11

The Rabbits’ New Home – Part 3

 

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Where we are: The Rabbit family went for a walk one winter morning. When they arrived back home, they discovered a huge drift of snow over the opening to their burrow. The snow was so deep that they were unable to dig through it. Luckily, they’ve been helped by a hawk, a deer, and a badger. You can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

Wally the badger reappeared a little bit later with a whole crew of badgers.

Jonathan: Now there’s a herd of them. We’re doomed for sure.

Wally (sighing): Son, we’re badgers, not cows. A group of badgers is called a clan. And we’re here to help, not eat you.

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Molly Deer: Jonathan, honey, why don’t you and Pamela stay over here. Your daddy needs to talk to these nice badgers and explain the problem.

Pete: I really appreciate you bringing all your buddies here to help us Wally. I just don’t know if you can. We could barely find the spot before the most recent storm. I don’t want you to go all that way just for me to get you lost.

Wally: Well, Mr. Rabbit, there are two things we badgers are good at. That’s smelling and digging. If you’ll pardon me saying so, rabbits have a particular odor. We should be able to pick it up if you get us near.

Pete: Please call me Pete. Well, if you think you can do it, let’s go.

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Pete Rabbit and the badgers set out for the rabbits’ home. The snow had crusted over, so it was much easier traveling than during the storm. Pete found the apple tree by the back of the burrow. He explained that the back of the burrow was somewhere around the base of the tree, but it was buried even deeper than the front entrance. While he was explaining the problem, a few of the badgers moved away and put their noses to the ground and started to paw at the snow.

Barry Badger: Wally! I think I have the scent. Let’s dig a little.

The group rapidly moved through the snow.

Wally: He’s right, Pete. We’re definitely in the right place.

The badgers continued to burrow through the snow. Suddenly someone yelled, “Eureka! We found it!” Pete quickly hopped down the tunnel and discovered that they were right. It was his burrow.

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Pete: You guys are absolutely amazing. I don’t know how to thank you.

Wally: It’s our pleasure. It was good to have something to do. The winters get pretty boring around here.

The other badgers nodded. The group went back to the deer shelter, so Pete could get his family.

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Pete: These guys are incredible. They found our burrow! We can get in the back door. And they got rid of so much snow that we have a tunnel to get down there.

Susie: Wally, you’re incredible. I don’t know what we would have done without you. I was afraid that we were going to be homeless for the rest of the winter.

Jonathan: Mr. Badger, I’m sorry. You guys really are wonderful.

Jonathan hopped over to Wally and hugged him. Wally blushed and hugged him back. They all sat around for a while talking. Finally, the rabbits left to enjoy their home, secure in the knowledge that if they needed it, help was all around them.

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All pictures courtesy of Google Images

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13

The Rabbits’ New Home – Part 2

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Where we are: The Rabbit family went for a walk one winter morning. When they arrived back home, they discovered that the wind had blown a huge drift of snow over the opening to their burrow. The snow was so deep that they were unable to dig through it. Luckily, a friendly hawk came along and showed them the way to a deer shelter.

Pamela Rabbit slowly woke up. She realized that it smelled strange in her room. She looked around. She slowly remembered that she wasn’t home, she was with some deer that had helped them the day before.

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Pamela: Mom! Mom!

Susie: Stop shouting. I’m right here.

The rabbit parents were talking with several of the deer.

Pamela: What’s going on?

Jonathan: They’re trying to figure out how to get us home.

Pamela: There’s a whole bunch of then. Can’t they just help us dig?

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Jonathan: You’re goofy, sis. Deer don’t burrow.

Pamela: Oh yeah. I guess not. What’s going to happen?

Jonathan: They haven’t been able to figure that out. If you go out of this bunch of trees, you can see that it’s been snowing. A lot.

Pete Rabbit, seeing that Pamela had finally gotten up, went over to the children.

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Pete: How’s it going, kids? Get enough sleep, Pamela?

Pamela: It was very nice. One of the lady deer let me sleep cuddled up next to her. It was so nice and warm. Are we going home soon?

