Friday, January 27, 2017

Update on the Fox!

For a while I thought perhaps we had lost 'our' fox as the stock dog, Bob, drug in a pretty dessicated fox carcass about 3 weeks ago.  I had not seen the fox hunting in front of the house in quite a while so I thought........................

Then about a week ago, the dogs started having an evening ruckus every night about 9 pm.  Oh, I thought, the fox is back.

And sure nuff, he was as I saw him yesterday sitting by his apparently favorite prairie dog hole, patiently waiting for said varmit to pop up and become a meal.  I really don't know how many he has caught.

I was glad to see him!  I suppose the carcass the dog drug in was probably a relative, perhaps one of his kits.

Red foxes range throughout North America.  They are a fairly common sight here on our place.  I can absolutely guarantee you the cutest thing you will EVER see is one of these:
Red Fox kit
Kits are very playful and we have watched quite a few litters being raised on our place.  It's really fun to watch them wrestle and play with their siblings.   One time while riding we came across two kits who had obviously strayed from their mom.   Tony was scolding them and they would cock their ears and heads as though trying to grasp what he was saying.  TOO cute!

In Wyoming, you are allowed to capture and keep red foxes as pets.  I cringe whenever I see one as it was certainly captured as a young kit.   They never become very domesticated and most eventually escape to the wild.   Hunting is a skill that is learned from their parents.  So that escaped fox probably is doomed to a horrible death by starvation.   I wish the game and fish would end the practice of allowing them to be kept as pets.

Foxes have been the subject of literature in the US for a long time.  Who can forget Uncle Remus and his Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit tales from 1881?

We've really had no other wildlife visits this winter other than our resident 'Brer Fox' and the usual troupes of deer and antelope.   We've not seen the elk for quite some time so they must be somewhere else this winter.

The phrase "Wyoming Wildlife - Worth the Watching" is certainly true!  One of the great perks of living in the country.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Wyoming Winter Visitor

The cold continues at 60 miles North of Nowhere.  A whopping ZERO this morning at 8 a.m.  But at least this morning the wind has abated.  Instead of 40 mph it's only 9 mph which seems like nothing.  Last night when I went to bed the wind was clipping along indicating a new front was moving in.  I guess the cold was the new front as the wind is out of the north instead of the usual southwest.

I've read accounts of how the wind would drive people insane in frontier Wyoming.  I believe it.  It's darn near had me there a time or two.

One of the perks of living here is the wildlife and now we have somewhat of a mystery on our hands.

I first became aware of our winter visitor when Bob, the stock dog, began throwing barking fits in the morning.  When I went to investigate, I found this:

Can you spot the visitor in this photo?

Oh here he is!

A fox! He was sitting intently watching for prairie dogs to devour. Hey Bud,
 I wish you great success. Eat all you can.

I think he is a red fox as he is unusually large for a fox. Isn't he beautiful!!!
We also have swift foxes in Wyoming but they are smaller and because he 
is larger and red, I believe he is a red fox (Vulpes vulpes). It took me a
couple of tries to get a photo of him. I had to be sneaky because as soon as
 I stepped outside, he would look over his shoulder at me and move into the 
drainage ditch behind him in the photos. 

He didn't seem very afraid though. The dog did not bother him at all.
Maybe just camera shy? He visited quite regularly for a couple of
weeks but now seems to have moved on to better hunting grounds.

Several years ago, one of the stock dogs, Brookie, would play regularly 
with a young fox. She would chase it, then it would chase her. This
went on for the course of a summer. Since the dog does not bother
this guy, we are wondering if this is the fox who used to play with
the dogs? A mystery we probably will never solve.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wyoming Winter Hints for the Woefully Under Informed

We are deep into a cold snap which seems to have lasted since well before Thanksgiving.  Christmas Day at Sixty Miles North of Nowhere arrived with snow and temps of 24 below zero.  A nice white cool day....

I feel compelled that perhaps I should explain a few things about Wyoming Winter to you:
My car after a few flakes of snow.........

1.  The term 'breezy' in the local weather report.   This means you will have category 1 hurricane force winds.  Be prepared to experience this from October 15th through April 24th.  Every day will be 'breezy' with sustained winds of 75 mph.

2.  Gusts - here again the weatherman will refer to breezy with gusts.  Gusts are a short burst of wind that will blow you, the dog, and your car into the next state east.  Usually Nebraska.  Sometimes South Dakota depending on your locale.

3.  Chilly - anything below zero degrees farenheit is 'chilly'.  Minus 24?  Your nose instantly froze shut and your lungs won't work? Chilly.

4.  Wind Chill - you multiply chilly with either breezy or gusts to get a minus degree temperature 'feels like' that is somewhere way south of the lowest point your thermometer reaches which is usually minus 50 degrees.  If you bought a wimpy outdoor thermometer.
2 below zero

5. Dress Appropriately - You look like the michlen tire man from wearing so much cold weather gear. Only look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy dressed for a Christmas Caroling?  Put more on, you are woefully under dressed for the 'chilly' weather.

6.  Pacs -  Term used for snow boots with felt liners and worn universally by men, women, children, and Yeti's in Wyolming.You don't need to go to the gym because you get plenty of aerobic just walking with 20 lbs of PAC boots on each foot.

7.  Block Heater - A handy device which attaches to your engine block on one end and your electrical outdoor outlet on the other.  It will warm the engine block enough in 'chilly' conditions to let it turn over and start.  It also warms the heart and pocketbook of the local electrical electrical company.  You make sure your engine heater is plugged in till the 4th of July. AND the horse who 'will unplug it in the middle of the night' is IN THE BARN.

8.  Christmas list - Your Christmas wish list included a new set of tire chains. What, Santa did not bring you tire chains.  Sorry, you are screwed.  Most certainly you will spend the winter 'high-centered'.

9.  High Centered -  Stuck, like up past your vehicle frame in snow.  Never to be 'unstuck' until mid-summer. Proper useage in a sentence: "((&#(&#@!! I'm high Centered!! (*&#@*#@!!!"

10. Gurneys - A gardening catalog every Wyoming household received about October. The Gurney people know ALL ABOUT impluse buying in the winter.  You are obsessessed with the Gurneys catalog beginning in January knowing they don't sell anything neat for a zone 3 climate zone. But you will order the zone 4's ever hopeful......................

11. Goals  - You don't dream about anything other than moving South, anywhere south as long as it's at least 2 climate zones.

12,  Native - Someone born in Wyoming who never achieve their goal of moving 'south' as they are still froze to the ground.  Here's my native when I snagged him 45 years ago.  It was both 'chilly' and 'breezy' when this picture was taken.  We are still frozen to this spot even though I'm not 'native.'

And that's my handy tips and definitions for the Woefully Under Informed about our Wonderful Wyoming Winters!  Hope you enjoyed.