Saints celebrating feast days today include John Gualbert (patron of foresters and park keepers), Veronica (patron of laundresses), Nabor, Felix, Jason, Hermagoras, Fortunatus, John the Iberian, and John Jones.
Born on this day were Henry David Thoreau (1817), George Washington Carver (1864), Oscar Hammerstein II (1895), and Richard Simmons (1948).
Walden With Guns
What a beautiful morning! The sun is rising over Colvos Passage, reflecting golden on the pond and turning the grass picture-postcard green. The white geese are sparkling and the bright berries thick on the hawthorn trees add the perfect splash of red. The only thing that could make it better would be if the fox should suddenly pop up where I could get a good clear shot.
Back in the 60's when I lived in San Francisco and wore bedspreads, I believed with all my extremely large, soft heart, that people could peacefully co-exist with other predators. In my quaint apartment, I read books and articles by naturalists and others who didn't own a flock of chickens, happily accepting all they wrote regarding the much maligned coyote and misunderstood fox.
So, when I finally achieved my dream of living on a farm, I truly believed that I could keep intact both my pacifistic ideals and the poultry. This, however, was not to be.
To put the next few years in a nutshell (or a .22 shell), the foxes got some, I got some foxes.
One day I went to the trap store, which euphemistically calls itself Wildlife Supply, and mentioned to the proprietor that I had been catching foxes in my live trap. "They don't go in no live trap," he corrected me.
"Maybe the foxes around my house are less intelligent than the foxes you trap," I said, "but I do catch them in the live trap."
"I'll tell you what," he smirked, "next time you catch one like that I'll give you $20 for it live."
Well, that sounded suspiciously like a dare to me. Also, I really didn't like killing the foxes. When people asked what I did with the foxes I trapped, I told them I relocated them. My relocation program involved sending them to live with Jesus, but I didn't have to tell anyone that. It would be nice to get $20 of that guy's money, prove a point, and not have to kill the fox.
As luck would have it, the next week I got a call from someone who needed a fox trapped but who didn't want it done if the fox were going to die. "Oh, no," I assured her, "I sell them to a guy in Tacoma alive." Whoopee! I was going to get $25 from her for trapping her fox and then $20 from the Wildlife Supply guy. What a great deal!
out when yer gittin' all you want:
A couple days after setting up the traps, I got the call that the fox was caught. I called to make sure the buyer was going to be home, put some newspapers down in the back of my Honda hatchback (I didn't have a truck that week I guess), and took off smiling, planning to pick up the trap and the fox and the money, put the fox and the trap in the back of the car, drive to Tacoma, drop off the fox and get more money and an enormous amount of satisfaction from showing that guy I was right.
Putting the live fox in the trap in the back of the car turned out to be kind of a project in itself. I had to enlist the help of one of the household's kids to use a 2X4 through the handles to move the trap...the fox was very irritable, something I had not had time to notice with previous foxes, and we had to avoid its teeth. Something else I hadn't noticed previously: foxes have a peculiar smell.
So, fox aboard, off I went toward the highway. The smell became stronger. I rolled down the window. It became still stronger. Finally I had all the windows rolled down and it still smelled like a skunk had hit me right in the face. (Oh, don't even ask about how I know that.) I was driving with my head as far out the window as I could and it was still making me ill. The drive was interminable.
Finally I arrived and with help unloaded the fox, transferred it to a different container, loaded up my trap, got the money and left. No "told-you-so" or anything. I was just too sick. Sometimes it seems that if one didn't have the fun of anticipation, one would have no fun at all.
Needless to say, future foxes have participated in the original relocation program.