This is the continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/local-view-planting-corn/
Earlier these “local view” posts were part of my “Arctic Sea Ice” posts, because the arctic does come south and seize New England in the winter, however now it is June, lush and green, and our foxes are not arctic.
My wife took the above photo, and I included it last year in a somewhat long-winded and peculiar post about my long association with foxes. https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/baby-foxes/
In the above picture you should notice no green lushness. It isn’t June, and the mother fox already has three mouths to feed. This year, at the same time, there was still snow, and the cold was cruel, and as a consequence some of the little mouths to feed didn’t get fed, and the mother fox only has one mouth left to feed, this June.
At our childcare children learn about nature. They are not incarcerated in a steel-fenced-in yard, more befitting a criminal penitentiary, called a “playground.” They run free, within much wider bounds, and though carefully supervised they are not “organized,” and when they play their play is not “organized sports,” and when they learn about nature she is not an “organized nature.”
Other kids learn about nature indoors, and when they see foxes it is on video, and they have a most peculiar idea about nature. They feel nature is a fragile thing, and humans break it. Rather than loving the fields and streams, and wanting to hike the forests and hills, they want to stay indoors, because they feel they can do it no good by approaching nature.
By the time little children leave my childcare for kindergarten at age five they are smarter than that, and smarter than a lot of full grown environmentalists. Rather than fearing nature they love nature.
To be blunt, I think a lot of full grown environmentalists have never done what my kids do. They have never watched a mother fox by her den with her pups. They have never raised chickens. They have never known how infuriating it is to have a best hen nabbed by a mother fox in broad daylight.
It goes on and on from there. Lots of environmentalists have never hoed corn under a hot sun. Nor have they picked that corn, roasted it over hot coals, and munched it on a summer afternoon. Not that I make my kids do this, (or trust them with a campfire,) but they tend to tag along as I do this stuff, and learn through a sort of osmosis. I get the distinct impression many environmentalists never learned in this manner, and instead only watched videos at a penitentiary childcare.
My kids know Nature is no fragile thing. I don’t teach them this. She does. If you leave your videos and get out in the weather, you learn what a mother fox knows: Mother Nature can kick your ass, and leave you feeling darn lucky you have even one of your children alive.
The people in Washington DC are unaware of this reality, called “Nature”. They live in an illusion wherein, if you don’t grow corn, you can eat corn, by printing it out on a printing press. They are bankrupt, but feel they have power because they can print out lots of hundred dollar bills. In this delusion they ignore the worst winter we’ve had since the 1970’s, and insanely yammer about Global Warming. After a winter where the poor could barely afford to stay warm, they think it wise to increase the cost of heating with Carbon taxes.
Hello? Hello? Anyone at home in those skulls?
I am not able to print money when I need it, and cannot feed the kids at my childcare corn unless I plant it. At age sixty-one, I’m finding it harder to do all the digging. To be honest, I’m falling behind. For crying out loud! It is June, and I’m just getting the beans and squash planted!
Oh, I suppose I could play the blame-game. We did get our last frost on May 29, which is very late. I’ve had other responsibilities to attend to, as well. However, when dealing with Mother Nature, the blame-game doesn’t work. She is one tough cookie, and isn’t about to listen if I whimper, “But I’m sixty-one.” Or, well, maybe she’ll listen, but her mercy may be to put me out of my misery. I prefer to shut up and work.
In any case I was down on my knees, working manure and wood ashes into the soil, this evening, and then covering the stirred soil with a layer of mellow topsoil, and planting hills of winter squash. (When squash has a basement of such richness you can get some spectacular yields), (if the vine borers don’t attack). As I worked I became aware the crows were cawing like crazy in the trees past the edge of the pasture, and the cawing was coming closer. I froze, and remained very still in my crouch, and saw a fox come trotting out into the pasture. To my delight it was followed by bounding baby, (I’m never sure whether you call them “pups” or “kits”).
I was surprised they didn’t head for my chickens, but rather in the general direction of my goats, who were all attentively cocking radar ears towards the foxes. The mother would trot ahead to some hole a vole or mouse made, sniff at it, and the pup-kit, which had lagged behind, would come dashing up to sniff as well, and then be left behind sniffing, as the mother trotted ahead to the next lesson. However she abruptly froze in her tracks. She hadn’t noticed me, but rather my bored dog, sitting by my truck waiting for me to be done with the nonsense of squash.
Without much fuss the mother fox headed the other way, still pausing at interesting tussocks of grass and divots in the pasture, and waiting for her kit-cub to boundingly catch up. I was hoping my dumb dog wouldn’t notice, but abruptly she sat up, and then took off like a rocket for the mother fox and her pup-kit.
I commanded my dog to stop, and as usual it didn’t. Some people think my dog is named, “El Seeno,” and is Hispanic, but actually her name is “Elsie”, but I am always yelling “Elsie! No!” at the top of my lungs.
Elsie is an utterly illogical dog. She cowers from butterflies yet attacks bees, despite being repetitively stung. She savagely barks at jets passing miles overhead, yet will yawn at a great blue heron landing by the farm pond. She’s scared of cats, but now was heading at roughly thirty miles an hour towards a mother fox protecting a lone surviving child. I sat back to see what would happen.
The little fox made a beeline for the edge of the trees, but the mother fox didn’t bolt, and instead trotted smiling towards the charging dog. Then she did an astounding thing. She sat down on her haunches and simply waited, in a most nonchalant way. Elsie never slowed, and in fact increased her speed. Then the mother fox barked a high and scratchy yowl-yap, and ran off in a zig-zag, first one way and then another, but never the way her baby went. Elsie hardly swerved at all, and was close behind the fox as they vanished into the trees by the south side of the pasture. I heard a yowl-yap from that direction, and then from the west edge of the pasture, and then, more distantly, from the west-northwest, which likely indicated a reunion with her pup-kit, as that was direction the child had fled. I knew it had nothing to do with Elsie, for Elsie reappeared way back at the south edge of the pasture.
I thought she looked a bit humbled. It reminded me of a time she chased an otter into some shubbery, with her tail high and wagging, and only got half way into the shubbery before her tail went down, and she came carefully backing out. Perhaps that dog is not quite as dumb as she looks. However I did praise her as she came back panting, despite the fact she disobeyed, because my chickens are safe a little longer.
And the moral of this story is this: Mother Nature isn’t fragile. I might be fragile, and my dog might be fragile, but she isn’t.
The only sad thing is this event happened on the weekend, and the kids at my childcare didn’t get to witness it.
A nice ending to the hottest day so far, this spring.