Mud and buzzards

Two sure signs of spring greeted us on this morning’s walk around the farm:

mud and buzzards.

Squck redoux.

Some woodland “mud traps” are so gooey they pull the boot off your foot, inspiring what I call the Squck Dance.

The mud is the product of a wettest-ever autumn, much winter snow accumulation, hard-frozen ground, and the torrents of water that flowed across the farm with the sudden melt-off when sub-freezing days turned warm in mid-March.

Many counties in Iowa and Nebraska are being heavily damaged by floods — the worst natural disaster in Nebraska’s history, their governor is saying — so the minor wash-outs on our hilltop farm are small change in this spring of multi-billion dollar damages to communities and farms.


Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

Turkey Vulture, photo by Michael “Mike” L. Baird, from

The buzzards, turkey vultures, have migrated back to the North Country with the coming of spring, returning from their winter grounds and soaring across the fields and woodlands in search of winter kill carcasses. Soon, one or two pair will be nesting in the steep draw south of our house.

In celebration of these tokens of spring, I am re-posting two archive essays from Dispatches from a Northern Town:



The Vultures of spring

Wishing you a joyful spring in your part of the world.

About Jerry Johnson

Curmudgeon. Bird hunter and dog trainer. Retired journalist and college public relations director. Former teacher, coach, mentor. Novelist and short story writer. Husband, father, grandfather.
This entry was posted in Africa Novel, Signs of spring, Spring, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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