Rabbit farming best left to memory
My husband gets nostalgic about growing up working on his family’s farm whenever we drive by a pasture full of cows. I had a similar experience the other day, although mine was more like a momentary lapse of reason.
“I think when we get older, we should get into rabbit farming,” I said.
Jason gave me this “yeah right” look. He told me that I have a hard enough time taking care of our dog and cat at home, much less a small farm operation.
Jason has this misconception that he handles all the duties at home, like feeding the animals and such. I do my fair share, but sometimes I need a little help because that big bag of dog food can get heavy.
“I’m serious,” I said, nudging his arm. “I mean, nothing real big.”
My Aunt Sonya and Uncle Herbert had a small farm when I was growing up. I would spend some time in the summer with them, and I was always assigned some kind of duty.
At the time, I despised it. I didn’t appreciate the farm life. I just knew that I hated feeding all those animals so early in the morning. I hated the smells, the bugs, the heat, the work, everything.
Uncle Herbert would come into my room every morning and tell me that the pigs weren’t going to feed themselves.
“Are you serious,” I said, raising my head from underneath my pillow. “It’s like eight in the morning. Give me five more minutes.”
I never got five more minutes. Sheets would get ripped off, and in extreme cases a cup of water would get dumped on my head.
After a quick biscuit and some juice, I would make my way to the pig pen. I would grumble the whole way, carrying a bucket of scraps and other food.
And then when one of the pigs had a litter, I was assigned the duty of bottle feeding the ones who wouldn’t nurse right.
But after it was all said and done, I grew an attachment to some of those pigs. It broke my heart the day Uncle Herbert loaded up a few to sell. I even begged to keep one as a pet.
But I never asked about the pigs when I smelled that crisp bacon in the morning or heard the sausage crackling on the stove.
The rabbits were another story. We had more rabbits than I could count.
With the rabbits, I had to do everything. Every day, it was same thing over and over. Put water in every single cage. Each one needs a cup of food.
I have helped a rabbit give birth. I have nursed a sick one back to health. I have helped little kids pick out the one they wanted to buy. I have even been attacked and bitten by one.
The feeding of the pigs grew on me, and I learned to enjoy it. But I never really got to liking the whole rabbit thing.
It was hard work. And you could never really go anywhere like on vacations because you had them to worry about.
“They look like giant rats,” I told my Uncle Herbert one afternoon.
“Well, they are technically rodents,” he said. “But they sure do taste good.”
I don’t think I’ve ever tried a rabbit dish. But I may have had one snuck on me a time or two. Come to think of it, a couple of rabbits went “missing” from time to time.
As Jason and I made our way back to the house, I began to reconsider my bright idea. Maybe a rabbit farm is out of the question.
“You know what, a small rabbit farm wouldn’t be so bad,” Jason said. “They are delicious.”
Great, I thought to myself. Now he is sold on the idea. I gotta figure a way to talk him out of it now.
And whenever Jason embraces a project, nothing is ever “just a small operation.” He has a history of getting carried away.
Next time, I think I’ll keep my bright ideas to myself.