May 1, 2008

Red Fox

I grew up in the country, the closest large city was Springfield, Missouri which was over an hour away. It was seven miles to town, a population of 1200 for groceries and school. I loved growing up in a small town. I never wished to live in the "big city". It was a scary place for country kids. So much traffic, houses so close together, and seemingly unfriendly people honking their horns at one another on the highway. We were used to everyone waving at one another on the highway as they passed.

We would visit out cousins in Lees Summit and Wichita. I often wondered what they did for fun. We used to go swimming everyday in the creek close to our house. It's where my brother taught me how to swim when I was five. He first taught me how to float and then to dog paddle. He also taught me the areas of the creek to stay away from in the event there might be a snake there. Usually pools of quiet water in the shade with a rocky outcrop along the shore. The rapids were fair game and the best place to swim. We used to ride inner tubes down the creek after a large rain.

I have lived in the city for almost 20 years now. I wouldn't swim in the creeks today. I have lost the confidence living in the country brings. It seems too shallow, dirty and there are probably snakes in there! My how my outlook has changed as I have grown older and become a city dweller.

We had lots of wildlife in the country. We would see the occassional deer, squirrels, rabbits, and skunks. In the country you have raccoons, turkey, quail, fox, bobcat, coyotes, etc. We really never saw them. It was very rare. The closest farm to ours was a quarter of a mile away and most farms were farther apart than that. Wildlife had lots of room to roam so it wasn't necessary for them to venture close to farms to find food. We just didn't see them and when we did it was a novelty.

I have seen more wildlife in Kansas City than I ever did in the country while growing up. We have several deer that will graze in my front lawn, nibbling away at my rose bushes, trees, etc. My sister in law, Laurie had a family of skunks under her covered porch that were a real challenge to remove. We have a family of fox that live near our house in the wooded area. We see them regularly and it is a real treat. It drives my dogs crazy however, because they can hear them outside the fence at night. We also have an owl that hoots from the trees at night. I love to hear him.

I love the fox that live in the city and I am so glad that they live nearby to help keep the chipmunks under control at my house. Those dreaded chipmunks - what can you do? I am way outnumbered and have tried moth balls, poison, - nothing works. Thank goodness for my two terriers that keep them out of my flower garden for the most part. Of course, they crash through my perennials chasing the chippys - but everythings a trade off isn't it?


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