The Redneck & the Owlet

That’s my friend Swede upon that ladder rigging up a redneck fix to a very complicated problem. Swede is no tree-hugging liberal. He’s a contractor for classic custom-built homes. But on Sunday, Swede was trying to fix the home of this little critter.

Swede nicknamed him Harry. I’m not sure he is a he but either way, Harry seemed a good fit. On Saturday, Swede was out at Green Acres. That’s the name his wife Debbie dubbed their new property, which isn’t out of town at all really, just up the road a piece from our place. Tim and Swede grew up in the county. That’s how everyone in the mountains refers to the community — the county. Tim was friends with Swede’s younger brother first. Duff was even the best man in our wedding. Duff and Tim went to college together at Judson Baptist and played sports together throughout their growing up. Duff was once offered a coaching job in Dufur, Oregon but his wife nixed that. She didn’t want to be married to Duff the Dufur coach.

Over time we grew to be good friends with Swede and Debbie simply because we all kept ending up in the same towns together. When my youngest was born, we told everyone that Swede was her daddy because she was blonde-headed like Swede and not dark like Tim. To this day, Konnie refers to Swede as Daddy Swede.

Back at Green Acres on Saturday, Swede was overseeing a tree cutting project. Before he can start building a home on their new property, a few trees needed to be felled, like this honking big one that was pretty well hollowed out. Only Swede didn’t know, until they started cutting it, that the tree was home to Harry and his/her mama, and this group of angry birds.

All those critters came tumbling out of their nests when the trunk of that tree started coming down. Harry rolled tail over feathers, while this close-knit bunch just hunkered down in their nest and waited out the tumble.

Once Swede discovered the baby owl was nesting inside the tree, however, he decided to rig up a fix. He built a platform and then wired the hollow part of the tree to the platform, hole side down and at a slant, to keep Harry from falling out again.  All in hopes that Harry’s mother will return to care for her not-yet-flight-worthy-charge.

Afterall, it was a plan that worked just fine for this bunch. Swede put them back in their log home and soon enough mama was sweeping in to feed them. But just to be sure I called the good people over at Blue Mountain Wildlife Rescue. The folks there were glad to hear the owlet had survived the night without too much trauma. I didn’t tell them that Swede said when he found Harry this morning, the downy puff was cold and stiff.

But once the sun came out, so did Harry’s sunny disposition. The rescue folks said that it’s not true that if you touch a bird the mother won’t have anything else to do with it. But Swede wasn’t taking any risk. He wanted to give Harry every chance at survival.

To some, Swede’s efforts may seem like a tedious waste of time.

But to Harry, Swede’s caring ways are everything.

And you?

Who are you cradling close, praying over and imparting hope to?


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  • Loretta

    “And whatsoever you do for the least of these, you do for me”

    Sometimes I think God tests us with things like this….and if Swede hears a voice like that of James Earl Jones saying ‘Well done” from out of the sky, it won’t surprise me one little bit!

  • Jutterback20

    How many ways do I love this post! Thank you Karen, Jules

  • Tim

    God cares for the birds (Matthew 6:26), so why shouldn’t we? Great story and great pics, Karen. Nicely done.

    As for who I am “cradling close, praying over and imparting hope to”, I’ve had a couple people recently who God plopped into my life who needed that comfort. One is here at work and the other is a young pastor at one of the churches in town. It’s funny, because I am not much of a “there, there, let me give you a hug” kind of person, not even in a metaphorical sense. It makes me so thankful for the work of the Holy Spirit, because if it were up to me I’d just quite happily be a hermit.