some wild fairy wrens (Blue Wrens) who have made their home here.   And who have, it seems, adopted ME, as their friend.

Now it is quite ironic for me, that as a photographer, I have spent years, stalking these brilliant little blue birds, struggling to get close enough for even one shot that wasn’t blurry, or that had the “tail end” of a bird flying from the frame, and I truly did despair of ever getting a good “blue wren” photo.

Then three years ago that all changed.   People who are familiar with Blue Wrens (or “Splendid Fairy Wrens”) will know that they can be very cheeky and friendly, especially if they get used to humans feeding them.   I have always chosen NOT to feed wild birds where I live as I am a cat lover and have always had several cats.   So over time, I noticed this one little male wren (it is the males of the species who get the brilliant blue plumage) who constantly hopped around my garden and flew up to land at my feet, or sat in the bush close to me, singing.   He was more friendly than any of the wrens I have ever seen around here, and so I called him “Blue Boy”  (yes, very original, I know) and proceeded to talk to him whenever I saw him.  As time went by, this little bird seemed to know I would not hurt him, and would fly up to my doorstep and call out to me, or fly in and land next to me when I was outside in the garden.  

Eventually my curiosity got the better of me, and I held out my hand and he flew in and sat on it, just very briefly, but “we had contact!”     The next time I saw him, I took out a few plain biscuit crumbs (low sugar) and offered him.  And he landed on my hand and ate, with his little claws gripping my finger, like the tiny hands of a child holding onto a parent.    I was rapt!

 

Over the past three years, this little bird has succeeded in introducing me to his mate “Henny Wrenny” and many of his babies.   At first Henny was very nervous and would not come close, but as time passed, she became very bold, especially at nesting time, and would knock him off my hand to come and have some treats!   Bossy little bird!    At times I have had this pair with up to three babies before me, entertaining and filling me with pure delight.

The little wrens are very watchful.   Even when they are eating, only two will eat, and one watches.   Then they alternate.   They watch the sky, for larger birds, who all seem to be a threat to these tiny avians (kookaburras, hawks, butcher birds and eagles are notorious predators), and they scan the ground for lizards and snakes, cats and dogs, and other threats.   They have different alarm calls for different animals and I have come to recognize most of them.   Their warning for a snake is the most intense and unmistakable.   They have warned me of a snake approaching my yard on a number of occasions.

 

When their babies first fly from the nest, they are quite helpless and clumsy.   One parent will stay with them and watch while the other flies for food.  It is a constant task to bring food to nestlings or fledglings, they are bottomless pits!   At times like this, the little parent birds love me offering a few crumbs, but I do not need to worry about harming their health with “human diet” as they never just eat biscuit crumbs, but stop and fetch a few bugs in between the crumbs, as if knowing a balance diet is good for them!   (Now if only to teach my kids the same thing!)

Knowing how watchful the wrens are, I have been touched by their deep trust in me.   One day while out photographing the babies, both parent birds disappeared, leaving me spying on the babies as they hopped and fluttered in a pile of branches.   This was very unusual as I know that only one parent bird would fly away at a time.   After quite a break, both “Blue” and “Henny” returned, with their feathers all wet, and proceeded to shake, flutter, and fluff on the fence rail.  They had been off for a bird bath while I babysat the little ones!!!  

It was so funny!  (and of course, their antics while grooming, were yet another source of amusement, especially when I could catch the action with my camera!)

 

 

 

 

 

So now I have as many blue wren photos as I can handle.  

Every day, my little blue friend greets me and sings his heart out for me.   It is the most precious gift, and so very healing.

So I give Brenda a blue wren image for her birthday –  This simple photo of a little blue bird, awakes a memory, a poem, and line by line, the words flowed, bringing with them a rush of feelings.  She smiles as she quotes Gerard Manley Hopkins “Spring” :

Spring

NOTHING is so beautiful as spring—

  When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
  Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
  The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
  The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
 
What is all this juice and all this joy?
  A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
  Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
  Most, O maid’s child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

So for my little blue bird – a connection to this poem, where Hopkins’ little thrush sing upon a background of sky – “descending blue;  that blue is all in a rush…”   which pretty much describes my own little friends in colour and character, if not in species.

 

And synchronicity being as it is, this poem was left at the Café for me during the week…

 

 

 

Pretty little blue wren

Cheeky as can be,

Hopping here and there,

Performing just for me.

 

I wonder if you realize

Just how cute you are,

With your vivid blue colours

Pretty as a flower.

