The “early service” this morning, was a gentle affair. Light fell across the territory in rays just bright enough to cast faint shadows. Certainly, I was thinking of my father, on this day and thought how he too, rose from a poor little boy on a back road to a noble man . . .quietly, without fanfare . .yet with a mighty impact. No one wants to disappoint “Grandaddy”. I think that is a high level of respect, for loyalty out of fear is a temporary state . . . but loyalty out of love has a fortitude, that endures.
Sunday dinner was in the making, just after the mockingbird sang. A pot of beans simmered and a large bowl of raisins were soaking for a cake. There was no rush to this morning. I had the pork smothered in gravy cooking slowly and thought I could afford another cup of coffee . . . and so I was sitting under an old tree, watching the morning, when Tres came in. What a sweet surprise that was!
The meal was especially nice. Mama brought the first fresh summer squash of the season and they paired well with the butterbeans and creamed turnips. I fried cornbread at the last minute, as I always do, for cornbread is best that way, served hot and straight a-way, from the skillet.
The afternoon was quiet and peaceful, a far cry from most days at the rabbit patch. How good it felt to pack leisurely, for my trip the next day to Elizabeth City. I was especially happy about this particular trip, as this time Brant was going, too.
Each night, I have practiced my “fair-weather” habit of going out to bid the world good night. The sky is filling up with stars as of lately and planets also. Now we clearly see Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The crescent moon hangs over the field like a magnificent charm, casting a spell of peace, hope and a sense of well being.
It was mid morning, when I turned in to the “Riverside Village” nestled by the “laughing” river. It felt like a holiday for of course we had planned special meals. Will and Brant had a list of projects to accomplish. One task was restoring a dresser for all the little dresses Jenny will need the first of September.
Lyla made a “big production” about my arrival. For a few moments, the kitchen was filled with dancing and clapping for I joined in the celebration in the same manner as Lyla. Oh, to be a “Honeybee”is a wonderful thing.
In the afternoon, Lyla and I made Brant a birthday cake, while Brant and Jenny painted the dresser. It was a “banana split” cake and did not require baking. We listened to the Brandenburg Concertos, which are my favorites. Lyla is now convinced that you must listen to music when you make a cake, for we always do.
Brant chose rutabagas for his belated birthday supper. He also chose pork chops and parslied potatoes. Lyla has no interest in cooking such things and abandoned me in that pursuit.
Rutabagas are a root crop that are the most difficult thing I know of to peel and cut. They were a staple, when I was growing up. Now, the vegetable hardly ever shows up on a menu . . .or a kitchen table. I suspect this is due to the tedious preparation and the length of time they must cook. Despite, the process, rutabagas are worth the trouble. They taste like a cross between a carrot and potato, but a bit sweeter in flavor and as it turns out very nutritious.
Will came home early from work, which added to the “holiday” atmosphere. The evening meal was a huge success, and Lyla presented her cake with great ceremony-while she sang “Happy Birthday” to her Uncle Brant.
Tuesday was hot. Brant cleaned out the shed and Will mowed the yard. This delighted Lyla and she was eager to help. She swept the little shed and carried branches for a good while. Jenny did laundry and I kept an eye on Lyla, besides relaying messages and assisting everyone at some time or another.
All of the activity reminded me of my childhood, on the farm. Everyone busy and working together “for the greater good” of the family. I still remember those days vividly and with great fondness. I doubt that Mama and Grandmama knew that I would remember them picking squash, for decades . . nor that the memories of Pop and Daddy bantering, while repairing a tractor, would strike me so tenderly, now a half century later. The contents of a life are never a collection of things acquired, for new cars get old and even the grandest wardrobe is discarded piece by piece, due to to tatters and frays. Gadgets break or get lost altogether . . . no, the contents of life are comprised of deeds done and who we share our seasons with, I think . . . and do not decline in worth. Even the bittersweet memories, can offer us some advantage.
Shortly after noon, the heat was unpleasant enough, so that everyone pushed to complete their chores. Brant went back to work on the dresser, on the shaded porch, that faces the river. Lyla gave some dolls a bath and Will went shopping for supplies for more projects.
As is likely to happen on sultry southern days, a thunderstorm popped up in the evening and cooled the air. I sat on the porch while everyone caught up on the World Cup, feeling quite content.
