Yesterday the snow fell on and off for the whole day. But it did not have any  kind of real resolve, It was just there.  A half hearted affair.  Showers, flurries nothing much.

So I cycled through my list.26-ab-feb-15-020

Getting the collars on the Dutchies so they could learn Phase Two of the milking routine: being tethered to the feeding station for some munching.  Elsie is still the more apprehensive of the two. Lady A is very calm.  But both of them came in one door, paused for the feed,  received their milking collars without too much fuss then walked out the other door. They are doing well. 26-ab-feb-15-022

I am checking for any signs that Poppy is going to come into heat though she is not due for another week or so. 26-ab-feb-15-038

She will be bred on her next heat. That will be interesting. I have never AIed a pig before but I have a mentor.  She will teach me. 26-ab-feb-15-033

I am working on clearing out the North pen in the barn – also known as the Black Hole of Calcutta, (though it is draft free) this is the pen I like to keep clean in case some silly cow decided to give birth before the fields clean up.26-ab-feb-15-029

I will clean it out and close it up just in case. Though it is frozen solid which makes for a decent work out!

As an aside my bedroom as a teenager was called the Black Hole Of Calcutta too (for obvious reasons!)

Yesterday evening as the Cadet and I were doing the chores she gasped and pointed upwards. There hovering above us in the evening light was a brilliant Godot-like pure white Owl. He was huge. Right there between these two trees. High up. Caught in a shaft of  evening light like an angel. His wings were outstretched as he flew into these trees but seeing us he must have turned. So he looked straight at us and we were right underneath him.  I know I saw it. The Cadet saw it too. But all my reading tells me that they should not be down this way. They are Arctic owls. 26-ab-feb-15-025

His belly and under his wings were pure white and he definitely was an owl.  In my memory he hung there watching us for long enough for my eyes to swoop over him taking in every detail. Yet it must have been parts of a second. Then he was in the trees. These trees are old Dutch Elms, they are hollow. The White Owl is migratory he may have a resting place in there.

I stepped backwards into the barn to grab the camera but of course he was gone when I turned back.

But you know how I am with owls. They have strong magic in my life. My hands were clasped like a Madonna’s prayer in front of my face.

I went here and reported seeing him.  Just in case this is something someone should know. But you know how your mind takes photos too?  I can still see him. Large as life. Pure white and terrible.

26-ab-feb-15-012I adore these little piggies.

And this big one – all snuggled up. 26-ab-feb-15-005

Looking at me out of the corner of her eye.

Last night the eggs in the incubator were turned for the last time. They are due to start hatching on Sunday. We cannot count the chicks yet of course. These eggs were laid in the freezing cold with juvenile roosters. It is a long shot.  But I have chick starter feed and today I will prepare the brooder. Nothing like a little bit of optimism.

Winter is hanging on. Not budging yet. 26-ab-feb-15-027

There is work to be done. Best I get out there and do it!

Have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farmy




68 Comments on “Turns

  1. I saw an owl fly into our barn yesterday, too! Just a screech (I think), but still, magic! I’m thinking they are hungry with all this lingering snow cover :-/.

  2. Seeing that white Owl just has to be a good omen 🙂 Be great if you manage to capture him (digitally). How long before the calves are born do the cows udders fill up? Laura

  3. Your softly softly approach to the Dutches will pay off a hundredfold when it comes to milking time.
    Your owl – if you only saw it from directly beneath, it could have been something as common as a barn owl. I am always astonished how much white there is on the underside of a barn owl. But the snowy owl is a formidable long-distance flier, and often migrates far south from the arctic in winter..

    Was that the cadet I spied outside the North pen dor?

    Enjoy your day,
    love, Viv whose laundry is drying in wintry windy sunshine.

  4. we had a Snowy Owl all the way down here in North Florida last winter. So it could have been.

  5. I love seeing Ton Ton in your photos – he always seems to be around. Like your shadow. He’s sweet. Joy

    • Me too!!! I just love Ton Ton too! He is the absolute best! He is always there making sure everything is right and that all the farmy animals are in their proper places doing what they should be doing! So wonderful!!!

  6. Could it have been a Snowy Owl?
    They have been moving south in the winter months and this year there have been about 50 spotted close to where I live. I am in Canada, further north, but maybe? Maybe it is a barn owl living in one of your barns. That is very exciting.

  7. How wonderful to see an Angel White Owl…that is a good omen for you…loved the post and all the gorgeous animals..don’t count chickens before they hatch..but its exciting waiting

  8. We have Great Horned Owls here. Despite their ability to carry off my cat, were he out at night, I adore them. I watched our mated pair teach their fledglings to eat emerging cicadas last summer. I wonder why humans are often afraid of the dark, but so thrilled by seeing nighttime predators?
    Good luck with Poppy and her AI!

  9. I agree – there is really something magical about owls. What a treat to have seen that gorgeous HUGE white one!! I love reading all your news, although it does make me miss our farm in Quebec. But I’m living vicariously through you – with none of the work !!

