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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summertime Doldrums

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(image from inter web)
Dictionaries define doldrums as "a period of inactivity or stagnation".  That seems to sum up our last few weeks. Not much has been going on.  Oregon weather turned hot and dry early this year.  Monday was the first full day of summer and we've officially had the driest June on record.  We've had more than a few days with temperatures in the 90's (32˚C).  This coming weekend our weather is forecast to be 100˚F (37.7˚C).  20 of our 36 counties on Oregon have now declared drought emergencies.  Read about it at this LINK. And now they have issued an "excessive heat warning" for this weekend.  Highs in Medford (Southern Oregon) set to reach 108˚ (42.2˚C).  Read about it HERE.

It has been three weeks since I've posted and for that I apologize.  
(Image from interweb)
Not much moto-related to report.  Hubby was nice and changed the oil in Max last weekend and cleaned/lubed the chain.  I am so lucky spoiled.  Now I just need to give the bike a bath.  We've managed one or two bicycle rides but no fun trails or pictures.  It is allergy season here in the Willamette Valley. While Troubadour does not suffer from seasonal allergies they are a trial for me this time of year.  Sneezing in my full face helmet is not fun.  Another few weeks and they will be over when they cut down the grass fields.  The very high/extreme level for grass pollen in the air is 200.  Last week we were over three times that amount.  What is higher than extreme?  Here is a LINK to a local news channel with a story on how Oregon is the worst state in the USA for allergies. At least it has dropped to the high level now.

One thing that has kept us amused, yet frustrated us at the same time, is the family of gray foxes that have decided to live under our back deck.  Momma fox, daddy fox and three little pups.  

They are pretty bold and have even approached the patio door.  While we'd been leaving the patio door open for basil to come in and out, we now have to make sure to leave it closed or else one of the rambunctious pups would come inside exploring.  Here are a few pictures.

(Momma Fox)

(Momma fox and two pups)

(The whole fox family)

(Fox pups on the deck)

(They are so cute)
We have a shrub/flower bed beside our deck and the pups have made it their playground.  They've managed to flatten my pansy flowers, broken the new goats beard shrub that was still in the pot, and broken a hydrangea.  They are venturing further into the yard now as well, climbing the Red Bud Forest Pansy and flattening the Gaura flowers below.  Ahhh, so cute, yet so destructive.  We are hoping at some point they will move on.  We thought the momma fox had the pups weaned as they were bringing them squirrels and mice to eat, but she was nursing them again yesterday morning.

(Pups at play)

(They have adopted Basil's outside water bowl)

(Notice the pups destroying the hydrangea in the shrub bed)

(They are into everything)

(And yes, they can climb trees)

(Did I mention they were into everything?)
And when we say they moved in, here is a picture of the Momma fox all comfy on the "wipe your paws" mat right outside the patio door relaxing on the step like a dog.

(Momma fox relaxing in the shade)
Basil is not amused.  He spends most of him time inside now or sneaking out the front to avoid the foxes out back. This look will tell you exactly what he thinks of them.

(Basil cat is not amused)
At one point a week or so ago Basil was outside patrolling the perimeter when he saw the Daddy fox on a woodpile out back behind the yard.  They faced off for quite a while before the fox moved on for a bit.  The camera was on full zoom so picture quality suffered.

(Basil and the fox)
Oh and in answer to Dar's question on Facebook "what does the fox say?"  She sounds like a cross between a seal and a dog.  It is an odd hoarse bark.

Troubadour was teaching Team Oregon last weekend and teaches again this weekend.  He'll be sure to drink lots of water standing on hot asphalt all day in 100 degree temps.  At least he won't be on a bike with a helmet on like the students.  The following weekend is our July 4th Independence Day long weekend.  While we'd love to be out on the bikes, we try to avoid highways during holidays since it seems to be a big weekend for drinking and driving and a lot of yahoos are on the roads too.  Hopefully we can get in a short gravel ride as long as we are back to protect Basil from the big bad fireworks on the 4th.  We usually have to turn a movie up pretty loud to drown them out while he hides in the closet or under the bed.  Poor kitty.

Hope everyone else is getting out and riding lots.

 - Au Revoir

"One's life must seem extremely flat, with nothing whatsoever to grumble at." - Anthony J. d'Angelo, The College Blue Book
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48 comments:

  1. Doldrums indeed, hot weather tends to curtail my riding or drive me to the mountains....trouble is you have to sweat on the way there and back. Hope things cool off for you soon.

