The loveliness of a cool summer morning seems extraordinary after last week’s heat wave. Sitting out on the deck, a mug of coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other are pleasures I had to forego for a while. Now that those are reestablished, all seems right in my little corner of the forest. That’s assuming, of course, that I don’t read the newspaper too closely. Allow me a day or two of enjoying my little routine before I fall back into the abyss of reality.The improved weather and cooler temperatures mean I am suddenly seeing more animals around the cabin again. Early Sunday morning as I was heading off the mountain, I saw this large and lovely red fox sitting alertly next to a moist ditch—I would be overstating the case if I called it a stream. The fox was likely looking for mice or other delectables in the tall grass.
When another car went by on the nearby road, she loped off and I managed to get one not-too-blurry photo. It was only when I looked closely at the photo that I saw the fox had almost no hair on her tail. It might be from mange or it might be from fleas. She certainly looked otherwise healthy and was acting fine, so I hope it’s nothing serious.
The fox aren a near-constant presence after dark around the cabin. I hear them barking several times a week. Last night I heard the first bark a little after 10 p.m. and then again an hour or so before dawn. Their calls always set my dogs to barking, which naturally wakes me from a sound sleep. The dogs require that I go to the door and assure that we are not being attacked before they stop barking. They immediately fall back to sleep. Me? Well, sometimes. Between the fox and the raccoons, it’s rare for me to be able to sleep through the entire night. That’s at least partly why I need coffee on the deck before I can properly start a day.