Saturday, June 17, 2017

God's Little Creatures and "Audra's Secret"


photo from Pinterest.com
A Happy Father's Day Weekend to you and yours, and to all little creatures, young and old.....

Today I'll be sharing my love of foxes and something else that I dug up from my computer archives. You'll get to read that after the fox photo gallery!

Yesterday morning I was delighted to see a fox strolling through our back yard that paused to have a sunny snooze. The photos are not the best quality as my phone camera can only zoom in so far. Opening the back door to get a closer photo would cause the fox to run off.

The small barn you see in the far back is owned by our neighbor. It sits "just" over our property line. In the few years we've been here, I think there've been three litters of foxes living under that dilapidated barn. They only stay there until the babies grow up. I think it's been three summers since we've had foxes living in our back yard. The first one had eight kits, and boy, were they fun to watch! Jumping, running, pouncing all over the place - on each other and on the mom or the dad fox!

The first time they were there, I was really nervous for the safety of our kitty, Ebony. But when I called the Wildlife office on the island, I was assured that the foxes would only want to play with cats. Only curious. And that was true, because, the last time the foxes were here, Ebony met one of the parents face-to-face! I watched it all happen.

Between our property and the neighbors beside us are a line of trees and shrubs, etc. which is where Ebony liked to go and sit, especially under the rusty, broken down truck that our neighbor still has in his yard and the piles of junk. Well, this adult fox saw Ebony wander through the trees and shrubs in the neighbor's yard and the fox came from his den towards him. I kept watch. Ebony had no clue that a fox was there and that he was going towards him until they were face to face! Oh my! They just stared at each other.

Then Ebony started slowly backing up and then turned around and made his way - not in a hurry though - back through the bushes and grass over to our yard with the fox watching him. The fox came out of the wooded area onto our lawn a bit back from where Ebony came out  - near where I was. Approximately the same area where the fox is in the photos you see below. When the fox saw me, he took off! I was very glad nothing happened! Just curiosity!  And no, curiosity didn't kill the cat! HA!

In the photos below, the area to the left of the photo is where Ebony and the fox met up. They were probably 20 to 30 feet into the neighbor's property - from the edge of our lawn. All's well that ends well!

Some fox trivia for you. One summer, one of the young ones couldn't walk! His front legs were fine, but he would walk around dragging his hips and back legs! It was distressing to watch all the others run and jump, but this one couldn't do it. What had happened to this little baby fox? I felt like we needed to do something about it, but what could we do? It so happened that one day Bill saw a program about foxes on TV. AND DO YOU KNOW?  It is normal for a baby fox to be born and not have the use of his back legs! Not all of them, but sometimes one or two....BUT....in a short time their hips and muscles recover and strengthen and they are running and jumping around like the others! Amazing! Wouldn't you know....shortly after that we didn't see that little one dragging its legs anymore. What a relief to gain that information!

Here are the two photos I took yesterday morning.
Getting ready to relax!
Taking a snooze!
After he got up from his nap, he came towards our house and I was hoping to get a good close-up photo, but didn't get the chance. He trotted through our driveway, across the street and into our neighbor's yard and kept going. Maybe another time I'll be lucky to get a better photo of him. I just love these animals!

If you were to visit my house, you'd quickly see that I DO love foxes! Here is my collection.

On my fireplace mantel.
In front of the fireplace.
A tiny one on my what-not shelf.
A knitted one. He's wearing a scarf!
Another one sitting in front of the oil painting my mom did for me. This photo was in a previous post about my mother's art.
And still another painting my mom did that you've seen in a previous post.

And yes, a duplicate fox figure. He will be placed outside shortly by the front door for the summer months.
Salt and pepper shakers that I purchased in a cooking store in Reading, Massachusetts.
I've had this for many years. Purchased it from a company in England. It holds a ball of string which is fed through the fox's mouth. His "eyeglasses" that appear to be sitting on his nose are a pair of scissors -  for when you need to cut some string!
And a "napping fox" metal dish sits in the kitchen window.
Other than a fleece blanket with a fox figure on each side, this is the extent of my collection at the moment!