Pete: We’ve been talking with the adult deer. The weather has gotten really bad.  The deer have graciously asked us to stay until the storm is over.

Jonathan: We’re not going to stay here forever, are we?

Pete: Of course not. But it’s too windy and snowy to do anything else right now.

Pamela: OK. Then I’m going back to sleep.

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Pete and Jonathan laughed. The storm lasted three days. Finally, the sun came out again. But the snow had almost doubled on the ground. The rabbits were in despair. How would they get home?

Susie: I guess we should have built that emergency burrow.

Pete: You’re right. But it’s too late to worry about that.

Molly: You’re welcome to stay with us as long as you’d like.

Susie: That’s very kind of you. But we don’t want to take up your space and food any longer than we have to.

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They heard a rustling in the trees. The rabbits wanted to run, but there was nowhere to go.

Voice: Hi Ho, Neighbors! What do you think of our lovely weather?

A little more rustling, and a very large badger emerged through the bushes. The rabbits were terrified.

Pamela: We’re going to get eaten. I know we are. First the hawk. Now a badger.

Jonathan: Look how big he is, he must eat a lot.

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Molly: Wally Badger! How did you get here through all that snow?

Wally: It’s not so bad. I just dug a tunnel over here.  It was a little lonely in the burrow.

Wally looked around and spotted the rabbits. He ran over to them.

Wally: Bunnies! I love bunnies!

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Jonathan: Are you going to eat us?

Wally (puzzled): Why would I eat you? I just had breakfast.

Molly: Let me introduce you. Wally Badger, this is Pete and Susie Rabbit and their children, Jonathan and Pamela. They got shut out of their home by the storm, and we’re trying to help them get back in.

Wally: I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe I can help. We badgers are terrific diggers you know.

Pete: I’m not sure. It must be awfully deep by now.

Wally: Well there’s only one way to find out. Let me get some friends. I’ll be back in a bit.

Wally raced off before anyone else had a chance to say anything.

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Next week: Badgers to the rescue.

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images

16

The Rabbits’ New Home

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The morning after a huge snowfall, the Rabbit family decided to go for a walk. It was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining and it wasn’t bitterly cold. The snow was like a blanket covering the forest.

Susie Rabbit: Look, kids! Isn’t it beautiful?

Pamela: The wind is ruffling my fur!

Jonathan: You made me get up out of my nice warm bed. I’m cold.

Pete: Quit grumbling. Your mother’s right. The forest is beautiful after snow. Everything is so bright.

Suddenly a gust of wind came through that ruffled everyone’s fur. It seemed to get colder.

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Susie: I guess it is a little windy. Let’s get some food and go back home. That looks like some nice bushes over there.

They hopped over and got their fill of twigs. The wind started blowing again.

Pete: Let’s go! Follow me.

The rabbits hopped in the direction of home. It seemed to take a lot longer than it did coming out.

Jonathan: Where’s our burrow, Dad?

Pamela: Shouldn’t we have been there by now?

Pete: We should be there soon.

They hopped along for a few minutes longer. Pete saw a tree and realized that they had hopped past where they should have stopped.

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Pete: That’s odd. There’s the big apple tree. We should have found our burrow a few minutes ago.

Susie: We hid it pretty well. Let’s go back. We had a lot of snow and it probably looks different.

Pamela: Sure, Mom. Like we wouldn’t recognize our home.

Jonathan: They’re right. We’ve gone too far.

The rabbits hopped back and forth without any luck. The kids were starting to panic.

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Pamela (crying): Where’s our burrow? We’re going to freeze to death!

Susie: Don’t worry. Your father built it. I’m sure he can find it.

They could barely hear Pete’s voice.

Pete: I found it! It’s over here.

The rest hop over to him. They look around and don’t see anything.

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Jonathan: That’s not funny, Dad. It’s cold out here.

Pete: I’m not joking. Our burrow is down there.

He pointed to a large pile of snow that has appeared since they left the burrow that morning.

Susie: Oh, my goodness! He’s right. That tree over there is by the back of the burrow.

Jonathan: What do we do now?

Pamela: Can we just use the back door?

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Pete: I can’t find it. We’ll have to dig this one out.

