The story begins with the gift of an antique barn, located 1200 feet from our farm on the outskirts of Fairfield, IA, a barn which had to be torn down or moved to make room for a suburban house. It’s a beautiful barn, with a vast hay-loft that has a cathedral-like feeling in its massive buttressed timbers and high roofline. The short is we fell in love with it, and I accepted the challenge of moving it to our land.
Yesterday, July 3, I rounded up nail-pullers, prybars, etc. and began pulling nails. To prep for moving, the old cattle stalls, corn crib and other partitions needed to go, to make room for the cross timbers on which the barn would make its journey.
So on a hot yesterday, ready to go begin the work, I approached the barn…
…and entered the side door.
Then I set about to move things around, and started to pull nails from the rough boards of the partitions. It was then that I heard a strange sound. What was that? I asked myself, but busy with nail-pulling, I ignored it.
There it was, again, only louder, a sort of hiss or (or growl?) or griss, maybe? I was a sinister sound, and it seemed to be coming from the direction of the corn crib.
I approached the door, all eyes and ears…
……and heard it again……a terrifying hissing growl! Images leapt into my mind’s eye——an angry bobcat all tooth and claw——a rabid coyote, red-eyed with mouth a-foam——a vicious badger all fur, fang and fury!
A strategy. I needed a strategy.
My cellphone. Might I risk just my left hand and arm, in exchange for knowing what I was dealing with in that dark corn crib? I switched the phone to camera, turned on the flash, and extended my arm into the doorway.
As I snapped a pic another HUGE, LOUD HISS made me jump back and retreat to the middle of the barn, near an exit. I brought up the photo and saw……
Whuuuuut? A fuzzball on stilts? I don’t get it. Emboldened by the apparent lack of fang or claw, I approached again, stood squarely in the doorway, and took this photo(in the midst of another huge hiss/growl):
Oh my goodness!——some kind of birds, two of them. Goslings?, Swanlets? They stood side-by-side in the corner in a defensive posture, trying to look and sound as big and threatening as possible. It wasn’t until I got back to Big Blue and showed Sandy and my cousin Elsie, that the truth, suggested by the latter, came out. Baby Vultures! Vulchettes? Vulcherinas? At any rate, the mystery of the terrifying hissing growl has been solved (and that explains why there was a full-grown vulture perched on the peak of the barn when I had first arrived). Funny how I did not make the connection.
I’m not sure what to do with the little fuzzballs. I guess just stay away from that area and work in other sections of the barn until they fledge.
Categories: Around the Farm