Quite a number of years ago I took a writing correspondence course from the Institute of Children's Literature. It was an 18-month long course and I enjoyed it immensely. I received my diploma in April 2003. I dug out this writing assignment yesterday and doctored it up a bit. I haven't read this in years. Not sure if I'll add to the adventure with more chapters, rework the title, or put it back into hibernation. Yes, it may sound like something you've heard before, but it is different.😉 I apologize for the weird formatting in places. Copying and pasting into Blogger does funny things and try as I might, I can't always fix it.

Perhaps you'd like to make a nice cuppa tea before you keep reading. Herbal, orange pekoe, London Fog latte? 😊

AUDRA'S SECRET

Audra pulled the puffy goose down comforter up to her nose and sighed. She stared at the ceiling, the tree branches casting shadows from the light of the moon. She couldn’t sleep. Thoughts and conversations with herself churned inside her head.
It=s not fair! Holly gets to sleep over Sara=s house all the time. I never get asked. She always has more fun than me. And I have to sleep alone again. I was bored all night and I’ll be bored tomorrow. Mom is having some ladies over for lunch and there won=t be anyone to play with.

Audra turned over on her right side and slipped her hand out from under the covers. “Pussy, Pussy, come here, my little gray kitty,” she called softly, snapping her fingers.

"Meow,” Pussy replied from inside the closet. She meowed again and scratched the wall.
“What=s the matter, Pussy? Come to bed with me.” Audra snapped her fingers again.

When Pussy failed to appear, Audra slipped out of bed, her white nightgown trailing the floor. Quietly and slowly she stepped into the closet to see what Pussy was doing.

“Pussy?” Audra whispered. She knelt down and pushed aside the clothes.

Pussy sat behind the clothes and shoes. A bright light shown through a long crack in the wall. A breath of damp air ruffled Audra’s hair and a faint odor of pine caused her to pause and wonder. Pussy squeezed through the opening and disappeared.

“Pussy, come back!” The crack in the wall grew larger as Audra pushed on the wall boards. Crawling through the opening she emerged onto a moss covered floor inside a large hollow tree trunk. Sunshine shone brightly into the trunk through another opening. Audra crawled out into the sunshine and stood up, her eyes darting here and there, taking in the scenery.

“Ooh! What=s this place?” she wondered. A forest full of oak, maple, spruce and birch trees surrounded her. The sweet scent of apple blossoms filled the air warmed by the sun. Chickadees, blue jays and countless other birds chirped and twittered among the trees. A soft, brown bunny hopped through the lush green ferns and wild flowers that covered the forest floor. Pussy sat a few feet away, washing her face in a fastidious manner with her paws.
“Pussy!” Audra exclaimed, running over to her. Pussy stopped washing and looked up. Her eyes gleamed and her sweet kitty face appeared to break into a smile, if that were possible for a cat to do.

“Hello, Audra,” Pussy said. Audra abruptly stopped and stared at Pussy. A look of bewilderment and shock covered her face at hearing her cat speak and say her name.

“Did you say something, Pussy?” Audra whispered, not believing what she heard coming from the furry mouth of her little gray kitty.

"Of course,” Pussy answered. “Animals can speak, you know, but you can only understand us in Fern Forest.”

“Oh! Fern Forest? Where is this place? What do you do here?” Audra asked. “Is this where you come when I can=t find you?”

“Yes,” Pussy said. She started walking down the moss covered path in a methodical manner. “I have lots of friends here. Come and meet them.”

