Thursday, 25 October 2007

It's them or my lettuces

Listening to: Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pink Floyd)
Lunch: Beetroot soup
Weather: Sunshine, but woolly hat and two fleeces
Reading: Selected poems (Roger McGough)

Rabbits - cute aren't they? Up to a point, I suppose so. The big round eyes, fluffy tail, the big ears. The image makers have done a fine job; think of Peter Rabbit, Dylan and Bugs.

The trouble is the little bastards eat grass and anything green. Six rabbits eat as much in a day as one sheep. And now that I have lettuce, rocket and cabbage in the veg garden (admittedly under home-made cage/cloches), it's time to remember that rabbit tastes very good in a stew.

I was alarmed to discover earlier in the week that there are now four new rabbit burrows on the far side of the top field and two near the house - one near the veg garden and another behind the hen house.

There are hoardes of rabbits on Orkney, with no foxes and only a few birds of prey. The area around the house itself was infested until we arrived with the dogs, but it seems some bolder bunnies are making a bid to reclaim their territory.

A three-point plan of action has been wheeled out. The first was to look at Spike and Owen and tell them it was time to live up to the 'working dog' billing their sacks of food give them.

We have toured the six offending burrows and while Owen scoured the field for rabbits in the open, Spike got down to digging into the burrows, like so. . .

While I'm not kidding myself that either of my dumb mutts is ever going to catch anything, having a snapping, snarling, yapping Jack Russell digging away at the front door might persuade a right-thinking rabbit to consider the benefits of relocation.

Phase two is where it gets messy and unpleasant. Once I've finished writing this, I'm going out to the field, picking up the 'dog bucket' on the way, and will lob a good-sized lump of the contents down each burrow before blocking each hole with turf and a large stone. Not nice, but all's fair in love and lettuce.

Finally, I have got around to filling out my application for a gun licence. I was a fair shot back in my paramilitary days (Wrekin College Army Cadet Corps) and, although I've never shot rabbits before, it does seem the best way of keeping them down.

So, as long as Mrs W and Mr D don't tell the truth in their references, I'll be hanging around the farm looking like this. . .

or maybe this. . .

but most probably this. . .


Arabella said...

This is your chance to order a hunting hat from the L.L Bean catalogue.
Shoot 'em, eat 'em and serve them up.

I, like the view said...

ooh Sir Roger! one of my lovely friends. . . posted one of his only the other day; he's a truly fab and groovy guy

I bet he'd approve of home grown rabbit stew, I do (and the beetroot soup sounds yummy too)

the only bit that would get me is the skinning

mind you, you could make some nice warm linings for your wellies out of a few rabbit skins!

The Birdwatcher said...

Every garden of eden has its serpent. Best of luck with it. We had a rabbit problem in Somerset and I failed to hit any of them. They wouldn't stay still. Can't blame them really I suppose.

Malc said...


Took your advice and, apart from being diverted by 'ultimate fleece pants' and 'heavy duty suspenders', decided on a hat with ear flaps and two little lights in the peak - fantastic!


My friend Nick showed me how to skin a rabbit in the summer. He did it with his bare hands in about eight seconds. I'm not so confident, but I'll manage.


Moving about? Devious little bastards.

mig bardsley said...

Once we had a veggie patch. The wildlife loved it...all of it. They sampled a pea or a bean or whatever from every single pod and plant and then we got carrot fly.
End of story.
Good luck with yours :) I suspect being a good shot is the only answer!

Malc said...

Hello Mig

Carrot fly can be beaten by planting in a bath tub or a bin. Apparently they fly no more than 18 inches off the ground.

Blimey, thought this was just going to be therapy, not handing out gardening tips.