Herald-Journal
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, April 3, 2000

Goodbye winter friends, hello spring

By OPAL "GRANDMA" HABISCH

For those of you who are wondering about my recovery from losing my ability to walk after a routine medical procedure in late February, I am still walking with a cane.

This is something that I never had to do before. I don't expect to ever be able to dance again, or run, and maybe not even drive a car. But I'm taking it day by day, and I pray that I will be able to get back to doing everything that I used to. It will be a long time before I believe in some doctors again.

But, I am thankful that I am still able to write, because it is a big part of my life.

The sun is shining outside as I write this, and I think of how spring seems like a new life. The birds are back, and they say that animals seem to know when to come back from their warmer winter homes. So maybe spring is just around the corner.

There has been a rabbit hanging around our house all winter. A few days ago, I put some old cabbage outside. The rabbit came to eat the cabbage, and he brought his mate with him.

When I came to the door to watch them, the new rabbit ran away. But my old friend, I call him "Long Ears," just sat and ate the cabbage. Soon, his mate came back and started to eat again, too.

Every once in awhile, they would stop eating and look up at me. Sometimes, they made a rabbit noise, as if they were talking to me.

I went back inside and cleaned out my vegetable bin. I found some potatoes, but I didn't think the rabbits would like them.

My husband put the potatoes out for them anyway, and first, there were birds that came to pick at the potatoes. Then, the birds flew away, and the rabbits came back.

They ate the potatoes, but I don't think they liked them all that much. They came closer to the porch and looked up at me as if to say, "Don't you have anything else?"

The next day, I got some fresh carrots ready. I decided that if they came to eat, I would see if they would take the carrot from my hand.

I sat on the porch and enjoyed the beautiful day. Soon, I heard a noise, and there was Long Ears and his mate.

They came close to the door, and I held out the carrots to them. Long Ears came up to me and took a carrot, but his mate held back. So Long Ears brought his carrot to his mate, and came back to me to get the other carrot for himself.

"Are we going to have to plant a special vegetable garden for the rabbits this year?" my husband asked me. "You better quit feeding them. They can find their own food," he said.

So, when the snow melted away, I did quit feeding the rabbits. And after awhile, they quit coming to my door. I know they will find plenty of food now that spring is here.

I hope I will see Long Ears again someday. It's fun to feed the birds and the small wild animals during the winter, when there isn't much other food for them to eat.


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