Audra=s bare feet sunk into the soft, thick moss. It felt deliciously cool and calming. Along the path, wet leaves glistened in the sunlight. The light, cool breeze she had first felt when she crawled into the tree trunk from her bedroom closet had turned warm and inviting. In a few minutes they reached a small clearing. A tiny, gray stone house with a thatch roof was nestled among the ferns and flowers and surrounded by tall fir trees. A wisp of smoke curled from the red brick chimney. The smells of the forest along with the smoke created an ethereal atmosphere. It was if she had stepped into a fairy tale setting. A stout gray mouse wearing a white ruffled cap and apron was busy sweeping the front steps.

“Hello, Pussy!” The mouse called out in a tiny high-pitched singing voice. “I see you brought Audra with you today.”

Audra stared at the mouse, her mouth wide open. “How did you know my name?” She asked.

“Oh, Pussy told me all about you,” said the mouse in her sweet singing voice. “My name is Pixie. Will you stay for tea? I just made some delicious blackberry tarts. Warm and sweet – right out of the oven.”

Audra and Pussy settled down on the soft moss carpet sprinkled with needles from the fir trees while Pixie brought out her tea set of white china decorated with tiny pink polka dots. Tiny silver spoons and pink cloth napkins completed the tea time ensemble. The blackberry tarts were served on a matching plate and set on the white tablecloth. They sipped on peppermint tea and munched on the blackberry tarts while Pixie chattered on. Audra just listened and ate. She was mesmerized by the whole experience. The deliciousness of the tea and treats and sitting next to Pussy who was also indulging in tea and tarts, kept her speechless.

“Audra, you must meet our other friends,” Pixie said. “There=s Piper the Bear, and Basil... Oh, here comes Piper now.”

Audra set her tea cup down on its saucer and turned around. A large brown bear lumbered down the path on all fours. Audra sat still and held her breath as she didn’t quite know what to expect or if she should get up and run. In a normal situation, seeing a bear in the woods would put fear and trembling inside her. With Pussy and Pixie sitting by her side, she somehow sensed that everything was going to be alright. It must be alright, she thought, as a chickadee sat on the bear’s shoulders and chirped a silly song. The bird finished her song and flittered onto the white tablecloth in front of Audra and Pussy.

"Hi, Audra,” chirped the chickadee, spreading her wings outward and taking a bow. “I=m Dee-Dee and this is Piper. We’re getting ready to have a country fair tomorrow on the other side of Fern Forest. We were looking for Basil. He’s in charge of the games.”

Audra sat up on her knees and adjusted her nightgown. Her eyes grew wider as she stared and looked from one animal to the other. She was still amazed that she could converse with them.

“It’s very nice to meet you both. What kind of games are you having, and who is Basil?” she asked.

“Basil is a red fox,” said Piper in a heavy bass-like voice. “He always plans the games. There will be tart eating contests, races, scavenger hunts and prizes. It=s lots of fun.”

“You can come, Audra, if you=d like,” chirped Dee-Dee. “Pussy and Pixie will be coming, as well as our other forest friends.”

“This is so exciting!” exclaimed Audra, as she sipped the last of her peppermint tea and brushed the crumbs off her nightgown. “But I must get back home now. It’s very late. My mother may be checking on me and I won=t be in bed if she does. Thank you for the tea and tarts. They were so delicious. Come on, Pussy. We need to go home.”

Audra and Pussy said their good-byes and skipped back to the hollow tree trunk. Audra pushed through the opening in the closet wall and quietly stole into bed, pulling the covers over her. Pussy jumped up and snuggled next to her. Her purring got louder as she relaxed and curled up to sleep.

“Oh, Pussy,” she whispered, putting her arm around her. “That was so much fun. I can=t believe there is a place like that and I can talk to animals. No one would ever believe me. I can=t wait to go back to Fern Forest. It will be our little secret. We can=t tell anyone. Well, you won=t be able to tell anyone, that=s for sure!”
Pussy twitched her tail and purred louder.
by Linda L. Shukri
(no part of this story can be copied) 
 Have a great rest of the weekend and a wonderful Father's Day!

 "He (God) hath made every thing beautiful in its time; also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

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