Urban Wilderness

The hotel was lovely, the company was charming and the small amount of gambling that we did was fun but I think at heart, I’m just not cut out for places like Las Vegas.  I’m not sure who exactly is suited to life in Las Vegas, but the place is WALL-TO-WALL people and growing by leaps and bounds.

Here in Ann Arbor we’re always growing, too, although right in our neighborhood things are well established and the lots are large. We are a short half mile to the heart of town and the houses run the gamut from modest Cape Cods (us) to large brick Tudors but what we all have in common are trees, shrubbery and gardens. The landscaping is mature and, especially at this time of year, wonderfully lush. There is a vast and varied population of feeder birds and small mammals and rodents common to urban environments. At any given time we have raccoons, skunks, possums all living under the back deck. They seem to co-exist with each other as well as the cats; on many a summer evening Mrs. Skunk and her children and Mrs. Raccoon and her children are all dining in the yard under the bird feeders while McCloud and Sophie observe from high atop the porch railings.

That’s typical but more and more we are seeing creatures that are not what you normally expect in your urban backyard. A couple weeks ago we had wild turkeys roaming around. Earlier this year I looked out and saw two deer off their feet resting on the back deck.Perhaps they were observing that their world seems to be wall-to-wall people these days.

One recent evening I heard a commotion out there and when I looked both cats were puffed up to a faretheewell and swiping at the door to get in. As they fell over each other in a race into the house I thought I caught a glimpse of an unusually large cat? dog? with a bushy tail ducking under the shrubs at the side of the lot. I told Rich I thought I might have seen a fox in the yard and then a few days later we did, in fact, catch a glimpse of a red fox scooting into the brush across the street.

This morning Rich was walking along the edge of the golf course, engaged in his usual peculiar meditative activity of gathering up stray balls that fall in the woods and leaving them in little piles near the ninth hole. Look what he discovered. Clearly this is their territory and den because he had enough time to run back to the house and fetch me and my camera. There were four pups and either mom or dad. At first, I just assumed it was mom but at second glance I didn’t see a matronly underbelly so perhaps mom was back in our yard looking for breakfast? These pups were wrestling and pouncing with gay abandon until mom/dad decided I had been in their space long enough and took the gang back into the woods.Mom_2Pup_1

25 responses to “Urban Wilderness

  1. The fox pups are cute, but the dad looks disproportionate (is that the right word?) to me. HIs tail is huge. I am glad you had a good time with Hoss.

  2. The babies are adorable, even if the fox is one of the smelliest animals. (next to Mrs. Skunk and her kids) I hope they don’t get too accustomed to humans, for their own good. Have you ever heard them? I am still trying to figure out what was doing the banshee screams outside my window back in March. If they were doing the mating game, they were definitely NOT having a good time!

    I had faith last week. I planted two tomatoe plants. Now it is cold, for four days straight it is in the fifties and a 20 – 30 mph wind from the NE. I think this is a sign for me to stay out of the dirt.

    Glad your back. Glad you had fun. Tell Gene hello.
    About Las Vegas, I don’t care how low the humidity gets or that sweat dries in five seconds, 110 in May is just plain TOO HOT!!!!

  3. They’re beautiful.

    I was in L.V. once for a convention and was so depressed. Those people didn’t look happy at all – they just looked sad and zombie like. I’m in no hurry to go back.

  4. My mom told me a story about a friend of hers. Everyone had been seeing foxes running around but couldn’t figure out where they were denning. This guy and his son were walking through an empty ditch and finally found the den. At least, they think it was the den, judging from the 19 cat skulls scattered about. Fox pups are hungry little people.

    The amount of water people use in Las Vegas is unfuckingbelievable. I wish utilities would charge the true cost of the water they deliver. Aaaagh!*falls off soapbox*

  5. Ditto to what Michelle said about the water in Las Vegas. The whole town is a monument to conspicuous consumption, which makes it quintessentially American I suppose.

    Awesome fox pictures. Keep an eye on your kitties.

  6. Vicki– those are amazing fox photos. What sweet looking pups. You are so lucky to see such fantastic wildlife, especially while they are romping in the woods and unknowingly posing so splendidly for your camera. Beautiful creatures.

  7. You write well, Vicki! Ann Arbor aka W. Ypsilanti sounds like a mighty fine town-o. Well, except for those wolverines running wild. I remember when peculiar and gay were positive adjectives. I feel as old as Hoss!

    Bruce is learning the guitar so that he can play along with Betsy’s fiddle. The last two verses of THE FOX, the first song that he mastered, come to mind:

    He ran till he came to his nice warm den
    And there were the little ones 8, 9, 10
    Sayin’ Daddy, Daddy better go back again
    It must be a mighty fine town-o, town-o, town-o
    Daddy, Daddy go back again
    For it must be a mighty fine town-o!

    The Fox and his Wife, without any strife
    They cut up the goose with a fork and a knife
    And they never had such a supper in their life
    And the little ones chewed on the bones-o, bones-o, bones-o
    They never had such a supper in their life
    And the little ones chewed on the bones-o!

  8. Are you enjoy the recent additions to your neighborhood wild-life or is it troubling/annoying to you? I was just curious, as I know there are often differing opinions on whether more animals in a “human” environment are good or bad, especially for the animals who are already there.

    Regardless of whether you like them or not, the fox pups are absolutely GORGEOUS… The daddy does look a little out of proportion with his huge tail, but he’s so beautiful we’ll forgive him.

  9. They are so beautiful!

  10. Awwww…didn’t it just want to make you gather them up and take them home?

  11. You left without me! I coulda jumped in my wheelchair and got right over there. Except I don’t have one. I woulda figured out something, though. Probably. Maybe. Maybe not.

  12. A modest cape cod in Ann Arbor? My brother-in-law and I just toured a modest A2 cape cod at an open house on Sunday. For the price they were asking, I could afford a modest castle in my hometown of Bay City.

    Glad you survived your trip to Sin City. And, yes, the Saline Fiddlers rock!

  13. Lovely, Vicki. Really lovely.

    We only get turkey and deer around these parts. Well, and racoons, skunks, black widows…the list goes on.

  14. I truly enjoyed meeting you over the weekend. It was a pleasure. I wish Gene would have posted the picture that the waiter took so you would be in it, too.

    I love the pictures of the fox pups.

  15. OMG, are they cute!

    My in-laws live just a few minutes up the mountain from us and they saw four “juvenile” foxes in their yard just a few days ago.

    We have wild turkey flocks all over North Asheville. They’re a pain because they cause traffic jams (relative, I know) and eat my basil! But my cats love to pretend to stalk them.

  16. Where’s out foxy lady?!

  17. Er, our foxy lady?! I’m plum where’d out from trying to find you over here!

  18. Where did you go? Are you in Florida visiting the bees or those “genital” plants? Are you sick? The cottonwood are blowing here, it looks like a snowstorm. I have moved inside. Hello out there. Has Vicki been seen anywhere?

  19. I think I saw that fox on my side of town. Or I saw a fox…and herds of deer. I hope you are doing well 🙂

    BTW, my URL has changed, thanks to hijackers. I have it updated on the comments.

  20. I miss you, Vicki. Hope everything is okay.

  21. I have seen foxes, and I think coyotes around our area. (not too mention a couple of peacocks–I thought I’d lost my mind!) They must have escaped their pen in someone’s back yard.

  22. Those pictures are amazing! Great work!!

  23. What settings did you use on your camera?

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