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    1. We could ride to the coast, but you have to stop part way and add layers and then stop on the way back to take gear off. When it is 90 here it can be down to 60 at the coast when the fog rolls in.

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  2. I love the fox pictures, especially the pups! We have the red fox around here and I don't think they'd ever get comfy enough to hang out on the deck - they bolt ifd they see you 50' away.

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    1. I am surprised at how calm they seem to be. She'll come up on the deck and stare at us through the glass. For some on the pictures we were sitting on the floor just inside the doors and they'd walk right up and look at us.

      We are going to have to take some boards off the deck and clean out underneath when they leave then board up around the bottom so they can't use it next year. So surprised they picked our yard when there is a forest behind us. Mind you we don't have a dog.

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  3. Nice fox pictures! I'm not looking forward to the hot temperatures. There have only been a couple of times so faw when I had to not use a fleece liner on this trip. So far…

    I suspect that it'll start to get really hot starting tomorrow as I get near Prince George...

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    1. Thanks Richard. I bet you warm up the further south you get especially down towards the border.

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  4. These are wonderful! I burst out laughing at the hydrangea being mashed...what cute photos. Love the photo of the one drinking, too. I hope there are not ordinances that require you to remove them. We have a lot of creatures here in my neighborhood, but not enough foxes to eat the bazillions of rabbits that eat all the gardens.

    I LOVE to hear a fox bark. One of my favorite sounds. These are fun photos. Nice change from moto content, so I appreciate that.

    Sorry about the dry. You are right- we got your weather.

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    1. Glad you like the pictures. They sure are cute, and destructive, lol. I took a bit of video of them rolling around the yard, but it is a pain to try to and upload it to blogger on this old computer. There are two of those hydrangeas in the bed, that one isn't broken, the other one is half laying flat on the ground broken at the base, sigh.

      Wish we could give you some of our sunshine and trade for rain. I am not looking forward to another hot dry summer. We moved to Oregon, not California.

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  5. Don't let her fool you when she says I don't suffer seasonal allergies, believe me, although I don't have allergies, I still suffer. Boy do I suffer. ;)

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    1. Moderated comments may be turned on shortly...

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    2. Ha ha. Richard - I was actually thinking what he wrote when I drafted the blog.

      I wake up in the night sneezing which wakes him up. He suffers, lol

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  6. You can have some of our rain if you want!

    Awesome pics of the foxes! Not too many of them around these parts...

    On ya bike!

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    1. Please send the rain. Please. You have flooding and we are tinder dry.

      Yes I need to get on the bike, any of them. Maybe I'll ride to the range to watch hubby this weekend.

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  7. I get hayfever as well, and yes it pretty bad when out riding. I always take anti-histamine when riding in spring.
    Yes you need to ride to the range via the twistiest road possible and take some lovely photos of said road. We are missing out Trobairitz moto fix.

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    1. I can take some antihistamines but they don't really help too much, just take the edge off a little bit.

      And yes I do need to find a mic twisty road to get to the range. Unfortunately it is only 10 miles of 5-lane highway away.

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  8. "Doldrums"...yeah, that's a great term for it...that funky, aimless, lazy time spent avoiding the summer heat and lounging inside listening to the daily thunderstorms! LOL

    That fox "expose" was wonderful! Who would have ever gotten such an "up front and personal insight into their daily lives and habits"!

    And my oh my they are CUTE!

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    1. The thunderstorms sound wonderful right now. I checked our forecast and our highs for next week are 96-97 every day. No rain in sight.

      We are still surprised the foxes chose to come so close to us. They are cute, but have no interest in snuggling, lol

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  9. I am with you on the doldrums... not much happened here to report about, Ok there was a German ritual that we attended... Roland will write about that soon, but currently life is bordering on boredom.
    Lovely fox family pics. I am amazed if not shocked how comfy they seem around humans. And, haha look at Basil's face... he is not amused.

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    1. Just been a bit of a blah year so far. We were hoping to get a few multi-day rides in on the weekends, but nothing so far. We can never seem to think of where to ride to.

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  10. Fox photos great. Doldrums not so great - hope you're back out on the bike soon.

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    1. Thank you. How goes things for you? Still working in China?

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    2. No, last 6 months has been tests then treatments for my health problem. I've watched a nice dry spring and summer pass by from beds in various clinics, that's why your Doldrums post resonated with me - I know how that feels!!!
      I have bought a bike though, a rash e-bay purchase that I haven't ridden yet, the idea is to give me something to get better for. There's been times these last few months when the thought of riding again one day has kept me going; that and reading the blog family adventures.

