My eye caught movement between the two shelterbelts on the west side of the yard. Low and behold, this brave (because we have two large dogs and it is early afternoon) fox wandered into the yard and headed directly for the apple orchard. Now, most people would just say they have apple trees, but the four trees planted in close proximity to one another resembles an apple orchard. And believe me, when you are in there picking and you don't see any end of apples in sight, it feels like an apple orchard!
I took several pictures while I watched it hungrily dig up and eat it's fill of ground apples. In the fall, before the snow fell, I had raked up 13 neat piles of apples in and around the four trees. Needless to say, they didn't get hauled away and the fox's nose had picked up the scent of food. The snow is very deep in most places, but because the apple trees are close together, some of the piles of raked apples are not too far under the surface of the snow.
With a healthy population of coyotes and wolves in the river valley, a good walks distance to the north of us, the competition for food is strong. We have yet to see a rabbit or evidence of one all winter. After the fox had left the yard, I released the hounds and they had a great time barking and sniffing all around the trees. They appeared to not know which place to sniff first, the scent of the fox was so strong! Since that day, the fox has been back at least one more evening and again this afternoon. This time I let the dogs out before it had left and all three went running. The two dogs in hot pursuit! Jade was the first to return and Thistle coming back a short time later. Maybe it won't be quite so brave as to show up during the day again. Only time will tell.
I wonder what other adventures are in store for us on the farm!