Dear Diary, I am glad for crescent moons and birthday cakes. I am glad for memories sweet enough to make you cry and keep your heart tender -and I am glad for cooling showers in June . . .and dances in the kitchen.
Dear “rabbitpatch diary, Today is not just any other day. . .it is Brants’ birthday . Brant is my first born, the child that made me a mother.
The mimosa blooms today as it did, years ago, when I was just twenty two years old. I remember sitting under a mimosa, the day before Brant was born. The feathery blossoms have the sweetest scent and I was so content, sitting there. Brant was born on a fair, Sunday afternoon. . . .and that day, a part of me was born too. It was as if I had “awaken”. I had an understanding-and all of a sudden, it seemed. One of my first thoughts, was to show him the dear mimosa- and I did, before I stepped foot in the house, upon bringing him home. My grandmother loved the mimosas and so does Jenny. Lyla napped under a mimosa, as an infant on more than one occasion.
Oh what sweet days are those of young motherhood. Of course, I knew right off that I had the most beautiful baby in the world. He was a “divine gift ” and nothing less. I am as sure of this now, as I was then. As a child, I noticed that he had an uncanny knack with animals from wild birds to dogs. He still does. He also has a tremendous sense of compassion. He buys shoes from a company that sends a pair to Africa, when he purchases. His generous heart is always showing up.
Once, not too long ago, we were all at the beach. Brant had brought a football to toss with his brothers. Three little boys watched and so Brant invited them to join in. The little ones were so happy to be included. We left hours later . . without the football. Brant had given it to the children.
No matter where Brant lives, the senior citizens seem to know. It is not at all unlikely for one of them to knock on his door. He carries their groceries in and moves potted plants, on a regular basis.
Such things do wonders for a mothers’ heart. . . Happy Birthday, Brant.
Brant came early enough for a hearty breakfast. He lives much closer to the rabbit patch now and that is delightful, for me. (We set another place at the table now, as often as we can.) His very significant “Sydney” was with him. Sydney had her own birthday recently and so we celebrated the both of their birthdays. After breakfast, Brant gave Sydney a tour of the rabbit patch. Sydney had gotten a modern version of the Polaroid camera and so we had great fun with that.
I had returned from Elizabeth City, the evening before. It had rained most every day that I was there and so Lyla and I did not sit on our rock, even once. Jenny and I got two closets cleaned out , while Lyla played “dress up”. She was especially good at being “Queen Lyla” and we had to curtsy multiple times , because of that . It mattered little to Lyla, that we carried heavy bundles, at times and were likely to topple over. When the chores were done, Jenny and I had gathered quite a collection to donate and also had an assortment of items for the grand event in early September, when the second baby is expected. The entire nursery was put in order as well. Circumstances were now favorable for baking. Lyla and I made a lemon dump cake. I do not think, I have ever made a dump cake before, but Jenny had been wanting some type of lemon dessert . . .and so “Queen Lyla” gave up her throne to cook. Lyla is becoming quite a little baker, and says things like “let it rest three minutes, Honeybee.” in between steps. We have made a fair share of cakes and cookies . Lyla was thrilled that she could do so much of the recipe on her own. When we put it in the oven, I told Lyla, she would soon learn to cook potatoes . . .to which Lyla said, “no thanks!” and skipped merrily back to the orderly nursery.
I started mowing today, when Brant left for his next celebration. I got tangled up in a grapevine, ran out of gas and managed to lose an important bolt on the deck, of the mower. That missing bolt stopped any possibility of further progress. A least most of the territory got mowed. . .and at least, it is summer break when schedules are not so rigid.
I came in the back door of the farmhouse, with moments to spare, that I had not planned on. Brant had been reading one of the diaries, I had kept while he was growing up, during his visit. He had intended to carry it with him today, but there it sat on a table in the den. I started reading it, but became so sentimental, I had to stop.
For the first time, in a long while, I was late for the early service. The clouds were so thick, that it was almost a secret, that the sun was up. Time seems very still without the sunshine. I am quite good at telling time by the sun, but on cloudy days, it can be any time all day long.
