Tag Archives: bunnies

The Great Bunny Rescue

Today marks the fourth anniversary of one of my greatest adventures and accomplishments. When we briefly lived in Arkansas our dog, Oscar brought to my attention that our backyard had become home to a rabbit nest. There were three precious, adorable, and wild bunnies taking up residency on our property. I never saw the mother but I read that she was most likely around and the best thing to do for the bunnies were to let them be. So we did our best to ignore the cuteness until one day…

Diamond and Jedi at 2 months old. Such furry cuteness!

Diamond and Jedi at 2 months old. Such furry cuteness!

I could never live in tornado alley again and that would be fine by me. I hate those scary storms and one night we got hit hard. This particular storm was heavier in rain than twisters and quickly our yard was flooding. I ran out to check on the bunnies. One was stuck in the nest, her back legs were stuck in mud and she was reaching her head up in order to breath. Her screams were haunting and the other two were sitting just outside the nest looking on helplessly. I know all my internet research on the topic of raising bunnies indicated that it could not be done. I read stories of trained professionals failing at rescuing wild bunnies and if I couldn’t find a way to rehabilitate them for the wild, domesticating them would be next to impossible. At that moment I had to choose and I chose to give them a chance. Sure failure was likely but I refused to sit by and let them die when I was there and able to intervene. So I grabbed kitchen gloves, because who wants rabies and these were wild animals, and a large Tupperware bowl. I quickly grabbed the first two with no problem and then closed my eyes, prayed and hoped for the best as I yanked the other one out of the mud. She slipped out with ease but was nonresponsive by the time I got her inside. They were all freezing so I wrapped them in warm towels from the dryer and sat them in a box before heading out in the store to the nearest farm and hardware store to get supplies.

When I returned with a heating lamp, kitten replacement milk and syringes (because any bottle was too big) I was happy to find three living bunnies. There the real work began. For weeks I fed them every 3 hours and took care of them. They became 20 times more time consuming than my human baby. One bunny, Artemis didn’t make it. Her system rejected the replacement milk. I knew going in that this was a likely outcome but was thrilled when I reached the point when it was obvious that the other two bunnies were in the clear. Then the big question was, what to do with the bunnies. The vet practice I took them to said that they were too domesticated to ever return to the wild. To be honest though, after over 6 weeks of caring for them I had no intention of giving Jedi and Diamond away. They were litter box trained and responded to their names. I was blown away at how much personality and individuality these little bunnies had.

So that is the story of our Diamond and Jedi. In 4 years they have lived a lot. They’ve gone through multiple road trips and two moves, one of which was to Saudi Arabia. They have been with us through the loss of a child and the birth of another. They are proud big sisters to two rambunctious puppies and a cat who they would prefer to disown. Life for these once nearly drowned bunnies is golden.

While I am NOT a rabbit person, I am totally into my bunny girls. I do feel the need to point out that rabbits are a lot of work and require a lot of maintenance. They are sweet and adorable but please do not buy someone a bunny for Easter. Also, what the experts say are true. It is best to leave a wild bunny alone. In my case I felt I had no choice and I was willing to accept the sleepless nights and countless hours of caring for them. Even then I consider the success of my bunnies to be mostly pure luck. I would strongly caution anyone who wanted to take on such a project.

So whenever I’m feeling down about my writing or overwhelmed at all I have to do I go love on my bunnies. They are the truest testament to persistence and endurance. I know that I can do whatever I set my mind to. I was told raising the bunnies was impossible. Don’t tell my little furry girls that!

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The importance of tradition

 

And so that towel was white prior to the egg dying activity...

And so that towel was white prior to the egg dying activity…

I love tradition, especially now that we live in Saudi Arabia. Since moving here I find it more important that ever to celebrate traditions for Christian and American holidays. It’s like I have this need to overcompensate for living here for our daughter’s sake. She doesn’t see the marketing, commercials and decorations that often accompany most holidays in the States.

Saudi Arabia follows a Friday, Saturday weekend schedule so my husband is taking a day of vacation for Easter Sunday. Our three-day weekend began with some Disney Princess Easter Egg dying. We must have pretty eggs to hide on Easter! We also have a jam-packed weekend of parties at various friends’ houses and an Easter party at the U.S. Consulate.

We also have assembled a scrumptious Easter food menu including brunch and a dinner buffet. Little Miss Markey is set to make Easter themed cookies and assist me in making a pie.

