Thursday, April 29, 2010


I am posting to now.

I am leaving these 4 and a bit years of posts here.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

End of Blogger FTP

On May 1st Blogger will stop publishing blogs by FTP. I could migrate to but I don't think I will. I think I'll leave these four years here, and if I get the urge to post in the future I'll start somewhat anew over there. If there are any good reasons for me doing otherwise, do comment.



Saturday, April 17, 2010

Chickpea died.

Chickpea has been part of our family since Iris opened a wrapped box with holes in it on Christmas Day and found two rabbits inside.

Chickpea was a neutered female, and she and Iggy Hop mostly got on very well, with occasional spats. I suspect they fought because it just is hard to keep on getting on with the members of your household, and because as Chickpea got bigger she thought that perhaps it was
time she was the dominant bunny, but Iggy was happier with the status quo.

Chickpea was incredibly soft of fur and a beautiful golden fawn, but fierce. She didn't like being picked up and she would grunt to remind anyone who tried, but she liked us to feed her treats out of our hands. She climbed the hedge to eat the lemon tree, she snatched food from Iggy and ran off with it, and she taught me a lot about rabbits. Having two rabbits has meant that we are able to see differences between them: Chickpea was a foodie, she liked to try new tastes and passionately ate her favourite things first.

She died suddenly. Yesterday at breakfast she was balancing on her hind legs, eating treats and pawing at Sean's dressing gown. Sometime in the middle of the morning she was in one of her ordinary spots under the hedge. After lunch she didn't come hopping to greet me and
ask for treats when I came out the door, I found her hunched in her hutch. Her nose woffle was slow, so I opened the hutch roof and got her out. I knew something was wrong when she didn't object. Hazel, Iris, and I checked her all over for injuries and we didn't find any, her tummy was soft, but she was obviously sick because she really didn't seem to mind, no freaked staring or anything. The vet had an appointment for 4:20. I put her in the bedroom of the hutch and closed
the door for quarantine. Iggy hopped about the garden. At about 2:20 I was about to take Hazel to Circus School so I went to see how Chickpea was, she was lying on her side, as if happy, comfortable and at ease but she was utterly still. I picked her up and she was still warm so I listened to her chest, but her heart was silent.

Crying, I brought her in to the children. They took turns holding her and we came to believe in her death. Hazel rang Sean, he said "I will be home as soon as possible" and was. I took Hazel to circus school, she was only a little late and went in with the hope it would be very interesting so she could concentrate completely on it.

"At least," Hazel said, "it wasn't Moab, because we only have one cat and we have two bunnies."
I agreed, but warned her not to say that to her grieving sister.

I came home again and took Iggy to Chickpea's appointment, to see if he seemed well to an expert observer. We talked about Chickpea's death, but no conclusions were reached. I had Chickpea in the car just in case the vet wanted to check any hypotheses, but Iris didn't want
an autopsy and Iggy did seem well.

When I came home I asked Iris "How are you?"
"Sad, but a bit calmer since Daddy came straight home from work and
was really nice to me and gave me everything I wanted."

After dinner I asked again and she said
"A bit sad, but not hurt, not in pain like I fell over," and we scheduled Chickpea's funeral for 11am.

We didn't let Iggy back into the hutch but instead he stayed the night in the grand new bathroom. He seemed to quite like it. This morning Iris went in to check on him, alone as it happened. Afterwards she said
"At first when I opened the door I couldn't see him and I thought he might be dead too, and he was quite still in the box, so I thought he might be going-to-die like Chickpea was, but he came out for some treats and was normal, so I was happy."

Later Iris said she was
"Sad about Chickpea, but I'm not crying anymore whenever I think about her"

This morning we hit our main water pipe while digging the grave in our funereal finery. Water fountained out baptising the concrete rabbit we had ready for the headstone, but missing the dead rabbit lying in state in the beautiful wrapped box she originally came in and her
floral offerings. The funeral was delayed while we rang the plumber. At the funeral we said some things, stroked her soft fur, and put her back in her box. We placed flowers all around her and went out to lunch somewhere where the water was on. The interment was after the plumber dug the hole a little deeper, fixed the pipe, and told me he didn't think he'd be needing that hole again until she was long gone. More flowers, a few more words, Hazel and Iris filled in the hole, and positioned the concrete rabbit and more flowers. The finished grave is rather lovely.

Sean and the children had horse-riding to learn, so I spent all afternoon at home disinfecting and cleaning the hutch for Iggy, who would sit still enough that I'd want to give him a treat to check he was okay and not about to die too. I'd get a treat and go to him, but he would run and hide. "Running is good" I would think, sadly, and I'd go back to my services for the unappreciative rabbit. I thought he hated the smell of the cleaners I was using and so I washed my hands in his pee and then in plain water. After that he allowed himself to eat a treat I'd given him, but only if I put it on the ground and retreated. So I think he feels I am culpable because I was the one who
found her, who took him to the vet with Chickpea dead in the car, and who was trying to clean their hutch of all traces of their shared life. I was cheered when he started grooming himself (Chickpea mostly groomed Iggy and Iggy occasionally gave her a bit of a lick too).

I hope Iggy forgets this theory by tomorrow, surely he's not alone in his hutch plotting revenge and bearing a grudge. I also hope it will all help with Iris's fear of death, as it was so surprising that there was no time to dread it, and afterwards there's been kindness, compassion, flowers, funerals and cards.

Goodbye Chickpea, I will not forget you. You jumped in pure joy, and when you flopped down in the backyard the whole household was at peace.

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

It's 2010.

Things I didn't think we'd (still) have in this, the Space Age:
  • 3D glasses
  • Analogue watches
  • Wool underwear
  • Sunhats
  • Knickerbockers
  • Keys
  • Corsetry
  • Punks
  • Cancer and co.

Things I didn't expect
  • The web
  • Maori renaissance
  • Computers for preschoolers
  • No USSR
  • Bread machines, rice cookers, pasta makers, fruit dryers, popcorn makers...
  • The Urban Chook Fad
  • No monorail

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Things I am up to.

Helping with PMP, reading, and shelving at school. Starting a Human Biology course, getting on with the rabbits, a lot of washing, some bicycling.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Optional extras.

By the way, you can see the girls and me in photos by Shannon).

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On the joys of having bunnies in the family.

  • When we let the rabbits out of the hutch they binky about the garden, this move is a pure and infectious expression of joy.
  • Herbivores chomping away in the borders makes the cat and me feel at peace
    1. If they are at peace then there are no threats to big tough us.
    2. Our hunting-ground is happily full.
  • The cat also likes that they always cede him the higher ground, they seem to appreciate that he always cedes them the choice spots under things.
  • They show evidence of becoming happier to be held.
  • Rabbit poo is like goat poo; "almost appealing".*

* Holzwarth, Werner, The Story of the Little Mole who knew it was None of his Business, (Chrysalis Children's Books) 1994.

Pet rabbit links:

Kids and Rabbits
my favourite introductory text

I needed to know rabbits can show joy before I would consider living with them and this vid did it for me
There's a whole lot more communication stuff out there, my favourite is

Sean found this article quite winning

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Too busy living.

I've not written because I've been enjoying the summer holidays. Hanging out with Hazel and Iris, Moab and Iris's rabbits Chickpea and Iggy Hop. It's been lovely, better get back to it as they'll be at school again in a week.

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