Last week I got an exciting letter from a reader. Brandy, an Organic Valley employee, and her husband had the opportunity to watch some fox kits near an old woodpile in their pasture. You never know who else is living near by when you live in the country!
The little fox kits will last forever in their memory. I should know; I have a very clear memory of the fox den on our farm over 40 years ago. A fitting place for a pair of smart red foxes to raise a family, their den was in a half-acre grassy area that couldn't be plowed because it was the spot where the original homestead was built. It was long before my time and grandpa said it was a log house that burned in a fire.
The foxes had been raising kits there for years. He said it would be all right to sit and watch them from fifty feet or so away. If you get any closer, the vixen will smell your scent and move her kits somewhere else. I spent many hours watching those little foxes as they played in the summer grass. It was something I never forgot.
Over the years I've had many encounters with the red fox and my journals have lots of interesting stories. I've learned a great deal about foxes by watching them whenever I got the chance. I learned that the adults only den up while caring for their litter, or maybe when it's a very hot day. They rarely use a den in the winter, even on the coldest days. Many times I've watched a fox on a cold sunny day as he plays with a vole he has caught—tossing his hapless prey high in the air, then stalking and pouncing like a cat with a toy. There's no doubt the fox has attributes of both a dog and a cat. I remember those young kits at the farm den and how curious they were. They would stop whatever they were doing and stare right at me with that cat-like curious gaze.
Legend has it that if you have been watching a fox, you are to become like the wind—unseen, yet able to weave through any location or situation. Your powers of observation will become keener as time goes by.
Since seeing a white-tailed fawn last week, who was nearly half-grown, I've seen three others that were still very small. The time for fawns seems to be coming earlier for some and later for others. A friend of mine mentioned seeing a doe with three small spotted fawns—triplets! That must have been quite a sight, indeed.
Last night at dusk, I watched several small Hummingbird moths (Hawk moths) as they hovered around a patch of dark blue irises. There's always something interesting to see at the flowerbeds, even at the very end of the day.
Rabbits, rabbits everywhere! I've been seeing more little rabbits than last year. Some of them look tiny enough to be from a third litter this year. They've done a bit of damage to the gardens, and it's time to take some action. I'll give a friend's wooly dog a good brushing, and save the hair to place around the things the rabbits are nibbling on. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but it's worth giving a try. Cat hair may work as well.
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