  10. That Kune Kune shot is definitely a calendar candidate! I love owls and can only imagine how striking a white Arctic owl must be. We have Barred owls nesting in our neighborhood. We hear them every night in late Fall, Winter and early Spring, and have seen mated pairs resting on the trees in our back yard. I miss them in the late Spring and Summer when the hawks take over. We saw a Ferruginous Light Morph Hawk migrating a month ago…way out of his habitat and migration path, and my mom just saw a white robin migrating through Alabama. Interesting times.

  11. I know completely the feeling you had seeing that owl. I have exactly the same feeling and still have exactly the same snapshot from a day walking down to the village in Oxfordshire, looking up into some black oaks and seeing a pure, great white egret, which is supposed to be in Africa, right there in the trees. Unbelievable and magical sitting there like a child’s fluffy rag kite caught by some breeze and hung in a tree far away from where it’s supposed to me. 😀

  12. It’s white here – SNOW is falling….. in Texas….. and I’m at work. HATE driving in this crud, but it didn’t start until I got into the office. My little VW bug will be hard to start (28 is our high today) and will take a long time to warm up….. if you didn’t know, Texas shuts down during snow and Ice. Or at least he DFW area does. We average 4 days of winter crud each year.

    But – I’ll survive this storm also….. I wouldn’t last a week on your farm in the winter. Maybe not in the summer either…..

    Love the photographs today. The owl sounds beautiful, but I agree, they seem to feel like a bad omen when you see them.

    • Yes, i have a VW also and it Hates winter weather.. I just have to climb (climb being the operative word) into Johns very ancient snow plow truck and be delivered. Luckily I don’t have to be anywhere else. and yes, there is something deep about an ghostly white owl in daylight.. it makes me shiver. c

  13. Artic owls have started to show up in numbers in Minnesota for the first time. It seems they’ve run out of food source on the tundra. I’m fascinated by owls too.

    Just after the start of the year, we heard the two great horned owls who live near us hooting their mating sequence in our back yard. We went into the glass sunroom and I spotted the female in our Cottonwood tree and the male was two trees away. Their hoots got closer and closer together until the male swooped over to the female (we’re seeing this in clear silhouette against the night sky) and mated in a fury of wings. What an incredible sight to witness.

      • I wonder also if the warmer temperatures in the Arctic during the past few winters are causing them to move where it is colder further south? I lived, and have friends above the Arctic Circle, and the temperatures there have been warmer these past couple of years than they have been across the northern states in the Lower 48 states.

  14. Which of your guests had the goat who used one ofthe animals for a steps tool? Was it Sherry? I tried to go back into the archives but am not so adept. I loved that little goat.

  15. Celi, this is an interesting blog this morning! We have been watching a pretty kestler bird here by our house high up in the tree ~ at the end of a dead branch as if he’s sitting in the sky!! and last nite we watched the “Nature” program on TV ~ it was about the white owls! It was a great hr long program! A couple of these pictures this morning are fabulous!! I want the piggies! the special Kunes! they are so fun together!! love how good ole TonTon is in with Sheila and Poppy ~ love the look on his face!! All the animals on the farm just chime in with each other! Those are well raised and lovey animals on the farmy! Stay warm today!

  16. Oh Cinders…that is unbelievable that you saw a snowy owl right there over the Farmy! Maybe it will discover all those b. minks and stick around for awhile! Dave made me a great horned owl nest box for mother’s day last year and from what I hear they start scouting around for a place to nest about this time of year, so I better get it up! Yes, they are truly magical birds. And everyone probably knows this but their wings are designed as such, to allow them to fly without a sound, so as not to alert their prey.

  17. If anyone is interested, the Decorah Eagles have.aidtheir third egg this week. And just before the egg-laying there was a fight for theirnest.owls tried to take over the next. It was pretty dramatic. Theowlswould hoot to each other then the eagle would swoop down and try to chasetheowl away. All on live streaming.

  18. Naturalists have been watching the snowy owls’ migrating more south for a year or two. They go where there’s easiest living and hunting. MAybe they did hear about the minks. There was a really good BBC nature show on about owl research recently. Now I worry when it rains so much – their feathers are designed for silent flying, and their eyes for night vision, but if it’s raining/foggy at night, they have difficulty spotting their prey and their feathers do not shed water so they get soaked, cold, and grounded.
    Seeing one is significant. So many legends and myths. A white one appearing between trees there. Perhaps it heard (they have very good hearing) about the farmy being organic and decided it was a healthier hunting ground. It’s bartering small mammal control for nice place to live.
    (Lovely Dutch ladies. Somehow they do have a Vermeer air about them.

  19. My childhood memories return when looking at your beautiful photos of Elsie and the Dutchies. After my dad married my mom and moved to her farm one of the first things he did was improve the dairy. It was next to the barn so that the hay and wheat for feeding the cows could be thrown right into their feeding trough. The cows had to stick their head through a wooden contrabtion to eat. We also had a milking machine with a cooling room for the milking cans . The dairy was a warm and cozy place for me when I was a child. We had about 12 milking cows and I got to watch some of them give birth. I tried a couple of times to milk them, as I remember the cows did not like my touch. In the summer, fall , and spring the cows were grazing outside but had to brought to the dairy for milking. Thanks Celie for bringing back alll those memories.

