Saturday, February 26, 2011

Elves and Owls and other things

During the day we share our farm with familiar creatures but when night falls the cast of characters change.  I was putting the chickens to bed for the night when my headlamp picked up a flurry of activity.  A small bird had gotten into one of the pens and was in a frenzy to get out.  It finally came to rest on the wire and I could see it was a very small owl, about 6 inches tall.  I hurried back into the house, grabbed my camera and a towel.  I took a few pictures of this amazing bird and then, slowly, folded the towel around it to protect myself and it from harm.  I snapped a picture of it in the towel and then took it out of the pen and released it.  It flew away without a sound.  Another night as I was walking down to turn off the water, I saw in the reflection of my headlamp thousands of tiny lights shining across the landscape like a mystical city.  At first I thought they were dew drops but on closer inspection I found that they were the reflections of the eyes of tiny black spiders.  I got down on my hands and knees and looked at them.  They were very shy and popped back in their holes when I got too close.  They were about a quarter the size of a house fly.  I know some people are creeped out by spiders but these seemed magical.  For the most part they are invisible and never bother us.  I'm sure they're doing some monumental good deed, perhaps eating mites or some other creatures that do harm to the plants we tend during the day.  Their part is to tend to our plants during the night while we sleep.  They are our little spider elves.  Sometimes in the morning we see signs of other things that passed in the night.  I'm sure we'd be amazed at the activity that goes on while we sleep.

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