 

You like to hide in bushes

And flit across the ground

And when you sing your happy song

It’s such a lovely sound.

 

A bird that’s so endearing,

Would be very hard to find.

When I think of Australian bush,

You are on my mind.

 

 

(I believe I can thank Rosalie for this gem.  Rosalie, you really summed up the character of the little fairy wrens and it made me smile, so thank you!)

 

 

 

I have a few more treasures from the table tops at the Café….

“Whatever it is,

It always looks better in the morning”

(A Schutts)

 

 

(I smiled reading this one, guess they have never seen me in the morning! LOL)

 

 

 

And this beautiful piece from Bec Larsen (Perth)…

Nightfall

Sweeping roads fade away into the darkness

Drunken Saturday night lights left behind

Soaked days of glutony, indulgence, lust,

Eat, Pray, Love, for the love of wine,

New experiences, spontaneous, new faces,

Winding bus dissects the countryside

Glass after glass after glass

To escape the reality.

 

Winding roads revisited,

Life begins again.

 

(Thank you Bec, this evokes so many images and memories for me, I feel the stories peeking through the lines of this one.   Smiles…)

 

 

I will close with another pearl of wisdom…

 

 

“It’s not your aptitude

But your attitude

That determines

Your altitude”

 

 

And so it is …

 

 

 

 

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Jumping for Joy

20th July 2011

 Colour, style and sheer flirtatiousness leap from the glass cake cabinet this morning,  entertaining my senses.

“The fridge is literally jumping out of its skin for joy!”  says Brenda with a smile.

It is a day of divine culinary joy, that’s for sure – a momentary break in the rapid, harsh and chaotic dance of life.   The peaceful atmosphere of the Café, a peace that at first seems impossible amidst the constant activity in the tiny kitchen and the chatter and lunch time rush;  seems to permeate and linger in each and every person.   I do not wish to go home from this place.  I doubt any one does.  The business owner loves being here too, and it shows!  This place is an extension of who she is, like a living room she invites friends into to enjoy her hospitality.

I can come here with a heavy heart, or a lot on my mind, yet somewhere in the hours that pass, and the gentle atmosphere of this place, it evaporates.   I walk away feeling like I have had a holiday from the world. 

 

Amidst the excitement in the cake cabinet, are some tarts most worthy of a photo.  (Can you feel me smiling as I say this!)   They not only provoke attention and tempt the senses, they are works of art.   Heidi has been baking again.   Light, melt in the mouth pastry contains layers of peanut brittle, caramel and ganache.   On top of the dark chocolate are little red hearts made of chocolate.   I have to try one, but when I go to eat it, I honestly don’t know where to start.  It is like putting something as vibrant as “Moulin Rouge” on a plate!   I wait to see if this little creation will dance the “Can Can” for me.

“How is it?” asks Heidi, and I have trouble replying.  Each mouthful is a sensory experience and I can’t talk, I just have to sit there allow the magic to work.   You have to taste these creations,   to truly understand!

 

 

From the weight of a song,

To the scent of lost childhood,

Unfolds these wings of nostalgia,

A warm glow of feeling

Sweet upon the lips,

Unleashing

A thousand precious memories;

Sugar coated delicacy

Conveys the heart of she

Whose hands tenderly fold intent;

Love dissolves in glory

Within the longing mouth

And flies off in search of adventure

In the waiting heart.

 

 

Some crumbs and smiles from the table tops this week …

When Irish eyes are smiling…

For an Irish girl serving…

 

 

 

 

I’m smiling because….

I’m your sister!

And laughing because

You can’t do anything

About it!!!

(To my big sister Sylvia, from your adopted sister Pam xxx)

 

 

 

How can you improve on perfection?

Service is warm and friendly,

And the “blarney” keeps flowing and is acceptable,

Food and beverages outstanding!

Nola

 

 

 

“Feels like home

–      lovely people”

Sometimes you don’t need to say very much.   Too many words would spoil the mood.   Simply put – “feels like home” is all that is required, yet in those few words are lifetimes of memories of what “home” really is…  Or how it feels to be “home”.    How that word evokes so many different meanings and memories for each person who uses it?  

How many songs, poems and sayings can you think of that have been inspired by the meaning of the word “home”?

“Home is where the heart is”

 

“Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”

 

Where ever we’re together that’s my home”

 

 

 

My thoughts are this …

 

Home is a place you arrive at when you simply learn to love yourself.


Unfolding Stories and Creativity

13th July 2011

Raspberry Frangipani Tart

It is very difficult being in the Old Tearooms today …. I am faced with such a dilemma …. how on Earth do I make a choice from the mouthwatering offerings in the cake cabinet!!!