  20. We have had Snowy Owls here too (Vermont) …and I have the same “thing” with owls that it sounds like you do. I had a dream once that an owl and a hawk fought in mid air, I knew they were trying to get to me, though I didn’t know why. The owl won and perched on my shoulder. Ironically I have this uncanny ability to spot hawks all over the place, when no one else notices them.

  21. My father told me when I was 12, “No man will ever marry you with a room like that.” So I married to incredibly neat men. Bill mellowed with me, and we became clean but messy!

  22. Now there is a sight I would love to see – an angel in the sky – A Snowy Owl. We had a better day today, but the temperatures are due to drop with a forecast of snow, but not until after a wet and stormy weekend. You know what they say about March weather : In like a lion and out like a lamb. Fingers crossed it works that way this year.

  23. Absolutely majestic…I can just imagine that extraordinary moment with that magnificent owl, with those brilliant lemon eyes searing through the winter blear. Gorgeous! I have always longed to meet a snowy owl (and a great grey owl). Well, I’d really like to meet every single species on the planet! 😉

    What a fantastic moment for you! They certainly are ethereal. I don’t know if you watch PBS Nature from time to time but if you have not seen it, here is a lovely episode on Snowies, including some astounding footage of snowy owlets swimming after their mum: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/magic-of-the-snowy-owl-full-episode/7963/ and here is one from a couple weeks ago that has some hauntingly beautiful slow-motion shots of a back-lit barn owl gliding in the rusty rays of sunset: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/owl-power-full-episode/11636/

    What a wonderful post. I adore the piggies as well! And the snow is so beautiful. Wonderful images. So happy to have come warbling onto your blog, having discovered it via Frog Pond Farm. Jubilant cheers,

    Smiling Toad

    • Welcome! yes I found myself watching the skies intensely today but he has gone. I don’t have a TV so thank you for the links! I shall pop over later tonight and have a look.. and thank you for the comment.. wonderful.. c

          • I am very low-tech, too! I much prefer being out in nature or reading and often even neglect my blog, which is the techiest thing I do! 😉 That and watching PBS online and downloading far too many old-timey radio show podcasts! Cheers!!

            Autumn Jade

  24. Remember being scared of owls as a small kid: Hated the sound they made and those eyes staring at you’!! Changed my mind eons ago – they are magical!! White owl: not surprised with the two past winters you have had – arctic vortexes surely have brought down more than loads of snow . . . keeping fingers crossed for lots of cheeps in the next few days . . . love the photo of the Cadet!!

  25. We have had snowy owls wintering in this area for the last couple of years. Seems there are more sightings all the time. The Horicon marsh is not too far west of us, we keep meaning to go take a look see there if it would just warm up a tad. They are seeing quite a few snowys there.
    Equus, Her Majesty Fanny is a adorable little goat but I’m not telling her she has another fan, she’s much too full of herself already! (Just ask Percy).

  26. Oh Celi, owls are my FAVORITE raptors! I’ve been blessed with capturing 3 different Barred Owls here in my town on my camera (one of the photos got published in our local online news station!) and then I’ve seen the magical Barn Owl fly past our river property at the Oregon Coast right at eye level while we were sitting on our dock at dusk. I have printed out Barn Owl Box plans for my husband to build us a box to install in one of the many tall trees there on our property this summer. You never know, we might get a family! I am so happy for your magical Snowy Owl moment. ❤

  27. I have seen a white owl only once in my life. We were in France, driving through a particularly rolling, hilly, country. No barns or people in sight. Just fields and woods and that gentle rolling rolling. And all of sudden, I looked up at a tree looming next to the road and my eyes snapped (why they went there, I don’t know) to a white shape up in the crotch of a big branch. And looking at me in that Mona Lisa way as we rolled slowly past was an owl, so still, so sculptural. If not for his color he would have seemed a part of the tree. You feel as if they are magically pulling your eyes toward them, hence the snap. You look at them because there’s some need for that contact. That recognition. “I see you.” Mutual. Wordless. It’s a very spiritual sensation.

  28. I remember as a very small child (I was about 5 years old but it’s such a strong memory) of my grandad wrapping me up and taking me for a walk in the country at night to see an owl – and we did….magical!

  29. Spotting any owl is wonderful but seeing an arctic owl is really quite special. They aren’t supposed to come this far South. I’m glad you had a witness with you, though I’m sure everyone would believe you. Years ago, I saw an eagle flying over the shoreline in Michigan. Everyone said I was seeing things, that eagles aren’t in those parts. A week later, in the local paper, there were photos of the young eagle that had spent a few days in the area. Ha!

  30. Pingback: Good ideas flying after bad. | Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

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