Friday, May 16, 2008

Sweet Felicia, The Longtime Fixture In My Garden

Many years ago in our little yard beyond our regular backyard, we discovered we had a fox. The second yard is separated from the first yard by a tall cinderblock fence and covered in Trumpet Vine, which, of course, always provides lots of hidden havens for cats and foxes and pooches alike. You can't kill Trumpet Vine so you basically learn to keep it trimmed back and live in harmony with it.

When our Cairn Terrier LuLu was still alive, she ruled the backyard. That was her outdoor kingdom and she loved it. LuLu was the first alert we ever had, as to the fox & family being in residence. She must have truly traumatized that poor fox, but that's what she was bred to do. Hunt things. She was marvelous at it too, so I always tried to praise as much as I could stomach. The same rules have always applied to the cats. Even when poor old LuLu was blind & deaf with old age, she still managed to corner the fox. She might not have actually been barking in the right direction, but she knew she had something somewhere.

However, when the fox first appeared on the scene my children were both still in lower grade school. It frightened me that a fox was around while they were playing in the backyard with friends, so I arranged for Animal Control to leave a Have A Heart Trap. We tried for over a week to entice Felicia, but to no avail. We tried every delicacy known to foxes. True to her kind, she was not to be easily fooled into some stupid human made cage. We finally gave up and she must have known to lay low for a while because we didn't see her for quite some time.

That's when a friend who grew up in the country on a ranch, made a suggestion to me. She said "You know, when you live in the country you learn to live in harmony with some animals and yet you still know which ones need to be gotten rid of. Like, I'd worry about that fox if it looked rabid, but otherwise, I'd just leave it be. Maybe give it a tomato plant or two of its own and leave them unprotected, just to keep it off your plants. You kill whatever looks rabid and always kill coyotes. Otherwise, it's always best to leave the others be." Words of wisdom are always welcome when it concerns one's garden. Yes, this made sense to me. Even though we don't have a coyote problem here in the center of town. We do have red foxes who love tomatoes just like all the birds do. I'll let them duke it out over who gets what.

Felicia is a stunning example of her species. She has a very sweet face of red outlined by black and white markings and something that very much resembles a grin on her face. I know it sounds looney, but it's totally true. Her tail is almost as long as her body and her hair looks like she hits the salon once a week. The first time anyone sees her, they are thunderstruck. I was. So was Mr. Snooty, Big Hunter. Got all frozen by the beauty of the fair fox Felicia. He came back inside & claimed he couldn't kill her. He who used to love hunting & killing. The sly Felicia does know how to charm. I decided this was a good turn for Mr. Snooty. I don't believe he has really hunted more than birds ever since that day.

So, slowly, over the years, the fair Felicia and I have been at peace with one another out in the garden and I always get an extra little kick from providing for Felicia and her brood or litter or whatever the term is. I think she rather misses good old LuLu giving her chase because we often see her sitting on the sidewalk in the backyard, as if she is looking for her old nemesis and is wondering what became of her. At other times, Felicia seems to be saying to herself "Life is good. I love my yard, especially without that loud, annoying animal that used to corner me by the Oleander bushes". Who knows what a fox thinks.

This evening, Mr. Snooty was going past the garden to the alley to empty trash and happened to spot Felicia sitting out in the garden, next to the children's old playhouse. When he told me, I sneaked out to the garden to try & take a picture, but she was gone before I arrived. It's like she has some kind of Sixth Sense or something equally as perplexing. Perhaps it's just natural instinct but it certainly is uncanny. I have so many questions to ask her. Not that she'd answer. I think she was really wondering where in Hell the garden went, since I haven't yet gotten it planted. This weekend, Felicia. The garden goes in this weekend. Patience Little Grasshopper. I mean Fox. It is my goal this year to catch a photograph of Felicia the Fox

So far this year, I am behind in putting in my veggie garden, by six weeks. The Roto-Tiller we've had for more than 20 years has finally bitten the dust, which is more of a cause in the delay than my blogging, to be fair. It can no longer be repaired and Mr. Snooty doesn't want to purchase a new one. For some reason, Mr. Snooty has no desire to till the garden by hand. Hmmmm… wonder why? I did it many years when our tiller was on loan to any acquaintence that asked him to borrow it. But I won't get started on that.

Still, the garden usually lasts well into November, so there will be plenty of time left to reap, once I've finally sowed. How I do love Summer.

10 comments:

scargosun said...

Foxes are lovely creatures and I love seeing them. This one sounds like she enjoys cohabitation which is nice. Your friend is half right about animals. I don't think you should pick and choose which healthy ones to kill however. Coyotes serve as valuable members of the ecosystem which is why they were reintroduced in certain areas. If you check out the blog, "The Daily Coyote" you'll see why I feel this way. Could you mention this to her?

Snooty Primadona said...

I will, but she lives out on a ranch outside of town and that whole family hates coyotes. She's told me the most horrible stories about coyotes taking down the cows & eating them. She's not likely to change her mind, lol. She's just a good ole cowgirl. And, well, ranch folks just see things differently than we do.

Daryl said...

I sure hope you can catch Felicia on film, I would love to see her ... are trumpet vines anything like kudzu? And arent Oleanders poisonious? Being a city girl who hate the country in summer because of the bugs (fussy bitch, arent I!) I love reading about people who enjoy what I dont .. and I have only book knowledge of Oleanders but have seen kudzu .. which looks pretty but apparently strangles all that it comes in contact with.

:-Daryl

scargosun said...

That's what I figured. You should check the site out sometime though. It's great.

QueenofPlanetHotflash said...

aaahhhh Felicia, great name. Excellent tale Ms. Snooty :)

elizasmom said...

This is great. I love when a little bit of wild comes into our lives. We skunks in our neighborhood (one lived under our porch for a while this winter), and I love the incongruity of it.

Good luck getting pictures of Felicia, she sounds beautiful...

Snooty Primadona said...

I played girly golf today and didn't get home until about 6:00 PM. So, I was in kind of a hissy about dinner, flitting about the kitchen when Mr. S said he was fixing dinner tonight. God, I love that man.

Anyway, he went out for some reason and quickly reopened the door telling me to come quick. Okay, I didn't have my digital & had to run to the front hall & back to get it. Which took an eternity. I was trying to get it turned on and switched to the right setting and by the time I made the backporch, I could just see her through the Eleagnus. Then, she slipped through the only downed piece of wood in the entire fence, off to her den. I never had a chance.

This is certainly going to take the patience of Job, lol. I do have one exciting piece of news though. Mr. S and I both saw her mommy nipples hanging down, so she has babies! Yippeeeeee! Last year when she had babies, there were 4 and they would sit up on my fence at night, with just their little heads showing, cocked to the side. I can't tell you how adorable they were. From afar, lol.

noble pig said...

Oh can we come to your house? My kids always ask to see a fox. Felicia sounds wonderful and sweet.

Snooty Primadona said...

Of course, you must realize, as do I, that she is probably Felicia #10, for all we know. The funny thing is, she has started pooping in the backyard which Mr. S really gets pissed off about. She wouldn't dare do it in the garden though. That's where she eats, lol.

Sometimes it's like Wild Kingdom around here...

Mental P Mama said...

Love it! I want pictures of Felicia and family as well. Great story. And I also love the Daily Coyote as well. It is fascinating the diverse feelings on those animals. We have plenty of them here...we give them a wide berth and keep a close eye on our pets. Good luck with the garden. I am in the yard this weekend, too!

 

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