Heidi has been baking this week.  There in pride of place on the top shelf are the fruits of her labour.   Raspberry Pear Marsala Crumble,  Raspberry Frangipani Tarts and Orange and Poppyseed tart (with orange syrup), nestled beside the Carrot Cake, Quiches and Breakfast tarts.   I want to try them all!  How can I write about them unless I know what they taste like?  What a tough job…. (smiles)  Oh well – someone’s got to do it!

Pear Raspberry Masala Crumble

I go with the Breakfast tart, a delightfully light filo pastry tart containing spring onions, sweet potato, and bacon (among other things) and topped with a perfect egg.  Warmed up, it’s light and savoury delivery certainly hit the spot!  As for the Frangipani tarts, all I can say is “melt in the mouth”!!   The pastry so light, the flavour so immaculate and delicate…..  it’s almost a shame to weigh it down with that dollop of fresh cream!  I said…”Almost!”

I hear Brenda announce to a customer “For today’s soup we have roasted sweet potato, ginger and carrot soup topped with cashew nut cream” and on a chill winter’s day, that too makes my senses drool!

Brenda is smiling big time today.  She is the first to admit that although she is an accomplished baker of just about anything delicious, she has never managed to bake a quiche that she was happy with.  No matter which recipe she tried, none would turn out to her satisfaction.   In fact she had resigned herself to never being able to turn out a quality quiche for her café.   Until today….  In a spirit of generosity that is very rare amongst professional bakers and cooks, the owner of a local restaurant shared his quiche recipe with Brenda.  She tells me this is a really big deal, a HUGE deal….. Chefs just do not share recipes!   But she had openly confessed to him, that she was unable to cook a good quiche and he had shared his knowledge with her.   And (drum roll please) she was about to cut it before our eyes.   I am happy to say, it looked divine (I can’t say I tasted it, but those who did gave it the definite thumbs up!) and even better, Brenda, her own harshest critic, was truly satisfied with the result as well!   She admitted to feeling genuine joy in this simple achievement – for her, like so many of us, finding that spark of creativity in daily life puts everything in perspective, it’s a thread that weaves its way through our daily lives but is often overlooked or lost by all the other matters we have to deal with.   In Brenda’s words,  “I lose myself in the busy-ness but I find myself in my creativity.”  A truth that is simple, but profound.

 

Stories continue to play out around us in these old rooms.  Families and couples come in, stay a while, and almost reluctantly leave.   Alone at a table, one woman sits staring into her tea.   She looks unsettled, even downright miserable.  She is waiting for a phone call from the vet.   Her beloved dog is very ill, and is currently undergoing exploratory surgery to diagnose the problem.   But because this is an older dog, the prognosis is not looking good.    The phone rings, and the woman jumps, as do we all, knowing that she is waiting on this call.   We hear her say “It is for the best” and chokes out instructions for her dog to be allowed to pass away under anaesthetic.    As her tears fall, there is not a dry eye in the room, as Brenda and Heidi behind the counter, as well as myself, witness the grief.   We know the pain of loving our fur friends, the dogs, and cats and other creatures that share our lives and are as much a part of us as our children or parents or friends.    There are hugs, there are tears, it is a sad moment in the café, but hopefully the kindness surrounding her at this moment helps ease the pain a little.   “It is the final act of love” declares Brenda.   And we reassure this woman that she has indeed done the right thing by her beautiful dog, even though her heart is breaking and she feels like a limb has been torn away.    “Let them go knowing they are loved” I think to myself, a lesson I have had thrust on me far too many times in my own life…..   “If they have known love, their lives are justified and they will live on in our hearts”.  

But still, the pain of loss is palpable.

The most amazing story unfolds as two women come in for coffee and a chat and take it to the green couch.   They are old school friends….and have known each other for almost forty years, but one lives locally, and the other has flown in from Byron Bay after being away for over thirty years.   They have not seen each other in nearly five years, so the conversation flows as freely as the coffee,  rich with tales of children, grandchildren, parents, and lives that wander not only around the country but also the world, and yet return to swap stories on the old couch by the fire.

But what is truly incredible is this – when the eastern states friend, for the purpose of this story, we’ll call her Jani, enters the old Courthouse Gallery, her eyes are wide and she exclaims with a grin that this is indeed, a blast from the past.  

“The last time I was in this room, it was before the Magistrate, who was sitting up there behind that bench” she exclaims, pointing to the Judge’s bench.   “I was in the box down here” she says, pointing to the witness stand.  

