Saturday, June 28, 2008

Lives With Eagles

Twenty three years ago Hubby and I were out driving around looking at houses. We had just sold our house in town and were looking for my farm. Driving down a road we hadn't been on before, nature called. Hubby that is. And when nature calls he has to listen. We saw a For Sale sign on a vacant house and stopped. He ran into the woods to call nature back and was surprised to see this humble little house was on the water. Returning to the car he told me to get out and take a look. As I came around to the front of the house I saw a lovely little bay that I never knew existed. On Golden Pond. I said to Hubby, "We can't afford it. It's on the water." Hubby said "Let's make an offer." We made a ridiculously low offer and they accepted. They even had an offer much higher from a builder but they sold it to us. It was an estate sale and they wanted our small son to grow up here.
The house was born a cabin. A cabin for the Strom family. It has knotty pine walls and cabinets. At one time it was a fun retreat (the evidence was all the beer bottles I dug out of the yard) but in the later years it was a neglected rental. We saw past the dirt and grime and just kept our eyes on the beautiful scene outside the window. It wasn't my farm but hard to pass up. The farm could wait.
The first morning we woke up in our new cabin the sun was shining. I got up before Hubby, put my 8 month old son in this backpack and went down on the beach. Walking up the creek I could not believe my eyes when a huge bald eagle soared over my head. I had no idea that eagles call this their home too. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
My mother, on the other hand, thought we were crazy to take our baby and go live in the woods. But this was just like camping only better. We had all the comforts of home. The huckleberries were ripe so I made huckleberry pancakes that first morning. It had the smell and feel of a vacation. Remember going to a relatives cabin for the weekend in the summer? The smell of the campfire and the beach. We had it every day. We were in heaven. Sadly, the area has grown and gotten busier. Most of the weekend cabins have been replaced with full time residences but our little bay has gone relatively unchanged. A few new houses across the bay but other than that for the last 20 years we have enjoyed our privacy.
One of the unexpected surprises of the place were the abundance of eagles. They are everywhere. My mother-in-law, the keeper of old wives tales, used to warn of them carrying off the baby if I didn't watch out. I was more worried of them carrying off the dog.
This year the eagles have been thick. We have quite a few large fir trees in the yard and they sit up there and look for salmon. They are on the beach pulling fish out of the water right and left. The eagles around here are as common as robins. At any given time there could be fifty or so cruising around. The other day one flew through my back patio area. It was a young bird and a bit confused. The sound of those six foot wings up close is something to behold. Got the dogs' attention.

Every day I am so thankful that nature called.....and Hubby listened.


Danni said...

Wow - what a wonderful story. I, too, adore Bald Eagles. As a child, I never saw them, and I can remember when the ban on DDT (I think it was DDT) went into effect and how the eagles started to make a comeback. It feels like such a gift to see them, even now.
How lucky you are to have the incredible gift of seeing so many every day!
I can relate to your camping-every-day feeling, that's the feeling we get here every morning when we wake up. The smell of the Douglas Fir trees when the hot sun is on them, the hawks making their sounds up high, and the complete lack of car/city noises totally makes me feel like I've got a prime camping spot somewhere in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Wonderful post today! (well, all your posts are wonderful, but I really liked this one, too):-)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Amazing! You live in such a magical place. All those bald eagles around is like you living in an animal sanctuary. Are you ever worried about your free-range chickens being scooped up?

We don't live in such a cozy, vacation-like cabin. It's more modern, but with all the mountains and trees around we do feel like we are always on vacation....
except with ranch duties to take of. haha

My favorite thing right now is the delicious fresh odor of the junipers, cedars and pinon pines right after it rains. Ahhhhh. Pure bliss.

Thanks for sharing a little about your lovely home in the forest among the majestic eagles.

sugarcreekstuff said...

Your place sounds dreamy. I saw my first bald eagle in Michigan (it wasn't at the zoo) a couple of years ago. They are making a comeback in our state too.

Country Girl said...

Sounds like a great place to have raised your boy! Do you have the farm and this place too?

goatgirl said...

Yep country girl we bought a few acres down the street for my farm. It is the best of both worlds.
And it was a great place to raise my son. He called from L.A. yesterday and I told him I was floating around in the bay. He was so jealous.
I still long for my real farm, what I call a proper farm. Where I can go out my back door and walk through my pastures with my dogs racing after me. One with a real barn. I may have to move to a different area for that. We are open to that though.

goatgirl said...

Oh and twinville, I'm not too worried about the eagles taking a chicken. They stick to fish if they can and I have never heard of them taking anything like a pet...or a chicken. You never know but their food of chice is salmon. We have plenty of that.

goatgirl said...

choice.....I hate to misspell a word.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh good! I'm glad to hear that.

By the way I came across a fabulous blog that I just know you'll be interested in:

Copy and paste this blog address into your browser:

goatgirl said...

Great blog twinville. I think he is in Washington. The blog hasn't been updated since May. I think I'll leave a comment and encourage him to update on Freedom.

goatgirl said...

And twinville, the girls aren't really free range. I just joke about that because I like the idea and just the words "free range" My girls get let out when I am down there doing chores. They make themselves into royal pests. They don't forage around. They hang out with me. They hang out in the pig pen which makes me mad because the pigs are very clean and don't want their business in their pen. They hang out under the carport and fluff and do their business. Most annoying.
My hubby is amazed because I can call them and they all come running to get back in their pen.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Ok, this is very interesting to me.

Our girls are full-time coop hens, ecept for field rips in a fenced-in play yard area on our back grass area, because it has bird mesh over it, so the hawks and eagles don't nab them.

I've been tempted on many occasions on letting a few of my girls out while I'm outside so they can look for bugs and explore while I'm keeping an eye out for their safety.
But then I get worried that they might stray too far and go over to the neighbor's, who doesn't want 'free-range' chickens pooping on her sidewalks and grass.

And then I worry that they won'r come back when I want them to.

Can you see the pattern here?
My major fault is that I am a major worrier.

I want to know more about your early experiences letting your chickens out and if you've ever had any problems or issues. Pretty please?

I think it would be fun to let my chickens out to hang out with me, but I just need to know that it will all work out alright.

goatgirl said...

I too was a bit worried at first but just opened the door and let them out. At first they would come out and then go right back in. Then they would venture around but not go too far. They are fairly easy to herd around. When I want them to go back in I can open the door and throw something good to eat in there or herd them in. They are usually ready to go back in when I want them too. I was worried they would go over to the neighbors but so far they never go that far. Try it closer to evening when they will naturally want to go back in anyway.
You will be surprised how tame they still are and will follow you around looking for goodies. They also fly around and play a bit.
Just try it. You'll like it.