Neighborhood Rabbits -- 08/06/00

When we moved into this house (Feb '96) it was one of the newer houses in the neighborhood; in fact, there was only one more house on this street after ours and we had wooded lot on one side of us. Across the street was also wooded and our street went from paved road to dirt just a hundred yards or so from us... and then became just a rough dirt track through woods. In '97 they built a house next door to us... and in the three lots across the street... but it wasn't until late in '98 that the dirt road was graded enough to drive a car on it... a side road off of it was developed and a cull-de-sac off of that and then it connected with another new street that tied into our street after it made a sweeping turn... last year they paved the remainder of our street and this year they have been building new houses on it. Now there are only five or six building lots left.

When we first moved in there were big dirt piles in the woods along that dirt track, marvelous places for kids to play. It reminded me of adventures my friends and I would have when we were kids. Nancy and I would comment to each other that we hoped that area remained undeveloped until Sean outgrew it... and things did work out that way; those mounds were there for Sean and his buddies to climb on, wild adventure lands for a boy's imagination. This was the frontier in the mid-seventeenth century, then farmland in colonial days... but this is thin, hard soil, filled with tons of rock deposited by glaciers, tiny pebbles to huge boulders... and it had gone back to woods for years... until it began to be developed in the late 1980's... It's not a massive development, no bulldozing everything flat... the lots are about half an acre, lots of trees left up, houses built individually, slow development. At that rate it would probably have been another four or five years before all of the lots were developed but the past two or three years have brought a housing boom to our town and the last available lot will probably be built on before the end of this year.

I sometimes saw wild rabbits around the first spring and summer that we were here, usually early in the morning. Nancy would worry about them, about the loss of their habitat as every year more and more of the woods would be gone... but the rabbits are still with us... Now she worries that they are too tame, that they are not wild enough to survive predators (especially since we lost our rabbit this spring). There are still woods around, however. There is a buffer of trees behind the houses across the street from us, a buffer that separates this development from another development. That buffer gets deeper as you continue toward the newer part of our neighborhood. Also, there are thin wooded stretches behind many houses, often also continuing between some houses. Apparently the rabbits are flourishing.

There is one rabbit that visits our yard on a daily basis... and when I say daily, I mean some days we see him several time during the day... He might be in our side yard early in the morning... later on, as the day fades we might see him in our back yard, nibbling on the grass... and then in twilight he might be in our front yard. In other words, this is his territory. I was concerned about my garden, although I am perfectly willing to share a bit, but I've not had any problem... he might take a nibble or two of lettuce but he's not made any major inroads.

Early this morning when I went out front to bring in the newspaper I saw three rabbits grazing on the lawns across the street. I smiled and watched them for a minute or two before going back inside.

Jennifer should be back sometime tonight from Otakon 2000, that anime convention she went to down in Baltimore. It's after nine p.m. and Sean's not home from work yet. He went to work at noon but when I went to pick him up a bit past seven he said that things had gotten busy and they needed him to work later, but he could catch a ride home later. I think I'm going to have two very tired kids later tonight.

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