Now, today is not like any other day, either-for today, is my cousin, Faiths’ birthday. Faith was born when the mimosa blooms, too. Faith and I spent our childhoods together. We got in all sorts of mischief. (anything was likely to happen when Faith was around.) Faith got bit by a snake, hit by a car and sassed adults on occasion . . and still lived to grow up. She never passed up an opportunity to fight, even with boys. Not even a catholic school could tame Faith. Faith got “C s ” on her report cards and was as happy as a lark about it. . .but she played the piano beautifully, as her mother, my great aunt Agnes did and I figured that “covered a multitude of sins”. . .I sure hoped so. In church, when a young and very menacing boy, was being “baptized by water”- Faith yelled out “Drown him!” at that holy moment. I sure was glad she could play the piano, on that Sunday.
It is good to report that Faith is alive and well, by some miracle. She is a loving grandmother now and remains my dear friend as well as a special cousin.
Friday was the last day of school and so I am now officially at liberty to “do mostly, as I please” for a good while. I was in Elizabeth City within a few hours of dismissal.
The last weeks have been full of all sorts of business. There was the end of the year dance performance, graduation and closing ceremonies. . .besides the regular routine . . .and the tremendous spring cleaning of the rabbit patch territory. There was “Mothers’ Day” and “Memorial Day”. . . and Tres had a birthday, too. The last fortnight slipped by me like a falling star . . .beautiful and quick.
Jennys’ husband, Will had a birthday , the same day I arrived. I call Will, my “son-in-heart”. I always say, I could not have hand picked a better husband for my only daughter. Will is as kind to me as I could have ever hoped for. He also offers assistance readily for whatever pops up. He is a good father to Lyla and I love his family, which feels like mine, now. It doesn’t hurt a bit that Will is “tall, dark and handsome”, either.
The season is not only busy for people, for young rabbits abound. Nests are full of hungry hatchlings. Most birds are frantic in general just now, trying to keep their families satisfied. Squirrels are in the same state of mind. The trees shake with all of the scurrying. Blooms are found in well manicured yards and fragrant vines cascade from the edge of the woodlands. Even the roadside ditches are thick with the common day lilies and Queen Annes’ Lace. They are a cheerful sight and a handsome pair, too. The last days of spring are upon us and everything tells us so.
Folks always ask, what I am doing this summer. Many people have exciting plans to visit some island . Resorts are popular too. . .as are cruises and theme parks. I, on the other hand declare myself a home body and do not entertain such notions. I am perfectly content to have picnics with my dear friends, in the shade of an old tree. I love strolling by the laughing river with Lyla and sitting on the rock, by the little bridge, which always makes us drowsy. I hope to have some “Sunday Dinners” on days like Tuesday, with Mama and Daddy. I want to visit with my son Tres, and listen to his dreams without a sense of hurry -and cook his supper. These are the things that matter to me.
I will spend a fair amount of time daydreaming, which many frown upon. If I so much as glanced out of the window in elementary school, my name was yelled out, snatching me back to the confines of the classroom with the “Modern Math” books in the corner. Really, daydreaming is “wondering”. It didn’t seem sinful to me then, . . and it doesn’t now, either. With all the calculations a brain must work daily, it seems sensible, that we ought to allow some unhindered “play time” for the mind, as well.
I always choose a few subjects to study in summer and I hope to write more. I plan to read the “Ladies of Convington” and “Gift From the Sea” again. Besides that I will tend the “rabbit patch” and do battle with the hateful vines. I will watch the stars shine over the laughing river and fireflies twinkle in the young woods. The apples and peaches will swell on the faithful trees and the mimosa trees will sweeten the air . . . .all because it is summer.
The grass is greener at the “rabbit patch” these days. Part of it may be due to the drenching rains in May. There is something about rain water. I collect it for my house plants now, but when I was young, I used to set out a large bowl to catch the rain in, to rinse my hair . Rain water softens hair- and greens the grass.
On the days it didn’t rain, I worked on the territory. It was hard going work, but rewarding. There were fires in the garden to tend on a regular basis. I tamed all sorts of vines . . .temporarily, at least. On breaks, I went to my “Church in the wild wood” which is really, what used to be my grandmothers’ front porch. It sits at the back of the property by the edge of a field – and where the pecan trees grow. It is my favorite place on the rabbit patch. I have watched the sun and the moon, rise over the field, from the “chapel”, by the little pasture. I have laid down my burdens there and sang praises. I have mourned there . . and celebrated. I have watched the rain fall and the blackbirds fly. I have stood by the little gate . . .where my grandmother did . . . and remembered her. I suppose, this is why the “Church in the Wild Wood” is my favorite place on the territory.
