8/4/17 - Week 8 - Owlets


The Flight of the Owlets

We farmers, out here rooting around in the muck all day, are sometimes chanced privy to the spectacularly goofy things wild creatures do. Such as today, when the wild turkeys got and boggled out by the thunder, and couldn't help gobbling back at it every time.

Once in a blue moon, we are chanced privy to the mystical side of Mother Nature. To the occult. To moments where the cosmic wold and the animal world of flesh and blood aline in such a way as to reveal the source of fairy tales and superstitions.

Such a day, or night rather, for both, was the full moon of July.

We told in these annals, just a few weeks past, of the family of Barn Owls growing up in the owl box near our house. Four owlets there were...

We first learned of their birth into this World by tiny, hideous, rasping noises coming from the previously vacant aery. This was in March. Every twilight thenceforth, when out to check the mail or out to check the plums or out returning in from out, their insistent rasps accompanied us, "Feed us, Mommy! Feed us!" And feed them she did. 

Once in a while we would spy Mother Owl, silent and ghostly white, hovering through the air as if suspended. She would alight upon the doorway, the rasps would increase in urgency and change in tone, and she would float away.

Weeks passed, moons passed, and the little rasps grew in power and potency. They became so loud they entered the house and became the soundtrack of our nocturnal lives. From dusk to dawn, cooking in the kitchen, turning over in between dreams, or in the predawn brushing our tooths, rasp. rasp. RAAAASP! 

Sometime in early May, they started showing themselves. Far from the little demons we expected to see, cute little white monkey faces began popping out of the box. A few weeks later, be-winged fuzzy monkeys bravely perched upon the porch. And screeched.

In June, they got their driving permits and could be seen and heard screeching to and from the a nearby tree. They awkwardly would crash into the tree, screech a few times, and try to hide from us, the bemused audience below.

As June waned and the moon waxed the owlets came into their own. The nights brightened and their presence increasingly dominated the little meadow valley below. They began whipping lithely hither and thither, perching on Big Doug Firs far from their nest, and piercing the air with chilling warning calls when we would approached their box. But same infant screeching continued. All night. Every night. We started to wonder how they all fit in the box during the day. And what power could compel these grown-children to stop haunting the meadow?

The full moon of July 9th, the "Thunder Moon" it is sometimes called, was a bright one this year. On my bedtime walk to check on the irrigation around 10pm, I remember the long shadow I cast on the silvery path and an eery feeling. One of the shortest nights of the year, I remember tossing and turning in bed, the bright window shades, shadows on the white walls, and silence. At morning tea we realized they were gone.

Since the Thunder Moon we have not heard or seen the owlets. We know they are out there. A pellet consisting of the front half of a lizard and the back half a mouse happenstanced on our doorstep the other day. But they have changed. The awkward monkey faces are no more. It seems the giant monkey face in the heavens may have held the key.

See you in the fields,

David & Kayta

THIS WEEK'S HARVEST: Heirloom Tomatoes, New Girl Slicing Tomatoes, San Marzano Sauce Tomatoes, Italian Eggplant, Sweet Peppers, Summer Squash (Italian Zucchini, Crookneck and Patty Pan), Striped Armenian & Lemon Cucumbers, Melons, Fennel, Broccoli, Murdoch Cabbage, Beets, Carrots, Bok Choi, Red Russian Kale, Rainbow Chard, Collard Greens, Mustard Greens, Romaine and Red Summercrisp Head Lettuces, Fresh Yellow Spring Onions

PICKLING CUCUMBERS: We're increasing the pickling cucumber quota to 20lbs per share. If you have already picked up one 10lb bag, take home a second. If you haven't received any pickling cucumbers yet, your future-self will thank your past-self when you are rolling in pickles this winter. We'll have ready to go bags in the glass fronted fridge in the back of the pick up barn. 

U-PICK in the GARDEN: 

  • Amethyst Beans: This is a beautiful purple green bean variety great raw or cooked. Beans pods turn green when cooked. Picking is unlimited, the plants are loaded. They are located just below the frying peppers and are somewhat hard to spot because they are the same color as the vines.
  • Herbs: Genovese Italian Basil, Cilantro, Savory, Onion Chives, Parsley, Sage, Oregano, Dill, Thymes, Mints, Sorrel, Chamomile, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Anise Hyssop
  • Cut flowers: Dahlias (limit 4 per season per share), Celosia, Craspedia, Cosmos, Nasturtium, Bachelor's Buttons, Zinnias, Calendula, Snapdragons, Red Spike Amaranth, Sunflowers, Love-in-a-Mist
  • Frying peppers: Shishitos, Black Hungarian, Padrones, Jalapeños
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Husk Cherries aka Ground Cherries aka Cape Gooseberries: A delightful sweet little nightshade berry wrapped inside a cool little "wrapper". Kids love them. Just peel the papery wrapper off and eat! Husk Cherries are ripe when the wrapper is golden. (Green = unripe). Look low down under the canopy of leaves for the ripe ones.