Loud Noises

This has been one of the more interesting springs we’ve experienced on the hilltop. Record-challenging snowfall and brutal blizzards over the winter led to a wet (downright soggy) spring. And the loud noises…

April 5, 2023

I’m not just talking about the wind, either, which is loud on its own merit to be sure. I texted my cousin a video I took outside that captured only a fraction of what I was actually hearing and told her, “I feel like I live in the middle of the Discovery Channel.”

April 11, 2023

Since we’ve lived here, we’ve heard several Canada Geese as they pass through on their return migration from the south. But this year…. “several” doesn’t come close.

There were thousands in our valley for days. THOUSANDS.

The loud noises came from Canada and Snow geese, robins, pheasants, grackles, sparrows, juncos, chickadees, blue jays, mourning doves, meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds, yellow-headed blackbirds, terns, turkey vultures, crows, hawks (4 different kinds I could identify)…. It was a bit surreal. I’ve never experienced loud noises like this before, certainly not here on the hilltop.

And then there were the Sandhill Crane haunting-yet-soothing loud noises. You can hear them before you can see them, and when you finally do catch them in flight, you become witness to a bizarre circular pattern. They certainly take their time getting where they’re going. You can’t see them in this video, because #iphoneishard, but you can hear them.

Along with the migratory and standard wildlife birds, you must remember I have laying hens and roosters, which are also contributing their fair share to the loud noises. The hens are back in egg production, thank heavens, and every time a hen accomplishes laying an egg, there is a rousing ruckus from the flock as she sings her achievement and they echo their congratulations.

With the hens back in business, we’re trying a new thing this year: incubation. Or Incub-egg-tion, as I just now made up calling it. We had a surprise hatch on our homestead last September, and before we knew whether we had a hen or a rooster, the kids named the adorable chick “Marshmallow”.

Marshmallow’s mama is a Comet Buff hen, which is not a breed known for going broody. I thought she had been taken by a predator. And three weeks after she went missing, she returned to the flock with a tiny white fluffball in tow.

It turns out Marshmallow is a rooster. And a gorgeous one at that. His name is not befitting in the least, but that’s alright, I suppose. I’m thrilled to have him, especially since Beta-Roo is the bane of my existence. Beta-Roo is Marshmallow’s father, a half-witted coward in the flock, and yet he is a bully to humans. Beta-Roo will one day be Beta-Stew, but for now, I simply remind him his days are numbered.

At any rate, with Beta-Roo and Marshmallow “tending” to the laying ladies, I figure we have a good chance of bringing some new life to the hilltop. We’ve never done this before, so we’re flying a little blind. But we’re hopeful.

And in a few weeks’ time, hopefully, we’ll have the loud noises of little chick peeps.

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