Murder of Crows Saves Chicken

I witnessed a crow miracle today.  The forest gifted us a miracle that saved my sweet little chicken’s life.Crows

This year has been a difficult one for our chicken flock.  We free range our hens, because we believe that freedom is a precious thing.   We have also heard horror stories of caged hens being massacred by creatures tearing through fences and taking the whole flock at once.

So, sometimes the forest will take a hen or two to feed someone.   This year, the fox came to visit. I think she was raising a den of pups.  She would come and take a chicken about once a week until we were down to one poor lonely chicken.  Since the disappearance of her flock, this chicken has become somewhat dear to us.

We have a little routine, she and I.  Every morning she comes up to the porch to check in.  Then she nestles into an old garden basket in my outdoor pantry and lays her egg.  She cackles loudly to let me know she is done, then she jumps up on the porch railing to wait for me to feed her.  It’s quite endearing.

So, as you can imagine, I find myself just praying for her safety and encourage her to stay close to the house.  She is pretty “forest wise” and she flies up into the trees when threatened.  Some of the other breeds don’t do this.  It’s curious because they can fly.  But, often when they are under attack, many chickens will not fly.  They simply run.  This makes them pretty easy prey in the chain of life up here. Anyway, this chicken is a Spangler.  She is pretty savvy.  And, I pray.

This warm summer morning,  as I was watering the plants on my porch, I heard this incredible ruckus.  The crows came flying from everywhere.  They dove through the sky from the north, south, east and west.  They were screaming their crow call and diving down in this one spot in our meadow.  The grass and flowers were quite high so it was hard to understand the scene at first.  The crows kept diving and cawing until the fox turned away from her path to the chicken coop and went running, tail between her legs back into the forest.

I ran around the house to check and there was my sweet chicken.  I was so happy to see her. I gave thanks to the crows for saving her for one more day.  It was a chicken miracle day at  Dancing Sun Cabins.  I am so grateful.

I do wonder if there are others who have witnessed forest miracles.  I would love to hear about them.  I find the forest to be a fascinating place to live in.

Max Patch Magical Morning

The AT crosses the top of Max Patch

Mornings on Max are nothing short of a miracle.  This morning we shuttled some of our guests up for a hike down to the cabins.  This is a wonderful 9-mile hike down from 4629 feet to about 2900 feet of elevation at the cabins.

Tom and I took the opportunity to walk over the “roof of our world” here in Spring Creek.   Max Patch is the highest point in our area and it never disappoints us.

On this fine morning. we were witness to a brand new baby elk being born.  When I captured her on camera, the distance and glare made it difficult to notice the baby.  I was very curious as to why she was alone, grazing in an open field.   The bulls are often alone, but most of the time the females are in herds.

We hope you enjoy this video which we entitled the Magic Morning on Max Patch.

For several years now, the National Park Service has been working to re-establish the elk in the Appalachian region.  This beautiful doe probably wandered over from the Cataloochee area of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.   Or, perhaps she split off from the two herds that are pretty well established in the Harmon Den area just below Max Patch on the drive over to I-40.

 

 

Baby birds getting ready to fly

Birds! Babies! Spring!

This week we have been blessed with a morning chorus of phoebes, indigo buntings, finches, blue jays, mourning doves, and cardinals just to name a few. It is so wonderful to wake to the sounds of the forest.

Tom caught these baby birds getting up their nerve to fly from the limb. This sweet little family has been nesting under the eaves of our house by our bedroom window. We have been watching the parents diligently building the nest for weeks. It is precariously perched on the side of the house. I am always so amazed at how long the the chicks stay in the nest and how the nest seems to expand to accommodate them all.

I don’t know how they choose the day, but suddenly they all fly away. It’s part of nature’s wonder and magic.

We have been witnessing many babies being born and thriving here. I wanted to share some of my favorite pictures with you in celebration of spring. I hope you enjoy them.

Baby birds getting ready to fly
Fresh from the nest
The colors of spring are stunning
Blue bird eggs
Baby blue bird eggs
Monarch butterfly
Monarch butterflies love our fields
A tiny hummingbird visitor
We rehabilitated and released this sweet hummingbird
Turtle laying eggs
This sweet turtle was laying her eggs
We saw this bear cub from our car on the way to Max Patch
baby dove
This is a baby dove that we helped find her mamma
Dove
Sweet reunion with her baby
Baby cow
This sweet little one was born in our community this year
hummingbird
Baby deer in the woods are a common site here
frog eggs
Frog eggs in our pond

 

 

 

Full Moon at Max Patch

 Max Patch Moonlight Magic

Just imagine being on top of the world looking out over the mountains as the moon begins to rise.   Long rays stretch across the horizon, moon rays as the golden hour of light dances across the hills with a beauty that cannot be captured on camera. The true magic of Max Patch on the evening before a full moon can only be experienced.

We invite you to come and experience this for yourself.   We are only a short drive from the top.  On July 26th, the moon will rise at  7:59 PM and the sun will set at 8:38 pm.   This sets the stage for pure magic.  The moonlight and sunlight cross paths on the top.  It’s a phenomenal place to be.