(from May 16th) At 5 a.m., I can have a cup of coffee and organize the marbles before the “let’s-get-out-the-door” hubbub starts. Ahhh… That peaceful lull guaranteed between 5 and 6 a.m. One day, I glanced outside to see if the Vulpe vulpes were up and playing yet. Just the mom, the vixen, was out – curled up quietly in the sun. I sat down on the fox-viewing couch with my computer and my coffee and wondered whether she would enjoy a cup of coffee. It wasn’t long before the first pounce. Then the second. The third. And she was on her feet. Then nine baby foxes were at her feet. She reached down and started to clean the closest one. Whoosh! That move was like pushing a “scatter” button. She immediately created three-feet of personal space all around her – with the exception of the one cub she was cleaning. All this without a sound, just a lot of scampering. Silent words surrounding bath time filled the air. “I don’t need a bath… I’m not dirty… Stop it, it tickles when you wash my ears… My hair doesn’t need washed… The itchy bugs aren’t bothering me… NO BATH!”
Later that day, we watched as the vixen was moving rather strangely behind one of the rocks. A little off-balance and awkward. Going to the bathroom? Rabies? After dragging herself toward the rock, she lunged on top of it and cubs detached from her and rolled onto the ground. They came scrambling back to the dairy, but she turned and gave them the eye: another “scatter” button had been pushed.
Throughout the day, we see the cubs more often than the mother. Three or four cubs will play in one area then move off or be joined by a couple more. All day the vixen paces along the ledge, keeping an eye on their wide playground. Familiar noises and movements don’t startle them. However, if the neighbor’s dog comes out or the kids run outside, boom. They run into the ledge. Occasionally, we hear the vixen’s strange, short alarm yelp. That is her “gather” button. No talking back. No “just-one-more-time” or “I just gotta finish this level.” The cubs head for cover.
Late evening, they all disappear. Bedtime. For nine. Now that I would like to see.
That vixen deserves a coffee in the morning.
(Speaking of coffee in the morning, nothing compares to a cup of English coffee with double cream... Uncovering the Real England: Cream.)