Sunday, October 20, 2013

White Birds Friday, White Birds Saturday

Cattle Egret feeding in a pasture east of Buffalo Mound.

Pelicans in Flight
Coming home from work Friday, a pasture of feeding white birds caught my eye from I-70. I thought they were cattle egret. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds Eastern Region confirms my best guess.

I photographed the pelicans Saturday afternoon, just east of my house. This flock appeared and disappeared, ciricling in the clear sky. It was remarkable the way they vanished from sight then reappeared as they were circling, rising, and sorting themselves into flight formation.  I wonder if their feathers reflect the blue sky at a certain angle.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Around the Farm...

Looking south-southwest from house - wildcat emerged from lower left hand and crossed to the right
West-Northwest from front door

North from front door
Northeast from back of house
Standing east side of barn, looking north toward front gate.
East side of barn, looking southeast

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Farrier Day Marred by Large Insects

It was farrier day at the farm. All horse persons were called to the barn and haltered, sprayed for flies, given bits of hay, brushed and curry combed. Cockleburrs were pulled from forelocks and Ginger put in the round pen alone so Wally and I could interact in peace.

At one point during the day's proceedings, standing with the halter rope in my hand, I looked down to notice a very large caterpillar at my feet. He was not of the furry kind. He was a very handsome brown, green and gold, and he was in imminent danger of being trampled by horse hooves or florescent orange sneakers! I looked for a twig or a sturdy stem in the immediate area so I could move him. I was not going to interrupt the process of trimming hooves for a mere caterpillar, so I took a deep breath and PICKED IT UP IN MY BARE FINGERS. I tossed him as gently as possible into the taller plants along the fence. It was not the worst experience with an insect I have ever had, but bare human skin and bare caterpillar skin were never intended to meet in my personal universe.

After I had moved the caterpillar, I noticed a very, very large wolf spider that had to have been within one or two inches of where my hand had just been. She had what I assumed was a bright blue egg sack stuck to her rear, and I wondered if I had just scooped away the intended nursery, or maybe the big fat juicy meal she intended for her dear one hundred thousand babies. Though I hoped she did not get stepped on by womankind or horsekind, I did not scoop her up to toss to safety. She and her egg sack were on their own, unfortunately.

Later in the morning I was going to overturn the water tank so it could be refilled. Somehow I failed to notice a very large spider web across the little gate opening and walked right into it. It was such a strong web that I heard the tiniest, faintest snap as I walked through. Out of the corner of my eye I caught the swinging collapsing trajectory of the huge black spider riding its web downward RIGHT ONTO MY BACK. I felt her hit my back with the weight of perhaps a penny dropping against my shirt. Yes, I screamed.

I heard a tiny spider scream, too.

This tiny woman can and does "kick Ginger's ass"!  lol

Ginger Ruler of All Except Terrie

Wally, Not Using Me As a Rubbing Post for a Change

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Lights of Home and Wild Cats

I had yet to see my house from afar, lit up and welcoming in the dark. Tonight I turned on all the inside lights and drove a mile away. I have to say, I was underwhelmed. It might be a far more dramatic sight after the leaves fall. Even then, the house is oriented in a strangely off-kilter way to the road, and to the sun, as well. It suits me. I do not like being square to the world. Tonight's excursion did answer one question: I can wash dishes in my underwear and no one can see from the road. Not that I have washed dishes in my underwear - only if I wanted to. It is one less thing...

The other morning, I just happened to be standing quietly beside my bed when I saw a tawny wild body come gracefully through the underbrush and timber a few feet from the open window. At first glance I thought it was a coyote but it was a bob cat. In full sunlight, it crossed the wide clearing of the front yard, stopping twice to get a bearing on the dogs' location. I tried to quietly go for my camera, but at the first creak of my knees, the animal fled into cover. After it was gone from sight, the dogs became aware of its presence. They ran toward the south bend of the creek, but they were not barking. I am not sure if that meant they were they in hunting mode, or if it was an animal they know and tolerate in an uneasy agreement to share the neighborhood. Duke has enjoyed wild coyote "friends" several times over the long years of his life. Why not a bobcat, especially since a bobcat could probably take the old Duke down in a serious altercation. Make peace not war has always been the old Dukenator's personal philosophy.

I was glad to see the wild animal even though it might very well have been the demise of most of my chickens, and likely two of my three cats. If not this particular bobcat, then surely one of its kin. It has as much right to the creek as I do. Though I loved my chickens and was not careless with them... well, everyone loves to eat chicken.  As long as the wild critters do not attack me, nor the Duke, nor most of my family members, we can live in peace. I have resigned myself to living without a cat, though I dearly love the members of the feline nation. It hurts to lose a chicken but it is a serious wound to lose a beloved cat. The solution is to simply not own a cat. That way, seeing a bob cat less than ten feet from where I stand is a good thing - a gift from nature - not something to dread.

Now that I have seen the wild cat, I worry about the trappers, the hunters, and all of my neighbors with guns in their homes and in their trucks. I hope the animal can avoid them all.