Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dolly checks Out a Golf Course and the Sky Is Blue But I'm Grumpy!

     Dolly                                                                                              Ainslie Sheridan copyright  2011

      I am leaving for Saratoga tomorrow with Tica and was hoping to have a quiet, or rather, a reasonably quiet week; didn't happen.  My broken arm is still healing--i.e., sore--and just two days ago I managed to dislocate a finger on the hand that belongs to aforementioned broken arm.  But let me backtrack.

      Here at Windflower we are fortunate in that we abut two hundred acres of conservation and private land that permits horse access.  We are also fortunate that surprisingly few people use it.  And so--as part of our horses' training and before they are mounted--we take them out on a lead and pony them.  They get accustomed to the trails without having the added burden or anxiety of a rider.  They learn to negotiate bridges, streams, stone walls, and logs.  It's a great help to them both physically and mentally, not to mention, just plain fun for them.  Sometimes, if its miserable weather, and we're pretty much guaranteed not to run into hikers we will just let them follow loose behind.  

      But, before this happens, we ensure that the free horse is bonded to the horse being ridden.  They are turned out together for a good two weeks.  In the wild it is the mare who controls when and where the herd moves, and since I have mostly mares, it seemed natural to adapt this to our trail riding.  I've done this with geldings but only with mixed success.  They are less committed to a mare's leadership.  It's not because they are guys--a stallion would absolutely follow the mares.  I think it's just that geldings--for obvious reasons--are less wedded (couldn't resist) to the importance of preserving the integrity and future of the herd. 

      So these past two weeks Dolly has been busy bonding with Tica, my Andalusian and four year old Elementa, my half-Andalusian.  We thought it would be great for Dolly to get out on the trail:  She hasn't been off the farm since she got here and has been doing a lot of good groundwork and is wonderfully obedient in-hand.  So Juliane got aboard Elementa while I led Tica on foot so I could take some photos.  It soon became clear that I would get better pictures if I didn't have to hang on to Tica.  Juliane decided to lead her while still riding Elemta.  But Elementa was a bit full of herself so after a while we decided to let Tica loose as well.  After all, Dolly was subordinate to both horses, so why not?

   Why not?!  Because Tica dominates them both and there was rider aboard to govern her.  Things went well for awhile, that is until Tica saw the golf course and it's unending invitation of green grass.

       This is how the conversation would have gone if Tica and Dolly were human:

      Tica:  "Hey, Dolly, you know I'm the true herd leader here:  Let me show you how I earned the title.  Follow me over this inconsequential stone wall and you'll not only lose the rocky footing and meddlesome mosquitoes, but have access to the best grass you've ever had in your life."
      Dolly:  "Wow, and I thought Windflower's grass was good.  But this--!!!

     Exit Tica and Dolly stage left over stone wall.

       I know, I should have gone after them instead of taking a picture but that might have gotten them running and there was no one there anyway because of the weather.  So Juliane rode along this little paved road you see in the above photos and they gradually followed: But not before checking out several fragile, expensive, and, no doubt, exceptionally tasty putting greens:


      I must spend some part of this evening with my husband and daughter so I'm afraid I won't get to the broken finger this blog.  Details of that will have to wait until next week.   But I will tell you that I have had to cut the middle finger off of the right hand of my white gloves in order to accommodate my splint.   It is therefore regrettably unavoidable that during my dressage tests it will appear as if I am in a constant state of "flipping the bird."  I'm hoping that the purple vet wrap--much prettier and cheaper than the skin-colored
drugstore equivalent--will inform the judges that I intend no 

     Papa Cardinal                                                                                                               Ainslie Sheridan copyright 2011


      Our cats are still under house arrest.  They got out once and managed to take down a poor little baby robin.  We are being super-vigilant, and there will be no parole until this cardinal papa and his babies are out of danger.

                        Two cardinal babies                                Ainslie Sheridan copyright 2011

      Not a hint of the beautiful red feathers to come, but they are in their own homely way somehow endearing.