After a while of digging, they realized that there was too much snow to paw through by themselves. They would need to ask for help.

Pete: I guess we need to find someone to help.

Susie: Who would that be? Don’t you remember that you wanted to get away from the crowds? We’re a long way from the community warren.

Jonathan: Look! It’s starting to snow.

Large flakes began to fall on the rabbits. Pamela started to cry again. Pete looked defeated. He didn’t know what to do. Suddenly, they heard a loud voice.

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Voice: Rabbits! Hey, Rabbits!

Pete: Who is that? I can’t see you.

Voice: Look up. It’s me.

They looked up and saw that it was Eddie, a local hawk.

Jonathan: What a great day. First, we lose our house. Now we’re going to get eaten.

Eddie: I’m hurt. If I wanted to eat you, I could have done it before now. You seem like nice rabbits. I can show you the way to some deer I know. They don’t dig, but at least it’s warmer there.

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Susie: How do we know we can trust him?

Pete: Do you have a better idea?

They followed Eddie. It seemed like a long way, and Eddie talked all the way. Apparently hawks get lonely in the winter when some of their friends migrate. Finally, they came  upon a sheltered spot.

Eddie: Molly! Hey Molly!

A large female deer got up and walked out of the shelter.

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Molly: Eddie! We haven’t seen you for a while. How’s it going?

Eddie: Not bad. But these guys need your help.

He pointed at the rabbits. They shivered and looked exhausted.

Molly: Oh, you poor things!

Eddie: They’ve had some bad luck. Their burrow disappeared when a bunch of snow fell on it. They didn’t have anywhere to go. I thought maybe you could keep them warm until they figure out what to do.

Molly: Of course, we will. You come with me.

The rabbits thanked Eddie and followed Mollie. They were too cold and tired to think about anything. When they entered the shelter, a couple of does shifted positions to give them somewhere to lie down. Soon everyone was asleep.

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Next week: Will the rabbits be able to get back into their burrow before spring?

 

All pictures courtesy of Google Images.

15

Cheeseland Police Blotter

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Like every other community, we have some crime here in Cheeseland. Below is a summary of what happened during the week ending April, 27, 2018. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

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Gorilla charged with assault. Alice G., a mountain gorilla, was dining alone when she saw a giant banana walking toward a table. “It just looked too delicious to ignore,” Alice reported. Allegedly, Alice walked over to the banana and tried to peel it. Unfortunately, the “banana” turned out to be an actor auditioning for a part in a commercial. The actor thought he would impress the director by appearing in costume. Alice has a court date on May 11. No word on whether the actor got the part.

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Raccoon charged with breaking and entering. Rocky, a neighborhood raccoon, was walking down the street when he smelled a delicious aroma. “It smelled just like my wife’s stew,” according to Rocky. Entranced by the smell, Rocky allegedly jumped in the window and sat at the kitchen table. In his rush, Rocky knocked over three plants and a television. Unfortunately, Rocky also didn’t notice that he wasn’t entering his own house. The owner said that Rocky had made the same mistake on two other occasions, and this time they were going to press charges. Rocky has a court date on May 8.

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Koala charged with driving under the influence. Danny K., a koala bear from nearby Critter Cove, was stopped by the police for weaving in and out of his lane while he was driving. When he got out of the car, police allegedly smelled eucalyptus on his breath. “Hey. No worries; it all natural,” Danny is reported to have told the police. The police took away his keys and drove him home. Danny has a court date on May 10 and faces the possibility of losing his license.

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Cat charged with trespassing. Oscar C., a large Maine Coon, was out for a walk on a hot day when he became extremely tired. Being an exceptionally furry cat, he looked for a shady place to nap.  Oscar found what he says he thought was an abandoned tree house. He woke up to hissing and spitting from the feline owners of the house. Currently there is a restraining order keeping Oscar at least two blocks from the tree house.

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Magpie charged with theft. Maggie M., part of the notorious Henry Magpie crime family, is accused of breaking into several houses and stealing jewelry. Maggie does not deny that she took the jewelry. She is claiming that, as a magpie, she is naturally drawn to shiny things. Maggie has used this defense successfully on several occasions. Prosecutors are requesting a hearing before a judge rather than a trial by her peers.

