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Frugal Living
by Donna Flood
Catch a Fox


Mable and Jenny were having a cup of coffee together while their children were playing, tumbling about the small house.

"Do you ever get to feeling we are missing something?" Mable reached for another piece of the carrot cake in front of her.

"You mean like what?" Jenny already knew of what she spoke. Winter days of little sunlight in January seemed to be doing its slow wear on their normally joyful outlook on life.

"Oh, I don't know," she shrugged as she reached over to wipe the runny nose of her youngest child. "Seems to me I should be thankful, nothing is really bad enough to complain about." The young mother looked out through the window toward the bleak cold wintry day, resting all about like a larger than life sleeping monster just ready to break out into a screaming fit of rain and bitter winds.

Jenny wanted to console the young woman, "It's just this weather. I think they call it cabin fever. This month is bred into our genetic structure, it's January, let down from all the madness from the month before.

Mabel reached up to her hair and was combing her fingers through it and twisted it up into a loose knot while she fished around in her purse looking for a clamp to hold it there. She was a pretty young woman but the circumstances of boring repetitive chores; yet leisure was wearing upon her. "I just get to feeling sometimes there is absolutely no answer to some problems," she muttered and was a little ashamed for the complaint she was about to voice.

"Like what problems?" her friend wanted to know.

"Well, this sounds so silly," she went on, "but I have been trying to teach the children to hang their coats up. It seems like an endless point of nag, nag, nag. Not only do they not do it and I always end up going around my little living room picking them up, searching for a hanger in the closet and then going to each of their rooms to hang them in their closet. It is no big deal, it is just I feel they should learn to do it for themselves, but when? How long will I need to try? It is such a small thing and who wants to punish a child over such a trivial matter. On the other hand if they don't do it, the clutter of the coats is just one more chore I have to do. It seems every time I look around there are their coats and caps all over the front room. These houses are so small it doesn't take much to clutter them up.

Jenny was sympathetic to her friend's complaint and was trying to lift her spirits with trivial comments, "Well, we could be worried if we were going to make the fox hunt this week end, or maybe the governor's ball, or possibly if we could even catch the miserable little animal.

"What animal?" Mabel was confused.

"The fox, You know," Jenny had to laugh at Mabel's state of near exasperation toward her friends wandering about mentally of fox hunts and governor's association.

Jenny was doodling as usual on the napkin in front of her and took this opportunity to sketch out a wild looking little fox. She had him setting back on his haunches, ears standing straight up and tail in a straight up position also. His overly large eye was looking sideways with a fearful distrusting stare "Hum-m-m," she thought. "Catch a fox?"

"Look Mabel, look at this little fella. I believe if we cut him out of wood, his tail and ears would make a great place to hang a coat."

Mabel was looking with interest at the little creature. "You are so artsy craftsy, you could probably do it." she raised an eyebrow.

"We can do it," Jenny told her, and so they did. From the day the little foxes were lined up on the wall beside and behind the front door they were always having a cap dangling off one ear, or a mitten string off their pointed noses, or a coat off a standing up, bushy, but straight tail.

It is such a fun thing to tell children, "Catch a fox!" and have them eagerly run to toss their cap over the hanger shaped like a fox, and then catch him again with their coat. It is even better to have the child run to you and say, "I caught a fox."

Materials you will need:

A one by ten board

A pattern of a fox. If you can not draw find someone who can and watch them while they get what you want. Have the artist mark the lines of the eyes, the tail, and the haunches or what ever lines to make the fox recognizable and to tell you what color to make what. Use a heavy brown paper bag for the pattern or light cardboard as in a used up cereal box. Our foxes are twelve inches high and about nine inches across at the base where his feet make two more hangers.

Trace the outline of the fox on the board, and if you do not have a scroll saw find a retired gentleman in the neighborhood who will allow you to pay him to do the job. Use one pattern so all the foxes are alike.

Use colored pencils to color in the lines just like you would do in a coloring book. You may have to use white acrylic for the eyes and for the tip of the tail. Spray with a coat of varnish or clear plastic.

With a screw gun attach a one by six to the wall after you have painted it. Find the studs first for a secure attachment. In measured distances use a screw gun also to attach the foxes to the one by six.