It all started with a blur, “Was that the neighbor’s cat?” Something about this blur was different, though. Was it darker? Longer? Yeah, probably a cat. Next day: “Wait, what? Is that a fox?” We spent the next week scrambling for our phones, but not fast enough as she walked across the patio in front of our eyes! A fox at our backdoor for heavens sake!
Then one day there were two, trotting nonchalantly across the grass, one with something dark hanging from its mouth. The couple were definitely headed someplace with their kill and turns out that someplace is our gardening shed.
Weeks before Bill tried to discourage whatever was digging under the shed. It was futile. He stuffed gravel into it, but the hole reappeared the next day. Then bigger rocks, same story. Finally he blocked the hole with a log, and they dug beside it. Something really really wanted that spot. What we wouldn’t have given for the trail cam we’ve seen a hundred times as David Attenborough whispers the secrets it reveals inside private dens. My suggestion to get your face down there and shine a flash light was met with “Yeah, and get sprayed by a skunk!” In the end, we remembered how futile fighting Mother Nature is and finally surrendered to whatever liked our gardening shed that much. We let it be.
A week later “our” vixen” appeared with 3 tiny kits trailing behind. Oh My God! Once she felt it was safe for her family, she’s come out every day since to watch the kids play. Oh right, we’re the ones watching, she’s the security guard. Sometimes she relaxes enough to lie down and bask, but mostly she sits at the ready ON TOP OF OUR APPLE STUMP. Bill used to be in the tree business so seeing a fox sitting on a stump he made is a special treat. At times all 4 are huddled together up there, no doubt trying to play King of a 6” Mountain.
Documentation has been tough. I can’t get close enough for a really good photo without a telescopic lens, so
I’m left with the blurry images of zooming in. I’ve finally come to my senses after approaching the OCD moment of photography: obsessively trying to capture a moment instead of enjoying the moment. The photos aren’t what’s important. It’s the experience.
Now the practical side: We’re happy to share our property with a rodent eater. We do have neighborhood cats, but it just isn’t the same as a sweet little fox. A dead mouse by the corner of the shed was proof that she’d been out collecting groceries for the kids. I’d fluff her pillow if it would keep her around longer and love seeing her hind end disappearing into the dense grasses that stretch across the back.
We’ve shared this daily delight now by texting our neighbor “Fox Alert!” whenever they are out. Within a minute 2 young boys + grandma hurry over to peer silently around the corner of the hedge. It’s all been a pretty big deal and a welcomed respite from the angst of the news and our health. How ironic that there used to be a chicken coop next to the shed in years past. A new meaning to the old adage about the fox guarding the henhouse.
Here foxy, foxy, foxy!