Last winter our animals had a guest to stay. His name was Mr. Waffle and he was probably the nicest looking rabbit I had ever seen. Small and fast with a shiny coat that made him look like a blazing arrow when he zoomed past.
Mr. Waffle moved in to the stable to keep out of the cold. He had lived outside all his life and now his young owner thought it was time for a stable break. It turned out to be a good idea, as the winter became cold and damp, to put it mildly.
Rabbits are funny animals. Either they are timid little creatures with a polite smile or they take over their world. Mr. Waffle greeted life full on and had the bravest little heart a rabbit could possess. He ran up to four, completely petrified sheep and said "Hello!" He visited our hens and did not even find Waldemar the cockerel scary, although he was towering over the little rabbit. From the first meeting, our animals also learned that when cornered, Mr. Waffle bit them. So they stopped doing that and let him get on with his life as a "Speedy Gonzales" with long ears.
Mr. Waffle liked running, which meant that he could turn up from nowhere, fast. This made the hens a bit jumpy but they soon got their own back. One afternoon our little rabbit friend was found sitting in his bedroom with the funniest, concerned look on his face. His body language told that something was wrong and "He did not understand!" It turned out that one of the hens had claimed her turf by leaving an egg in his house. Maybe an Easter Bunny joke but Mr. Waffle was not amused. In the end he got used to eggs turning up here and there and he never broke a single one of them. So it turned out rabbits have a sense of humour, after all.
Mr. Waffle went home the following spring and for a while it felt a bit empty. The hens still sneaked around corners, just in case, and our four sheep looked for him. "Always good to know where the little fella is", they told me. Then summer arrived and they had other things to think about.
On New Year's Eve, Mr. Waffle came for a visit again. As fireworks and loud bangs are not good for any animal to endure, our town friend came to stay in the country for the night.
It was quite wonderful to see that everyone remembered each other. It took Mr. Waffle less than a heartbeat to start investigating his old patch. The hens all rushed over to greet him and our young cockerels and Darya the young hen, who had never met him, all found the rabbit fascinating. Our dear sheep started twitching their noses in a telling manner, they also remembered our friend. "He nips! they told me. "Just for one day", I whispered back. And a fun day it turned out to be.
Mindy was right, this week I learned a new thing about sheep. I now know that sheep have such a good memory that they can remember 50 individuals; animals and humans. No wonder they recognised Mr. Waffle and that they count all our hens every evening. They hear Monty and Eric tooting whether they want to or not.
A blog about a small holding in Southern Finland. Each original story is accompanied by a stunning watercolour illustration or resplendent photographs.