Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Who Is That Looking Back at Me?

When I got Daisy to come into the house during Sunday's storm, her stay was a fairly short one--half an hour or so.  And then she was right back to the porch.  She insisted.  Although the thunder and lightning continued for a couple more hours, at least it wasn't right overhead so she endured just because that was where she wanted to be. 

The table that my neighbor repaired for me (read this post) to use for sorting packing materials has now become Daisy's home instead, and she stays there constantly.  There is much to interest her outside.  I often see her watching bugs and lizards and birds and bunnies and squirrels.  There's a lot of small wildlife here; it's something that I have tried to encourage because it's good for the environment.

Another environmentally friendly thing I have tried to do more than once is to start compost piles.  Alas, I have not been successful for various reasons.  My most recent excursion into compost failed because the container wasn't big enough.  I am a committed vegetarian and have been for decades.  I don't eat a lot of processed foods because I believe that fresh is better whenever possible, so maybe I just have more vegetable peelings to throw away than most folks might.  Anyway,  that last compost container wasn't up to it.  Also I don't like putting all that stuff in the trash because my good neighbor hauls my trash away about once a month and things can get pretty unpleasant in the trashcans if there are any food scraps in there.  I'd like to put a better compost system in place but I am just one person facing a lot of challenges alone, so I can't do everything I wish and hope. 

So, in lieu of something better, I throw my scraps into the wooded area of my yard.  I figure it will either degrade and go back to the soil or else some wild creature will have a meal.  And sometimes there are "volunteer" veggies that pop up where I least expect them because they've grown wild from seed.  (Read Nature Volunteers a Surprise )

Last evening, just at dusk, when I went out to the porch to fill Daisy's kibble bowl, I discovered that there was a furry visitor who had been getting a meal from the latest food scrap pile at the edge of the wood. 

Although there wasn't a lot of light left, I could see enough to get a reasonable view of the animal.  I knew from the size that it wasn't a cat, although it had a very long fluffy tail.  And I could see from the way it moved that it wasn't a dog.  It was red and gray with long skinny legs.  It wasn't running, just hurrying to cross the open area in the center of the yard to get to cover, but it stopped before it got there.  It turned calmly and looked round at me when I spoke.  Couldn't help it.  I said, "Oh, how beautiful" because it was.  Really.  We regarded each other for half a minute or so before we each turned calmly to go about our business.

The animal looked like this one:

 I "borrowed" this picture online and it seems that the photo credit goes to Martin Mecnarowski. 
I thank him for this wonderful image and hope that he does not mind that I am using it here. 
No infringement is intended.

A red fox.  Or to get all scientifically correct about it:  Vulpes vulpes.  Lovely creature. 

Although I have no wish to lure or domesticate wildlife, I still have to put my household leavings someplace.  I may move the throwaway zone further from the porch, though.  As I understand it, foxes tend to see cats as competition rather than prey and will even share meals with them.  But I'd still rather not risk my elderly feline.  (The cat isn't the only one who is still very wary in the wake of "Incident:   Coyote")  I do hope that I get to see the fox again sometime anyway.

When my family moved to this 2 1/2 acre property, it was "clear cut" with just a few pines and only one hardwood tree.  We purposely let much of the yard grow wild, although now it's just a bit wilder than I might wish.  (Something else that just one challenged person can't quite manage alone.)  We did this at first because we saw no squirrels, and we wondered at that.  What we learned was that the more species an area could support, the healthier it became environmentally and we wanted to encourage that.  When I see a larger creature, like that fox, I like to think that this is a mark of some success. 

It is such an amazing gift to be able to watch wild things.
Life is good.

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