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Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get away from the thumping great fox.

No, no…everyone’s fine. Just. The chickens let out a terrible squawking a few hours past, and I ran to the window just in time to see Lucia flap by, followed by Vita, followed by a sleek young fox.

I yelled “FOX!” and hit the door, which was enough to turn him around. Bastard. He was within inches of getting one of my nice birds.

I scooped up Vita, found Violet (O clever bird, she had flown perpendicular to the commotion), checked that Mapp was in her usual place (sitting on the nest trying to hatch a lump of wood), but of Lucia…nothing.

She had lit out up the stairs and into the driveway into forbidden territory. Our drive is fairly long and lined with trees and shrubs and long grass and stinging nettles. There must be a thousand places a panicky chicken could lay low. We spent an hour walking up and down the drive calling her name and listening for the cluck before Uncle B spotted her — clear across the road, over the fence and into a sheep field.

Busy road. Lucky chicken. She was allll kinds of freaked out when I went to collect her and did a little panic dance every time a car went by. So really, having no other tools at my disposal, I shoved her under my shirt to get her back across. I’m not sure either of us will recover from the indignity.

Got back to find our outside cat, the unfixed male, had peed a streak of scent mark right across the face of my banjo. Is that a compliment?


Comment from gebrauchshund
Time: July 11, 2011, 9:18 pm

I can’t say definitively that it is a compliment, but absent any substantial evidence to the contrary I think it would be best to take it as such.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: July 11, 2011, 9:25 pm

I’ve always imagined that foxes were a cross between a dog and a cat. And I wouldn’t doubt the cat put the fox up to it.

Comment from Monsieur Renard
Time: July 11, 2011, 9:32 pm

A predator will return to the human habitation to take the bait a million out of a million times. You can take it to the bank.

The question is, who will outfox whom.

Comment from Sporadic Small Arms Fire
Time: July 11, 2011, 9:38 pm

The book “101 uses For A Dead Cat” by Bond. Simon Bond is doing rather well on Amazon.

Somewhere someplace someone just started a book “11 Uses For A Banjo”. It may be self-published after 2043, I fear.

Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: July 11, 2011, 10:42 pm

The foxes about here have used the abandoned irrigation canals as their freeways. They have made their dens in the undergrowth next to the canals. Over the last 5 to 7 years they have flourished and, sadly, over populated their habitat. A tipping point was reached late last year and a plague of mange has nearly wiped out them out.

‘Tis sobering and sad to see once sleek and quick witted hunters, stumbling, nearly blind with large patches of hair gone wandering aimlessly off to die the long death in some dark den.

We used to see them on the hunt in the wee hours…running rabbits and mice to ground.

BTW, the Denver City council has passed a resolution allowing residents with yards to own up to 9 laying hens!


Comment from Mark Matis
Time: July 11, 2011, 10:59 pm

Hey, SWeas:
I think your cat is just trying to say “Peace be upon you“, or something like that…

Comment from Anonymous
Time: July 11, 2011, 11:08 pm

Funny you should say that, Sven. The two times I’ve caught a fox in the garden going for my chickens, it’s been when the local irrigation ditches have been low and they can use them for travel. They venture into places they don’t otherwise dare.

Nine hens is a respectable flock. Keep a fambly in chickens, easy.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 11, 2011, 11:09 pm

That cat is worth every can of Whiskas that I buy him!

Comment from Deborah
Time: July 12, 2011, 12:18 am

A vet told me that when a dog or cat pees on you or something of yours, it is a sign of approval. For the dog, it means you have been marked, and added to his pack. For a cat—well who knows what a cat thinks, but I suspect he likes your music.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: July 12, 2011, 12:58 am

@ Sven

Backyard chickens could be the new tech bubble. There’s short-term money to be made! A back-yard (free-range), home raised (natural), bug eating (hormone-free), 4 pound ‘green’ bird goes for $19.00 in my local Safeway. Probably more at the Whole Foods down the road.

I’m still trying to get my co-workers with a backyard to join my chicken co-op. San Francisco and Oakland have pretty lenient ‘backyard farm animal’ laws but the fact that Denver isn’t is encouraging in the sense that most other City Folk are clueless and will spend to much money at the Farmers Market for ‘eat local’ merchandise. It’s fucking CHICKEN FEED!

Poultry R Us?
The other Backyard Meat?
Pigeon Slayer?

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: July 12, 2011, 2:18 am

You gotta admit, foxes are really cool looking though.

Comment from bad cat robot
Time: July 12, 2011, 2:34 am

Obviously the fox was after your banjo. Foxes love banjos. (Little known fact). The cat saved you by clearly marking the banjo, kind of like writing down the serial number, so the fox was *foiled*. Chicken terror a mere side-effect.

