Missed Post

Should have posted this at the beginning of the week… Whoops! So here you are…

Hello there. Sorry about that little hiatus. I was having a crap fortnight.

So, as you know, Snoopy left us for the warren in the sky. But not two days later, as my Twitter followers probably noticed, we then had to take Moppy in to the vet too. I felt like I was a completely rubbish owner and I was doing things wrong. But after an initial x-ray, which led onto an ultrasound, which then led onto surgery, it turned out Moppy had got steatitis. It’s basically where fatty tissue becomes necrotic and causes flare ups in the surrounding tissue. The vet said that not much is known about it in cats, and even less is known about it in rabbits. Sometimes they can knock themselves and it happens via a small trauma, but there’s just not a huge amount known about it, so we’re not sure why it happened, or whether it’ll happen again. Luckily we were on to it very quickly, and after an amazingly huge vet bill, we got Moppy home.

Then ensued a few stressful days of encouraging her to eat. She was eating a little at the vet but we all thought it was best if she came home and settled here – rabbits are incredibly emotional animals, and given that she’d been ill and lost her partner in crime… well, she wasn’t feeling great. But we managed to syringe feed her, encourage her with herbs and long grass, administer her various medications and painkillers. After a few days, Moppy started eating more and more of her own accord, and as of two days ago has been off the painkillers and is eating and pooing like a trooper. She’s back to her naughty ways and once she’s had the all clear, we’re looking at adopting a rescue rabbit from the RSPCA, who will hopefully bond with her and become her new ‘husbun’.

Honestly. Rabbits are perhaps one of the most complex animals I’ve had to keep. Unfortunately, that’s probably why they’re also one of the most abused and neglected animals in this country. But all you can do is spread the word and hope people won’t keep buying them and leaving them virtually ignored all day in too-small hutches, once they discover that most rabbits don’t actually enjoy being picked up or cuddled.


Now that that little episode is over (I hope), and my cough and cold are finally leaving me, I am also pleased to report that despite having to have a week off work due to illness, buckets of rain and rabbity-distractions, I did manage to get more sowing done. WOW. I am a bit flabbergasted, if I’m completely honest. I think because last year was a bit of a disaster, any progress this year has made me feel as though I’ve come on in leaps and bounds.

My polka raspberries are doing great, even though Moppy has a habit of nipping off the fresh buds when my back is turned. I have lost one raspberry cane though – but I think this is because I just didn’t get them in quick enough after I received them in the post. I’ll have to have a think to see how I can get one more in, as it’s the cane that’s smack bang in the middle of the short row.

Rich’s asparagus are sending up tiny new spears. He tenderly checks them almost every other day to see what progress they’re making, and to assess any cat/rabbit/mouse inflicted damage has been done since his last check. It usually involves a 10 second burst of frustrated raging, but alas – that is the nature of growing your own. Rich gets very despondent with his flower and veg growing efforts, but I’ve told him to just be patient and let things take care of themselves. That tactic usually works for me.

In the greenhouse (well, conservatory and greenhouse), my various chillis and peppers are going GREAT – I’m hoping for an abundance of cayenne and jalapeno chillis and big banana, long sweet and californian bell peppers by the summer. I did, however, discover that probably part of the reason that my bluebells and wild garlic seed didn’t come up was that Tom the cat had taken to lying in the warm earthy seed trays. Joy. Luckily, he missed the pepper and chilli trays.

I’ve also sowed runner beans and a couple of varieties of squash, some of which are starting to peep through. That in itself is a vast improvement as last year I left it so late that I just threw them in the ground, covered in an old plastic compost bag to keep the soil warm. No, in fact, I bought one from the garden centre and threw it in the ground. So there! That’s progress for you, right there.

My charlotte potatoes are starting to poke through too. I’m already mentally planning my hot potato salad with freshly chopped chives from outside the greenhouse.

The primo cabbages have been sown indoors – they’re a round, compact variety of cabbage and I found the one that I grew a couple of years ago that survived the slug attack to be extremely crunchy and almost sweet in taste. So if they survive this year (I’m thinking enviromesh and nightly slug removal duties – hopefully the hedgehogs will help clear up too), I’m looking forward to things like fresh, crunchy coleslaw. None of that supermarket rubbish, which made me think I hated coleslaw for years.

I know it says sow indoors around April on the cabbage packet, but I get the feeling that spring is a bit late this year anyway, so it all works out. What’s a couple of weeks in the growing calendar, anyway? It’s not rigid, it doesn’t work like that.

My question to you, just out of interest, is this: did you ever grow up thinking you hated a particular fruit or vegetable, only to grow it yourself or eat it fresh from someone’s vegetable patch, and find that actually… you really liked it?

RIP Snoopy

Yesterday we noticed Snoopy wasn’t himself, so we took him to the vet. They decided to keep him in, and seemed quite optimistic that we’d caught whatever it was early. With rabbits, you have to be very quick off the mark. But last night at 11pm I got a phonecall to say that he’d passed away. I was shocked and so upset. I still am. I loved our ‘NooNoo’ so much, and he was one half of a bonded pair with Moppy. They really loved each other. I’m just feeling really sad about it all.

So now we’ve got to bring Snoopy home so that Moppy knows what’s happened, so she’s not waiting and waiting for him to return. I’m not looking forward to that, but it’s the best thing for her. We have to leave him with her for a little while so that she can smell him, see him, understand that’s he no longer with us. Then we’ll take him back and have him cremated so that we can have a memorial plant for him. And once she’s had some time, and because she’s so young we’ll look at finding her another male to bond with. Most rabbits are best off in pairs, and we’re not leaving her on her own. She was fantastic with Snoopy, so we know that she needs the company.

Snoopy wasn’t what you’d call a cuddle bunny, despite looking like a big fluffy teddybear. He was a bit of a lazy boy, a complete nibbler and sometimes downright obnoxious; but that was part of his charm. When we let him out for long runs in the garden he’d do mad binkies, spinning around on the veg patch and wobbling his head with glee. Thankfully, we saw him do a lot of those. He’d also frequently throw himself on his side in complete happiness, often groomed or fussed over by Moppy as he lay there, blissfully trouble-free. They were a great double-act. They took care of one another really well, which is part of what makes me feel so sad. I hope that in time Moppy will have such a good relationship with another suitor, and be able to move on from Snoopy.

Snoopy had a good life with us. We know that. We just miss him and his big character, he wasn’t ‘just a rabbit’, he was a part of our extended family. RIP Snoopy, take care, big boy x