Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Hoot Before Sunrise

Before vehicle and foot traffic increased on my street, and before neighbors moved in who took an unusual interest in my activities, I used to enjoy going straight out to the barn the very minute I woke up in the morning. I'd be out there before sunrise talking to my horses and feeding them in my pajamas. One time an officer in a police cruiser spotted movement in my paddock and turned up my road to shine his spotlight on me. Boy was he shocked to find a woman in tap pants lingerie hugging a flake of hay to herself to cover up.

This morning I decided to take my chances again, especially since I was wearing winter P.J.s. If I wait until after I take my shower and get dressed to feed the horses, usually two or three vehicles will drive behind my barn while I'm out there despite me living on a dead-end dirt road with only five houses. All that traffic is coming and going from the new neighbors' house next door. It starts at dawn, goes on all day, and ends at dusk. So much for living in a peaceful rural neighborhood...

At any rate, this morning I was fortunate to step outdoors into stillness. I saw something dark float over my head and looked up to see a very large bird land on the crest of my roof. It turned around to face me, and revealed itself as the largest, most beautiful owl I had ever seen. It is rare for me to spot an owl. I think I saw one in the trees outside the Los Angeles Zoo when the kids were little, but I've seen no owls since. This guy stared into my eyes and I stared back with my mouth hanging open, I'm sure.

I thought, "I've got to run inside and get my camera to take a picture of this for my blog! No, no, the lighting isn't good enough, and the owl will fly away." I decided to just stay in the moment.

I then said out loud, "Wwwwwowwwww!" and the owl flew away.

A couple of days ago the baby bunnies disappeared from their nest. They were big enough to go out and start eating solids. I wouldn't blame them if they chose a new nest, as they were quickly out-growing their hole in the manure pile. It suddenly hit me that there could be a connection between the sudden appearance of this owl and the sudden disappearance of "my" baby jackrabbits. Hopefully not, but nature does what it does.


Callie said...

Unfortunately, I'd say your suspicions are right and said owl has been snacking!

Flying Lily said...

Isn't it great though when an owl looks you right in the eye?! They are so uncanny and beautiful.

Rising Rainbow said...

Oh man, I hope that owl didn't get the bunnies.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

One incredible experience replaced by another. That is nature. However, I have my fingers crossed that the little bunnies took refuge somewhere else.

Twinville said...

Hopefully just a coincidence. I pray the bunnies made it out alive, but owls have to eat and feed their young, too. Such is the circle of life.....

Your post reminds me of a time when my hubby and I drove up to Navajo Lake to go camping,in the middle of the night,after he got off work.

We pulled up to campground sign to read the map....and a HUGE Great Horned Owl flew down and landed on the sign....not more than 4 feet away from us!
We were completely blown away and we realized we had been holding our breaths, because when that gorgeous owl flew away we were both gasping for air. I don't even know how long we had been holding our breaths, but it seemed like an enternity.

I would have been like you, unless I had my camera around my neck like I usually do now. I would have been frozen in awe until he flew away, just like you.

And hey! What is going on with all the traffic? Do your neighbors run a drug house or something? That must be terribly annoying for you.

Like you, I don't want to bother with getting dressed up just to take care of my animals. They don't care what I'm wearing or how I look, they just want food and petting.
I would have been annoyed having a spotlight pointed at me wearing PJs on my own property. Are there any indecency laws that prohibit PJ's on your own land?
Hope not! Hmmpf!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

There's something auspicious about sighting an owl up close. Camera around the neck is a good idea. The neighbor's aren't drug dealers -- just extremely forgetful and hyper. They drive off, forget something, come back, drive off, forget something, come back... In the meantime, I'm waiting for them to leave for good so that I can ride my horses without distractions and spooks from all that door slamming. I don't know about the indecency laws. I think the officer just wanted to make sure I wasn't a burglar or horse thief. He turned off his spotlight and moved on without stopping or saying anything. I'm still keeping my hopes high for those 40+ acres. Land and housing prices are coming down slightly around here, but still don't hold a candle to the small amount my family paid for this place 14 years ago.

Anne said...

I think your neighbors are driving back and forth trying to catch you in your PJs and then they're going to post photos on the Internet.

I get worse and worse about what I wear to the barn. No way can I stay clean, so I need to do it before I get dressed. I used to be very careful about wearing a heavy bathrobe and a jacket. Now I sometimes go in my PJs. By the time I am an old lady and don't give a fig, I'll probably get arrested.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Anne - LOL. Don't make me more paranoid than I already am.