Waking to a martian sky


Guilty of causing a ruckus

I was rudely woken by a chicken kerfuffle this morning. The hens were going on as though Stumpy our resident raccoon (he’s missing his tail) was inside the coop. Sadly it was just after 5am. I stuck my head out the window, not a racoon to be seen and the chickens were showing no sign of abating the ruckus. I’d prefer not to annoy my neighbours, so I went outside and tossed some chicken chow in the run to distract them. It worked, the hens quieted down so I went back to bed.

I closed my eyes and relaxed – moments later the cacophony resumed banishing any hope of further sleep. Grumbling under my breath, I went back outside to see what I could do to shut chickens up.

As I got near the coop a Cooper’s hawk emerged from the cedar hedge. The raptor took flight, barely generating enough lift to miss the raspberries. The hawk must have roosted only a metre or so from the hens – and had been closer than that to me when my sleepy self tossed in the chicken food and I didn’t notice. Clearly the hens noticed the predator lurking near by.

As soon as the hawk was gone all the resident little birds, Bewick’s wrens, chipping sparrows and such, burst into song. Thankfully, the hens fell silent and got busy eating the extra food. I didn’t intend to be out in the garden that early, but it felt magical as though I’d been transplanted to a different planet.

For the last few days our sky had been blanketed with a yellowish haze – high level smoke from near by forest fires (not a Russian conspiracy of dumped toxic gas from the cold war that a random stranger I encountered on a hiking trail insisted). The weather man on the radio forecasted that winds will take the smoke away over the next few days. But for now it looks like we are under a martian sky.

While on my early morning garden tour, I looked straight at the just risen sun (yes I know I shouldn’t do that). The sun was deep red and muted enough it didn’t hurt my eyes to look at it. Pretty neat to see, assuming we’ll be back to our normal summer blue sky soon.