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    3. I seem to remember you posting about treatment now. I sure hope you are feeling better. You know if there is anything we can ever do for you, just ahead and email me. I can send you a care package from the good ol' USA.

      I am glad you bought another bike. It is good to have it to look forward to.

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  11. The foxes are decidedly cute and I applaud you for letting them get on with it. As for summer I am riding, swimming, working, walking the dog in the dark, and sitting on the porch reading. 90 by day 80 by night which I love. Boredom? Doldrums? Life is too short!

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    1. Some days have been tough letting them live out there domestic bliss. Momma fox has a bum back leg and a winky eye so we feel bad for them. Also kind of privileged they picked our yard.

      I am not looking forward to lifting deck boards and cleaning out squirrel carcasses though.

      I agree life is too short to be bored.......'looks embarrassed as she slinks off to find something to do.........'

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  12. Hi Brandy,

    I'm with Andrew..... not so much the rain but borrowing a bit of your heat would be nice :-)

    What fabulous photos - you are so lucky despite the destruction of your garden! Did you use a zoom for the close-ups or do they really let you get that close? Laughed out loud at the photo of a disgruntled Basil. Any risk of a serious set-to between Basil and the foxes? Thomas, our 13 year old cat isn't scared of anything. Last year, he gave our neighbour's large Weimaraner gun dog a seeing-to. Rather embarrassing :-) .

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    1. Geoff! Good to hear from you. I'll still trade you rain for heat. Take our sunshine - please.

      The photos of the foxes out in the yard we used zoom, but the one of momma fox on the welcome mat was regular. She was just outside the door, same when they were looking at Basil's bed. The close up on the little ones are zoomed. They were about 6-8 feet away. Still pretty close. They are pretty curious.

      The only close run in Basil has had was right after we noticed they were there. He has been going out front to avoid the back patio. I went to look for him one morning and he was on our front stoop, standing there giving the stink eye to one of the foxes standing about 1.5 feet away from him. Haven't seen them that close since. Basil is pretty bold though even at 10 years old. We still have his trophy from chasing one cat out of our yard. (A collar belonging to Bingo the cat)

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  13. Well, I'm certainly with everyone else here: The fox family is darling indeed. And congratulations on capturing so many great photos. I think that my favorite is that of the pups on watch on the deck.

    I was about to suggest that you renegotiate their lease (you know, considering their fondness for wild parties), but it sounds like y'all already have a plan in mind.

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    1. Thanks Ry. They sure are cute to watch. We feel like we have our very own nature show going on. Who needs television. They were out romping around last night when we headed to bed. I think they were waiting for it to cool off. They are getting big.

      Yeah, once they leave they should be gone. Hopefully they'll find a new place next year. They are putting in a subdivision behind us at some point so when the forest is cut down they may move on. Mixed feelings about that.

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  14. Wow, you guys are lucky to have a front row seat to Nature. The fox family has really adopted your outdoor living space as their own!

    Our backyard has been visited a few times by a smallish black bear, and quite often by a hungry mother raccoon. We are waiting for the mother deer to bring her new fawns around.

    In the meantime, our first attempt at a garden in the northland is going well.

    Erik.

    PS, keep Basil safe. I'm pretty sure mom and dad fox would go to great lengths to protect their young.

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    1. We were really surprised they didn't make a home in the wood pile out back, but chose to come that close to people. Basil is pretty good at avoiding them. If he sees them outside he'll give them the stink eye and go sit on the sofa or in the front window and sigh. Lots of big sighs. If we see them outside we won't let him out back. He has access to the front yard through his cat door in the garage so sometimes he will go out there, but he can run back in that way too if he needs too. Luckily nothing has ever followed him through it (that we know of).

      Glad your garden is doing well. I bet you get a lot of tasty veggies. We never got ours put in. With the subdivision going on out back we took out our three raised beds and put in trees. Grow little trees, grow.

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  15. Awesome view of the fox family. We had a family living behind our house. It was quite funny to watch Momma fox out-fox the dog running through the grass then pop her head out of the grass on the hill just to watch the dog go crazy running circles looking for her.

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    1. That would be cute to see the fox interacting with the dog that way. Basil actually ventured outside on the deck last night and I happened to walk by and see him staring at the Daddy fox just a few feet away off the deck. I snuck the door opened and Basil ran in. It was funny to watch the fox try to figure out where he went. He actually came up on the deck looking for him.

