Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Honk If You Love Freedom!

by Pa Rock
Farmer in Winter

Sunday morning while I was sitting at the front window typing this blog and watching the winter birds gather to eat and socialize at the bird feeder which hangs from a limb on the front yard maple tree, with little Rosie snoozing happily at my feet, I suddenly heard a honking noise coming from the backyard.  Rosie heard it too, and began cranking up her noisy warning yap.  The weather was cold, and rainy, and icy - and my first guess was that a wild goose or two had dropped in to feast on the grain that I had just thrown out for the chickens.

I grabbed my coat and headed out the back door, being careful to keep Rosie in the house where she would be unable to scare off our visitors.  (Okay, in rumble between a chihuahua and a wild goose, the big bird would undoubtedly - and quickly - prevail, but Rosie does have a tendency to set the whole place rocking when she gets excited.)

The continuing "honks" led me toward the chicken pen and coop.  As I approached the coop, I spotted the source of the honking, and it wasn't geese.  Four of my eight peacocks had escaped their enclosure and were enjoying a walkabout.  The lead peacock was honking as he led the others around the outside of the coop - and he sounded exactly like a wizened old goose.

Further observation revealed that I had not properly shut the door to the peacock enclosure when I had been out to feed the birds earlier that morning.

The four traveling peacocks did not realize that they would really have an adventure if they took flight, and were relatively easy for me to corral and march back to their enclosure.   Of course, as soon as they were locked back up, the ringleader began flying around the peacock jail in faux outrage!  (If he hadn't been so proud of his honk, they might have enjoyed several hours of freedom!)

I had heard the peacocks honk for a few days last fall, but not since - so Sunday's sudden serenade caught me off-guard.  When they reach maturity they will switch from the occasional honk to a blood-curdling scream.  That's when I will find out how much the neighbors really love me!

It's all part of farming in winter - and it ain't so bad!

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