Most of rural Portuguese households rely on buckets.  Buckets for wood, water, pine cones, clothes pegs/pins – you name it there will be a bucket for it.  We all use similar types of black buckets — ownership is usually interchangeable along with the contents. Occasionally, we  halfheartedly say we will color code them with tape on the handles according to ownership — it lasts about a month before our buckets are everywhere again.

However, we have a special bucket — bright orange with a lid.  This is for our kitchen waste.  We do not compost our food waste here for several reasons.  First, the smell, and the flies amplified by the heat and, second, composting encourages rats, mice and other vermin such as foxes.  We feel most of our food waste to the chickens and they give us eggs in return.

We keep the bucket outside the kitchen door with a brick on top of it — this minimizes heat, smell and flies and stops curious kittens and the inherited dog from investigating.

As we have no chicken coop at the new house — we offered to give our neighbor Manel our remaining chickens and guinea fowl — he accepted on condition that he got our bucket of kitchen waste.  Good deal.

All was going well until two days ago when Manel had too much to drink one night, came home and left his chicken coop open.  When he woke with a hangover the next morning, most of his chickens had been attacked and eaten by foxes!  He has five out of two dozen left.

Late last night we were driving home after a meal out and half a mile from the house, we came upon a family of foxes — four cubs and their mother.  The young ones were very curious, unafraid of the car, and came up to say hello.  They were all very playful and looked well fed.

I guess we did end up feeding the foxes after all!


  1. We had been out with Mr P’s brother for dinner and we went to a restaurant we had never been to before – I always try and take a camera with me when we do that. We were driving back along the dirt track cut through and we caught their eyes in the head lights – so we slowed down and Mr P cut the headlights to side lights as I got the camera out and set up the flash and wound the window down …….. I got really lucky with the shot – I have about ten others with half a fox in them. In light of the proximity of the ox family we have decided to keep the dog as a roaming yard dog to protect the cats!

    1. Delicious! I love the expression on the fox’s face! Caught in lights! SMILE!

      I’m glad you had your camera with you. What excellent luck! It’s definitely a bonus to have a beautiful dog on your side, too. What a lovely gang of fur!

  2. Guilty as charged with the fox ………….

    I am not a dog person usually – most of the time this one is well behaved I draw the line at having him in the house and if he does anything to my kittens I will be less tolerant .

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