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My New Neighbors

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My New Neighbors


Friends -
About a year ago - maybe a little more - I began to hear a very haunting 'barking' in the early morning hours when every thing else was quiet and dark. 'Barking' is not a correct interpretation, as it was more like a hoarse cry - sort of a cross between a cougar and a dog. Some days I thought it might be some exotic tropical bird and I wondered what it was and who the owner was. But over the weeks I would continue to hear the night cry, and because it would come from different directions I knew that it had to be something wild. One day Bob and I were both awaked with a dreadful Tasmanian devil-like ruckus that sounded for sure as though something was being killed and painfully. But I remained at a loss as to what it was.

Then one day this Spring on an early morning run I glimpsed two foxes as they were leaping across Highway 49. Foxes! It may be because they are generally pretty sneaky, but in the 28 years I have lived in Placerville I had never seen a wild fox. I started thinking about those animal calls, and used my computer to find out what foxes sound like. (Ah, the wonders of the internet!). By golly, they have that hoarse animal cry that I had been hearing, and when angry it seems that they can shriek much like Tasmanian devils.

It turns out that foxes mate for life. Both parents share the duties of hunting and caring for their young. Oftentimes one of the parents will do the hunting while the other stays near the den to protect their young from any potential danger. The male will not den with the female and their young, but he is always somewhere close by. I have done a little snooping around in the fields near my house and I think I have found area where my new neighbors may have made their den. I am pleased that they may be long-term neighbors as I learned they will usually return to the same den site each year.

Anyway, I continue to hear that fox call in the early morning hours and I love the fact that my newest neighbors are more useful than most -- at least they will help keep the rodent population down! 'My New Neighbors' will be up for sale at the El Dorado County Artists Studio Tour, September 18-20, and the sale amount will go to help fund M.O.R.E. this time.

Hope to see you then.

Margie Lopez Read