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  16. Amazed at the foxes and how tame and relaxed they are. In Australia they are very elusive animals and generally the only ones we see are roadkill.

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    1. We too were surprised that they not only chose our place but felt comfortable coming on the deck and hanging out like a dog.

      Our roadkill is mostly raccoons and deer. Sad whenever anything is hit really.

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  17. enjoying the fox pics on facebook. nice you added some more backstory here.

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed it.

      We think the family has moved on. Last we saw was one pup calling for them and I am hoping they came back for him. Basil has been going outside through the patio door a lot the last few days, that in itself is a big indicator.

      Their leaving is bittersweet. Sad we won't see them any more, but the yard and cat's activities can resume normalcy

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  18. Well it took me awhile to get to read your post, it has been a whirlwind of activity for me with all of the graduation festivities and prep for final exams for my kiddo. Also add my work and putting in lots of OT lately and teaching. I am in a bit of a riding doldrum because quite honestly it is just too hot.

    Poor Basil, he must be pretty ticked off about the squatter fox family. I have to say though the little pups look so darn cute, so cute in fact that one would be tempted to snuggle, but them you'd have a furry 20 flying fox momma launching herself at you to protect the babies. Maybe you are going to have to make it a little less pleasant in your lush garden abode. I am sure they will wean and move out pretty soon.

    I wondered if they would sound like dogs with whines and barks. I think the dudes on the Fox video. where smoking a bit of the whacky tabaccy.

    We are under extreme fire ban right now it is so dry here, the last time we had a summer like this that started in May was about 1995 and it was a long hot dry summer with lots of forest fires,

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    1. You have really been busy. I can't say the same. Work is just work, but has been too hot to much else. We did get out for a mountain bike ride on Friday, blog post on that to follow.

      We think the foxes have moved on. Basil is going outside like he used to which is a good thing. He was cooped up too long.

      I remember the year Brad and I met (1994) was a bad year for forest fires and we watched one really close to Penticton burn. A few big ones burning here but I don't think they are what BC and Washington are seeing.

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  19. Oh, what fun to have a fox family in your yard. It would drive my dogs nuts, of course. Don't you worry about the fox parents attacking Basil? They sure do appear to be quite comfortable there. I'd be willing to bet the return next year.

    That heat wave and drought are awful. I hope things improve soon.

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    1. They have been fun to watch, but the clean up under the deck won't be fun. I think they picked our yard as we are the only ones along the forest that don't have dogs. Basil and the daddy fox went nose to nose ones on the front stoops, but that is about it. Basil kept a wide berth. I think they had a mutual understanding. The cinder blocks have already been bought to skirt the deck but we have to lift some deck boards and clean our skat and squirrel carcases first. That should deter them next year, that and if they cut down the forest for the planned subdivision behind us.

      Sure wish we'd get some rain soon. We went to Florence on Friday where the high was in the mid 60's. We actually got cold, it was lovely.

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  20. Too cute! The wife and I were laughing while looking at the photos.

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    1. Glad you both enjoyed them. They were too cute. I kind of miss them but I am glad Basil can get back to his routine.

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  21. Foxes, wow! Dianne would freak out with those. She can handle the rabbits we have... . Also have mice again. Peanut butter works great as bait.

    It has been cool here in June and early July. That's good because my largish deck needed some modification and board replacement, sanding, and staining. Did it in two sections, with the last sanding today on the second section. Stoop labor. Only have a 3x21 bet sander. After staining tomorrow, free for bike trips. If the weather stays cool, that will work for me.

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    1. We were really surprised at first but got used to them. They never really seemed scared of us, just hesitant. Momma fox did bark at Brad when he'd get too close though. Rabbits would be fun.

      Cool weather sounds perfect for working in the yard. Our hot weather is not conducive to motivation. Hope you get some fun bike trips in.

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  22. Hi Trobairitz. Great post and thanks for listing my blig on your site. Like yourself, I am an occasional lurker and have very much enjoyed your articles. Keep up the great work and ride safely and in good health. Cheers, Raymond

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    1. No problem Raymond, and thank you for the kind words.

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  23. Awesome fox pictures! I bet they keep your garden clean from any kind of rodents or other critters? That would be a nice compensation for the broken plants!

    This hot weather is indeed challenging. It seems that it had been all over the place: not only in California or Oregon but also in Germany with temperatures >100F. Stay cool and safe!

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