Our family is extremely fortunate because we live with two bunnies. Yes, if you follow this blog or @NatalieCMarkey on Twitter I’m sure you recall the amazing rescue of Diamond and Jedi (our bunnies) from a flood in our old Arkansas backyard. That’s right, we rescued, domesticated wild bunnies and then moved them with us to Saudi Arabia. They are family! They also are special agents for the Easter Bunny. It’s amazing how much more into the bunny girls Little Miss Markey is around the Easter holiday! Talking to them on “Easter Eve” is a fun tradition for us.

Happy Easter from Jedi!

Happy Easter from Jedi!

We’re also set to read the Easter Story to Little Miss Markey and discuss the real reason for the holiday. Though a three-year-olds comprehension of such events is always limited.

Everyone has traditions. May they be big or small we have them and make memories from them. If your family is spread out like ours is then you probably understand my focus on making such a big deal of traditions. This is something we can share with family and friends even if we can’t be with them. Traditions are what our daughter will remember when she looks back on holidays and looks forward to them throughout the year. Especially when our traditions define the holiday while the society we live in doesn’t celebrate them.

At the end of the day traditions are nothing more than the routines we follow for a certain holiday. I like routines too so it’s no wonder that I love traditions. Writers can especially relate to this as so many of us thrive best on routines. I know I love my early morning writing routine!

What Easter traditions do you follow? How important are they to your family.

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When stressed find the nearest pet

I’m normally stressing about something. Most of the time my top stress factors are my daughter and my writing. I’m at a constant battle of finding balance between my family and my desire to write. While I do a pretty good job at this most of the time, it does come with its share of stressful moments.

Stress plays a common and necessary role in our lives – sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s good. Stress drives me to do more and reach goals but sometimes it can be overwhelming. This is where my furry children come in. I’m blessed to have four pets: my dog Oscar, Beast the cat, and rabbits Diamond and Jedi. Yes, they are trouble. Yes, they take time away from my writing BUT they make me happy and keep me relaxed (well as relaxed as a working mommy with big dreams can be.)

Such a sweet face to take for a walk!

Such a sweet face to take for a walk!

I know and recognize the value of time. As a mom always testing my creativity out to find ways to maximize productivity, I get that. But it’s always a good idea to take a few minutes away from whatever you are doing and do something that makes you happy. I like doing things that I don’t “have” to do. Actually I consider loving on my pets or fitting in a quick stretch a “have” but in the grand scheme of things they are probably considered optional. It’s kind of like when my daughter says she “needs” something when in reality it’s a big “want.” You never need a new toy or need to hug your dog but both are nice.

Even a moment of animal affection does wonders to my mood. Whether I’m writing, planning out a weekly meal plan, creating lesson plans for my next dance class or one of a zillion other things, taking a moment to love on one of my furry babies melts away stress.

They are so cute, stress-free and loveable. It’s tempting to love on them all day but I do have that to-do list piling up. What do you do to take a moment, breath and release some stress?

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Nature vs. Nurture and Bunnies

This week my family celebrated something special. Well actually we celebrated two special little girls—our bunnies. Two years ago our dog Oscar found three bunnies in our Arkansas backyard. The day before we had a fire in the forest behind us and the morning after is when we had a new hole and three new residents in our yard. I looked for any signs of the mother. I put food out for her and the babies (not knowing at the time that that was a bad thing to do) but she never showed. The next few days and years have proven to be our family’s ultimate science experiment for the debate: Nature vs. Nurture.

After a day of checking on the small bunnies anytime we went outside I called the vet we used for Oscar. I was told that it was extremely difficult to save wild bunnies without their mom. They really were dependent on her milk. So I did nothing but looked in on them in their little nest whenever I went out with Oscar.

Three days later and still no sign of their mother I grew worried about the bunnies as a strong Arkansas storm moved in. As the rain picked up in intensity I went outside to check on them and knew instantly that I couldn’t stand by and do nothing. Their nest was quickly filling up with water. Due to the slant of the yard water and mud was rushing in on them. Two bunnies (Jedi and Artemis) had hopped out of the hole but were sitting there crying and looking into it. The third bunny (Diamond) had her hind legs stuck in the hole and was stretching her head as high as she could over the water. She was screaming so loudly. I never knew a bunny could make that sound.

Long heroic rescue made short, they survived the first week. It took a while to get Diamond to take to the replacement milk I bought for them. I had to feed her by walking her up and down the hall to classical music. Yes, she is one spoiled bunny but she is alive. Though Artemis ate very well her system didn’t take to the milk and we lost her almost two weeks after their rescue.

Two years later Diamond and Jedi (who is actually a girl) are doing great and living with us in Saudi Arabia. They are wonderful members of our family and I consider saving them to be one of my greatest accomplishments. The real interesting thing about their story is their personality.

