Monday, May 18, 2009

The Little Birds and the Hawk

Recently I purchased some property, mostly farmland, and there are some buildings scattered on it. Sunday I began the immense task of clearing brush from the property. About 8 hours later things looked pretty nice, if I don't say so myself.

The farmer who lived on this property previously was a "do it yourselfer". In this particular case I would say he was a "do it yourself half-assed" type. So much futility.

Here is a highlight. As I was using a brush hog that I rented, I came upon a pile of romex, indoor variety. Looked to be 10-2 or something like that. I really didn't want to run that over so I stopped and went over to it and began to move it. I then noticed that it was coming out of the ground. No sooner did I realize that than I felt a sting on my arm. I thought that I got stung by a wasp or something. No damage, no swelling. I kept staring at my arm, and nothing swelled; there was no damage, nor bite/sting marks. I began thinking and looked again at the pile of romex that was mysteriously growing out of the ground. I had one of those "head cocking" moments and went to the shed to grab my meter. The damned stuff was HOT. Un- effin'-believable. Not only did the nutjob bury household romex directly in the ground, it was hot to boot.

These tales go on and on, but that was certainly a highlight of the day.

I also tore down a bunch of dead grape vines with the trellis. Oh yea, the "trellis": some old conduit and wire mesh. Dumpster for all that too. Chateau-de-farm will have to wait for a while longer.

The work was exhausting and I was filthy from head to toe, but I loved the exercise, and it was great to get out in the sun for a while. During one of my breaks I saw a scene that I have noticed many a time in my days.
A beautiful red-tailed hawk was on rodent patrol above me. That beautiful bird didn't flap it's wings once, and kept circling, circling, circling over my barn. As it got lower, the smaller birds erupted from all sorts of hiding places and attacked the hawk. It looked to be about four different birds that mercilessly and non-stop kept attacking the hawk. Their desperate attempts didn't seem to phase the much larger bird.

The smaller birds didn't seem to mind either. They did all they could to attack the hawk and drive it away. This scene went on for a good 10 minutes. Finally the hawk decided it had had enough. He adjusted his wings and started gaining altitude. Without flapping it's wings one time he ascended into the heavens in the same circling pattern that he used when he was descnding, and I couldn't see him anymore. The little birds lost him long before that and had gone back to their daily routines.

I don't have a moral or anything snappy to add to the story. But as I got back to my brush clearing duties I thought for a while about what I just saw unfold. I can sure think of a lot of ways that those birds parallel certain situations in my life. The big and the small ones. Nature is awesome at times, and it doesn't even know it.


Carl from Chicago said...

You could have been electrocuted! That isn't code anywhere, is it?

Dan from Madison said...

You can bury romex, but not the crap that is for INDOOR use. I got electrocuted, at least I didn't die out there.

Jonathan said...

Maybe the smaller birds had nests nearby.

Jonathan said...

Also, cool pic.

Snakeye said...

sheesh - you gonna keep the farm on there or use it as a large lot for a large house?

Dan from Madison said...

Snake - short term, we are haying this year, the entire crop is pre sold! And we are rehabbing the barn to be a three season dwelling. Long term we may build on it, still up for debate.

Jonathan, not my pic, can't take credit for that one. But it is cool.