A sweet surprise

This is the time of year when Mother Nature blesses the world with new life — not only with the lambs in our fields, but all around us. New green shoots come forth from old gray stems or rich black earth, and the fields are filled with newborn calves, foals, and kids frolicking in the warming sun.

The bravest of the fox kits proves to its siblings that I am no threat, bravely standing in the road despite my waving and whistling.

Early on Friday morning, I had to run to the vet to pick up some medication for the flock. Upon my return I was just about to turn into our driveway when something caught my eye on the opposite side of the road. As I slowed down to get a better look, I noticed a pair of fox kits just at the road’s edge. I was not only afraid for their safety, but also enchanted by their play, so I pulled over at the crest of the hill and rolled down my window to get a better look. Almost immediately one of the two ran back, joining another sibling at the mouth of the den built into the base of an uprooted roadside tree. The other one stayed put, however, proving that it was not afraid and that I was not a problem.

Slowly, the second one came back to the roadside and returned to the game at hand, seemingly forgetting I was there. These babies were no longer at all afraid of my presence as they stared up at me in my truck. They rolled around in the gravel of the road and growled at each other in the tussle of play fighting. If I spoke or waved to the pair to move off of the road, they would pause to look at me but were otherwise unconcerned about my presence or actions as I watched their activities.

A fourth sibling joined the group before I headed home.

It wasn’t long before the fourth kit popped out of the den. This was obviously the shy one of the group, and it stood in the shadows until I moved my truck forward a bit, out of the direct line of sight. Then it, too, slowly joined in the game that had begun earlier. And there I sat in my truck, watching four fox kits rolling and growling and snarling their oh-so-vicious baby warnings to each other. I sat and smiled, not believing my luck in coming across this scene so near my home.

I suppose this means that I will have to be extra careful with my chickens when they arrive in June. I’m fairly certain that my previous chicks didn’t go to feed this young family, since the chain link fence is fairly fox-proof. On the other hand, these babies must eat too, and if that’s where my lost colony of chickens went, I’m not so terribly sad. In nature, some animals must provide nourishment for others — that’s simply the way of survival.


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