First day back with his kids and he’s already so over it.
When we first spotted the fox pups, they were always close to the barn under which they’ve been living. Lately, they’ve been having wild parties in our backyard. I could watch them gamboling and cavorting all day long. I wish I could capture it on film, but they’ve gotten much warier and will usually disappear into their den as soon as they spot me.
They’ve been venturing further afield into the paddock and the woods, I think in search of food. Sometimes they dig in the ground, maybe for worms? I’ve seen them tentatively taste the weeds. This poor pup was hungrily gnawing on some dead leaves.
After a busy day, the pups usually collapse in a tired heap in front of their den.
This morning I spotted them making themselves even more comfortable. One of the cushions from a deck chair must have blown into the yard. I was sure the pups would bolt if they heard the door open, so I took these photos from my kitchen window.
The noise at the end is alarming, but other than lunchtime being rudely interrupted, nothing serious happened.
Also: is that NINE pups I’m counting?!
Late one night last winter, my daughter heard eerie, high-pitched screaming, and was convinced I was being murdered in our own yard.
What she was hearing was the lovestruck moonlight serenade of this vixen…
Her siren call did not go unanswered, and now we have pups nesting in the old groundhog burrows under our barn.
Septuplets! And as far as I can tell, she isn’t getting any help at all from the baby daddy.
She’s the hardest working mama on the block…
She is always hustling back and forth from the woods to the den.
The pups are still nursing and are always clamoring for her attention.
They are always so happy to see her…
Sometimes I watch her trying to get a break from the pups. She wanders away from the den and wearily gazes off into the distance. I imagine she is reflecting on her life choices, and wishing the kids’ deadbeat dad would show up every now and then to help out.
Tomorrow: Fox Pups
It’s a wild kingdom in my backyard. First, this fox appeared. Since spotting him, I’ve been trying to convince my daughter that this is a pretty clear sign that keeping pet ducks is not a good idea. So far, she’s not buying it. It’s true the fox hasn’t done a thing about the fat, lumbering groundhogs that have taken up residence under the barn and run-in shed. We saw our adopted kitty lurking around one of the huge holes they’ve made, but at half their size, I can’t imagine what she could possibly do to deter them from their destructive burrowing.
And then there are the deer. Recently, a whole herd of deer has been camping out in my backyard. Today I counted ten of them. Just looking at them makes me feel itchy. Almost every one in my family has been treated for Lyme Disease at one time or another, thanks to deer ticks. Once my husband stopped his car to let a deer cross the road. Instead of saying “thank you” and going on his merry way, the deer rammed into the car and put a huge dent in it. Furthermore: I find their eating habits deplorably rude. The yard is lush with weeds. I wouldn’t mind one bit if they ate those, but instead, they go for the plants I’ve bought and lovingly cultivated. They treat my garden like an all you can eat salad bar. Which is all to say: I don’t like deer.
I’m trying to live with it. It helped to read up on deer symbolism in Korean culture. Because they are beautiful and gentle (except when they are ramming into the side of a car), they are considered to be holy animals. Deer are often portrayed in Korean art as one of the ten symbols of longevity along with the sun, mountains, water, stones, clouds, pine trees, turtles, cranes, and mushrooms of immortality. They are associated with longevity because their antlers are ground up and used medicinally and because when they’re not greedily helping themselves to my garden, they are supposedly adept at finding those mushrooms of immortality. Finally, deer are associated with friendship because they travel in herds. When they move from one location to another, they turn their heads to make sure they don’t leave anyone behind. I’m not so sure I’m going to make friends with these deer, but as long as they stay in the paddock, I think we can maintain a cool civility.