     I haven't seen the fox family for a while but my friends have and fear that the number of kits has been sharply reduced.  No more than two have been seen out of the original six.  I'll get back there next week and try to get a head count.  I hope it will be closer to six than two.

      I will be back from Saratoga late Sunday night so I hope to have my next blog out by next Monday evening.

      Until then, and thank you for reading The Windflower Weekly.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dollys Story

                           Dolly                                           Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011

Please note:  This blog was just updated to include an improved YouTube of Dolly's Story.

                 I had a bet going with myself.  Which would come first--the "Rapture" or this--? 


        No, no not the cardinal!  I mean those little dapplings of blue sky behind it!  Having endured mud, slime, irretrievably lost horse shoes, and unrelenting grey and rain, I was betting on the Rapture.  But then yesterday the sun peeked out for a few nano-seconds causing Mr. Cardinal to burst fourth into song.  Even though it was a long shot--the blue sky came through at the last--or rather, first.

       But still I  wondered about this "End of the World" thing--that is until I heard at noon yesterday that New Zealand was in the clear since it was already the next day there.  I mean, you can't have a "semi-Rapture" can you?   I know one or two equestrian Kiwis who would feel totally deprived if, say, Ugandans got to see "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" and they didn't.    I, myself, am curious as to what the Book or Revelations means when it says the fourth
horseman rides a horse of "no color at all."  Is he mounted on a cremello?  Perhaps, it's an albino?  However, my curiosity is not invincible, and I will be happy to wait several more decades to find out.

      This blog may appear, upon first glance, as short but it really isn't.  I decided to do a YouTube on Dolly's initial plight at the auction house followed by her first three months here at Windflower.   It turned out to be quite a project.  So much has happened these past three months.  I hope you enjoy it.

       I hope to have another short blog this Wednesday but if rains again all this week I may be too grumpy.  Friday I leave for Saratoga which should provide a great deal of material--good, I hope.  I have a lot to do to get ready.  My Andalusian mare Tica,  is a glorious white; that is, when she is gloriously clean.  We are no where near there yet.  I'm beginning to think I should have listed her breed as Fresian on the entry.

       Talk with you soon and many thanks for taking the time to read this.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Windflower Farm and Mother Nature

                      Windhill Amada and baby Navarro                                                          Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011

        Amada:  This blog is a little late to be celebrating Mothers Day but not too late to be celebrating mothers.  The above is a photo I took over twenty years ago of my first horse Windhill Amada and her foal Navarro when we lived in Groton, MA.  I had Amada from the time she was four months old until the day she died at age twenty-one.  I still miss her acutely and there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of her.
      Fortunately, she lives on in her now twenty two year-old son who resides in Saratoga Springs.  Navarro is treated by his owner--and now my good friend-- Jennifer Symon as the king he is.  She continues with his dressage and Navarro still performs all grand prix movements.  I will be staying with Jennifer when I go to Saratoga in a little over a week and am looking forward to seeing Navarro once again.
      Mother Nature Takes On My Trailer--Again!

        In previous springs there have been times when it has been difficult to use my trailer.  Mother Nature has caught me napping and allowed birds to build their nests inside it.  Once, I actually had to borrow a friend's trailer so I wouldn't have to terminate a nest of newly-hatched barn swallows.  Another time it was a nest of robins,
but that time I wasn't scheduled to go anywhere so they stayed until after they had fledged.
      Last year I simply removed a robins' nest and that seemed to convince the parents that they needed to find a more hospitable building site elsewhere.  But this year's pair was more tenacious.  I had to remove the following and its two subsequent facsimiles:

   Robin's nest                                                                                              Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011        
         I just couldn't bear to keep frustrating them, and I found it distressing to keep leveling their home.  Once I wasn't quick enough and there were already two beautiful blue eggs.  A different form of deterrent was in order:

    "Wesley," the Owl                                                                                            Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011  