“Are you serious?” asks her local friend “That must have been a very long time ago – the police department and gaol cells ceased operations in this building in 1976!”

Jani went on to share her story.   She was only eleven, and had been caught shoplifting “a 22 cent chocolate bar from Killerby’s”.  

“Ha!” she says… “The same block of chocolate costs over four dollars these days!”   The policeman had brought her here to stand before the Magistrate, who in turn, had ordered her to be locked up in the gaol cells for a period of time as punishment .

Jani described how terrified she was – “the smell was awful, the worst smell of urine and other stuff, and I was afraid to sit down or touch anything because of the germs!  IT was horrible!”   She walked down to the old exercise yard and said “this is where they locked me, but it didn’t look or feel as nice as this!” 

(The exercise yard is now clean, and whitewashed, no longer used as a toilet, and has a skylight and roof over the top, instead of being open to the weather – it has been revamped and is now the art studio for local artist Celia Clare and certainly has a whole different energy to it.)  All that remains as testimony to the lives that were put on hold in that small room and the sorry history of the building, is the original door leading out to the courtyard, which remains marked with the graffiti – a little sign of the past history of these four walls)

 

“The walls were all scratched and carved with names and comments and dates – there was not a space left unmarked” she says.   “But I never stole anything again” she said, with a grin “that experience certainly scared me off doing that kind of thing ever again!” 

Exercise Yard Door

There were quite a few giggles about it, but the most astonishing thought I have is this ….. can you imagine this happening today?  Seriously?   Just imagine the furore, if a police officer took a young person caught shoplifting, especially a girl,  before a magistrate (without a lawyer or parent) and then, locked her in a gaol cell where there were men in neighbouring cells?  Just to give her a fright!  The political, legal and moral fallout would be immense!!!   And yet, ironically, this experience DID the trick and certainly cured one young woman of any desire to break the law again.    Somehow the thought occurs to me that it’s a shame this same treatment can’t be applied to some of the young offenders out there today !!!

So for Jani, it was a full circle moment where she got to relive a childhood experience but in a building completely transformed from the one of her youth, and certainly happier, “cleaner” times….

I have some real treasures to share today, from our talented café patrons….. many have been held over from other weeks and saved for the right moment to bring them out!

This one, titled “A New Anthem for Australia” – enjoy with a smile.

 

Australians all love Aunty Joyce,

For she is forty three.

She cooks her food in olive oil,

And drinks her Bushells Tea.

 

Her lounge is filled with useless junk,

It’s scattered everywhere.

She goes to town by bus each day

And never pays her fare!

(David Magnus   24-6-2011)

 

 

 

I wish I was a glow worm

‘Coz glow worms are not glum,

How can you be miserable

When the sun shines out your bum!

 

 

 

 

I wanted to show my wife who was in charge,

So I gave her a mirror…

(Roger   15-6-2011)

 

 

From humour to emotion…

 

 

 

 

Angels are near

Can you feel them there?

Do you believe

That they really care?

They come close

When you’re feeling blue,

Singing their heavenly

Song for you.

They will always

Be nearby

To comfort you

When you cry.

So close your eyes

And rest awhile,

The angels like

To see you smile!

 

 

 

I once had a farm in Africa…

However it all came to grief

Because…

We saw Busselton

And

Lived happily ever after!

(1-6-2011)

 

 

 

And you with your fortresses ray, in the coldness of time.

Doing nothing more, than watching it all pass you by.

Sure it’s easier than being any kind of investment in life,

Find your money, find your home,

There’s nothing more to being alive.

–      Kim Churchill

(Tayla Van  11-6-2011)

 

 

I’d rather sit on a pumpkin

Than be crowded on a velvet cushion

(Stampmax)

 

 

Angel Dream

Golden threads like a sparkling stream

Wander through my angel dream.

Are the threads in the wings so fair?

Or might them be the angel’s hair?

It matters not, they intertwine

These threads of gold in my dream sublime.

So go to sleep my child so fair

With your angel eyes and your angel hair,

And drift away on angel wings,

Dreaming your dreams while the angel sings.

(Rosalie)

 

Orange and Poppyseed Cheesecake

“Somewhere over the rainbow…..” plays gently through the rooms…

Somewhere loved ones run free from earthly pain and challenges, and spirits smile, while tears fall on Earth and we watch our lives turn in cycles, coming back to nudge us into sharing our stories, twisting and folding back to reveal those enduring threads of creativity and heart.