Comment from David Bain
Time: July 12, 2011, 5:48 am

“the unfixed male, had peed a streak of scent mark right across the face of my banjo”

Everyone’s a critic . . .

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: July 12, 2011, 6:04 am

Nothing like tomcat piss, Stoaty. Good thing, too, because it’s rank and hard to divest yourself of once deposited. Glad to hear your chooks are okay, but I agree with Renard (who I guess would know), he’ll be back. He knows you have food on the hoof, so to speak.

Pooped. Spent afternoon/evening putting items in my etsy shop, and it’s a pain. Need to sleep.

Comment from MIke C.
Time: July 12, 2011, 8:01 am

Time to change the head on the old banjo, is my guess, especially if it’s one of those fibreskin-type heads. You’ll never get the smell out. You might save the metal and wood if you disassemble it immediately and clean it. Cat piss will corrode anything.

For those who don’t know disassembling, cleaning and re-assembling a banjo is a task somewhat akin to building The Great Pyramid of Cheops.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 12, 2011, 10:09 am

… and with an even less musical outcome 😉

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: July 12, 2011, 11:23 am

Heh, UB, everyone’s a critic! Although the line you’re walking may be dangerously close to the same one delineated by leaving the toilet seat UP…

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: July 12, 2011, 11:56 am

“…Is that a compliment?”

Depends – 1) Is that still strung with gut? 2) What (if anything) were you playing just before the event?

Some days, as Mark says, everybody’s a music critic…

Glad ol’ Foxy didn’t get chook for din-din, watch out it doesn’t get to stealing eggs.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 12, 2011, 12:17 pm

Fortunately, this was just the little practice banjo I haul around the house. The head is made of, like, particle board or something.

I actually kind of like the sound. Anyway, cat piss wipes right off.

Comment from Quantavious DeMorell Simkins
Time: July 12, 2011, 1:09 pm

There be some semi-famous obese Negroes in N’Awlins who be sayin dat a guitar dat wuznt done pawned caint play no blues know whut I am sayin. If da guitar wuznt done pawned it caint play no blues, sezhe.

By the same token, a banjo that wuznt done baptized by the bodily and seminal essence of yard critters lacks yard cred. It be a pretender, not a contender. Heh. Heh. It be a pretender, not a contender.

Comment from Deborah
Time: July 12, 2011, 2:45 pm

Poor Mapp.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: July 12, 2011, 4:24 pm

Perhaps he was protesting the use of his brother and sister cats in the making of musical instruments?

How difficult is it to get an air rifle in Great Britain these days? It’ll make quick work of Mr. Fox.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 12, 2011, 7:11 pm

We have an air rifle. Uncle B wants to sight it in and try. Thing is, the fox spots you, he is GONE. Our garden is mostly enclosed by hedges, so you’d never get a shot of him far away.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: July 12, 2011, 7:35 pm

Eh, you don’t REALLY want a “shot of him far away” with an air rifle, unless your intent is to maim him and make him suffer. Is there a spot from which you can see the garden, but not be obvious yourself? A porch or sumthin’ similar? Sit there and wait a while. You can amuse yourself in the meantime with whatever seems porch-worthy – reading, listening to music, or whatever, as long as you keep one eye out for new movement in the garden…

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 12, 2011, 7:54 pm

Actually, what he wants to do is take a shot at him with a BB pistol, neither to kill nor maim but to make him yelp and think twice.

I tried this technique on a squirrel coming out of my attic once. All I got was a really angry resident squirrel.

But, anyhoo, I don’t think he’ll get the chance, and meanwhile I get to play with his air pistol. It’s actually made by Walther and looks like a real PPK.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: July 12, 2011, 9:59 pm

Oooo! Better not let the bobbies see ya with it! Over here, they’d pump 71 bullets into ya and let you lie there dying for an hour before letting the medics look at you. Or at least, that’s the Tuscon way…

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 12, 2011, 10:31 pm

Could be that way here too, MM.

This will be done after dark.. out of sight of prying eyes.

I’d use the air rifle but I’d be bound to maim the critter with a .22 and I don’t hate anything that much.

Well.. except snakes.

And tax collectors. In so far as there’s a difference.

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: July 13, 2011, 1:53 am

This is what this Badger uses to deal with foxeses. Mine has an Aimpoint M2 red dot ight on it. CCI Stingers get the point across, as they will reliably mushroom to over .25 inches.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 13, 2011, 12:19 pm

If only, Scott…if only!

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