Mouse

moon phase Week of 10/27/2002 Best days to harvest for drying

Mouse

There are lights in the cornfield and the wagons are filled with bright yellow corn. Dust rises from the big green combine as the hopper dips into the wagon. The farmers are working late; it's harvest time. In the morning there's a field full of stubble where a cornfield once stood swaying in the wind. At first light a large fox squirrel ventures out into the corn stubble in search of breakfast. He follows his nose and finds a treasure, a whole ear of corn that was missed by the combine.

His jaws are very strong and he has no trouble carrying the leafy ear quickly back to the edge of the field and up a tree to sit on his favorite limb. He husks the cob in no time and begins eating the hearts from the kernels one at a time. The sweet hearts are one of his favorite foods and give him the warm fat that will help get him through the long winter.

He peacefully sits and nibbles the corn, dropping the uneaten portions to the ground where a couple of clever blue jays promptly pick them up and fill their chops. When they can't squeeze another kernel into their mouths, off they fly to find a place to hide their booty.

A red-tailed hawk glides by, treetop high. She sees the squirrel and the jays but pays no attention to them; they see her but know that she isn't fast enough to catch a quick jay. The squirrel is large and strong, with sharp teeth that could give the hawk a nasty bite. A squirrel bite to the leg or toe may infect and mean the loss of use of a foot. The hawk, if she lives, will be hard pressed to make a living with only one foot.

The big hawk lands on a limb towards the top of the ridge, where she can catch the early morning sun. From here she can survey all below her in all directions; her keen eyes search the grass opening below for voles.

The skunk is back; his pungent aroma fills the otherwise fresh foggy night air. I don't mind the scent of a skunk once in a while, but it gets to the point where it's overwhelming, just as intended. A pair of black crows have landed in the new corn stubble and are busy searching for mice and voles that have been run over by the combine. One of them is lucky; he snatches up a fat vole in his long black beak and flies off to the woods with it. The fox squirrel has finished plucking every last kernel from the ear and drops it to the ground. His morning hunger satisfied, he stretches out on the limb and faces the warm sun.

In the tall grass below, a tiny deer mouse dashes out from cover and retrieves the small bits of corn left behind by the jays.

When night falls, the cornfield is patrolled by others who know that it's a good place to find dead voles and corn. Those who search through the stubble include opossums, skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and mink. Again it proves that nature never misses a chance to seize an opportunity.

These natural organic moments were brought to you by Mother Nature.

Freedom Hawk

Extremely alert and ready to pounce;
Instinctively knowing that each moment counts.
Hungry and keen with the sun's first bright rays-the
redtailed hawk hunts for voles as they play.
Jack Frost made a visit sometime in the night and left
everything a crisp, frosty white.
The cold with its harsh wisdom teaches the hawk
respect and courage as is the
way for all who have to forage.
New sun heats feathers and a rouse of simple pleasure.
The heat addresses a breast of white, a welcome
feeling after a cold autumn night.
The hawk's heart, warmed by the new sense of freedom,
takes wing and glides to the heavens to sing.
He calls to all who can hear him below,
"If you strive for freedom, look how far you can go."

--Dan Hazlett

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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