Friday, January 10, 2014


Owl feather? Caught in a rosebush
The insanity I wrote about yesterday seems to have become the norm around here. I accept that this is how it is with farming and family today. However, some days stress piles upon stress until I don't know which way to turn.

The heifers' summer hangout. Other animals are using it now

Thus when Alan called me from the woods where he was rabbit hunting to report that he had seen a large flock of bluebirds and what he thought might have been a pair of red-headed woodpeckers I donned my boots and joined him.

There be something banging on these trees

The ice was bad in spots but most places we could walk in crusty snow that was fairly navigable. Out in the open the wind would bite hands right into submission. It was hard to hold the camera. However, down in the sheltered bits the sun was pleasingly warm.

Wandering coyote was here

We did find the bluebirds, although the large mixed feeding flock he experienced had moved along. You could hear birds chirping and calling out in the hedgerows of the far fields, but I wasn't up to chasing them all over the farm. There was enough treacherous ice hidden under a thin skim of snow to make waking slow and in spots pretty dangerous.

Off toward the Dacks

It was fun. It was liberating. It was much needed. You would be amazed at the dramas unfolding all the time back there, while we go about our business all unknowing down by the buildings. Foxes and coyotes search the rose bushes trying to roust out bunnies. Owls hurtle through the same bushes hunting the same bunnies, and mice, and voles and such. A busy shrew plies his way along the surface of the frozen creek and vanishes under a steep bank. There are tracks everywhere. We could read the story of the wilding night in all the many footprints.

Pileated detected
 We came back off the hill and tried to help get the stables cleaned, but the big stable cleaner chain broke about six times before we gave up...the boss is forking out the gutter and wheeling the manure outdoors from behind about half the cows. Not much fun.

Mark of the wild hunters

We figured out that the chain is at least 28 years old and it is just worn out. If the barn is cleaned really often and there is no ice, it will work, albeit grudgingly. When there is ice, as there has been so many times this winter already, it breaks. And breaks. And breaks.

Blurry bluebird

So hooray for bluebirds, blue skies, and shining vistas of woods and wild lands. They do a body good.


Rev. Paul said...

I'm glad you got a chance to get out-and-away for a time; the woods & fields have always been restorative for me, too.

Anonymous said...

Great post and thanks for the reminder that life goes on unseen by humans.

Terry and Linda said...

I'm ready for bluebirds...we will start to see them in Early March!!!


threecollie said...

Rev. Paul, it set my whole day back by just as many hours as we spent doing it, but I really, really, really should do it more often.

Jan, you would be amazed by the tracery of tracks up there. We hear the coyotes all the time, and the foxes sometimes...alas I never see or hear the darned owls. But they spend a lot of time hunting and the little creatures that they hunt must spend a lot of time dodging!

Linda, ours seem to be wintering over. Great addition to this year's birding list if I ever get around to starting it that is.

Cathy said...

I had missed this post.

Wish I had the words to express my appreciation of your ability to take us along on these walks through your world.