Friday, February 13, 2009

Fuckedy, Fuckedy, FuckFuck Rabbits

It must cost my inflationary brother Davey at least a dollar a piece to produce eggs, what with the Wings of Life Salad he makes for the chickens every morning, and then the free choice, cage free, free range feeding on chicken scratch he spreads all over the grounds. Other critters get most of it.
For some reason, the Canada Geese who stay on the never frozen Cayuga Lake through the winter and fly over us on the way to and from the corn fields a every morning and evening, do not stop by for the easy pickings, but gypsy crows flock around the chicken house every day; blue jays, chickadees, juncos, cardinals, and mourning doves swarm the driveway,while a colony of mice lives in his truck and roasts sunflower seeds on the engine block.
Although the skunks who were living in the chicken house and on chicken rations, seem to have moved on and the rats who have besieged the local feed store have not smuggled themselves here in the layer ration yet, newly arrived chipmunks are homesteading in the compost pit , and the squirrels , which weren't here before the chickens, because there are no nut trees, are now set up along side the starlings in the hollow Chestnut that leans over the house, and are already ub their squirrelly mating mode, racing around unnecessarily, burning calories..
But the worst.... and the most.... are the rabbits.

When Davey comes in the driveway after dark, I can usually see by the truck head lights, eight or ten rabbits scattering from around the feed bin right in front of the house.
Davey had covered his trees two feet up the trunk with plastic spiral wrap to keep the mice and voles from girdling them, and after the deer came along and nibbled down the tops of the shorter trees, and just broke the tops off taller ones to get at the tender parts, he put elevated cages around the tops.
It was a wise move when he took my advice and bought scion wood to graft onto the dozens of wild pears already established without his interference out back, but he grafted too low, and so e learned that he had to cage the grafts too, o else r graft eight feet above the ground.
Then winter came and, as has not happened before recently, it came with snow.
The snow got so deep and developed such a supportive crust that Davey was delighted to ski merrily around on it, while the rabbits, elevated and supported by the same rust, were able to get up above the spiral wrap and girdle several of his planted pear trees. And they did. Not just girdled, but removed all the bark from trunk and branches two feet above the snow.
It could have been prevented, and it could have been stopped once it started.... It didn't happen in one night, and I warned him about it. But Davey so got out on his skis and looked a just one Bon Rouge pear tree, gnawed naked from knee to nipple......and he just sort of doubled over and got sick on the snow, then stood up and skiied off yelling fuckedy, fuckedy, fuck.

With steely discipline he could use to great advantage as a writer, Davey put the matter out of his mind for a week or so, with the result that the rabbits got most of the rest of pear trees he had planted.... while Davey fiddled with Facebook skied loop-de-loops out back.

Then a little thaw dampened his winter sport enthusiasm and he turned his attention entirely to staring into his computer for a few days..... until I had a few words with him.
Davey I said, for Christ sake, a month ago you spent fifty dollars to order a few sticks of pear scion wood from Maine, in order to graft onto the wild trees out back. Right?
So damn it all, before it's too late....lop the tops off those girdled trees, cut the shoots into a couple hundred dollars worth of scion wood sticks, store them in the fridge with those you ordered, and then in April or May, graft them onto more of those wild trees out back, for Christ sake.
You'll have several times more bearing trees than you expected you were going to, plus, if you're lucky..., and you always have been, you dumb fuck....the planted trees will come back from buds inside the spiral wrap, or you can even cleft graft onto the stumps, and someday you'll have so many damn pears the extras will be fermenting on the ground and the roosters'll be getting drunk on them, chasing rabbits, and setting eggs.
To that, " Oh", was all he said.


He showed no other reaction for several days, just came out once in a while to save me from carrying his old dog Deerdra up and down the porch steps.

Then a couple of days ago I saw him go out with his pruners and some big baggies. He stopped at each tree, doubled over as if he had been kicked in the gut, then finally straightened up and went to work clipping. Moving on from tree to tree, sick at the sight of each one.

He's damn lucky I decided to hang around here, at least through the winter. To tell you the truth, I don't know how he would get along without me.