       'Wesley the Owl', named after the real Wesley in Stacey O'Brien wonderful book by the same name, and who normally stands watch by my fireplace, did the trick.  I don't know whether it was his predatory (sort-of) appearance or his rather prodigious self that thwarted Mr. And Mrs. Robin, but they did go elsewhere.  In fact, I believe it likely they are the robins who built a nest in a bush growing next to our deck.  Two cardinals have also decided to raise their young there.  Both nests are within easy access of our two felines who are now furious to find they have been relegated to the temporary rank of "indoor cats".
       We've also been fortunate to have a number of Baltimore Orioles arrive this spring.  They are so very pretty and their song seems a constant celebration of life.  Here is one I took with my long lens with an added  Photoshop filter:

         Baltimore Oriole                                                                                    Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011

                        Mother Nature's Orphans

        And then there are always the motherless babies that occasionally come our way.  This teeny squirrel was delivered to me by our next door neighbor.  She and her husband run a popular restaurant here in Acton, and she found some of her employees trying to dispatch it with a broom.  It had been feebly attempting to climb into their dumpster obviously in desperate need of sustenance.  

     Baby gray squirrel                                                                                                      Ainslie Sheridan copyright 2010

       That same squirrel four weeks later enjoying life in a ferret cage outfitted with sleeping bag and heat lamp:

                  Four  week (approx) grey squirrel                                  Ainslie Sheridan copyright 2010

       And two weeks later:

                           Six week (approx) grey squirrel                    Ainslie Sheridan copyright 2010

       I became very attached to this little critter who I named "Reese", (Japanese for 'squirrel').   And I like to think she liked me.  Whenever I worked in my study I would let her out and she would run all over.  I had to keep a close eye on her though because--as you know--squirrels love to chew.  She liked to take paper from the waste basket back to her cage.  She would tear it into small pieces and pad her little hammock with it.  I did have to interrupt her diy efforts once when I saw her heading toward her cage carrying a twenty dollar bill she'd confiscated from the top of my bureau.

      But wastebasket paper and twenty dollar bills didn't hold a candle to her love of chewing plastic.  I often had to interrupt my work to wrest ballpoint pens from her clutches.    Once I left my room to take a phone call and came back to find wet blood-red splotches all over the carpet, tables and chairs.  It seemed a scene from a teen horror flick.  I was in a panic:  With all that blood she had to be dead or certainly ready to be dead.  Then I saw her curled up on a towel on my bed.  Reese and the towel were drenched dark red.

       I touched her with my hand.   Nothing.  I touched her again.  This time Reese sprang to life, ran up my arm and sat her wet little body on top of my head.  She seemed fine, but how could she be?!  Then I saw lying next to the towel--a Bic pen that had been chewed in half.  Only a trace of its red ink remained.  Arrghh!  My panic and sympathy immediately shifted from Reese to me.  After a good washing with doggie shampoo and an unwanted encounter with my blow dryer, Reese was restored to her natural immature gray.   I caught myself in the mirror and saw that my hair now had swaths of red running through it.  I looked like some misguided mom who was making a dismal attempt to bond with her "Goth" daughter.  I hopped in the shower for my unscheduled shampoo.  But it would take several months before my study lost its "chamber of horrors" look.  As for Reese--she spent the remainder of the evening sleeping off her colorful adventures curled up in the pocket of my bathrobe.

       As Reese got older--and she became more and more frenetic--I realized I had to do something.  Perhaps I could have her neutered and then she would calm down.  But that was against Massachusetts law.  In fact, just having her was against Massachusetts law.  I called my brother Pat on Long Island who knew Marc Marrone--you know, the pet guy who frequently guested on Martha Stewart's show before she was sent to the slammer.  He called Mr. Marrone up and asked  about the suitably of a squirrel being a pet.   This was his response, "That squirrel is going to kill your sister!"

