Nature….Friend or Foe?

owl landing at window

One of the downsides of being a farmer is that nature is sometimes a foe now, not just a friend, nor even just a beautiful element to ponder. This week two, well at least two, of our wild neighbors on the farm made a surprise appearance.

close up owl on mid beamSunday morning as Analiese entered the sow & hen barn, something flew the length of the barn, clearly not a chicken.  An owl — yes, a barred owl had swooped under the curtain in the sow’s space at some point in the night and was now a bit trapped in the barn.  Or thought it’d just sleep away the day in the upper rafters and then have another lovely meal of fresh, organic chicken again come nightfall.  


owl staring down

It was beautiful to behold, how silently it flew from end to end, the range of motion of its head and the curiosity or annoyance with which it stared at us as we pondered our next moves and attempted to direct it OUT!  After a good hour of attempts, the three of us did manage to get it to fly out, much to the happiness of the hens who were quite panicked while it was in the barn, half hiding in the corner of their space and the rest hiding out in the sows’ shelter.  

nervious chickens due to owl

Amazing instincts, as soon as the owl flew out, the hen flocked totally quieted down.  Meanwhile the sows never noticed.  

owl and sow

We do love sharing our farm with neighbors and guests. Sunday was no different. Would however have preferred that Owl ate an egg or a rodent, not a hen.

In fact, it could have taken the rodent that has been stealing precious winter spinach!  Darienne found a too big handful of spinach leaves stolen by a vole, we presume.

spinach stashed by rodents in hoophouse

Wonder at the natural world persists. Really, a vole is so diligent to harvest spinach leaves and stash them under the folds of the remay for later.  But is this little critter coming back for them or setting up her own farmstand?  Thankfully it is a warm week so out went the remay to discourage this work.

No doubt, all of nature’s forces and creatures keep us on our toes.