I regret to inform those who knew her, but today was Cinnamon's last day. I disapprove.

How do yo say goodbye to a creature who shared a hotel room with me when I got stranded in a blizzard in Nebraska?  A rabbit who helped launch my freelance career?  A rabbit who brought me over a decade of laughter on a daily basis?

If you have a pet hug them tight.  I know many people have enjoyed Disapproving Rabbits and at this point, I don't know where it's going to go.  If you feel compelled to do anything, please donate to your local animal shelter or rabbit society.  Had it not been for someone dropping off this delightful ball of velvety fur to the St Paul Humane Society all those years ago, life would have been a bit more boring for us.

Here's one of my favorite memories of her:





MN Bun Fest–Meet Cinnamon

A little non birding news: Non Birding Bill, Cinnamon and I will be at Bun Fest tomorrow (Saturday) at 11am.  This is a rare public appearance of our dear rabbit in her old age.  We'll sign Disapproving Rabbits books, answer bun questions and encourage you to support this great rabbit foster organization.  If you have ever considered a rabbit as a pet, this is the perfect organization to learn about rabbit ownership and finding a rabbit that works for your family.

When The Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society asked me to bring Cinnamon I was hesitant, she's pushing 13 years old--that's geriatric in bunny lifespan.  Years ago, a tiny dog with a big book and calendar series was on KARE 11 the same day I was on answering bird questions.  I thought the animal was puppet, because it didn't move naturally.  When I finally realized that it was a "live animal" in the handler's lap, I could see the dog looked a little off, didn't seem to be able to stand on it's own, eyes not registering all that was going on around it, almost as if it looked it was either drugged like crazy or barely alive.  After I went home, I googled the dog and discovered at the time he was over 10 years old and I guessed that the owner had created this whole publishing series around him and couldn't get out of personal appearances no matter how old that dog was.

I never wanted to do that to Cinnamon--I never take her out unless she's "up for it".  She likes people--when I worked at the bird store, she was practically an employee--she was our store greeter.  Now, Cinnamon has her good and her sleepy days.  Some days she's her frisky self, albeit slower or she has days when she just wants to sleep.  She doesn't do speeding laps in the hallway anymore but shuffles around the apartment.  This week she has been feeling her Wheaties.  She actually tried to sneak into the kitchen--something she does when she wants you to play with her and as I type this, she's flipping around a spoon.  She loves canned pumpkin or squash and we usually give her a spoonful in the morning.   Sometimes when she's finished eating the pumpkin, she flips the spoon around--one day we found it wedged in on of the openings of her toddler gate--about a foot up...

So, she looks old, but she's feeling frisky and we made the decision yesterday to bring her out.  If you'd like to meet the original Disapproving Rabbit,  tomorrow is the day.

Speaking of Cinnamon, I love it when people tell me they have been inspired by Cinnamon and make art like this or the Disapproving Rabbit pumpkin or this portrait.  This week, Heidi Brenegan who works at Animal Emergency Clinic in Oakdale, MN made painting for the clinic's lobby of all the varieties of pets they work with and she made one of Cinnamon:

If you happen to be at that clinic, check out Heidi's original.  Thanks, Heidi, we're honored!

Venting My Bunny

I love my pet rabbit Cinnamon, I really do. I miss her when I travel and she is home with Non Birding Bill. But she is driving me up a wall!

I'm still catching up from Texas, I still have Rio Grande Valley birds and critters to talk about and I'm also in the middle of National Novel Writing Month (you try to write a novel or 50,000 words in the month of November). Both Birdfreak and I are giving it go...because you know, we don't write enough as it is. I was off to a good start, but lost momentum in Harlingen. I've been trying to catch up and was really on a roll yesterday--I typed 7086 words! I'm still behind for the month for a total of 11,587 but I'll keep going.

Cinnamon is not helping! Here she is right after I have yelled at her for nibbling my Swarovski back back. After a gave her a firm "no" and resumed typing (I have a very certain tone of voice that I use that Cinnamon understands is the I-Mean-Business-Tone). She waited and moment and then she started licking the backpack. You can't tell me rabbits aren't smart.

She has also taken to just sitting on my bag, and trying to root around inside. I think she either can smell that I have had apples in there or that I have some fruity gum (I don't give her chewing gum, but I'm sure that smells edible to her). She seems to go through phases. We have a large closet that we have converted into a "bunny room" with a Cottontail Cottage, toys, food, etc that is blocked by toddler gate when she cannot come out, usually when NBB and I are away. Sometimes she goes through a mellow phase and she sleeps under our bed or hangs out in her little hidey holes around the apartment and I know I can leave and not worry about her getting into mischief while I run errands.