Three weeks after Diamond and Jedi's rescue

Three weeks after Diamond and Jedi’s rescue

I’ve always loved reading about the nature vs. nurture debate and seeing these two grow up has really shed some light on the topic for me. These are two rabbits from the same litter. They both experienced a traumatic event, which led to their rescue. They have been fed the same, cared for the same. They both are exposed to the same environment factors yet they are so different.

Diamond is shy and very skittish of anyone who is not me. She tolerates my three-year-old daughter and large dog. For Jedi, life is one big party. She is happy going anywhere and spending time with anyone who will give her attention. She is my bunny who will go to my daughter’s preschool during the Easter season. Jedi is also easy to groom while Diamond acts as if the act is torture.

They are both tame and domestic rabbits who are potty trained. They stopped being “wild” just after their rescue, yet they have such different personalities. It certainly suggests that many of their traits were bred as part of nature and their non-wild attributes were developed through the nurture that I showed them. I always find these kind of topics fun to debate.

Do you have any similar experiences with animals? What do you think?

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Are you due a social media check-up?

This past weekend I failed to reach my writing goal but I was hard at work on my writing career. As writers know, there is so much more to writing then just writing. This is a business so the trick is trying to consolidate where we can and strive for more actual writing time. That is why it is important to take a day every now to update and check-up your social media avenues.

It is becoming more important to have a web presence these days. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Youtube, Triberr, etc. On Saturday I made the big move from Blogger (my Pen to Publish blog) to WordPress. This was big for me. I am a writer and not a techno girl so it took hours of playing around and I’m still playing with it. For example, I really want to add a picture further up in my header on the home page but I’m still working on that one. The important thing is that I have content and a way to provide my followers with content on a more user-friendly avenue.

I also played around with Triberr. I feel that this is going to be a fantastic time management tool, which I love. Being the mom of a 20-month-old crazy toddler, an epileptic dog and two bunny rabbits- I need all the time management assistance I can get.

I want to spend sometime playing on Pinterest but I didn’t get to it on Saturday. I do plan to to give this a try especially after ready Bob Mayer’s post on Pinterest for Writers. There also is a webinar through Triberr coming up on April 3rd titled, Pinterest for Bloggers.  I’m working this into my schedule around a family photo shoot. Yes, I’m attempting the impossible to get a professional picture of my husband, toddler, dog, two bunnies and I. Wish me luck and it is possible that I’m crazy.

Back to my social media topic, new social media options are popping up all the time. My advise to give each of them a 15 minute test. Play with it. Yes, it takes me longer than some to figure out online sites but if I’m not liking what I see as a user in 15 minutes then it probably isn’t for me. I knew within a 3 minutes (yes, I timed it) that I liked WordPress, the trick was setting it up. I also knew that I liked Triberr very quickly. As for testing results, that may take longer. I have the bonus of access to metrics analysis for most of my online freelance articles. This tells me how people are getting to my articles and therefore what medium is affectively getting me page views. Twitter is hands down the winner here where as Facebook hasn’t shown me much. Knowing such information has helped me customize my social media plan so that it helps me.

My friend Kristen Lamb is the go-to-gal when it comes to all things social media. Seriously, if you haven’t read her books “We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media” and “Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer” then you must! She also has a great blog, Warrior Writers as well. She really does a great job of explaining social media in a way that makes sense to online challenged folks like myself. Anyone can master this growing frontier and use it to harness more writing time. Let you platform eventually build itself and you can manage it while cranking out that word count.

What social media tricks and sites have impressed you lately?

How are you using them to gain back some more valued writing time?

Nat’s Personal Note:

Again, thanks for following me to my new home at WordPress. I will still be posting the same posts at Blogger for a month to help with the transition. During this time I would appreciate any help from y’all in trying to build my tiny following. I really am interesting J

I’ve been working on sending out family Easter cards. Yes, I’m behind on getting that family picture I mentioned but below is what I’m including in the card. I think it’s Easter appropriate! Meet my new bunnies, Jedi and Diamond!

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Blog Mash-up

The Not So Simple -The Surveillance Report: Assembling Endings by author P.W. Creighton

Keep Your Characters True To Themselves by author Jenny Hansen

This is a great series! So, You Want To Be An Author? Part Four – Ideas by author Donna Newton

Keeping your blogging mojo alive and burning by author Natalie Hartford

Until we meet again on Friday, keep writing and remember that we all have bad days- it’s how we manage the chaos that sets us apart in our attempts to be great instead of good.

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