Hawks and Other Weekend Drama

Part One: Hawks

Saturday morning I went to let the chickens out of their coop, and I saw this on the pathway between our house and the coop…

(It must have been very fresh when I first saw it, because in the few minutes it took me to go get my camera, a lot of it had already dried.) So, I looked around for other signs or a trail. Nothing.

I called the cats. Luckily they were easy to find, or I would have been worrying all morning. Matt Damon was lounging nearby on the patio furniture, and Queso had just finished her breakfast on the porch. No signs of any bloodshed (giving or receiving).

Standing next to the blood, I looked straight up into the towering water oak.

I stood there squinting, crane-necking, examining every branch I could, looking for an unfortunate squirrel or maybe a snake draped across a branch. Try as I did, I could not find the source of the blood.

But I did spy another clue in the grass under the tree. Just what I was afraid of.

A hawk feather? It certainly did not come from any of our birds. (It could be an owl, as we hear and sometimes see them as well.)

I went ahead and let the chickens out–not into the yard, but just their chicken run area. (It’s an area I had to enclose after the hawk attacks began in late 2009. I’ll write about that story sometime soon.)

I was so annoyed, because I thought we were finally to the time of year that I didn’t have to worry about the predators so much. See, the hawks have the biggest advantage in the winter months when the leaves are gone. They can perch in one of the tall trees in the woods behind our yard and just watch and wait. (Did you know that a hawk can see a mouse 1/2 a mile away? Just think how easily they can spot a fat, fluffy hen…) Last winter, we literally had to sit out there in the cold just so the birds could have some time outside the run. I would get home from work, put on my Uggs, and go “stand” guard against this…

Anyway, with the bloody warning sign and several sightings of the birds of pray, it looks like the yard birds will still be spending their mornings in the run rather than free-ranging (free-yarding?).

I know hawks are an important part of the food chain, but my patience with nature dwindles every time they claim one of our birds. I have dreams (nightmares?) about them attacking the fat ladies or one of the ducks. Seriously, I do.

And we live in town! You just wouldn’t think about there being a hawk problem in the middle of town. At least Sargent is too big to carry away…

Part Two: The Fence

When most people buy a house, they have a “to-do” list of changes and/or repairs that they would like to accomplish. The length and extent of the list might vary, but I’m guessing “The List” exists, whether the house is ten years, 130 years (ours), or anywhere in between.

The worst part about having a lengthy list (besides the obvious), is that sometimes, something that was checked off The List first has to be redone before the rest of The List has even been completed.

This weekend, we experienced one of those frustrating setbacks. It wasn’t the first, and, unfortunately, it probably won’t be the last. It’s just part of home ownership.

After church on Sunday morning, Harper set out to mow the front yard before the temperatures reached 100°. Within a few minutes, I heard the lawnmower stop, and he came inside to tell me that a limb had fallen out of the oak tree. A BIG limb. And it had broken part of the fence. I won’t mention some of the words that came with the aforementioned information, but I knew it must be a pretty big limb.

I quickly put the baby in a stroller and grabbed my camera, but Harper already had put the chainsaw into use. He’s a fast worker–not one to stand around looking at something for a while before taking action. We’re different that way.

I was about to put down the camera so I could pick up limbs, but then I saw this: the first agapanthus bloom.

And I thought, I love agapanthus! I better take a picture since it’s the first one. And I’ll need it for my list of favorite summer blooms.

When the roar of the chainsaw finally broke my I-likey-pretty-flowers gaze, I decided to take just a few more of Harper’s progress.

Our poor fence! That picket fence was one of the first things we (Harper) completed from The List. And it’s not one of the pre-made eight-foot panel jobs, either. He used sturdy 2×4′s and nailed up each picket individually.

Then, I was ready to help pick up limbs. Until…

…this rogue zinnia growing along the border begged me to take its picture. I couldn’t resist. It’s my favorite flower (but not my favorite color)! And it’s the first one to bloom this year.

Suddenly I realized I was still wearing my church clothes (even though I never made it to church due to a poor crying, constipated baby). So I ran inside and changed.

Finally, I helped pick up the rest of the limbs. I also pulled some weeds and inspected the damage to my garden. It wasn’t pretty, but it would have been much worse if the limb had fallen even a few inches further into the flowerbed.

I left the heavy lifting to Harper. He made it look easy.

I sure like having a strong man around this place!

Well, that’s the end of the weekend drama. (I know it is silly to call it “drama.”) But while you’re still there, I’ll ask for your opinion. I originally had “paint the picket fence” on The List. I’m still 80 percent sure it would look better painted (white,to match trim on the house), but there’s 20% of me (probably the lazy part) that says to leave it–you can barely see it anyway. What do you think? Paint it or leave it?

October 2008

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7 Responses to Hawks and Other Weekend Drama

  1. Heather says:

    You crack me up! I am loving all of your posts! I say leave the fence the way if is. Like you said you can barely see it. Plus if you paint it you will just have to repaint it later down the road! That really stinks about the broken fence. We can definitely relate to damage caused by fallen limbs, but we like to soak in the damage for awhile! :)

    • Natalie says:

      Y’all REALLY can relate! I guess it’s the price we pay for all these beautiful trees. We’ll see how long it takes us to mend this fence. There’s another fence in the back now that’s half complete… Andy can give Harper a hard time like Harper did to him with your sky light!

  2. Alisa says:

    We have red tailed hawks and they could easily pick up Miss June Carter and carry her away. Actually they kill them first in a horrific manner…but I digress.

    Random coincidence – the next commercial we’re doing is about an evil hawk in Ireland for Jameson whiskey! Anyway love your posts – you are getting wittier all the time.

    Love you!

    • Natalie says:

      I love random coincidences! Can’t wait to see the Jameson commercial–and I wish you could pack me in your bags for a trip to Ireland.

      Keep a (hawk) eye on Miss June Carter!!! Those hawks are ruthless! Love you, too!

  3. LaRena Tobola says:

    Paint the fence. Harper put too much hard work into it for it not to stand out and be “included” in the view. Note about nature… My patience is completely gone. The deer have annihilated my beds… again. This is after 3 years of gradually replacing things they like. Our deer-resistant plant list of about 50+ plants has dwindled to around 10. Not ideal for someone who loves plants as much as I do. Your beds look beautiful!

    • Natalie says:

      I’m sure you’re right about the fence. I need to keep it on The List!

      I’m very curious about your list of deer resistant plants. That might be something we need for the garden section in the next issue of Texas LIVE. I’ll email you…

  4. Laura Lacy says:

    Paint it!! Nothing looks cleaner and fresher than a coat of white paint. :P

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