The Tree and Thee

Or: the afterlife of a tree.

It was older than me, probably significantly so. It was almost unnoticed in life, tucked behind a conifer – just its roots highlighted by fly agarics, those garish fungi of fairytales.

Fly agaric1 30 Sept 19

And then, Storm Ciara knocked it east.

Silver birch down

Thus perished the silver birch of the garden’s right border. It had its revenge on the conifer from beyond the grave; the tug of its roots unbalanced its rival, which promptly followed it lawn-ward a week later in Storm Dennis. But while conifer wood is of limited value to wildlife and had to be removed, the birch trunk soon acquired a fan club.

Fox Spindle 17 Feb 20

This is Spindle, the garden’s resident comedian. He arrived last autumn as a gangly ‘teenager’ along with two vixens, who may well have been his sisters. His brush really was as thin as a spindle – not only was he suffering from sarcoptic mange (which causes severe fur loss) but he also appeared to have fractured the vertebrae. A few doses of Stronghold cured the mange, and his bones have healed, albeit at a strange angle.

Spindle brush 17 Feb 20

Now healthy, he is full of mischief, and the birch is his innocent accomplice. He sneaks behind it to leap playfully on other foxes – and is also the perfect vantage point for scanning the world.

Spindle4 6 Mar 20

I have slowed down the ‘March in Flower’ idea because unfortunately most of our plants are still firmly asleep, but I will keep posting species as they awake.

21 thoughts on “The Tree and Thee

  1. Adele, some of your best fox photo’s & tales to date. I want a resident fox in my garden please! Out walking yesterday afternoon, listening & watching the skylarks I saw a fox though he looked unwell and wasn’t running fast -Still faster than me though as I had no chance of catching him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and welcome here! Connecting people with their local wildlife is something that I’m really passionate about. Sometimes that relationship is easy and sometimes it isn’t, but it is encouraging to see what can coexist with us as long as we show some tolerance.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. He is a handsome oneโ€“ well captured poses, Adele.
    Sorry about your birch, do you use it as firewood? We had two large trees fall in a windstorm last winter that pretty much covered our needs this winter. The brushpiles were welcome to wildlife.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spindle is a bundle of handsome mischief!

      The birch has mostly been turned into a garden feature – the trunk is where it fell, and the branches have become a brushpile by the hedge. We don’t have a log fire, but the conifer wood was taken by someone who does. That will smell nice when it burns, I imagine ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Adele, lovely images! Sorry you lost your Birch! Always a shame to see them go! Glad Spindle is able to make use of it as is! He does look like a mischief maker! But a very pretty one! Our Spring is progressing that way too! In fact it snowed again this afternoon! We used to get early Spring, but it seems Winter is increasing his hold longer into the year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no, not snow for you too! No snow here, but today we’ve had sunshine, hail, rain, bright skies, and drenched fields. A week of sunshine would be nice to dry everything out and encourage the flowers!


  4. These are fabulous photos of your fox visitors, Adele! I love Silver Birch and have a young one growing in my back garden which I planted myself a few years ago. Where there is death there is also life. As you know nothing goes to waste in nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think this one knows that he looks smart ๐Ÿ˜‰

      One of his sisters is still here (Fidget – you may have seen her on my Facebook page). Sadly, the other one was hit by a car.


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