       Then, in the mail, came a dvd about squirrels I'd ordered while Reese was still nursing from her eyedropper.  Maybe it had some relevant advice.   I popped it into the player.  My husband Jim walked into the room just as the first scene flashed on the screen:  It was a beautiful Victorian home going up in flames.  Then the narrator's voice, "The majority of house fires in the U.S. are caused by squirrels."  
      "Ainslie, I'm sorry--that squirrel has got to go."
       So the next warm day I opened the window to my bedroom and placed a tree branch against it.  It was a ten foot drop.  Reese ventured  in and out several times before deciding to curl up for the night in her hammock in the ferret cage.  I closed the window.
       The following day was also warm.  Once again I opened the window:  Reese happily scampered out.  After several hours she still hadn't returned.   I left to run errands.  When I got back I opened my study door to find not one, not two, but three squirrels running around bouncing off my walls.  (No doubt they were looking for twenty dollar bills and Bic pens.)  But as soon as they caught sight of me two of them launched themselves through the window.  The third--I  presumed it was Reese--paused on the sill a few moments, gave me a nano-second of a glance, then rushed out to join her new-found friends.  I closed my window and pulled the curtain.

      I saw her--at least, I was quite sure it was she--several times afterwards.  I got to within touching distance but if I held out my hand, she was off.  I was glad her wild genes were kicking in.
Not many people would react well to a squirrel landing on their head.

       More baby squirrels came the following years but by then I had found a squirrel rehabilitater two towns away.  She had a great set-up--several large out-door cages in which she would  over-winter the babies.  Then in spring, she would give them what's called a "soft-release."  She'd open the door to the cages during the day and, if they were back before curfew, they were closed in safely for the night.  In time they forsook their cages to permanently make new homes in the forest. She told me I'd been lucky with Reese.  Squirrels are highly territorial but, from the way I described it, she thought perhaps Reese had just had her first heat cycle.  Hence, the two playful and congenial friends.

       Anyway, here is what to do if you ever find a baby squirrel:
        1.  Put it under a heat lamp.
        2.  Hydrate with lukewarm Pedia-lyte or Gatorade.
        3.  Twelve to twenty-four hours later give it puppy formula.
        4.  Then, don't do what I did with Reese, but call a 
              rehabilitater.  A large veterinary hospital with a wildlife  department should be able to refer you to one in  your area.
       I have to admit, I do miss Reese--her swinging on the end of towel, perching on top of my head to survey her environs, and her little pocket naps.  I hope she has been able to keep off the roads, stay away from the predators, and enjoy an unending supply of acorns.  I also like to think she misses sharing Snickers bars with me.

                            FOX NEWS! 

      Mother Nature has playing a few not-so-funny ironic little jokes on me.   The robins were but the first.  Last week I had to take my trailer in to my mechanic to be serviced.  It also had a flat tire.  It wasn't on the rim yet, and I didn't want to pay to have it towed.  I would take the risk, but I had to drive the  four miles to his shop super slowly or things could heat up--literally.  So I got up at five a.m. to avoid infuriating commuters.  As I was brushing my teeth I glanced out the window to the chicken coop below to see a mass of white feathers. 

       Uh-oh, this didn't look good.  I ran out the door to the coop.  My little white Cochin hen was nowhere in sight.  But, standing less than twenty feet away from me, was a fox!   Usually, foxes will usually bolt at that sight of a human.  Not this one--she was on a mission:  She had come back for yet another chicken.  
        "I'm sorry, you need to go.  You can't have anymore!"  I had to wave my arms before she trotted off.  I'm pretty sure it was a she.  She was small and reluctant to lose her place in this drive-up "McNugget" window I'd provided her.

       My coop was under repair so the chicken wire was missing.  It was surrounded by a four foot typhoon fence but that's nothing to an
agile fox.  And I had forgotten to shut the little door that leads into the chickens' interior roosting area.  It wasn't her fault--it was mine.  I felt sorry I had let that little chicken down.

