I had my nose to the grindstone last Friday morning, concentrating on composing the annual, holiday letter to family and friends. At the computer, I can look out of a window where I observe birds clamoring at a feeder across the way. I can see my neighbor’s yard from here too. His yard is more wild and woolly which of course all species of animals, birds and reptiles love.
Though very intent on my project, I spotted a flash of orange/red off to the left and looked up to find Ms. Fox sniffing around our transformer box near the fence line. I have seen this beautiful specimen on the place before; trotting along near our house or sitting at the bottom of the slope out back. I have seen her excrement on our driveway, and our three Japanese Chin rush out each morning to sniff out her latest urine spots. She is a regular around here.
I grabbed the zoom lens and hurried to the kitchen window to get a good shot of the fluffy creature. I cleaned windows a month ago, but they were long since splattered with rain, dirt, and bug juice. I doubted I would get a good photo through the glass, but there was no way to go outside to get a shot without scaring my friend away. At first, she seemed highly interested in a scent on the transformer, but then got busy scratching herself. And she scratched and scratched and scratched some more.
Suddenly, she took off trotting to the west, toward the slope. I quickly ran to the back porch thinking that, if I could get into position and stay VERY still, I might be able to get a good, clear shot from my perch above the canyon. As luck would have it, I tripped over a turtle shell – one of FD’s recent finds in the woods – and, kicking it into a spin, made a terrible racket. I looked at Ms. Fox and she looked at me! Seemingly unfazed by me or my ruckus, she took to scratching at whatever it was that was giving her fits! Quickly, I snapped a dozen photos. Occasionally, she would look right at me. Sometimes she would look to the east, squinting in the morning sun. Mostly though, that itch got the best of her and she just scratched endlessly. Finally, she took off under the fence to the neighbor’s yard. Back through the house I ran, to our front door and out to the porch, thinking I might capture her with the camera at a different angle. But alas, I had no such luck. Ms. Fox appeared to be heading to the neighbor’s back porch area, likely in search of cat food.
With Ms. Fox off in the neighbor’s yard, I got sidetracked petting Daisy while I was outside. However, it was cold, and in my haste I hadn’t donned a jacket or hat, so I got chilly fairly quickly. As I headed back to the house to warm up, I heard barking and baying next door. The neighbor had let his three dogs out. They were heading to the west on the north side of his property at quite a clip, barking and making a ruckus. Then suddenly, I saw that fluffy blaze of rust color, trotting ever so carefully on the south side of the yard, also heading west, but looking straight ahead and staying close to the brush and trees near the fence line. Ms. Fox had slyly outwitted the neighbor’s three crooning hound dogs with a quick zig to the south and a parallel zag back to the west. I saw her swiftly duck under the fence, then gingerly trot off into the woods on our side. Soon, the panting hounds were frantically sniffing the area she had crossed. They had been completely bamboozled by the sly Ms. Fox!
I was secretly delighted at her clever maneuver to escape the dogs, never once looking back or fretting about her escape. She did it confidently, not fearing the “what ifs” that certainly existed if she had paused to consider where to go. Aren’t we all a bit surprised sometimes, at our wit and cleverness when we pull off an exciting caper, by the skin of our teeth? That moment of elation and thrill is long-remembered and savored. I thought for a while about what it might be like to be sly as a fox. I’m pretty sure having that skill and cunning would only serve to get me in trouble. In fact, I am sure of it!
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…