Something odd happened yesterday. I was admiring the results of my recent endeavors and showing off the rabbit patch to a prospective buyer, when a huge raccoon lumbered out of the azaleas and within a foot of my cat, Christopher Robin. This frightened me to no end, as I was sure a horrid tragedy was about to unfold before my eyes. The breath left my body and rendered me speechless. I took off in the fastest gallop I could muster to the backdoor and let my dog, Cash out. Cash ran straight-a-way to the problem without a word from me. The raccoon ran off and the whole ordeal was over. When I could speak, I asked the shocked guests, if they were scared of dogs, between shallow breaths. Thankfully, they were huge fans of dogs . . .and cats. The only thing I could say next was “I am not at my best and need a minute to recover.” Ironically, the first place we had planned to explore was the wooded path. Somehow, I managed the trek, though my heart raced wildly for a good while. Cash, being quite proud of himself pranced along proudly on the hike. When we were back in the yard, Christopher Robin was sun bathing in the “Quiet Garden”. I suppose he was not at all concerned, as his “nine lives” was still intact.
The rest of the tour was uneventful and went well. The folks said they were quite interested and so, when it was all over, I went to the “Church in the Wild Wood” and said a prayer for all of us.
It was a sweet and unfamiliar feeling to wake up, this morning, without an agenda of any sort. There was no dreaded task awaiting, this day. The barns and yard were in good order. The house was tidy too. I do not remember the last time I had such liberty. For a few minutes, I did not stir, but let the feeling wash over me. The morning air was cool and fragrant, perfumed with the smell of late spring.
I did not tarry long for I am never one to linger , after waking. Rae, one of my oldest and dearest friends, called just before mid morning, and said she could visit. That was wonderful news. Rae is a dependable breath of fresh air. We talk freely and have no secrets. She increases my Faith with wise words and is full of encouragement for me. I love Rae like rain.
Quickly, I set up a table and chairs outside, under the cool canopy of the sycamore trees. I gathered bunches of apple mint and made a light tea. My kitchen was bare, as I have hardly had time to shop – but I did manage to make a salad. I was finishing as Rae came in. We sat outside and bragged on our children and grandchildren. We talked about how blessed we were. We talked about the grace of God and flowers. We also talked about our old houses and photography – and ice cream and soap. We meandered around the rabbit patch and down the wooded path. What a lovely time we had. How glad I am to have a friend like Rae.
Rae left and so I decided to get a head start on cooking “Sunday Dinner” . Christian went to the grocery store and brought back the fixings for fried chicken, cabbage and brunswick stew. The cabbage and stew can be made ahead of time, so two pots were soon simmering.
Tending this rabbit patch, is no small task. I have been weary on occasion, from it. I have done a a fair share of complaining about it too. I have felt “stranded” and I have felt overwhelmed. Today, though with the roses and “Queen Annes’ Lace” blooming together and the songs of birds ringing out . . .when the air was sweet and the peace of the countryside made you drowsy . . . . The grass was greener at the rabbit patch today.
The “early service”, this morning was as peaceful as any I have ever attended. I strolled leisurely around the “rabbit patch” as light was increasing, in the company of my dog, “Cash” and my cat “Christopher Robin”. A “cat bird” squawked at Christopher Robin, as we walked. Barn swallows were feeding their young-and rabbits scurried about. The morning air was cool and so fragrant with the smell of new blossoms. For a while, there was not a sign of another human and I thought if I sat, I would surely go into a trance, under such peaceful conditions.
I will not go into all of the details of yesterday, but I had a fire going by seven a.m.-and I was already dirty. I came in at six thirty pm to take a shower. It was a long but very productive day. I will say, that it will not hurt my feelings one bit, if there is not a single barn on the next rabbit patch.
Every day, the weatherman predicts rain, but not a drop fell on the rabbit patch yesterday. Today, is expected to be much like yesterday, so I will take up where I left off, when “the spirit moves within me”. The next two days, torrential rains are moving in and so those are the days for housekeeping-and cooking. How delightful, that thought is.