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Donkeys charged with creating a public disturbance. Joe and Jack, two donkey brothers, went to a theater to see the latest Superhog movie, a comedy about pigs pretending to be superheroes. The brothers sat in the last row of the theater and munched loudly on their straw salads. Once the movie started, the brothers began to bray and talk to each other. One patron said she couldn’t even hear the movie over the braying. After several requests to quiet down, the ushers escorted the donkeys out of the theater. The donkeys protested that braying is how donkeys laugh. One patron has filed a complaint against the brothers. They have a date with an administrative law judge on May 18.

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Parrots charged with using profanity in public.  A group of parrots were enjoying a day at the park. It was a beautiful day and the park was crowded. A small squirrel ran up to her parents and asked what *&#@# meant. The parents were appalled and asked her where she heard such language. She pointed at the parrots. The squirrels went to the park ranger who told the parrots that they couldn’t use that language in the park. Allegedly the parrots told the ranger that they had learned the words from the humans. The ranger told them it didn’t matter where they learned the words, they had to leave. She also gave them a citation with a court date of May 4.

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all pictures courtesy of Google Images

17

Happy Easter Billy Bilby!

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We’d like to introduce you to a special animal, the Easter Bilby. He’s a celebrity in Australia although he may be less known by some of you. The Easter Bilby is busy this time of year, so we’re going to talk to a close friend.

Billy Bilby, welcome to Cheeseland. Thank you for taking the time to introduce us to the Easter Bilby.

No worries, I’m happy to be here and spread the word about the Easter Bilby. After all, we bilbies are having a problem with our population declining and want people to be aware that we even exist.

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On that note, can you tell us a little bit about bilbies?

We’re small, furry marsupials who live in the desert. Our bodies are about 55 cm/22 inches long and our tails about 29 cm/11.5 inches. We weigh about 2.5 kg/5.5 pounds. We have long noses (excellent sense of smell) and large ears (excellent sense of hearing and help keep us cool). The ladies are about half the size of the gents.

We have extremely soft fur that is mainly blue-grey with white tummies. Bilbies live in fancy burrows. We only come out and night and will eat anything.

Two fun facts about bilbies?

The word bilby is from the Aboriginal Yuwaalaraay language. (I wouldn’t try to pronounce it unless you belong to the group.)

We don’t drink water. We get all we need from what we eat.  (Like koalas)

So how did the Easter Bilby replace the Easter Rabbit in Australia?

Unfortunately, rabbits are not very popular in Australia. They were brought in by the Brits in the 19th century and reproduced until they had taken over the country. Rabbits drove some of the native animals and plants to extinction.

In the 1990’s, the humans decided that the rabbit had to go as the symbol of Easter. They wanted something native to replace it. Since we look something like a rabbit (ears only), we got the job. We’ve been around Australia for a very long time.

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And the tradition has stuck.

Yes, but we’ve lost the association with the anti-rabbit people. Now it’s more of a survival issue. You see, we’re endangered in some parts of Australia and vulnerable in others.

That’s awful. What happened?

The usual: loss of habitat, hunting. I am actually a Greater Bilby. There used to be Lesser Bilbies, but they died out about 70 years ago. (Unless the humans lost them.)

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Is the Easter Bilby tradition working?

It seems to be. There is much greater awareness of who we are and why we are important residents of Australia. In fact, The Commonwealth of Australian Endangered Species Program has chosen us as a mascot, so we’re becoming famous.

They have even started to introduce populations of us into places that haven’t seen bilbies in a very long time. Did you know that we once populated 70% of Australia? And that’s a big place!

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What does the Easter Bilby do?

Pretty much what the Easter Bunny does. Except he delivers chocolate bilbies instead of chocolate rabbits. And he runs rather than hops.

Do you think the idea of the Easter Bilby will spread?

Probably not. The rabbits pretty much have a lock on the market. But that’s OK. We only live in Australia and want to continue living here for a very long time. We have no plans to invade Britain.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

I’m happy to share.

