Not at Owl

The owl in our barn wasn't a barn owl. I've told this tale before, I think, how every now and again, a screech owl would settle up in the hay mow of our barn, hang around until it'd cleaned out all the mice and rats nesting in the hay, then move on again.

We were always fascinated to watch it, especially the way it would turn its head almost all the way around, watching us in return. We couldn't spend too much time with it, because Dad didn't want to risk spooking the free pest-control service.

The closest I've come to a barn owl was many years later, when Denise and I were vacationing in Bend. The Cascades Raptor Center was showing off some of their rehabilitees at the High Desert Museum, including a raven with broken bill, a Swainson's Hawk, and a Tyto alba.

I had my sketchbook with me, and while I got very nice watercolors of the hawk and owl, I've never got around to painting them on pots. (Thought Denise makes notecards with the Swainson's painting.)

This winter, I had a lovely project, a dozen or more accent tiles to go in a greenhouse down in the Lorane Valley. The client gave me a list of animals and birds they've watched on their farm. Including three kinds of owls.

For some reason, the Barn owl spoke to me this time. (Yeah, yeah, I know. It said Who?) In addition to the tile I've painted a few dessert plates, a pie, even one of my new tumblers.

I think they'll stay around, this time.