The Barred Owls Sang

moon phase Week of 01/22/2012 Best days to cut firewood.

Sunrise over the Kickapoo Valley Sunrise over the Kickapoo Valley I had nearly forgotten what a normal winter day is like but got a solid reminder on Monday when the temperature dropped overnight from 40 to 20 degrees by mid-morning. With the cold came the wind, 15 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 30. The cold was bad enough, but the brisk wind cut like a knife at my cheeks and ears. I pulled the parka hood up over my cap and instantly felt better. Up until now, carrying firewood to the house was a breeze, but now Iíve got to bundle up as though it was winter. Iím still not convinced that winter is here to stay. The forecast calls for 40s again by mid-week.

It was far too windy to do much outside today, so I stayed in and did some reading. Itís hard for me to get into a good book when the wind is howling outside. The trees moan in unison as the wind rushes through their branches, causing the huge trunks to sway. Rooster, Rooster Rooster, Rooster The rattle of a loose piece of tin on the old shed and the screech of a branch raking across the metal roof keep me a little on edge. As luck would have it, I was able to find a way to make things a little more peaceful. The Rose Bowl game. It was the perfect distraction. Iíve always had trouble making peace with the wind.

From the window, I watched the grove of cottonwood trees in the meadow sway from side to side. They made it look easy to go along with the wind, performing in gentle rhythm as they moved together. English Sparrows English Sparrows A Red-tailed hawk soared into view just above the tree tops. With outspread wings and fanned tail, she seemed to dance on the wind, rising effortlessly to any height she desired. The wind seemed to be an extension of her. Together they were one.

There were six little English sparrows at the bird feeders at the start of winter. Today I counted 20 in a flock that stayed close together as they ate the cracked corn. There were a couple of times in the past 10 years when one or two would show up, but never this many. They spend the night hidden in a nearby brush pile, but when it gets really cold they find it warmer in the machine shed at night.

Barred Owl Barred Owl Wednesday evening a pair of barred owls sang to each other from up the valley. It was like they were saying farewell to the setting sun, or were they greeting the rising moon? What with the spring-like weather, it wouldnít surprise me if the owls feel like singing some early courtship songs. Their large cousins, the great horned owls, are getting even more serious about courtship, and the female should be on her eggs within a month.

Mating season has begun for foxes and coyotes, and their howls and barking can be heard through the night. The morning sun conjured the first spring song from a Chickadee.

Peacock and Chickens Peacock and Chickens I knew that Saturday was going to be a beautiful day because it started out with a gorgeous sunrise. The chickens took advantage of the sunshine and happily spent the day scratching through dry leaves. The big red rooster crowed loudly on occasion, and his feathers glistened in the warm sun as though it was summer. It may not be summer but it sure doesnít feel like winter.

No one seems to mind the lack of snow. The warm weather is welcome. Personally, Iím to the point where Iím ready for a little snow, but that means it needs to get a little colder than itís been.

Full Moon over Kickapoo Valley Full Moon over Kickapoo Valley Yes, it was a beautiful day from sun up to sunset, and it was topped off with a brilliant yellow moon that rose in a dark blue horizon. A red fox called from the river valley, and the coyotes wailed their happy songs from the ridge tops. They would do the same even if it was 20 below zero and there were three feet of snow on the ground. A pair of great horned owls sang their love songs from the white pines, and again, I smell the sharp scent of a skunk on the breeze. Spring is here for many who live on the land; their time of new beginnings has begun. Their spring songs plant the seed of promise in my heart, a seed that will grow slowly as the days get longer.

Naturally Yours

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anne from on January 28, 2012 at 09:49:13 PM
Thoroughly enjoy ANY story he has to write bout! Keep up the good work :)
Cortney from from Fort Worth on January 27, 2012 at 09:09:58 AM
Do you need a rooster with your chickens in order to have eggs?
how can i find the Rules for having chickens in my back yard? We would love to have fresh eggs.
Robyn Culley from on January 26, 2012 at 09:54:46 PM
I understand that Organic Valley has "surrendered" to Monsanto and using GMO products. I can only say how saddened and disturbed I feel about this. I've safely used your products for I feel betrayed as I'm sure as thousands of others feel.
Regretfully, I will not longer purchase your products. Good Luck with your new found endeavors with Monsanto.
Tracy at Organic Valley

Hi Robyn,

Thanks for posting and giving us the chance to respond! Rest assured, we do not use GMOs in our products and have no relationship with Monsanto. There have been some nasty rumors going around after Ronnie Cummins of the OCA wrote an untrue and reckless article about us a year ago. The truth is, we have never supported GMOs, and have been battling this issue for many years now. In fact, when Monsanto first tried to introduce its GMO alfalfa, we helped successfully block its release. Sadly, we were not as fortunate the second time, but assure you that it was not for lack of trying! Since Monsanto's GMO alfalfa has been deregulated (along with several other of their GMO crops), we've been fighting to protect our farmers and consumers with the next best thing: mandatory labeling of GMOs. We believe this is the first step to eliminating GMOs from our food system, by creating consumer awarness and demand for non-GMO products. We're still doing what we've always done (which does include "surrendering" to Monsanto). 

Jan from from TN on January 25, 2012 at 08:05:40 PM
Good to hear about your "spring" in the Kickapoo Valley. I was out by the pond yesterday, as it was a beautiful day here, also. I heard a familiar sound in the sky, and watched as wave after wave of Sandhill cranes flew from south to north, right over my little patch of "Tennessee heaven". I guess there must have been close to 1,000 in all. I love to hear their calls as they locate each other's groups and make sure they are going the same way. So, you probably will be seeing them up there before too long. Happy naturing.
Jeanne from from Florida on January 25, 2012 at 11:52:40 AM
Hey, c'mon down on those 'normal' cold days - it's 80 deg today. But having the same back-n-forth temp change - just higher...80's to 60's daytime. Did get cold enough to bring the 'swingin' orchids into our mini greenhouse! Keep on writing.. love reading your articles & looking at your photos. Good job!
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