The first run of the season

Today was the first day of the plunge into the season of animal rehabilitation calls. An hour or so after arriving at home, a call came in about a Canada goose that was reported to have a broken wing, and spent three or so days frozen to the ground amidst field stubble out on Old 224. I met up with Mum so that we had a better chance at catching the creature.

We drove out toward the area where we were told we would find the goose. We parked in a driveway that once belonged, presumably, to a house along Old 224, approximately one hundred and fifty yards up the road from where we had spotted our target. The two of us laughed helplessly, looking out at the goose, which sat across one of the many impromptu lakes created by the melting of the snow. In fact, it was more like an impromptu creek, being connected to the Blanchard River at its head and base, roiling at both.

The snow made the drop down into the field look gradual, but my first step toward the bottom proved that assumption to be false. My right leg plunged down into the snow, burying itself up to just above my knees. Chuckling, the both of us tread more carefully down into the field.

Upon approaching the spontaneous creek, the Canada goose stood up, displaying a slightly off-looking wing, and took a few hesitant steps away. It had had no need to, as unless we were going to miraculously acquire a boat or full-body waders, there was no way we were going to reach the other side of the waters.

We stood on our side, looking right and left for a break we could cross, when the goose took off, running and throwing open its wings. It caught a bit of wind and rose higher and higher, gliding west through the river corridor. Turning, we strode back up to the road and back to the car, shivering in our sweatshirts. Two vehicles stopped and inquired as to whether we needed help (thank you!) and chuckled when we informed them that we were returning from a literal wild goose chase.

And so, for us, the year begins. Hopefully, this first call foreshadows the course of this year, with concerned fellows and the positive turn of events.

The Unbearable Lightness of Turkeys

Rear ViewDon’t let the turkeys get you down. Have you seen this thing? A simple drawing by Sandra Boynton of an elephant driven to its knees by six or seven of the aforementioned birds? It was everywhere for a while a long while ago (and apparently lives on as t-shirts, coffee mugs, posters and greeting cards; but, then, everything that ever was still is somewhere on the internet).

The message was simple: any troubles you have are analogous to turkeys and you shouldn’t let them get you down, those darn turkeys.

Big GuyYeah? Well, bunk. While I suppose that there are some turkeys out there that are a constant headache, that would do everything in their power to make a person’s life absolutely miserable, the turkeys with which I’ve interacted have been a pure joy. Case in point, the two newest residents at The Quarry Farm.

A couple of months ago, Laura Zitzelberger, operations director at Nature’s Nursery Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation Education, contacted us about possibly taking in three bronze turkeys that had been seen wandering in a residential neighborhood in Toledo. And, while three were spotted, once volunteers from the center arrived on-scene, only two were found. Of the two, one was suffering from a variety of injuries (the consequence of getting on the wrong side of a dog). So, after Inigo, Willow and Fezzikrehabbing the bird and determining absolutely that these were indeed domestic and not wild turkeys (bronzes bear a remarkable resemblence to their undomesticated cousins), they contacted us late last week and made arrangements for us to pick them up.

We bundled them into the back of Rowan’s Subaru Forester and made the hour long trek back south to Putnam County where we set them up in the same run as Johnny, the Canada goose, and Andi, the Pekin duck. During the whole of the trip, despite being unceremoniously lifted from the home they had come to know and dragged into a whole new situation, not once did either bird make more than an idle and near-inaudible complaint.

So here they are now, these two birds we’ve dubbed Fezzik and Inigo. And glad we are that they’re here.

Looking for White Cat

We’ve been busy here. You’ve been busy there, wherever your ‘there’ may be. So much going on that, like me, you are in danger of missing the gold-tinged greens and amethysts of ebbing August, at least as it is here on the Quarry Farm.

I did almost miss it. We have caught a smattering of the sunsets, the kind that include that frosted-animal-cookie pink. But any noticing has been as we walked past a window or distributed hay to Buddy, Marsh and S’more or put the hens to bed. Then one of us left a door unhinged enough that Beatrice opened the front door and let the cat out.

Although we do have several cats, it was White Cat that slipped out. White Cat is deaf as are many white male cats. While there are plenty of dashing, flying and sparkly sorts of things in the outside to entertain a house cat, there are even more along Cranberry Run and in a 50-acre woods that will feast on feline. One that can’t hear a predator approach is especially vulnerable. So we looked high and low for White Cat. And as we did, we caught late summer.

Wild plums ripen

The wild plums are ripening on the nature preserve. Some hang at eye level beside the rich yellow Jerusalem artichokes and purple ironweed on the stream bank. Most plums are rose gold, but some are beginning to flush to mauve. For the first time, Steve will be able to make wild plum preserves to sell at the Quarry Farm table at the Farmer’s Market. (Warning: shameless plug for funding ahead.) Reserve your jar now through the Gift Shop!

Jewelweed, nature’s cure for the maddening itch imposed by poison ivy, is in bloom in the floodplain. The algae growth that plagues Cranberry Run, as well as most of Northwest Ohio’s waterways, is camouflaged by shimmers of sunlight that ignite the riffles. Higher up, the sun itself glows through the tired summer leaves, although the sunlight is cooling from the white hot of June and July. Better and better.

Bushel gourd on the vine

Down low, bushel gourds swell under huge vine leaves. Recent rains have brought on a good crop. The leaves have already been used this summer in a stepping stone workshop. More will be made before the vines wither in frost. The chickens and Johnny the Canada goose find this ground-level search fascinating, especially since disturbed vines yield fat, juicy crickets.

Wounded White Cat and Birdy nose

Even lower, under Buddy’s barn, White Cat is found. The roosters knew he was there; it just took the obtuse humans two days to figure it out. He has earned himself a gash under one eye and a limp, injuries probably inflicted by Buddy. Back in the house, White Cat is thoroughly sniffed before he settles himself in for a good grooming. Outside, the finches and field mice can peacefully ready themselves for the cold months. We will remember to notice.