I have set up my video camera in the garden at various points over the last few days to capture footage of the birds. I’ve managed to collect clips of sparrows, blue tits and robins so far.
One sunny day a rabbit came out of her hole in the ground to enjoy the fine weather. The day was so nice that she became careless and a fox snuck up behind her and caught her. “I am going to eat you for lunch”, said the fox
“Wait”, replied the rabbit, “You should at least wait a few days.”
“Oh yeah? Why should I wait?”
“Well, I am just finishing my dissertation on ‘The Superiority of Rabbits over Foxes and Wolves.’”
“Are you crazy? I should eat you right now! Everybody knows that a fox will always win over a rabbit.”
“Not really, not according to my research. If you like, you can come into my hole and read it for yourself. If you are not convinced, you can go ahead and have me for lunch.”
“You really are crazy!” But since the fox was curious and had nothing to lose, it went with the rabbit. The fox never came out. A few days later the rabbit was again taking a break from writing and sure enough, a wolf came out of the bushes and was ready to set upon her.
“Wait!” yelled the rabbit, “you can’t eat me right now.”
“And why might that be, my furry appetizer?”
“I am almost finished writing my dissertation on ‘The Superiority of Rabbits over Foxes and Wolves.’”
The wolf laughed so hard that it almost lost its grip on the rabbit. “Maybe I shouldn’t eat you; you really are sick … in the head. You might have something contagious.”
“Come and read it for yourself; you can eat me afterward if you disagree with my conclusions.” So the wolf went down into the rabbit’s hole … and never came out. The rabbit finished her dissertation and was out celebrating in the local lettuce patch. Another rabbit came along and asked, “What’s up? You seem very happy.”
“Yup, I just finished my dissertation.”
“Congratulations. What’s it about?”
“‘The Superiority of Rabbits over Foxes and Wolves.’”
“Are you sure? That doesn’t sound right.”
“Oh yes. Come and read it for yourself.” So together they went down into the rabbit’s hole. As they entered, the friend saw the typical graduate abode, albeit a rather messy one after writing a dissertation. The computer with the controversial work was in one corner. And to the right there was a pile of fox bones, on the left a pile of wolf bones. And in the middle was a large, well-fed lion.
Moral: The subject of your dissertation doesn’t really matter. All that matters is who your advisor is.
(I have been unable to find the original author of this fable, but if anyone happens to come across them, please let me know.)
Whilst trundling through my photographs on the external hard drive, I found the pictures I took of the foxes living at the very end of the garden four or five years ago. To get the optimum view of them the photos were taken from the upstairs window, with a new camera that I had not yet gotten to know, so the white balance was completely off course and window pane caused glare and reflections. The result was a ghostly image made of lime green, orange and plenty of white, which I’ve done my best to edit into something more recognizable in Photoshop.
Around this time I was working on an illustration project as part of my college course, and used these photos as inspiration for drawings and paintings. If I can find my old sketchbooks in the attic I will scan some of these in to post.
I’ve been spending some time making rather simple cushion covers for the living room this week, following this button-free and zip-free tutorial.
Space has been on the tight side the last few months, and so the fox skeleton I made weeks ago has sat on my table looking a little forlorn, abandoned for more imminent things. So whilst I haven’t had the space to work on the fabric for the fox, I have been able to explore the technique I plan to use on a smaller project; one of the birds from an installation a few years ago. Whilst several days were spent agonizing over the sewing pattern, re-cutting, pinning, stitching and unpicking certain parts together repeatedly, once I was worked out what was going on spatially, the whole process was remarkably satisfying.
I am particularly fond of the texture that emerges from cut and slash technique on the wings, and plan to use this when making the fox tail, whilst using the layered method for the rest of the fur to add thickness. I am still unsure about eyes, though. Paint, glass, or sewing disgustingly clichéd teddy bear eyes? For now, I am thinking of acquiring some resin and casting something which can be set and framed by the fabric, but we shall see how it all pans out.
My attention has been pointed in the direction of Oak and Furrows animal rescue by a family member, who has been concerned about some foxes living at her work. For the past four years there has been a den under the Portacabin, and over this time the tales of foxes have become more and more interesting; they began as meagre reports of fleeting sightings, but shortly escalated into accounts of foxes sitting, scratching their ears, outside the reception door at 8am on spring mornings, before culminating in exciting stories of stumbling across an adolescent kits stretched out on the sofa in the meeting house in the gardens.
Since the Portacabin is due to be demolished in the next few months, these foxes will soon become homeless. Oak and Furrows, whose website is worth a browse for photographs of rescued wildlife, have kindly stepped forward to re-home the foxes somewhere safer, and to treat the mange that a few of the older ones seem to have caught.
I remember the foxes who stayed in the garden a few years ago, and how the wildlife call centre had told us we should put their mange medicine inside honey sandwiches. Honey sandwiches, they said, were unlikely to be eaten by cats who prefer savoury food, but foxes were quite fond of them.