Lifestyle

OFF THE RECORD: How to deal with all dem pesky wabbits

"Be very, very quiet. I'm hunting wabbits."

- Elmer Fudd

It's seldom that I quote Elmer Fudd, but after weeks of trying to eradicate herds of harassing hares from my home and garden, I'm ready to call the NRA.

Hundreds of busy brown bunnies checked into the Frause Field of Dreams earlier this spring and they have shown no signs of departing. For whatever reason, our South Whidbey warren seems to be their preferred B&B of choice.

I have no problem with the "bed" part of this recently opened Bunnies B&B. But the "breakfast" part? It's definitely not working. Not only do these pesky little wabbits chow down at breakfast, they ease on down the flowerbeds and treat themselves to lunch, dinner and numerous snacks in between.

There's something screwy around here!

Rather than take the law into my own hands as hinted above, I did some research. My first stop was the Island County WSU Extension Office in Coupeville. When I inquired about my wacky wabbits, they suggested I contact Dave Pehling, the WSU Snohomish County Extension agent in Everett.

Mr. Pehling wasn't in, so I did a search for rabbits on their info-filled Web site (www.snohomish.wsu/edu). Sure enough, there was an article written by Dave Pehling with the scary title, "Principles of Vertebrate Pest Management." In other words, "How to Keep Those Dang Critters Out of Your Garden."

According to Pehling, there are eight species of rabbits and hares in the Pacific Northwest, and a few of them can become pests in the home garden. Well, no wonder -- rabbits and hares are very prolific; having up to six or more litters a year.

Isn't it about time for a branch of Planned Rabbithood on the island?

Pehling goes on to say that during spring and summer, these furry little four-leggers develop an appetite for flowers (especially tulips) and vegetables.

So what to do about them? Well, in lieu of the Elmer Fudd routine mentioned above, Pehling suggests fencing. A good idea, but I needed more than a fence to get rid of the runaround rascals. On to the HGTV Web site (www.hgtv.com), which had a section on Keeping Pests Away. Tanya Peak, a pest management specialist for Walt Disney World, suggests putting human hair throughout the garden (hit up your local salon); placing garlic cloves or mothballs close to plants; scattering blood meal (water after to prevent burning); sprinkling plant leaves with red pepper powder, sulfur or lime (apply with caution).

This all sounded too time-consuming and complicated, so I enlisted my husband's aid. His solution was to build a little fence of bamboo around the entire area that was under attack. Fortunately, we have the bamboo growing in our yard, but what started out as an hour-long project turned into an all day affair. When finished, it didn't look all that bad...sort of an Asian-inspired small garden in an English graveyard. We crossed our fingers and hoped that those pesky little wabbits would go elsewhere.

They didn't. The next morning there was a wabbit waddled down in the dirt of my secret garden, happily nibbling away. The word was out that we were still running a four-star cafe, open 24 hours a day. I was furious -- and my plants were half the size they used to be. This was all-out war!

My husband rallied, armed with an arsenal of black nylon bird netting that he wrapped around the bamboo fence. Our final secret agent was BOBBEX-R, an environmentally safe spray that not only stimulates plant growth but also supposedly turns wayward wabbits away.

So how are things in Wabbit World one week later? Great! Our three-pronged attack of bamboo fencing, nylon bird netting and environmentally safe spray seems to be keeping those blasted bunnies at bay.

Or as Elmer Fudd so aptly put it, "I finally got even with that scwoowy wabbit!"

NO SWEAT! Procter & Gamble's Old Spice Red Zone deodorant released a list last week of cities that produce the most sweat. Winner of the First Annual Sweatiest City Award? San Antonio, Texas. On a typical summer day, San Antonians lose more than one liter of perspiration an hour while walking or other such exercising.

The study was based on the average high temperature and humidity during June, July and August in the 50 cities reviewed. Dallas-Fort Worth, New Orleans, Houston and West Palm Beach, Fla., rounded out the top five sweatiest cities. The least sweaty place to live is Barrow, Alaska, followed by San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego and Los Angeles.

Sue Frause can be reached by e-mail at skfrause@whidbey.com.

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