But she also goes through phases of mischief obsession and is hell bent on doing the opposite of whatever we say. Last night, she kept hopping on the futon with me as I was typing, I kept putting her back down. NBB left a box of cookies on the couch and though she was insisting that wasn't her main purpose for hopping up time after time...

...if I did not pay attention, she would open the box to get at the sugary goodness on the inside. She is also going for the kitchen constantly. She's not allowed in there because she gets in the trash and I'm worried that she might find a bottle of cleaner or inappropriate bunny food. But as soon as a door closes in our apartment, she runs right for the kitchen. NBB headed out last night to help his friend Ari with his computer. Door closed, Cinnamon made a mad dash.

"Oy!" I shouted at her in that tone, "Get out of the kitchen."

She hopped out, waited for me to resume typing and went right back in. I yelled again, she did not leave. I set my lap top on the coffee table and she came tearing out of the kitchen (uh-oh, it's serious if mom puts down her laptop). From there it was an endless parade of chasing her out of the kitchen, chasing her away from chewing/licking my backpack, removing her when she hopped on my keyboard, taking her off the futon when she hopped up to steal cookies--BUTThead! I started an auction for one naughty bunny on FaceBook.

By the time NBB returned, Cinnamon was dozing on top of her Cottontail Cottage--the amount of mischief was just exhausting. He didn't believe that this peacefully sleeping bunny could be so naughty.

Disapproving Rabbits At The Science Museum

Last night I was working at the Mississippi River Visitor Center at the Science Museum listening to the cool song stylin's of the Brass Messengers (they were there for a wedding reception held at the museum) when I looked up from the counter and saw two people approaching me with Disapproving Rabbits shirts--the old school brown shirts. Two Cinnamon fans came up from Iowa to visit the Twin Cities and had me on the itinerary. Since they arrived about 45 minutes before I closed and Non Birding Bill was coming to pick me up, I called and asked if he would mind bringing Cinnamon with him. They were happy to hang around the VC and the museum to wait for NBB.

Because of the collections, animals aren't allowed in the Science Museum but Cinnamon frolicked on the front lawn and we got a photo. They even stuck around while we got a fast Sunday Cinnamon photo. She really seemed to enjoy the night air and she always enjoys attention--even at the ripe old age of nine (my Cinnabutt is nine, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around her mortality).

Thanks so much for visiting us Iowans!

Easter Morning With Cinnamon

We tried to get Cinnamon to pose with some peeps this morning, but that seemed to not dignify our girl, however having her own MySpace Page and BunSpace Page is ok. Don't worry, she's not being held down in the above photo, Non Birding Bill is petting her. You can see more photos of her and her Peeps at Disapproving Rabbits and below is a video of her gettin' some bunny lovin' (bonus points to those who can id the two people singing in the duet in the background):

I Just Bring It Out

I took this photo of Cinnamon during the interview last night. This is the stare down--she does this hoping that if she stares at me long enough, she will have willed me into giving her a treat.

Well, last night's online show (The Rabbit Show) took a weird turn. I guess when you have an online show hosted on Talk Shoe, you can have a forum going where people can ask questions and it's very interactive. And as happens in forums, someone joined and started asking...well let's just say they were questions that Cinnamon would not approve of. The poor host seemed surprised and flustered. My inclination would have been to just giggle quietly and ingore it, but the host was trying to delete them, which I think just made the anonymous posters pose even worse questions. Then, there was an odd sound and I couldn't hear the host. I figured I was on hold or the show was stopped because of the questions. Non Birding Bill was in the other room listening live and shouted, "Hey keeping talking--he's not on, but I can hear you, fill the dead air."

So, I kind of "umed" and "ahed" and "you knowed" my way into getting rabbits from humane societies, it was very strange. And fortunately, there were people asking questions that didn't involve impossible rabbit mating processes (thank you to all those kind folks) and I was able to speak to those.

The host made it back on--he had a power surge from his house and got knocked off the show. An eventful interview to say the least. You can download a podcast version here. I guess I was the first author he had on his show--I hope the experience didn't sour him on future guests on his show. Thanks, Dan, for having me on and for promoting the book.

