The Screech Owl Arrives and Willis Goes to a Horse Show

November 15, 2020

            The male screech owl showed up on Halloween, peeking out of the owl box entrance just as it became dark. It’s a relief to finally see him; I have been waiting and wondering when – and if – he would appear.  Each evening he pokes his head out about 5 p.m., preparing to take flight and leaving around 6 p.m., soaring over the fence and into the trees.

            November has brought beautiful fall weather – cool mornings and warm days.  The bell peppers and cherry tomatoes are still producing, though they are slowing down.  The Virginia Creeper is turning red, adding lovely color to the yard.  A few asters and daisies still bloom along the trails, but most of the wildflowers have gone to seed. 

            The whitetail bucks seem to have disappeared from our yard, showing up only sporadically.  It’s still the fall rut now and they follow the does and fawns who are traveling through the neighborhood.  On our bike rides we’ve seen groups of does with fawns grazing or bedded down with a handsome buck nearby. 

            This Saturday and Sunday Willis competed at the year-end CTHJA horse show.  I’ve wanted to get him out of the barn for a long time, either to a clinic or a schooling show, and when another rider asked if she could show him, I was delighted (and grateful).  She has only ridden Willis since the middle of October when we were in Ruidoso, but she offered and it turned out to be a wonderful experience for all of us.  Willis was so well behaved and willing throughout, even placing 5th in a flat class!  

            Showing is a ton of work.  Horse and rider arrive early, take care of the horse, tack up and warm up, sit around and wait.  After the show (and during) there are stalls to clean and take care of.  Then, gather all your tack, clothes, and equipment before heading out.  Long, long days.  That part does not make me want to show, but I noticed how much Willis thrived on all the attention he received from others – petting, kissing, compliments.  Maybe that’s a lesson for me. 


Christine Baleshta