It is good to be back…. This place does indeed “feel like home, to me”…..   I see the smiles, I breathe in the warmth and aromas of good food, I feel the heat of the fire and hear its soft crackle above the old songs playing on the radio…   I have time today, for me… I have all the time in the world and it feels good.    Does it get any better than this?

View from the Verandah


Lines

 

LINES

 

 

Lines on a piece of paper,

Lines upon the earth;

The mark of human hands –

Or aliens at work?

Mortal information,

Or a message from beyond?

A cryptic code without a key

Or a simple human bond?

Search for honest answers,

Leave no stone unturned,

Pen to paper, leave your mark,

The witches can’t be burned.

Who wields the staff ofIsis?

When Excalibur is lost?

It’s a long time between rainbows –

The pot of gold has turned to dust.

See dull and programmed adults

Follow the well-worn track,

They cannot look for miracles

While a key turns in their back.

Chalk drawings in a cave,

Scribbles on a bedroom wall,

Hieroglyphics in a tomb,

Their meaning eludes us all.

Somehow a page is missing,

In the instruction book of life,

Read between the lines –

Get information at any price.

Crayons in baby fingers

Don’t step upon the cracks.

Boundaries are made for crossing,

To bring the magic back.

Outside lines the children colour,

Expressing freedom of their youth,

Lines might be for guidance,

But erase them to find your truth.

(wendy slee)

 

Message Stick

 


Closed for Business but Rabbits Welcome!

6th July 2011

I missed the Café this week.   It was closed.   But even as I felt a sad reaction to seeing the empty verandah and the large door bolted against the outside world, I felt a little admiration for the Café owner.   In the face of a very commercial world full of expectation and regulation, she recognized her own need for a break, and took it.   With so much happening of late, both known and unknown to those of us who look on, she honoured her own self and had some time off.    Everyone involved in the Café gets a “breather” which is welcome in many ways…. Not the least of which is to recharge batteries, and ensure their return, fresh and ready to deliver more of the classic Tearoom magic.  

How often do you see a business or commercial enterprise, put second before the wellbeing of the person running it?  Not often!   I think it is commendable that someone can recognize and take care of their own “self” in the face of the service or product they offer to the world.  No sacrifice for customers or dollars should come at a price to one’s own health and happiness.      I also hope that most wise customers, either potential or regular, would respect this.   

I remember many years ago, driving to town to have some work done by local picture framers, only to find their shop unexpectedly closed in the middle of the day. On the door was a sign explaining that they were on holidays for two weeks, and apologizing for the inconvenience.   My initial reaction, naturally, was annoyance, but only for a moment, as when I stopped and thought about it, I discovered I really liked the concept of these unknown proprietors placing their own happiness and health as equal in priority to their business,  able to close if necessary, their own shop, in order to “have a life”.   The more I thought about it, the more I admired such a stance, and because they were wise enough to do this, in a world where far too many people focus their energy on the almighty dollar, to the detriment of their own lives and wellbeing, I made the decision that I would support them more once they returned.   And that is what I did.

So things are quiet down at the Old Post Office Tearooms this week, but inspiration always flows.   Although I have not been in to collect the latest cafe offerings, I have another poem from “the Angel lady” who leaves her little messages on the notepads…. deeply appreciated by the staff and any who read them…

 

If you feel in the dead of night

A kiss upon your cheek,

There could be an angel there

Watching as you sleep.

Can you hear a soft voice

Whispering words to you?

When you feel uncertain

They will tell you what to do.

Do you hear the singing?

Golden voices near,

Such a lovely song,

Wonderful to hear.

When at last you wake,

Hold onto your dream for a while,

As you journey through the day,

It will make you smile!

(Rosalie)

 

So although I missed the café, it gave me time to deal with a little matter here at home.  We’ve been having a bit of a showdown at my house.

It’s between me, and one very tiny baby rabbit…. A wild rabbit at that.

As of this morning, the score was something like “rabbit – 3, wendy – 2.”

It all started earlier this week, when I went out to the laundry, and discovered all three of my cats plus my terrier pup, darting around the room, amidst the contents of water bowls, food dishes and cat litter trays,  and a lot of ripped up wet newspaper and spilled cat biscuits.   Frankly, it was one helluva mess.   Upon closer investigation, I found a baby rabbit huddled behind the vacuum cleaner, terrified and wet.   Obviously the old cat had caught it out in the bush (over five hundred metres away from my house) carried it home and brought it into the house to do that evil cat thing that felines do to hapless prey.

