Monday, March 28, 2005

EB, White Rabbit Visits Unannounced

They just keep showing up. Critters, that is. In our suburban Pennsylvania back yard.

On Saturday, a big white rabbit found our bird feeding station and garden. It's interesting that on the day before Easter, Mr. EB, White Rabbit showed up at our back door - presumably to munch down anything that looked green. He gave a quick kiss to Misty the cat, (who was brave although started by this species she's never encountered) then cleaned up all the bird seed we'd scattered on the walkway for our small feathered friends. (No, this is NOT our pet rabbit - he really DID just show up in the back yard on the day before Easter!)

Our visit from Mr. EB is quite a contrast compared to last week's nature-guest! but it's not the first time we've had critters appear.

Last spring, Bambi in a red bandana paid a visit to our neighbors. She frolicked for hours with their dogs, then disappeared as mysteriously as she had appeared. We figure she must be living with friends if she was wearing that stylish necktie - hopefully it kept her from becoming a trusting target or a traffic problem.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Marshmallow Peeps & Chocolate Bunnies

It's almost Marshmallow Peeps and Chocolate Bunnies season.

The best thing I know to do with chocolate rabbits is to eat 'em.
Peeps, on the other hand, make headline news because they offer far more creative options. Parties get organized around Peeps activities: Relay Races, Eating Contests, Peeps Crafts, Peeps Games, BURNING of the Peeps Ceremonies, Peeps Jewelry-making ... more later.

LEE GOING RIGHT FOR THE EARS IN 1952There are probably thousands of creative ways to consume a chocolate rabbit. I confess I always go back to my original instinctive method: bite off the ears FIRST - as this photo of one of my first indulgences clearly captured for the record. It's just because I love chocolate - dark chocolate most of all - and no chocolate bunny stands a chance of non-maiming or survival longer than a day in my house.

Peeps always survived my childhood Easter baskets. As a candy they were cute (and mute) and soft and sweet, but they weren't chocolate. So, Peeps became my friends, my toys, my long-after-its-over souvenirs/reminders of more fleeting Easter treats and toys. At times they became weapons of defense against 3 younger brothers.

Peeps marshmallow candies (still made with love by Just Born of Bethlehem, PA) inspire all types of creativity: there are hundreds of ways you can enjoy Peeps with or without eating them. And of course, the Peeps yellow chick is a sponsor of the Easter Seals Society.

All About PEEPS by Just Born

Peeps Official Web Site

Absurd & Inspiring Peeps Links

Biker Peeps
3 Little Peeps Iron On Transfer
Voyage of the Peep-O-Nauts (NASA)
Marshmallow Peeps in Outer Space Game
Peeps Strength Tests
Peeps Heat/Cold Extreme Tests
Peep Research - don't miss the step-by-step surgical separation of conjoined Purple Peeps

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Good-Bye Little Friend

Yesterday I lost a true friend. She was tiny, she was furry, and she was feisty. She was ten years old but looked like a kitten and still acted like one until about a month ago.

When Ebony started turning down eggs at breakfast and chicken at dinner time, we were certain that she wasn't feeling well.

Ebony was a high-energy constantly-eating small black cat; when she almost suddenly got quiet and lost her appetite we got concerned. After a couple trips to the vet, the X-rays and bloodwork indicated that her time was limited. Despite the vets' counsel, we had no idea she would go so fast. I guess cancer in animals is more insidious even than in humans. She was a fighter - right to the end.

I met Ebony almost 5 years ago. For the first 6 months, she was untrusting, jealous, and quite openly hostile whenever I got near her or spent time in her home. She knew I was her rival for the primary affections of the man of the house (now my husband). When Doug and I were first dating, Ebony was openly suspicious. She would growl if I walked or sat near her; she glared at me whenever we happened to come face to face. She would not let me touch her without growling. And forget about holding this cat - that was something NOBODY could do without a good scratch. But then she learned that I was different - I love cats, even cranky cats - and I was having severe cat-withdrawal at the time, so her aloofness just made me more determined to win her respect and affection.

By the time Doug and I were married in 2002, Ebony and I had become good friends. I fed her and brushed her and talked to her. I knew where and when she would accept affection (while eating ONLY) and how to talk to her (like a person of course) and call her for supper. I knew she loved to climb trees, and called her "Ripper" because she loved to sharpen her claws on my oriental carpet every morning. Ebony was in reality a tiny black cat, but she was a big dog in spirit and behavior. She would follow me around the yard and sit patiently watching over me as I worked in the gardens. When we shoveled snow or raked the leaves, Ebony would sit quietly nearby or climb upon a high perch, just to keep a watchful eye on her family. She loved to perch above the ground, and would climb ladders, trees, staging and rock walls to find the right spot from which to survey her domain and take a nap.

Whenever our cars drove into the yard, she would come running to greet us and walk us up to the back door. When I went to the mailbox, she would follow me up the lane and back to the house, "talking" to me all the way. (I'm convinced she had some Siamese in her background from the way she vocalized and from her facial features. She also had the temperment of a high-strung purebred - and the intelligence.)

Ebony had 1 litter of 5 kittens, then was spayed. Two of Ebony's youngsters still live with us: a son, Sparky, and a daughter, Misty. The two offspring were very aware Ebony was ill this past week. Misty kept bringing tiny leather mouse toys and leaving them near Ebony's bed at night. If Ebony moved to another spot, so moved the mouse. Sparky was taken aback by the change; he was confused that his hunting and guardian teacher was suddenly sleeping and unresponsive to his attempts to play. She smelled different to him ... not that we could notice, but he noticed a change in her scent, and kept investigating her bed when she was away from it, trying to confirm it was still her although the scent was different. He knew; Misty knew; and they were respectful to her to the end.

Ebony died at 3:30pm March 19. She was buried March 21 under the magnolia tree in our yard - a tree whose trunk she loved to race up and down. She lies next to Smokey, the female queen cat who lived here before her. We will miss her terribly and we will never forget her. She's waiting for us and playing in the sunshine at the other side of the Rainbow Bridge with Smokey, Snuffy, Pita, Beauregard and Pretty, keeping our family members company.

RIP Ripper. More about Ebony, the Little Black Cat.

National Pet Memorial Day