Monday, 25 July 2011

"With black prick ears and sandy whiskers."

The farmer does some sub-contract haymaking for several people in our village and as the weather seems to be fairly hopeful for this week, according to the long-range forecast, he thought he would make a start.

During the morning he went back to the same area three times and each time he saw a fox. The first couple of times the fox just ran along the wall, jumped over into the next field and disappeared. The third time it strolled amongst the sheep who carried on eating in the field and took absolutely no notice of it at all. He said it was a beautiful young animal.

Isn't it odd how farmers and lots of countrymen have this love-hate relationship with the fox. They catch plenty of rabbits, which makes them the farmer's friend. But of course, they also catch hens and other poultry given half a chance and that makes them a sworn enemy.

When the farmer came in for his lunch he said, "You'll never guess what I have seen this morning." I asked for clue and he said it had three letters in it. Knowing it was unlikely to be a gnu or an elk I guessed immediately!

Beatrix Potter makes the fox in Jemima Puddleduck such a smart, handsome gentleman "seated on a tree stump, reading a newspaper", but even she manages to show up his wily nature as he fattens Jemima up for the pot.

Yesterday, I stood in the bathroom window looking out onto one of our nest boxes in the Scots pine trees. This particular nest box has a brood of tree sparrows in it. As I watched a greater spotted woodpecker landed by the hole and proceeded to dip in and throw out feathers and bits of nest. Finally it seemed to extract a young fledgling and flew off with it in its beak.

There's nothing kind about nature is there? It seems to be a case of dog eat dog.


Nora said...

Nature is more cruel than we imagine it to be.

Heather said...

I had no idea that woodpeckers had such nasty habits. Foxes are such beautiful animals but they too have nasty habits. Having said that, the human race has it's moments.

angryparsnip said...

Yes the fox is quite 50/50 to the farmer but I think they are needed to control the rabbit and vermin population.
I so dislike when people have kills where they go after one group of animals.
They need to remember whet happened in the Middle Ages where they killed off all the cats and the rats over populated and spread the plague.
Didn't know that about the Woodpeckers. Just assumed they ate bugs.

cheers, parsnip

John Gray said...

tooth and claw....

never fails to turn my blood cold and interest me at the same time!!!

foxes here as you may recall are not so much of a problem as badgers are!!
anyhow my address is

thank you for your offer of a donation, I am very touched

H said...

Foxes visit my garden on a regular basis. Every day this week, there has been one sunbathing at the bottom of my grass. I love to see them.

My ex-farmer uncle, on the other hand, used to keep ducks. He would shoot a fox as soon as look at it!

By the way, I'm off 'volunteering' for a couple of weeks. I'm going to try to post a photo a day, but won't have any time for visiting. Back soon :)

Dartford Warbler said...

"Our" foxes do a good job, helping the buzzards to keep the rabbit population down. We don`t have poultry or lambs, so they are welcome here!

Mary Elizabeth said...

I love your pictures...nature is beautiful in your part of the world!!
Thank you for your get well wishes. I'm happy to say that I'm almost back to my ol' self. Perhaps that isn't a good thing!!

Pondside said...

What a little horror to see from your window - but as they say, it's 'the circle of life'.

Dave King said...

I think you're right about nature. There's nothing kind and nothing fair. It's really big dog eat small dog, isn't it? Lovely post, as per usual.

I've just been reading that the farmers in the Alps are worried about the rise of the wolf. They think there are now over 200 of them hunting in 20 packs.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the comments - I suppose we have no alternative other than to accept that even the most cuddly and unusual things in nature have a cruel side.

Mary said...

I can send you more cute foxes from the back garden!! Actually, of the five kits we had in June, only two seemed to survive. Since Africa last year and watching several kills, as much as it seems so sad I know now it's the only way our wildlife can survive!

Meanwhile, off we go to the grocery store or the market stand for a meal..........some of us with cell phones in hand so we can call home and ask the hubby "is there anything you need dear?". Ha! ha!

Mary X