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.