Tuesday, June 24, 2014


There are all types of rude. Burping, farting, armpit-scratching, spitting, smacking, nosepicking, etc. etc. Most of these are simply socially unacceptable/frowned upon. Some are more annoying or repulsive than others.

There are some people that you can be rude with all day long and nobody cares. You can laugh and play and sound like whoopee cushions 24/7 and there are no hard feelings. I believe Anne called these people "kindred spirits". Friends don't care so much about faux pas. They're friends.

But those things aren't RUDE rudeness, anyway. Sure, they might be loud, obnoxious, or olfactorily offensive. But unless accompanied by constant repetition, I see no reason to be overly bothered by them.

On the other hand.

The RUDE rude hand.

You have people that get all up in your business and try to tell you what's what, even though they're wrong because it's your life and not theirs and they're not the boss of you infinity no matter what they say SO THERE.

Ahem. Sorry, may have transported back to third grade, there. :P

My neighbor, Ernest.....is an odd fellow. Very short in stature, but broad. He stomps around on the earth as if he were trying to punch through the lithosphere. He treats people much the same way. He is very cheerful, and almost aggressively friendly. From the moment he met me, he has treated me as if he has known me the last five thousand years.

Only it's not in that sweet, old-person-esque, honorary-grandchild kind of way.

It's in that rude, bossy, I-should-have-a-say-in-your-life kind of way.

Most recently, Ernest has decided that he should accost me randomly and tell me that I can NOT keep my rabbits on the ground. Because of something called "Rabbit Fever" (is anyone besides me reminded strongly of Bugs Bunny, here?). Something that his grandfather got, and somebody else died from (please excuse my atrocious grammar, I live in the south, y'all!).

First of all, I don't intend to butcher the rabbits I am currently keeping on the ground. They are my breeding stock. I tried to tell him this, but somehow he still thinks that he's going to "help" me butcher them, and that he's going to buy some rabbit meat from me.


He's not exactly the...ah...listening type.

Secondly, I don't intend to keep the rabbits on the ground forever. I'm planning on building hutches next month in fact (stay tuned for that post!). I am, at this time, moving the rabbits every day so that they can slowly fertilize my front lawn. I'm keeping the cage hoisted up on a couple of bricks so that the excrement will still fall through the wire.

Thirdly, keeping rabbits on the ground will not kill you if you do it right. I have researched the subject, and am continuously seeking more information on it. I am not going to dismiss the (kindly meant?) admonitions from my neighbor out of hand. I have not, however, found any evidence of "Rabbit Fever" even being a real thing. IF (I stress the if) the man is talking about coccidiosis, I am confident that I have researched the potential danger thoroughly and I am further confident that I am taking the appropriate steps to avoid it.

Sadly, Mr. Stomps-the-Earth doesn't care to hear any of this. I tried to politely tell him that I have researched the subject, and that I know of other reliable people who keep rabbits on the ground (namely Polyface Farms!), but he was adamant.

This whole thing actually started the other day, when Earnest invaded my home while I wasn't there and attempted to bully my husband about my farming practices. Tim tells me that he brought his young (20-something) nephew with him, and that both men looked startled and a little put out when my door was answered by the hottest man alive (*ahem* ...my addition to the story, obviously). Apparently they were hoping I was some sort of lonely single mom in need of much fatherly (and not so fatherly...?) advice.

I saw the little man today, as I was trying to unlock a door at the family life center for my Tai chi group. Unfortunately, Earnest uses the same building at close to the same time. If I make it to class early, he is usually there to dive-bomb me like an angry carpenter bee (loud and obnoxious, but no stinger...clever parallel, eh?), grilling me on one subject or another.

"Well Rose, I came over to see the rabbits!" Earnest announced, as if the rabbits were already certainly his, and as if he had actually been invited to inspect them.

"Yesss, I heard about that...my husband told me  - "

"You know you can't keep 'em on the ground, Rose." The voice at my elbow interrupted.

"Well you see," I tried to explain; "I've done some research, and I'm moving them every day, and there are actually people who do keep them on the ground - "

"WELL," Earnest once again trampled my lame attempts at enlightened conversation; "You just can't keep 'em on the ground. It's called Rabbit Fever, and my grandfather got it, and his cousin died from it!"

At this point I was walking to the other door to unlock it, and Earnest was following me somewhat anxiously, realizing I think that his protests did not carry the weight he had assumed they would. I gave my condolences for the cousin, and refused to carry the argument any further.

He was either in a hurry, or he got the point because he soon stomped off, bellowing over his shoulder: "BYE! IT WAS NICE TO SEE YOU, ROSE!!", as if volume would further enforce the fact that he likes me and only wanted to "help".

He is a character, for sure.

Next thing I know he'll be telling me I can't shoot wild rabbits for eating. Or deer, for that matter. Or that I can't feed my children raw milk. Or any other weird aspect of my life that clashes with his own.

At any rate, if any of my readers have any knowledge of the mysterious "Rabbit Fever", please do tell! I have yet to find any information on it and I would really like to find out what it is, if possible. Mostly I just needed to get this story out in writing; I think to remind myself that I am, in fact, a grown-up and I can take Earnest's advice or leave it, no matter how abrasively it is given!

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