      And speaking of potential fox targets:  Before the Concord fox kit family relocated I often saw this red squirrel just feet from their den.   Once, when she hung upside down and faced out with her belly, I saw  her swollen teats and knew she was feeding her own babies.  I was relieved on her behalf when the fox family relocated. 

     Red Squirrel Mother                                                                                           Ainslie Sheridan copyright April 2011  

       It has been interesting and a little disappointing to see how some people react when they see my fox pictures.  I showed one woman in a pet store a photo of the vixen.  "Oh, nasty!" she observed.  But the vixen was simply yawning in the sunshine.  Maybe it was those exposed canines.  Another friend mentioned a fox on her property and right away was told the best way to dispatch it was a shotgun.  In Japan's Shinto religion the fox is a creature of veneration.  I've often wondered if this deification had anything to do with the essential role the fox played in controlling the mouse population in the rice fields of ancient Japan.  Rice is vital in Japanese society--nutritionally, of course, but it also has spiritual dimension.

      One shouldn't blame a fox--or for that matter a coyote, raccoon, or a hawk--if it kills something you have.  Protecting your pets and your livestock is your responsibility.  I ought to know--I have failed my own critters on several occasions.  Once--years ago--a fox killed fifteen half- grown chicks I had running around the barn.  I'd just let them out and gone on to feed the horses.  A mere forty-five minutes later I was having coffee in my house.  I happened to  glance out the window--inert little feathered bodies lying everywhere!  And just next to the barn a  fox--carrying one of the chicks in its mouth--headed across my pasture towards the woods.  I tore outside, scooped up the remaining live chickens, tossed them into a stall and shut the barn door.  There were but seven left.

      I was upset and angered by this excess.  Why couldn't she have taken just one?  That I could almost live with.  Everyone has heard what happens when a fox gets in a hen house--an utter and complete massacre.  Still too upset to pick up the dead chicks, I went back into the house.  Then, through a window I saw her again.  I knew my other chicks were safe so I just watched.  She took two little bodies in her mouth and trotted off.  But she was back in fifteen minutes and took yet another two.  The trips continued until all the dead chicks had been removed and taken, no doubt, to her den and grateful kits.

       I got on the computer and read about foxes.  Well, they don't kill to excess.  If they have more than needed at the moment they will larder their food for later.   There is no excess killing in the hen house.  If the fox hasn't taken what it has killed it's because it has been prevented by a more fortified coop or increased human activity. 

       To cap the sad events off that night my friend Alison was planning to arrive with Chinese take-out.   Jim was off on a trip and my children were sleeping at friends' homes,so it would be a fun "girl's night in."  But when she arrived I didn't see the tell-tale grease stains on the brown paper bags. 
      "Where's the Chinese?"
       "I decided to stop at the supermarket instead."  She pulled out a large roasted chicken.
       "Alison, put your coat back on.  We're going out to dinner!" 


                    Fox Family YouTube

      And here is my third YouTube video of the Concord Fox kits with lots of photos of their brave hard working mother.

      Next Sunday we'll have an update on the horses, including, of course, Dolly.  
       Dolly                                                                                                       Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 17, 2011

        At least, that's my plan.   I just can't train well in this mud mess--not even in my normally well-drained dressage arena.  And Saratoga is the weekend after this! Can anyone still remember how to spell "sunshine"? 

     Well, griping aside, I will see you in a few days.  And thank you for reading The Windflower Weekly.






Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dolly Handwalked in the Woods and Has Her Surgery!

    Dolly Portrait (using Photo Shop filters)                                                                    Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011

          Less round-penning for Dolly this week because we wanted to focus on in-hand work so we could lead her on the trail.  My broken humerus has healed but it has left a number of injured muscles, tendons and ligaments that still require me to go to physical therapy 2-3 times a week.   I say this because one terrible pull from Dolly could set me back a good couple of months so it was essential that Dolly's lead- line manners be truly confirmed.  I'm taking Tica to 'Dressage at Saratoga' in less than two weeks so I've got to be extra-careful. 

