2012-02-10 / Columns

Your Owen County Community Foundation

The Spear And The Bobcats
by Mark Rogers
Executive Director

We have been blessed with more mild winter weather this season and that means more time to just walk around outside. Those walks are reward enough on the nice days we’ve been having, but when I think of the shoveling, sliding, shivering, and scraping that hasn’t been done, I am ever so thankful for the double bonus!

Thanks to the nice temperatures, my friend Jim, who does a little hunting in our woods, was able to make some extra trips out to scout trails and other wildlife signs. While going through the stored photos in his “trail cam,” he found and shared with us a couple of nice shots of a pair of bobcats scouting the same trails he watches. The knowledge that some new neighbors have moved into the area just makes me more interested in getting out in the woods to meet “Bob” and his significant other. The bobcat sighting surely gave us a fun new topic to talk about over the winter (and to share on Facebook).

Our neighborly brushes with the wildlife here always serve as a reminder of why I’m glad to be living close to the Creator’s handiwork here in Owen County. I think it reassures me that the rest of nature, the non-human part, is hanging on, if even by a bobcat’s whisker.

Are you starting to notice that your young relatives and friends that come to visit from the city or the suburbs seem to be more and more cut off from nature? During visits, the appearance of deer on the edge of the fields or a gang of turkeys wandering the Farm seems to truly amaze our urban visitors. Young and old alike get almost nervous at the thought that these large animals are just out there – wild! Urbanites seem to prefer a little more human supervision over the situation, but the reactions, more than anything else, demonstrate that people just don’t think about their natural surroundings very often. It seems a shock that the big ol’ world out there in the woods is actually outside the control of humans. That’s one of the main reasons we encourage all the city-slickers we know to get down and commune with nature at the Farm. Well, that and we’re hermits and never want to leave the county anymore.

Our one-year-old grandson, Eddie, came to visit a couple weekends ago. I made the mistake of asking my daughter to pack little Eddie’s camo suit so he and I could track that big cat while he was here. Well, I shouldn’t have asked. Eddie and I were restricted to indoor activity. Try to share some nature education and a guy gets shut down every time.

We must be having some success connecting our visitors with nature based on a find I made out in the west pasture the other day. I was picking up some broken branches that had blown out of the woods and noticed something out of place lying in the grass – a long, straight pole. When I picked it up I realized it was just a spear. Wait! What? That’s right. I had to throw the spear into this discussion (pun intended) because it’s just not every day you find a home-made spear on the edge of your pasture. But I found one – with a plastic tip, like the points on the end of those solar lights that stick in the ground next to the sidewalk, and a long, maybe six feet, piece of PVC for the shaft. It was all carefully taped together with some black electricians tape. It was a presentable, if crude, weapon of the wild. All I could think of was ‘who was the visiting warrior that crafted and lost this weapon?’

Well, I still don’t know who the warrior was or how he or she lost their spear, but I have a pretty good idea that some young person had a good day at the Farm – a good day of skulking around the woods with their spear at the ready for an encounter with deer, bobcat, or Sasquatch. That seems like a good start on some nature education. So I stowed the spear in the barn for the next visiting warrior and committed to myself to maintain this spot in as wild a condition as possible for as long as possible. We’ll try and do our little part for nature education in a world that could probably use a little refresher.

Your Owen County Community Foundation is committed to helping our communities become better places to live, grow, work, and track bobcats. We value the beauty of Owen County and we value our children and want to help them succeed and be safe.

If we can help you to preserve a special piece of land you own, we have some options and would be glad to share some ideas with you. Give me a call at 829-1725, email me at mark@owencountycf.org, visit us online at www.owencountycf.org, or stop by and visit in person at our office on the second floor of the Owen County State Bank building (201 West Morgan Street in Spencer).

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It looks like Spring is almost ready to stick around. What activity are you looking forward to the most?