This Barn Owl has been dispensing counsel.
The newsletter written on January 6 about events a year prior prompted a few acute responses. Two readers accused the writer of being a communist, and asked to be removed from the subscription. While such status was neither sought nor earned, it does raise questions about how to go forward in our cultural quest for equilibrium.
Shortly thereafter, I was in one of our barns hooking up a piece of equipment, and felt eyes boring upon my back. I was obviously alone, but couldn't shake the feeling of being observed. Finally, after scanning the horizon, I awkwardly looked up, and found penetrating eyes coming into view from a far corner on high. There sat a Barn Owl, who is nocturnal by nature, and was patiently staying awake, perched in the rafters, awaiting my attention to whom to dispense much-needed counsel.
Since I had never encountered an owl face-to-face, but knew of their legend as fountains of wisdom, and since I had just been accused of being irrelevant, it seemed like a prudent moment to seek advice. So, summoning composure, I dared to ask, "Mrs. Owl, what do you make of these accusations?" She stared back without responding, until I started to squirm.
She then offered in slow cadence, "You humans are so foolish. Your lust for manna always leads you into conflict. Sooner or later you will accept your place in the universe, which is not very high." This discussion was not looking good. "So, what I recommend," she continued "is you replace your governing system. What you need is governance referred to as S-air-fection..." Well, of course!
She seemed to expect my confusion, and explained, "S-air-fection honors soil, air, and affection for all living things. Humans have done poorly in this regard. Offices of the highest land in this form of government are filled with sage stewards, not opportunists. To correct this problem of being human, owls and avian hawks would populate the Supreme Court; Mother Trees would inhabit the Senate; the House of Representatives would be led by plants of the prairie; and the Executive Office would be directed by dolphins and seals..."
She then slowly winked, gathered her great wings, let something loose that landed nearby on the concrete, and glided away into the ethers...
On this farm, we are aspire to clean air and honor soil. We have calculated that between our controlled grazing and planting of trees, we are offsetting the pollution of 600 cars per year.
The white tube between rows of planted trees is a piezometer, in which water-saturation of the ground is measured. We have 30 of them spread throughout our expanded wetlands. We will break and plug the tile-lines of these fields at the end of April, and then start taking measurements for water retention.
We are also bringing water into wetlands by inserting gravel "swales" into diversion levees, as in the picture below.
We didn't expect to have lambs this year, but one testicle somewhere escaped the "banding" process, so here we are. They are being born earlier than we would like, for lack of growth of grass, but I think all will be well. They are awfully cute.
The picture below looks like a pot of spaghetti sauce, but it is filled with delicious items, principally our Roma Meatballs and slices of pan-fried eggplant. They are a great combination.
Susan and I are heading south for two weeks, which will be our longest time off the farm in fifteen years.
May blooms of orchids inspire us to follow wisdom imparted by our friend in the rafters.