Saturday, April 1, 2023

the ending of march

Well, March 2023 was a wild ride. It contained the entire Winter's-worth of snow, including the nor'easter that brought down branches on two of my fences, but harmed no one; thank you, trees. The six-foot fence around the hens' pen took a hit from a red oak branch. Oak is heavy wood, and it fell from about thirty feet.

These snaps were taken shortly after the snowfall ended:

The North side.

The top section of the branch, outside the pen.
An arc I later walked through every day 
 by just slightly ducking my head.

from the South. What looks like solid snow in the center
 is actually snow held suspended in air by the net.

Nothing could be done until the snow melted and the netting which had covered the entire pen could be unwound from the crumpled fence sections and eased out from under the branch. I did not want to see what would happen if my Occasional Helper's chainsaw came in contact with a swath of stretchy net.

So for a couple of weeks, the hens have been allowed out to roam around for part of each day, which they enjoy and which is good for them, but...

I've been keeping an eye out for hawks, and sure enough, in the past two weeks I have seen two different hawks scoping out my place. So a couple of days ago, the hens' pen got repaired, including stretching the hawk-net back over the top. And now I have to remind the hens every day that they still have a pretty good quality of life, plus - and this is key - they are still alive to enjoy it.

In other Life Is Good news, after making three weekly trips to a farm to pick up just eight bales of hay, which is what the farmer/magician can squeeze into my vehicle, I was finally able to make the call and promise that the delivery truck could make it up, and then back down, my driveway again. Huzzah! Sixty bales delivered and stacked. 

I am happy. The herd is happy.

Speaking of the herd, here's a little wildlife tale for you:

Last night it rained - all night - and at one point I checked the barn cams and was surprised to see no goats in either barn. They were all outside. It wasn't raining hard, but it was certainly raining. My goats don't generally choose to stand in falling rain. It's hard to get a clear view from the cameras on a rainy night, between the infrared aspect and what looks like visual static from the rain. But I could tell they were all in one area and were all looking in the same direction. I turned on the microphones, but heard only rain - no goats calling for help. No raccoons shrieking for reasons of their own. I got out of bed, prepared to don my boots and an umbrella, but first I switched on the outdoor floodlights: nothing but rain. Got a flashlight, checked the camera again hoping the goats had lost interest in whatever they were watching: they had not. Went to a window overlooking the spot that I imagined the goats were focused on, held the flashlight over my head to avoid reflection in the glass, and turned it on. There, right in the center of the light, perched on a fencepost not twenty feet from the house, was a beautiful barred owl! I apologized for the light, wished it good luck in it's hunting, then turned off the floodlights and told the goats I was pretty sure they would be alright. Then I went back to bed.

The End.