After it was finished, NBB shook his head and said, "You just bring that out in people, don't ya my little trouble maker."

Bees In The Snow

Thank you to do Stacy Kagiwada for getting this awesome photo of Cinnamon! This is from the Indianapolis book signing, you can see more here--wow, Stacy has really nailed how to get a disapproval out of my bunny. I just love this one below--Cinnamon's totally disapproving of me in the background. Stacy also got a shot of Non Birding Bill and I together--we have so few of us in the same shot, I love it!

Whoa, doggies! Sounds like I'll be signing lots of Disapproving Rabbits books tomorrow. About a month after the book came out, we learned that Harper Collins had run out of the DR book and were going to print more. According to UPS, the packages will be dropped off tomorrow and I'll be signing away so we can mail them out on Friday and get them to people in time for Christmas.

It continues to be super cold here, but very lovely--like this puffed up little downy woodpecker. This morning I woke to 5 degrees but I am assured by the weatherman that it will warm up to twenty degrees before the sun sets at 4:30pm. I went out check on the beehives.

Single digit temperatures are much easier to take in when there is snow. Also, between all of my layers, hand warmers and the marching motion I have to do to maneuver over unplowed paths in the woods, I can work up quite a sweat. It's a strange quiet in the woods, and all you hear is the chip note of a chickadee, the industrious soft tapping of several woodpeckers, and crow caws echoing off of the hillsides. So different from the cacophony of warblers and vireos in spring and the dry humming and buzzing of katydids and grasshoppers in late summer.

I took a very long route to the hives to enjoy the scenery in the snow. The creek on Mr. Neil's property is almost completely frozen, apart from a few pockets that the birds are using for drinking water. I can't believe I've seen some ice fishing houses out already on some of the lakes in town--it's too soon. If there is still some slush on the lake, it's too soon, you crazy fishing people! As I was working my way to the field near our hives, I noticed a strong aroma.

Hoo-wee, you've been warned of yellow about brown snow? Someone must have run a manure spreader right after our last big snowfall. It was still very pungent--and rock solid.

The path to the hives was dug deep into the snow with splatters of hard poop. I know the kind of enjoyment I get from walking through fresh snow...I wonder if it's the same when one is riding a manure spreader. There's a huge field full of pristine snow and you're gonna cover it with some hot liquid manure. Good times. Actually, I had to chuckle, because the field is part of a network of snow mobile trails...I would wager that there have been some very disappointed snow mobile drivers who were raring to go after our first big snow of the season only to come upon that road block of several acres.

But I made my way to the hives and found Kitty nestled in the snow. I put my ear up to the hive and you could hear all the bees inside buzzing softly keeping the hive warm. Incredible.

You will note that the snow just around the hives is melted away--they keep it that warm! Again--Incredible. And now in French--Incroyable!!

There were some dead bees outside of the hives, here's a little pile in front of Olga. I had closed the entrance reducer, but Mr. Neil read about some Canadian beekeepers, leaving it open a little bit for some air circulation. The bees seemed to have covered the entrance holes with dead bees on the inside, so I'm not sure if they need in ventilation or not. There's a small hole at the top as well, so they can take cleansing flight. I'm not too worried about. After all, our bees have insulation around their hive, in the wild, they don't have anything, but their honey and their little wings to maintain temperature. I put my ear up to Olga and you could hear the humming in there too. Amazing, just amazing to hear them living on the other side of some thin pieced of wood while it's in the single digits outside. Ah, my bees, I miss you. Can't wait to play with you next spring.

Disapproving Rabbits In Indy

This is a photo by John Rubbo, the official photographer of the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society. He took this at the DreamHaven Book Release party.

Well, we have a whirlwind trip to Indianapolis coming up next week. Cinnamon and I will be on Daybreak Saturday Morning on WISH TV sometime between 8:30am - 9am. That afternoon, we'll be doing a book signing at Big Hat Books at 4pm. Members of the Indiana House Rabbit Society will be on hand with literature about whether or not a rabbit is the right pet for you and have live foster bunnies.

I don't think I can manage a Birds and Beers, we just don't have enough time on this visit--I have a large family so it's hard to squeeze everything in. Speaking of which, my mom will be at the signing. If you think I'm short, wait until you see her. And if anyone is curious, Non Birding Bill will be on hand too on bunny wrangling duty. So, come meet Cinnamon and learn about a great rabbit organization in Indiana.