It was mid morning, before I went out to face the last barn. Certainly, I would be finished by noon or shortly after, I thought. . . but in no time I was once again filthy and so I thought to tackle the outside fireplace. It is a primitive hearth tucked away in a little private nook. There is a picnic table, that is so heavy . . .it goes with rabbit patch, when it does sell. When it snows, we make a fire. It is also nice in Autumn, to sit by. It was awful today but I left it tidy- but burdened, with scratches and bites from head to toe. There was really only one more dreaded task left and it seemed foolish not to to get it done, as I was so dirty, after all. . . so I shoveled rock. A bee sting completed my day-right as I threw the last shovel full. I came in at six pm. Cash got a bath as he was with me from the barn to the woods. He managed to find places to dig and wallow in, as I worked. Cash is loyal and made sure a rabbit didn’t get me this day! Christopher Robin watched Cash get his bath-and I must say, with an air of arrogance. He had no clue that he was next. That changed his tune.
Now, tomorrow is Memorial Day, so schools are closed. We are having a noon meal, and all of the children will be there. It is no small feat to gather five grown up children and I am looking forward to it immensely. We will celebrate Tres’ birthday, which was Saturday. “Regular readers” are aware that I am apt to brag about Tres. He is a wonderful and noble young man, very polite, intelligent, handsome and a devoted son-and that is the truth about Tres. Lyla adores him, quite naturally.
Memorial Day has always been a bit complicated for me. On one hand, I am full of joy, for my son and his life, and on the other hand, I think of the mothers of fallen soldiers through the ages. War is such a tragedy and the mere thought of it stirs fear in my heart. Oh, that all nations would seek peace- fervently and with great zeal, as if their life depended on it, for really and truly . . . it does.
Once again, I woke to the sound of rain . . .and once again, it was wonderful. I could put off the process of cleaning the biggest barn without a bit of guilt. The rain afforded me permission to tarry long enough to see the royal wedding, after all.
I was in the barn, before the newlyweds were back at the castle. I do not enjoy cleaning a barn out after winter. So many critters will “set up housekeeping” when the barn is mostly unattended. In light of that, I do not like plundering in the dark corners. It is also an especially dirty job. Thankfully, the barn wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected. In no time, I had cleared out some old wood and started a fire . . .promptly, a heavy shower came. I came in and did a little housekeeping, but was disappointed that I did not make a good deal of progress on the barn. I really wanted that chore behind me.
The rain fell heavily on and off all day. I abandoned the notion of cleaning the barn. I had at least started. There was a light, cool breeze and if it were not for the blooming foxglove, one might have thought, that it could have been any day in September.
I decided to deep clean Kyles’ bedroom. That was only a bit less daunting than the barn. Kyle goes by the theory “out of sight, out of mind”, If you took a peak in, you may foolishly believe that all was well. Several times a year, I clean and organize his closet and dust under the bed. I know full well that Kyle is all grown up, but it does not seem to make a difference in his tidiness-and with the house up for sale . . . I am just bound and determined that the place be in good order.
I may sound “like a broken record” . . .but again it was raining at dawn. I imagined that the territory around the rabbit patch was soggy, though this hardly ever happens, as the rabbit patch is on”high ground”. Rain is in the forecast for several more days, as well. It is a good thing that I love rain.
Of course, the grass grows daily and mowing will be slow, when it does dry out. I imagine supper will be late a few nights this week, again. Confined to the house, I will concentrate on household chores that I tend to put off. There is always the job of moving furniture, which is always a disappointment . I am always shocked there is any dirt left on the rabbit patch at all. . . and do not think this is an “annual” task, but instead, is performed regularly . . . and to no avail, it seems.
Between the Showers
Once I was headlong into cleaning-and had all the contents of a closet strewn about-and had the bed moved to the middle of the floor . . . the sun came out! I paid little attention, as that has been the trend for a week now. I expected thunder at any minute followed by a drenching downpour. I moved a dresser and kept strewing . The sun kept shining. At last, I was convinced that I might work outside a bit and so I left the mess in the house, to take advantage of the sunshine.
I did not come back in for four hours. I was able to mow after all. Only one area proved too wet, as it turned out. I was terribly dirty, and so this inspired me to go back to cleaning the barn. I decided , to try to accomplish at least a bit. I was pleased to walk out several hours later . . of a clean barn. Somehow, I finished the bedroom, as well. Naturally, supper was scant and late too.
