Hot Wheels loves to eat primroses.
And before I go any further, Hot Wheels is a rabbit. And for eight days, he was left in our care while Ani, his “mom,” was out of town.
On the appointed day, Ani delivered Hot Wheels with a bag of hay, rabbit pellets, a plastic tote for a bed, and a full page of detailed, care and feeding instructions. Food. Bedding. Wheelchair.
“I like to put him in his wheelchair in the morning and again in the evening,” Ani explained. “This gives him exercise and entertainment.”
You might be wondering, wheelchair? Thing is, Hot Wheels’ hind legs don’t work quite right. Here’s what happened.
Ani was out walking her dog when she came across a strange sight — a little black bunny lying in a mud puddle.
“I went closer and he tried to hop away but I could see that he was dragging his back legs.”
Ani took the paraplegic bunny home to warm up. To Ani’s surprise, the rabbit survived. When Hot Wheels regained strength, Ani introduced him to the Kodiak Middle School and invited them to come up with a wheelchair for the bunny.
For a week, Marty and I tended to Hot Wheels. We helped him pee (he has no control over his bladder), fed him carrots and leafy greens, and provided a change of scenery by “walking” him around the garden and taking him for rides in the car.
Here’s something else we discovered in the instructions. It’s something that’s very important because it relates to almost all physical activities, especially gardening — physical therapy.
“It’s good to flex and point his toes, feet, ankles, hips,” Ani said. “Do five repetitions of each body part. Massage as you go for good circulation.”
Ani’s physical therapy instructions triggered an idea. A while ago, I wrote a publication to help gardeners like us stay flexible, pain-free and strong. It’s called, “A Shovel is My Dumbbell: Gardening for Body, Mind and spirit” (if you’d like a copy of the pdf send me a note to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ani added another key component to the instructions: Cuddles.
“Love and cuddles helps reduce stress,” she said.
That was easy. Who couldn’t love Hot Wheels!
On a sunny afternoon, when Ani was scheduled to pick up Hot Wheels, I’d set him outside on the grass so he could graze to his bunny-heart’s content. I recalled reading about primroses, and how they’re edible and held in high esteem around the world. In fact, Italy chose a fuchsia primrose as the symbol of its 2020 COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
Our primroses were blooming in their prime which, fancy this, dovetails with the scientific name Primula from the Latin world primus, “prime,” alluding to the fact that primroses are among the first to appear in spring. According to many sources, both flowers and leaves are edible. I can only describe the flavor as somewhere between lettuce and mild cress.
The leaves can be cooked in soup and steeped as a tea. And the young flowers can be made into primrose wine.
In years past, primrose leaves were given for colds, since they contain significant amounts of vitamin C. Anyone willing to give this a try?
You can also preserve the flowers (and other edible flowers such as pansies) in a coating of egg white and granulated sugar. When finished, the preserved flowers will look as if they’ve been zapped by a late spring frost.
Use them to decorate cupcakes, ice cream, and other desserts.
So how does Hot Wheels like the taste of primrose flowers?
I’ll ask him next time I get to bunny-sit.
THE KODIAK GARDEN CALENDAR
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Transplant seedling on a cloudy, not sunny day
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