       My dear friend Anne led first with Brit, our pony mule, who is Dolly's best friend.  We put Anne's daughter Juliane and Quilly, behind Dolly.  That Welsh pony dominates the whole herd--that is except our  32" 'mini' Sky (go figure!)--so we hoped she would provide incentive for Dolly to walk on.   Apologies that the following YouTube is so short, but Anne had to run ahead with Brit so she could video us.  And she couldn't go too far because  we didn't want to risk Dolly getting upset about Brit being out of sight.  This was the  first time in her life Dolly's been led outside and we so wanted it be a positive experience:                                           

      We were very happy:  Dolly comported herself brilliantly--curious about her surroundings--even marveling, I think--but ever so polite and willing to listen on the lead.  Next week we will take her out for a mile or so.

       So why aren't we riding her yet?  That's certainly a reasonable question.   But Dolly still needs more groundwork and desensitizing.  It is a safety issue for us as well as her.  And, with additional work  Juliane and I will be firmly established as her "herd leaders", and so, hopefully, Dolly will find the backing process less stressful.  Also, there is a health issue:  Dolly's over-all musculature--though much better than when she first arrived--is still not sufficiently developed to sustain the weight of a rider.  The groundwork--coupled with in-hand walks--and then ponying behind either Tica or Quilly on trails--will add this muscle and should make backing possible by the end of July or early August.  But don't hold me to it:  Dolly will tell us when she's ready.  And as you know with horses, anything can--and often does--happen.

   Dolly May 11, 2011                                                                                                Ainslie Sheridan copyright 2011

       Last Tuesday Dr. Craig Smith performed surgery on Dolly.  You may recall from an earlier blog, an examination revealed that poor Dolly had delivered a full-term or close to full-term foal. 
The birthing process left her with a large tear which set her up for fecal contamination and a possible subsequent infection.  Dr. Smith,  in fact, said in all his years of practice he had never seen such a serious tear.  Poor Dolly, she really is a survival miracle.

       The surgery was performed with Dolly standing with a general aenesthesia and a local at the actual site.  Craig snipped away the ragged edges of the tear then sewed up the then bleeding wound.   We took advantage of Dolly's passive state and administered her spring shots as well.  Craig will return in three weeks to remove the stitches and booster her Potomac shot.  

      Farrier Jay Smith was also here to trim Dolly's hooves which--thanks to his astute care--are coming along very well.  But don't take my word for it--here's Jay himself:

Jay's website

     This is Dolly the day after her surgery and trim:

 Dolly on day after surgery!                                                                              Ainslie Sheridan copyright  May 11, 2011

      Dolly's outdoor home:

    Dolly                                                                                                                            Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 11, 2011

            I've been involved with horses for well over thirty years and had a multitude of experiences--from breeding and foaling, jumping, dressage, competitive trail--and I have had both expensive horses and dirt-cheap rescues.  But I have to say, no experience has been as rich as sharing my life with this courageous little quarter horse mare who arrived at Windflower that cold winter afternoon in February --a sixty-dollar bag of bones and sadness.  Spring has arrived for us both!

       Windflower would like to take a moment to welcome back Alicia and Anna--who not insensibly--took the winter off: 

                        Anna and Kip                                                                Ainslie Sheridan copyright 2011

                 Alicia on Brit (with Anne Dykiel)                                            Ainslie Sheridan copyright 2011

      I'll release another blog on the farm and the Concord foxes this coming Wednesday or Thursday.  And I'm sorry this one fell so quickly on the heels of my last one but Blogger was down for at least three days hence my delay.

