Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Eastern Cottontail

I can't help it.  I love these little bunnies.  I know they are the sworn enemies of gardeners everywhere.  But just look at them!

These are Eastern Cottontails, the most common rabbit species in Texas.  They are true rabbits, unlike the Jackrabbit, which is more properly a hare.  Wild cottontails feed at night, but suburban ones tend to look for food at all hours of the day.  This is a dangerous practice -- they are easy pickings for hawks, owls, snakes, coyotes, cats, dogs and many other predators.    They are rapid breeders because they have to be:  the lifespan of an Eastern Cottontail is one year or less. 

Cottontails eat all kinds of plants, including garden treasures (I know, I know!)  They are typically solitary, but you sometimes see little groups when the babies are young. 

These bunnies live at my in-laws' house in Pearland.  We don't have any in our yard this year, but we see them in the evenings in grassy areas that abut wooded zones.  One year, a litter was born and raised in the back yard.  Since that time, my dog has gotten a bit of self-respect and we haven't seen any around the garden.  But I wouldn't mind!

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