Not So Fantastic, Mr. Fox

I first saw the fox on Friday (not last Friday, but the one before that; the blog runs about a week behind life, generally). Bird and I were coming back from a walk, and halfway down the hill I noticed something in the lawn. A face. Ears. A moment later it noticed me too, and ran into the tall grass by the garden. A fox. Five feet away from my chickens. They looked alarmed. Bird never saw it.
Before I moved here, I never saw a fox. Since I moved here, I have seen quite a few. Every time I see one I feel as though I've been given a gift. The thing is, the feeling is bittersweet. Foxes are beautiful and fascinating creatures, but I'm a farmer now, responsible for animals who definitely would have been eaten by something already if it wasn't for me. When Farmer Fin and I watched The Fantastic Mr. Fox, we realized with a sinking feeling that we kind of identified more with Boggis and Bunce and Bean. We rooted for Clooney anyway, of course. But we knew deep down that some day soon, it would be Us vs. Fox.
Fin came out later with the rifle. He waited until he saw the grass move where the fox had gone, and fired a couple times into the ground. The fox was clever and did not move. Eventually we gave up.
For a few days, we didn't see it. Perhaps it learned its lesson, we thought. Wishful thinking. On Tuesday, Fin heard a commotion from the hen houses. He saw the fox four feet from the chickens, who were yelling their heads off. He ran outside in his underwear, rifle in hand, no shoes on his feet, aimed, fired, and dropped it with one shot. The picture below is not as gory as it could be, but is probably not for the faint of heart.
RIP Foxy

I was at work, and when I came home, Fin was digging Foxy's grave. He called a local trapper who said a summer pelt was worthless, and cautioned him against mange. The fox had a cute face, but really big teeth. We felt bad, but mostly relieved that it was gone and our chickens were safe, for the moment at least.

The chickens had quite a scare, especially Celeste, who is older and wiser. Below, left, is evidence of her terrible shock.

The Egg of Terror

Farmer Fin has earned his farmy stripes this year, bringing life into the world and taking life out...all while I was stuck at my day job. All's well that ends well, I suppose.

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Busy Science Project Morning

Dragging myself out of bed for morning milking is not easy. My whole life, I have been kind of a night owl, and these summer days when it doesn't get dark until nine, it takes a while to unwind in the evening. Lately Farmer Fin and I take turns letting one another sleep. I confess that I am the one sleeping in at least two-thirds of the time. He's altruistic.

It's just the getting out of bed part that's difficult. Once I'm up, it's hard to resist the charms of early morning on the hill: today, I saw the mama barn swallow feeding her two-day-old babies. Also, morning is a productive time for me. It's gratifying to realize that you've crossed off half your list by noon. Here's what the kitchen looked like at eight AM today.

From left to right: yogurt straining, half-waxed gouda, kimchi fermenting in jars, soft cheese draining (kimchi and soft cheese were yesterday's projects, but still), feta and chevre draining in the big pot, chick peas cooking for hummus later, and just out of the picture is the coffee that I can't wait to drink. That's right, all before coffee too. Maybe I'll spend the rest of the day in the hammock... :)


July Weekend Harvest

Summer is getting tasty!
Eleventeen gazillion garlic scapes

Dinosaur kale

Two and a half pounds of chanterelles from the woods behind our house

Very excited about this last one. New skills!
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After a Rainstorm

I <3 Summer.
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No Manure, No Magic

Life up here is often like this:

But sometimes, it's like this:
That is the end of the pile. It was as tall as I am when we started moving it!
On the bright side, our compost pile is finally hot enough to kill weed seeds, and the garden is going to love it next spring. So the dirty ol' cycle of life continues.
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