I only wish I had a picture.
There are only two things I like about snow.
1) A snow covered ground makes it easy to see where I'm walking at night and 2) a snow covered ground makes it easy to see where others have been walking as well.
We've had very few days or nights of true snow cover this year. In general I'm happy about that, since with the snow usually comes bitter cold and lots of other unpleasantness.
But I have missed the snowlit nights.
That's why I was pleased when, on my way back to the house from feeding the ponies tonight, I realized I could see all the way back to the sheep barn behind the house. Behind the pony barn I could see all three of the old farmstead barns and all the yards around them. The dark shapes of the barns loomed out against the white snow. The distances were all foreshortened and a low ceiling of clouds made everything glow. It felt like being inside a lightbox.
And that's why I couldn't resist sneaking back to the sheep barn just to peek in the barnyard and see if anybody was still up and about. I could see one dark lump standing in the feeder. It turned out to be Brianna, bless her hungry little half-Lincoln heart. She was out in the yard all by herself cleaning up scraps from dinner. I hovered around for a while trying to get a picture of her in the dark with my phone, but she didn't much appreciate my intrusion and after a few minutes declared she didn't really want an audience and hopped down and away.
I turned to go, not quickly mind you, but fast compared to hovering I guess. My movement startled something out by the old barns. Something that started to run. I caught the movement in the corner of my eye, just in time to look up and catch the sight of not one, but two foxes racing back to the big barn.
Not one, but two foxes.
I'd suspected the fox I'd been hearing had moved into the old barn. I've seen tracks. Lots of tracks. Even tracks into and out of the sheep yard. The other morning, I saw the actual fox, not just her tracks, dart around the corner of the old barn and disappear inside it while I was feeding. And I've seen her trotting across the back field at dusk and dawn. Coming and going from hunts I assume. But, I hadn't realized there were two of them. I suppose there will be even more in a few weeks.
If we are lucky, and very careful and watchful, maybe we will see the kits.
And if we are very lucky, and very careful, and very watchful, maybe they will leave the sheep and the lambs that are coming, very much alone. I pray so.
And I need to get a picture.