Sunday, January 26, 2014

Feeding the Foxes

2013 was a rough year for the gray foxes living in our neighborhood. After the female gray fox was hit in December 2012, I worried for them; but in the spring, I saw a pair of fox tracks weaving through the freshly-fallen snow, and I had hope again. Over the summer, Steph and I spotted them often on our walks: usually pups, they crossed the path or trotted along it, regarding us with a wary curiosity. At one point, when heading home around midnight, we even caught a glimpse of what we're quite certain were two red foxes, walking calmly along the road.

All seemed well for the foxes of the neighborhood, until September hit — and within the span of a week, two fox pups were dead, both victims of traffic. We didn't see any foxes after that, but we did find evidence of their habits; in addition, we heard more about the elusive red foxes that lived down the street. When I put what remained of the doe out at the end of November, I hoped to provide the foxes — both red and gray — with good meat during what was already shaping up to be a ridiculously cold winter.

About a week or so ago, Steph and I looked outside and realized that everything but the deer's head was gone: the spinal column, the ribs, the pelvis — they had been stolen in the night, no doubt by the larger, stronger red foxes. It was incredible! I wondered where the bones would end up, and hoped their final resting place wouldn't be on someone's front lawn. The next morning, the doe's head was gone: the rope tied around her neck had been chewed through.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and our neighborhood foxes — enduring what's been the coldest, snowiest winter in decades — were hungry. They still are.

A few days ago, I pulled a dead cottontail out of our freezer. It had been shot sometime in the autumn and given to us — and I figured that the foxes would rather like it if I left it out for them. Before I skinned the rabbit, I took a couple photos of it hanging.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/i_am_jacques_strappe/12144500916/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/i_am_jacques_strappe/12144216804/

Once skinned, I tied the cottontail securely, leaving it hanging above the ever-rising snow line. The foxes didn't visit last night, but as the temperature continues to hover around 0°F during the day and -10°F at night, I'm sure they will be stopping by soon.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Another Year Down

2013 wasn't a kind year — not for me, nor for Steph, nor for family and friends. It was an all-around unfortunate twelve months, a year that I am glad is now behind me. That said, there were some good things that happened, for which I am quite thankful. I tried new ideas with my photography, namely my Equinox to Equinox project, which involved taking (at least) one photograph every day between the Vernal and Autumnal equinoxes. It forced me to try different approaches with my photography, and it made me take pictures even when outdoor conditions were not ideal. Photography aside, 2013 was also a year of much-needed escapism in the form of comic books, cartoons, and movies. We made friends online, strengthened friendships in town, and began an odyssey of figuring out how to live with food allergies and chronic illness.

Several times, this project was placed on the back burner — limited funds for traveling, limited energy for hiking, limited motivation on account of depression. I'm not as happy with my photography from 2013; while I did improve, I had a lack of subjects due to the reasons mentioned above. It was frustrating, and the long winter and cold summer certainly didn't help. However, the year ended with the harvest and processing of a roadkill deer — something that has always been a dream of mine, and something that is in-line with the core values of this project.

Gray Squirrel III
January 9

February 8

  Buck I
March 15
 
White-Footed MouseApril 24
   CurlMay 11
   Fish BonesJune 15
   GoodbyeJuly 13

   Sparrow Progress III 
August 14
   Trailside Pup VISeptember 8
   Garter Snake, In-Hand IIIOctober 9

   Black Friday III 
November 29

   December 31, 2013 
December 31

So, what can I hope for in 2014? If there's one thing I want more than anything else, it's stability — in all aspects of life. I haven't set any goals yet, at least not for this project. All I can hope for is to get outside when I can, take photographs when I can, and when I'm not doing those things, take care of Steph and myself. 2014 will be a better year. I look forward to seeing what it will bring.

Sociable