Chapter Twenty-Five: The Fox

Friday 30 May 1986 - Rain showers overnight (0.23" since yesterday morning). Fair day, except for pervasive smoke from Canadian fires. Low 55F, high 80F. Walked a little on the Hill; otherwise, around Camp. We had one red fox right at Camp last night, and again today... Hill firsts for me, but Calista had a family on the lawn one year.

Red foxes are not uncommon in the North Country. We would see them occasionally on our drives through the countryside, and would regularly observe their tracks and scats around Camp. But it took fifteen years for me to actually see one on the Hill, and I only had four more sightings in the next ten years. Although some of the views were good ones, all were just chance, brief encounters. Therefore, it was a special treat in 1997 when we had recurring visits by a fox (probably the same one each time?) that gave us lots of time to get to know it.

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Friday 29 August 1997 - Rain pretty well ended with last evening’s thunderstorm (0.08”), but stayed mostly overcast. Foggy for awhile in the early a.m. More sun as the day progressed, but lots of dark clouds, finally beginning to rain about 1830 with a brief (not very close) thunderstorm. Steady but light rain in the evening hours. Low 58F, high 69F.

From 1745 to1800 a red fox was in the field near the hawthorn, doing a lot of stalking and pouncing - probably grasshoppers? [There are a lot of them, also crickets.] I was sawing wood when I first observed it, and it seemed unaffected by our talking and going in and out of the house. Finally [at a point when I’m sure we didn’t do anything to disturb it], it sped off into the upper woods. From 1940 to1950 it was back again, wandering around near the cellar hole and barn, stalking things again. Lost track of it near the high-bush cranberry, when it got too dark to see clearly.

Friday 12 September 1997 - Rain finally started about midnight, over by daylight - 0.16”. Day 50:50 blue-cloudy, very humid. Pretty much cleared off by nightfall, but still, sweaty working/walking weather. Low 55F, high 72F.

From about 1600 to 1730 we had a red fox in the field. It pounced on grasshoppers and/or crickets, dug around, rooted in old logs, ate some scraps (probably cereal) outside our front door, etc. It was seldom out of sight during that time, and it wandered over the whole field, including right up to the house a number of times. It was appropriately frightened when I went outside, and it ran off, but never far. Its coat is in beautiful shape, and I took most of a roll of film of it.

Saturday 13 September 1997 - Low 52F, high 69F. Foggy/sticky in the morning, clearing to just billowing cumulus midday, then various degrees of overcast with very light sprinkles toward evening.

Our fox was back again several times between 1500 and 1800. It was obviously catching crickets and/or grasshoppers in the field. It was curious about us, and watched us when we went outside. Occasionally it would run off as if frightened, but then be back later. Interestingly, Sally first saw it the way I saw a moose a year or so ago: so close to the house that it showed up, upside down, in the open window pane on the north-northwest window.

Thursday 25 September 1997 - Low 32F but no frost [39F indoors], and all our plants are still alive. Bands of clouds passing all day, but quite a bit of sun and blue skies. High 59F.

Just before 1700, the red fox showed up at the house, again. We watched it chase grasshoppers, and generally wander around. I was outside taking pictures of it. It was only slightly wary, but ran off a couple times when I moved too fast or got too close. It kept coming back, however. It was still in the vicinity when I went for my evening walk, but Sally was busy and didn’t follow its movements after that.

Looking in our screen door; no telephoto lens

Saturday 11 October 1997 - Strong winds all night took a lot more leaves. There are still some on the trees, but it’s looking pretty sparse. Day 100% blue, calm after mid-morning. Low 37F, high 57F.

Our fox showed up just at dusk, hung around for an hour or so just below the house.

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