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Trivia – In March 1968, 9-year-old Rose-Marie Dusting wrote “Billy the Aussie Easter Bilby.” She published it 11 years later.

Sales Pitch: Chocolate bilbies are produced by Pink Lady and Haigh’s Chocolates. (Cadbury pulled out of the market shortly before Easter.) The companies give a percentage of sales to conservation efforts. Pink Lady parent company, Fyna Foods manufactures chocolate bilbies as part of the Australian Bush Friends Easter chocolates. A percentage of the Bush Friends sales is also donated to the Save the Bilby Fund.

 

8

Why We Don’t See the Easter Bunny – Part 2

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Previously – Gunnar, a current descendant of the original Easter Bunny (a real bunny), has decided to see what was happening with Easter now that the family has outsourced most of it to the humans. So far, he is not happy. He is going to see the Easter Bunny at the mall for an explanation.

Gunnar arrived at the mall. He had never seen such a thing. The mall was huge. And full of humans. Rather scary for a small rabbit. He hopped past all the signs for Easter sales. They were on almost every window: clothing stores, technology stores, mattress stores, perfume shops. Do people really give each other mattresses for Easter?

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He finally found a sign for the Easter Bunny. He saw a large group of people lined up before a throne. On the throne was a creature in some kind of costume with large ears and fake whiskers. There was a sign next to him that said “Easter Bunny”.

“Oh my carrots, is that what the humans think the Easter Bunny looks like?” wondered Gunnar. “That’s not even a rabbit.” He got as close to the line as he could without being seen. He wanted to hear what the humans thought of the fake rabbit.

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“Mommy, is that the real Easter Bunny?”

“Of course he is.”

“Is he going to bring me a basket with toys?”

“Yes, dear. On Easter morning.”                                                                           

Gunnar moved along the line.

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“Mama, he looks kind of scary. I didn’t think he’d be so big.”

“That’s OK. He’s actually very friendly.”

“Do I tell him what I want for Easter?”

“I don’t think that’s the way it works. We’re here to have your picture taken with him. Grandma wants to show it to her friends.”

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Gunnar thought about it. People were standing in line to take pictures of their children with a big, scary fake rabbit. Humans were very strange.

Then he heard a grumbling at the front of the line. Hopping up he saw a sign, “The Easter Bunny will be taking a short break. His assistants are available if you have any questions about the photo packages. No personal checks.”

Gunnar went behind the screen to see if he could talk to the “Easter Bunny.” He heard voices from a small room. Gunnar was speechless. The man in the costume had taken off the head. He was unshaven and didn’t even look clean.

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Gunnar wrinkled his nose. The man didn’t smell clean either. And he reeked of cigarettes. Gunnar listened.

“Whoever designed this thing should have to wear it for a while. It’s hot,” smelly and I can’t even see out of the eyes.”

Gunnar wanted to tell the man why the costume smelled, but continued to listen.

“I need to go outside for a cigarette.”

“You know the rules. No leaving this room without the head.”

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“I can’t smoke with the head on.”

“That’s OK. The Easter Bunny doesn’t smoke. Besides, it’s time to go back out.”

“Great. The next kid that tries to rip off my head is going on the floor.”

“Eddie, you can’t do that. No hurting the children.”

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“Fine. But the next one that pees on me is going back to Mom.”

“That’s why we got you the plastic sheet to go under the blanket on your lap.”

“The talent agency never told me what a miserable job this is.”

Gunnar left without talking to the man. How could someone who didn’t like children pretend to be the Easter Bunny? And who would believe that disgusting man was really the Easter Bunny?

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As he was leaving the area, Gunnar noticed a sign, “Brunch with the Easter Bunny.” It had a picture of the same rabbit imposter who was on the throne. “What a disgusting idea,” Gunnar thought.

Depressed, Gunnar returned to the forest. He poured himself a large glass of carrot juice and thought for a while. His relatives had made a huge mistake. The humans had changed the idea of the Easter Bunny almost beyond recognition.

“I wonder who I call to give the humans responsibility for the rest of the Easter goodies.”

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