Tag Archiv: fox

Whose woods these are

My skiing companion who does not appreciate the importance of unblemished tracks.

My skiing companion who does not appreciate the importance of unblemished tracks.

I had a nice cross country ski yesterday. It was the second day in a row that I skied, so I have formed a habit and vowed to ski daily until my skis hit mud. Even then, I may invent something and keep going, but the snow looks safe to last for a few more weeks, so it’s too early to say. Definitely until mud though, or at least until Wednesday.

I’ve been itching to ski the edges of the property. The fields are crisscrossed with various trails and I wanted to see where they were coming from and try to figure out what they were. I got myself behind some cedar clumps and discovered a thoroughfare. Everybody and their uncle seems to have walked that way.

Whose woods these are, I thought I knew, I said first. Then with so many prints I couldn’t know for sure,  I adjusted. Whose woods these are, I wish I knew. Deer and many rabbits, I saw for sure, maybe a racoon. Villages of little creatures with tiny adorable feet tracks were a fine reward for the few feet of brambles I shallumped through to get there. (Shallumping is what happens when sometimes skiers wearing antique skis in desperate need of wax, jab them into brambles and attempt to advance.  This is not the same as Haruhuhuhuhuhumphing, for which there really is no word. Haruhuhuhuhuhumphing is what happens when a skier with few inborn skills and a history broken fidelity vows to their skis, is alone and encounters a chest high gate sealed shut by two feet of snow. Solitude suggests a midair roll more efficient than ski removal. A very, very slow motion affair ensues as the skis on one foot or the other poke in unforeseen directions thereby bringing the gate embracing operation to numerous pauses to untangle and re-envision the completion of the roll.)

My father said that the very orderly typewriter series of paw prints belong to a fox. (We either have a lot of foxes nearby or there is one very harried, and no doubt immensely skinny fox with obsessive compulsive issues about paths in our fields. Possibly he is an artist with a vision we can’t see from the ground.)  Last week, I watched three animals cross the lake in the early morning. Even with binoculars I couldn’t get a clear sense of them. We skied out later to see the tracks. That mystery is now solved as well. There were fox on the lake.

We laid our coats near the tracks on the lake that day and went for a longer ski. We picked them up on the way back most pleased with a lake so big and so frozen. We had a bit of a shock two days later when there was open water in the same spot we’d laid out coats. And what did the fox say then?

More things to wonder about.

Tailless (as in without a tail)

B2 brought home a list from school yesterday. He was supposed to write down ways that he was unique. The capitalized darkened sentence midway down the page caught my eye. “I am short and proud of it,” it read. The sentence before said, “I have a chicken named Tailless.” I remembered that I was remiss in writing about County Road 21, if I failed to write about Tailless.

In my perfect world, I would always be able to look out the window and see a chicken. Due to the effect on the driveway, my husband does not agree. I go in spurts leaving the coop door open anyway until the foxes catch on. The summer they got 14, we kept the chickens in for more than a year. Then this summer I started letting them out again. At first, strictly as a Sabbath observance. But the need for Sabbath grew until the chickens were out whenever the wind blew.

Foxes, observing the extended Sabbath struck again. They got three and a third chickens in one afternoon – which is when Tailless got her name. She took over sitting on the eggs all day for so long we thought she would never leave. B2 started disappearing into the chicken coop at odd times and taking five times as long to collect the eggs. Turns out he had fallen in love with Tailless and was hand feeding her grain, and stealing her scraps from the house.

“I need money,” he announced one day. “Do you have any work I can do?”

“What for?”

“I want to buy a chicken. It can live with the rest of them, but it has to be mine. Would you sell me one?”

“Ok,” I said.

“How much would a chicken cost me anyway? Tailless. How much would you charge me for Tailless?”

“Two dollars,” I said and his eyes lit up.

“I have that much on my dresser right now!”  He tore up the stairs to his room and returned with a toonie. He handed it to me and we shook hands. Then he was gone.

Twenty minutes later, while I was making dinner, he returned from the chicken coop to talk shop.

“It feels so good to own something,” he said, hands shoved in his pockets, standing by the kitchen counter. “I went and told Tailless she was mine. It just feels so good, Mom.” And he was gone again.

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Image one is a sleepy Tailless wondering why I am in the coop at night. I cropped it in usual techno challenged fashion to give a better view of her altered shape.  Her tail has actually grown back quite a bit. Image two is her in action this morning whereby I learned again that photographing chickens (tailless or otherwise) is quite difficult, as they are always in motion.