The back door eases open; he sniffs the air to see who is in the kitchen. He finds me there and waits patiently by the fan as I finish up dishes before gathering my gloves and basket; we are going to the garden.
In the corner of the garden, just beyond the peach tree, a tiny nose twitches. Crouching back in the shadows his heart races as the garden gate opens.
With a burst of energy, Ben charges straight to the back corner; past the peach tree and to the shadowy corner.
The little rabbit we fondly call 'Pete" has bounded under the fence. He sits in the shadow of the wood's edge watching Ben sniff the very spot he was sitting. In hushed tones Ben 'speaks' to Pete; I wonder what he must be saying; is it a warning about eating my garden or simply a conversation between oddly paired friends?
In a show of good measure, Ben carefully searches every inch of the bunny hideout making sure I know how hard he is working. Convinced that task is complete, Ben moves through his routine checkpoints, sniffing, scratching, and nuzzling every inch of the garden- every possibly hiding place. He nibbles snippettes of greenery as he goes.
A stop at the water barrel for cool drink ends his list of things to do. Lumbering through the growing things, he plants himself at my feet. His large head nuzzles my side, seeking approval for a job well done. As I picks a pepper, I scratch his soft ears and pat his strong shoulder- he has worked hard today keeping her garden safe. Ben decides to take a welcome rest in the shade of an oak tree when the watering begins; he's not fond of being wet.
Together we stroll back to the house; he stays just close enough for my hand to rest on his shoulder as we walk.
Once inside, I make a glass of tea as Ben enjoys a bit of egg leftover from breakfast. I take my seat at the table to answer emails and sketch a bit; Ben takes his place at my feet. There he will nap until we head out for evening chores and one more visit to the garden.