Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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Letters file -- of bikes and beasts and deadly weeds

Among the emails Chicken Corner has received this week are messages concerning a dwarf rabbit's death and the right to ride.

J Michael Walker, artist and writer of All the Saints of the City of the Angels, lost a good rabbit to the dread tobacco tree:

Walker wrote:

Dear Jenny, Amy is absolutely right. We had a pet dwarf rabbit several years ago. It lived in our house and, when it weasn't gnawing on the odd bit of furniture, was totally endearing and adorable (A word I rarely use). It was tame enough, and sure enough of its home, that I could let it loose in our front and back yards.
But there were two things I was then unaware of: First, tobacco plants are totally poisonous; second, rabbits will eat anything they do not retain, apparently, from generations past, the knowledge that other animals do, of what to, and what not to, eat. So Bunny delightedly ate of this and that in our backyard, and the small tobacco plant, that had self-seeded between cracks in our brick patio, proved her undoing.
I found a very very unpleasant path in the grass, that stretched from the plant to her stiff corpse, legs outstretched fore and aft. Not only had she died, but it was clearly not a painless one. Please underscore the danger to household pets.

In all seriousness, Walker's note has led to my decision not to get a rabbit because my yard is a hopelessly abundant garden of poisonous delights. I do not have tobacco trees, but I do have panamanian nightshade, lillies all over the place, belladonna, and who knows what deadly else. A horror show. And rabbits need to go outside.

People need to get out, too, which brings us to: mountain biking. A reader -- and mountain bike activist -- named William Campbell sent me the following defense of biking a couple of days ago:

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