The little thing was not giving up without a fight however, and even as I shut the other animals away, I had a struggle to catch it, with it crawling under my washing machine – I had to do some heavy lifting to get it out.

Finally wrapped in a cloth, the tiny baby was ‘safe’ in my hands, its little eyes wide, it’s nose twitching, and little heart beating rapidly.   I was faced with a dilemma – what was I going to do with it?   There was no way I could allow the cats to kill it!   (While I love my cats, I do my best to keep them from ever killing anything but the occasional mouse).   And being a baby, I could not just put it outside, as the weather was cold and wet.   I also had no idea where it had come from, so I could not take it out to the bush and dump it, as other animals would drive it away or even kill it.   So I called the wildlife rescue people and they informed me that rabbits were not ‘wildlife’, and they could not help me,  and that they doubted anyone would because  “rabbits were pests”.

You can imagine the reaction here on the farm!   Save a rabbit?    I was sure I heard laughter from all directions.    There has not been a day on this land, that rabbits were not the target of every hunter young and old!   Generations of farmers have declared war on the humble little bunny, dating right back to my grandfather’s day when a faded old news clipping told the story of how with the introduction of the 1080 poison, my grandfather and father, went out and collected over 500 dead rabbits in the paddocks in one day.   No… I was not going to get any assistance, or my little rabbit any sympathy, here on the farm either.

My children, of course, were totally predictable too – “Can we keep it for a pet?”.    To be honest, I did not like its chances of survival.  In the past, wild creatures that have been caught by a cat, do not survive.  Wild creatures rescued by humans, rarely survive, especially if they have been injured or are in shock.   I knew this little one was definitely in shock, and possibly injured.   It lay very still in my hands, and I felt that after such a traumatic day, all I could wish for this little bunny, was for it to have a peaceful place to die surrounded by a little kindness.

I put it in a high sided washing basket for the night, all snuggled up in a soft blanket, and in the warm living room.   I warned the children that it would more than likely die during the night, but at least it would do so in warmth, quiet and dignity.

However the rabbit had other ideas.   I was awoken in the night by a lot of rustling in my bedroom, and sat up with a fright, thinking “the rats are back”  (that’s another story!).   Then there was a lot of scuffling.   I went out to the living room and the basket was empty.  The rabbit had been resurrected, and decided to take matters into its own hands…. or paws.     But now, it was somewhere in my house, and yet – nowhere to be seen.

I did a search of all the rooms, but found no clue.   I ended up having to go back to bed and leave it wherever it had gone to hide.

The next day I put some carrots and lettuce out in my kitchen.   I had to know whether it was dead or alive, and make an effort to find it, as the kids and I hunted through the house all day and found no sign of it.

The food disappeared.   That was a positive sign.   Over the next few days, I put food out on the kitchen floor twice a day and it always disappeared, though I never saw the rabbit.   I was surprised at just how much food got eaten too….no matter how much I put out, it all disappeared!   I blocked the doorways to all the other rooms so I could contain the little creature in the kitchen.  (Mind you, the thought of a stinky wild rabbit making its mess in my kitchen was not a pleasant image.)   I borrowed a cage with a trap door and rigged it with a carrot.   Two days went by and the carrot got eaten but the trap remained open.   No rabbit.   (Smart rabbit).

Then last night, I heard a rattle.   At last, there in the cage was this tiny little rabbit, huddled in a corner looking very dejected.  
“Aah – there you are” I said.  “Your poor little thing”, and approached the cage.  It did not move, its eyes were almost closed and it did not look happy.   Being the middle of the night and quite cold, I took pity on it in the wire cage and opened one end to place an old cloth in there for it to sleep on.   Before I could react, it shot up the cage to the tiny opening and squeezed out, even as I tried to grab it with my hand.  Then it was out and off across the kitchen and under the nearest piece of furniture.   Free again!

So we were back to square one and I was sure it would never venture into that cage again.

(24 hours later)

Fortunately, we did entice the little rodent back into the trap with literally, a carrot on a stick, and now our bunny friend is safely caged, eating and enjoying all the good foods from my fridge.   I still don’t know what to do with this impromptu houseguest, as it’s a juggle keeping the dog and cats from pressing their nasty faces up against the bars, and the cage is really very small.   I think the plan for now is to borrow a rabbit pen, and keep our little bunny until it is a little older, and the weather is warmer, then release it into the bush somewhere far from the farm.   By then I am sure it will be fat and happy and have worked out that not all humans are frightening…
Here’s hoping!