    So I'll see you in a couple of days.   And thank you for taking the time to read the Windflower Weekly-- 
                                       Ainslie Sheridan

 Preview photo of this coming Wednesday's blog:
    Resting Fox Kit                                                                                                    Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011




Friday, May 13, 2011


         Mama Vixen                                                               Ainslie Sheridan copyright May, 2011

       It happened just before the first blush of dawn:  The family living next door to the empty house under which the foxes had their den was awakened by a series of loud yips.  Upon opening their window they saw the mother vixen standing firmly in front of her den vigilantly trying to fend off a large gray coyote.  They shouted and shrieked and fortunately, the coyote trotted off.  Very, very scary!  The leading causes of fox deaths are sarcoptic mange, being struck by cars, and attacked by coyotes.  Attracted at first by the smell of fragments of kill left around and in the den, a coyote will dig into a fox's den and decimate the young.  But thankfully, this mama vixen's yips of distress found her a human allies.

      Please don't think I bear coyotes any ill-will.  I find them fascinating creatures--handsome, clever, and they are wonderful parents. This fellow--or lady--was just trying to make a living or simply struggling to feed its own litter of pups.  I plan to go into detail about coyotes in a future blog, but today I must focus on the foxes who, for those of you who have been following this blog know, have stolen my heart.

      Things seemed to go from bad to worse in "Foxville."  Neighbors reported no activity around the den.  I was so afraid the coyote returned.  But then a call from a friend who lives just two houses down the street:  she had a family of six fox kits!   A different litter?  After all, sibling foxes and mother foxes will often den in the same area.  But up until then, and just two days after the coyote crisis, my friend hadn't seen any kits.  I e-mailed her recent photos of the "pre-coyote" kits.  They appeared to her to be about the same age.   So if that was true she should have seen them at least three weeks earlier.   I drove over to have a look.  I set up my little stadium seat on the grass pasture about a hundred feet from her barn--further than I'd ever positioned myself from their den.  If this was family that had been assaulted by a coyote I thought I should keep a respectful non-threatening distance.         

       I waited two hours then, finally, one kit, then two kits, then three kits emerged.

   Three kits in their new den                                                                       Ainslie Sheridan copyright May, 2011
       Hmm!  I couldn't say for sure these were the same kits  They did look similar but perhaps this was simply their shared "foxiness." Or, to further explain their similarities, they could be first cousins or aunts and uncles, even.  But then Mama Vixen appeared bearing gifts: 

                       Mama Vixen Bearing Gifts                                                       Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011

       I recognized that gray winter coat giving way to red and that earnest sweet face.  This was the vixen who didn't flee but stood her ground for her little ones.  She has successfully relocated her litter and to a better place.  This den was further from the road and the barn had several entrances and exits so they would not be trapped.  

              Heading to the den                                                                        Ainslie Sheridan copyright 2011

                        And then--first come first served!

       First come, first served!                                                    Ainslie Sheridan copyright 2011

          It's all mine!

     It's all mine!                                                                                                                     Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011

   Into the den!

    Into the Den                                                                                                                     Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011

       But you mustn't think that the other kits didn't get their share.  I have noticed that the vixen often will give the first kit her entire catch and the one that grabs it will run around like a little basketball player hiding the ball.  But this time I noticed that she deposited the hapless rodent at the bottom of a tree and pulled off a large chunk.  That's what the first kit got.  She then returned to the tree and brought out the remainder:

    Sharing--sort of!                                                                                           Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011

       So it was heartening to see it wasn't a strictly "survival of the fittest" dinner hour in "Foxville", at least, not that night.
      I've put together another fox slide show comprised of "post-coyote" pictures.  I hope you enjoy it:
(If you have trouble viewing this youtube please click here: or please go to you tube and search "thewindflowerfarm.")

 I leave you with one final photo of "Mama Vixen" who must truly be a "Gold Star Mother" in the fox world!

    Mama Vixen                                                                                                               Ainslie Sheridan copyright May 2011

      Thank you for reading my blog.  Next blog we will be back to the horses, and, Dolly.  But I will, of course, bring you another update on the Concord Fox family.

       Until then and, "May the fox be with you!"

                                 Ainslie Sheridan