Oh how wonderful it was to bathe with a fancy soap, and to put on soft “house” clothes, at long last. I suppose the lack of glamour at the rabbit patch , may not sound like a rewarding life . It was not the life I dreamed of in my youth . . . it is far more, than I knew to desire- for in youth “all that glitters, must be gold” .
There is something humbling about being in the shade of trees, massive with age, that I did not plant . . . and to stand in the presence of fields tended for a century. I did not know in my youth, the unspeakable value of solitude nor the satisfaction that hard, physical work yielded . . .like cleaning an old barn, built by the hands of a man I never met, but who left his initials and a date inside the door. I did not know to ask for such things , for “when I was a child, I thought like a child.”
It is sheer irony to me, that youth is often spent on collecting things that in later seasons we discard with great fervor. “Things” are lost or broken and become out dated at an alarming rate. “Moth and rust doth corrupt” rings true. If we do not act on it, then our dear homes become “closets” really.
For me, I have been concentrating on what it is that I really need. I have found I need little, in terms of possessions. How odd it is to get older only to find out you need less . . .and to understand that you really know less than you thought you did, decades ago. Youth has swagger and the later years have humility, it seems.
It is said that “time flies when you are having fun.” I think it does. I also think, it flies, when you’re busy. Now, at the rabbit patch, the wild honeysuckle blooms and is evident in the sweet evening air. The “Quiet Garden” is shades of pink. Rabbits are out in the broad daylight and there is the friendly presence of fireflies , twinkling in the whispering pines, at night. The rabbit patch is in its’ glory in the spring.
On Friday, we had the end of the year program at school. . On Saturday, I began tending the territory. I really dreaded getting started. I spent a good deal of time gathering fallen branches and had several little fires burning by late morning. It does not sound like such a travesty to spend a few hours collecting branches-unless you consider fire ants and poison vines. Little trees were coming up in all the wrong places and so I mustered the fortitude, to do battle with them. Eventually, I started mowing and thankfully, that was an uneventful affair.
Each day, after school, I continued my quest to improve the rabbit patch. Small fires burned in the garden steadily. I disturbed a fair share of spiders in the barns and I tackled poison vines Supper was late most every night and laundry was done at odd hours. But good progress was made and at long last, geraniums fill the once barren pots.
Tending this rabbit patch is not for the faint of heart, but it is a love story, none-the-less. There is enough charm here to produce a poet in the least likely of us. . . especially now, when the “Mothers’ day” rose spills over the fence, and into the tender green grass.
The rabbit patch does not allow things like resentment and selfishness, nor pride to abide in the hearts of man, either. Simply put, ” It is good for what ails you.” I can not quarrel in the presence of an old oak, nor complain when the peach trees are laden with young fruit.
The foxgloves are blooming now along side one of the barns . They are a cheerful sight, with their lavender bells. Beyond the foxglove is a little pasture and then a grove of pecan trees. There are two grapevines and two apple trees. There is also a pear tree, and several white peach trees. Some doves are nesting in a grapevine. I love the cooing of content doves, but detest the way they act when startled. They sit “quiet as a church mouse” completely hidden from view. Right about the time you are near to them, and quite unsuspecting, they take off with flapping wings and a high pitched cackling. The big production they make is quite startling and will shatter the peace of a leisure stroll.
It seems, there has been one thing after another for a good while. It started a few weeks ago, with some loved ones having all sorts of problems-then there was the big program at school and of course Mothers’ Day. The spring clean up of the territory took a toll . . and now suddenly we are past mid May. I have always thought that time was sly, and now I say with full confidence . . it is!
Quite soon, I will have lived on the rabbit patch for a dozen years. It has been nothing short of a love affair. This old house and sprawling land has made me different, than I was, before our acquaintance. I have worked harder than I thought I ever could. I have learned what my authentic joys are . . .and somehow my truth was made clearer to me. Still, I remain steadfast on my decision to sell it. I do not fear the journey from it, nor am I anxious about when it will happen. It has taken me years to come to such a conclusion but I do know that my time here was well spent.
Until then, I will water the geraniums and mow the pasture. I will wage war with vines covered in thorns and I will walk by the old grapevine where the doves abide. I may write another verse on an old barn, too. . . I am sure I will buy more paint . . . all for the love of a rabbit patch.