Red Dirt Farm and Studio

Living a creative life artist farmer dreamer

I swallowed a ladybug the other morning.

I guess they aren’t poisonous because I’m still alive.


Let’s run away together for a moment.

Let’s go to a place in our heart where there is goodness and kindness.

 Where there is wellbeing of mind, body and spirit.

A place where we can breathe.

























We are reminded this week of how lucky we are to have love.

Mother Nature has been active this week with rain and wind and a couple of days with mild temperatures.  I opened the window downstairs and the let the warm air blow in and fluff up the house with fresh air.  The breeze swirled all the dust bunnies and mountains of pet hair and rearranged it in a lovely new pattern.

I’ve neglected the house chores recently.

  One wonderful night we slept with the windows open.  I could hardly sleep with wanting to listen to the night sounds.  A breeze was blowing the wind chimes and the peepers sang all night.  I heard the scream of a fox and maybe an owl hoot.  Or did I imagine that?

  By the next night, the temperatures had once again dropped into the thirties and the windows are closed tight and the heat pump is running again.  Rain, sleet, and snow are on the way.

Phyllis Diller and Ginger Grant, born in September have started laying eggs these past two weeks.  Pullet eggs are the best.  Phyllis lays green/blue and Ginger a light brown.

Signs of spring, green shoots making their way up through the brown earth.   Robins have come to nest in the trees out by the chicken coops.  The trees are full of their sweet song in the mornings.  Their calls bring the Cooper hawks.  Papaya honks and screams danger which in turn gets the roosters sending out the alarm, the girls all scurry to safety under the magnolias and boxwoods.

  These signs and sounds say that yes, spring is on the way if I can just hold on a little longer.  Oh, how I love this time of the year.



The Clan of the Crow.

Seems folks either love them or hate them.

I’m of the former group.

I respect their intelligence and enjoy their raucous caws.

Some years ago, we had a clan of crows that called Red Dirt Farm their home.  I came to know these birds.  I studied their behavior and learned each one by the sound of their voice.

I named them too.  Cornelius was their leader.

We came to an understanding Cornelius and I.  He and his family could have all the scratch they wanted from the chicken feed and safe harbor.  In return, he and his clan would provide protection for the chickens.  It worked out quite well, Cornelius saved the chickens from hawks numerous times.  They alerted the girls of danger from possum and raccoon.   The chickens and the crows lived in harmony.

I enjoyed their company and their funny antics and caws that sounded of laughter.

I left shiny tokens of gratitude, which were quickly taken and stashed away in secret hiding places.

One fall day, Cornelius and family were absent.  Nowhere to be found.  Extra scratch was left untouched. There were no raucous calls or flying antics.

  Shiny objects were left untouched.

Something was very wrong.

A few weeks passed and the barnyard remained strangely quiet.

A neighboring farmer came calling.

  During our visit, the topic of crows came up, and yes, he too, like many farmers hates crows.  “They are a nuisance,” he said.

I was heartbroken beyond words to learn that he had shot and killed Cornelius and his clan.

Time has passed, but my heart still hurts for Cornelius.  The yard is quiet and all my younger chickens don’t know of the symbiotic existence, though they have been told stories from the older girls and from me too.

Lately, I have been aware of the presence of crows in the surrounding tree farms.

They have been circling above as I go out to do my chores and fill the farm stand with eggs.  I call out to them when they fly overhead.  I greet them with a happy hello and tell them they are welcome to come visit.  I tell them that this is a safe haven.

This week while I was carrying an armful of Christmas decorations out to the storage building I heard a loud commotion, flapping of wings overhead.  A large dark shadow passed above me.  Then, the unmistakable sound of CAW CAW CAW.  There just feet above my head, a flock of crows, hot in pursuit of a hawk that had come to get a tasty snack of chicken.

The chickens scattered for cover.  I smiled, happy in my heart.

Maybe, just maybe these are the ancestors of Cornelius that had heard stories of a place called Red Dirt Farm.

Perhaps they will make this part of their territory and offer their protection to my girls.

I will gladly leave shiny trinkets.


I better go get some more scratch.



That’s it for today.

17 thoughts on “clan of the crow

  1. Sara Windsor says:

    More gorgeous photos and wonderful words, my friend. I love seeing your lovely home after all the work, love and creativity you and your hubby have put into it ❤
    With your surrounding land you certainly have a little slice of heaven there, especially given the ways you've chosen to enhance it with what you love and care for.
    Love your story of the crows, though I nearly cried at the loss of Cornelius and his crew. What a joy for you, and the girls, to have crows again!
    Much love, peace and blessings to you, my friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sara – You know our place is certainly a work in progress and yes a labor of love. There has been a lot of challenges we have had to face working on our home and I know that there will be more to face. It’s just part of life for us all.

      Yes, I cried a lot of tears and still when I think of Cornelius there is such a sad spot in my heart. I’m hoping this new flock will come here and share their existence with us. xo kim


  2. Annie says:

    Love your peacock showing off for the chickies! I happen to be in the crow loving first group, too. They are so intelligent and their antics are hilarious. As a federally regulated migratory species, I’m sure there is a season for hunting crows in Virginia… but perhaps on one’s property, they can be declared a nuisance and killed. Sorry your crows met a sad ending.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Annie – you know some folks out in the country make and follow their own set of rules and regulations, caring not if there is a season… I have missed having my little black flock of friends here, and hope a new generation will find their way. Thank you for your care – xo kim

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked your crow story. The black chickens were beautiful! Why are pullet eggs the best? Are you ever going to paint the white shed (the chicken coop???) purple to match the other shed?


    1. Dear Miss Linda, my heart would be broken if you didn’t have a voice here on my blog. The questions you ask always make me smile.

      The black chickens are Black Alstralourps – their feathers are a beautiful black with iridescent green in the sun – just stunning. I call them my little black crow chickens. They have wonderful personalities.

      Pullet eggs are considered by chefs to be the best, most flavorful eggs. They are rich and beyond yummy, even though they are small. I just had three for my breakfast, baked in cream with parmesan cheese – bliss.

      The white shed next to the purple shed is actually tan with brown trim – how boring right? I keep planning to paint it someday…

      Not shown in these photos is the old hen house which is white and green trim – an original building to the property with original paint, I enjoy the historical value of that old tradition and don’t think I’ll ever want to change that color combination – occasionally I like to stick to old traditions – GASP!

      Thank you for your thoughtful questions, they really do make my day.
      xo kim

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gerri says:

    Beautiful post today. Very heartfelt. I felt quite sad to hear about Cornelius and friends, but thrilled to hear that you have a new band of visitors! Love and peace to you! 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gerri – I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we will have a new flock to join our farm family. It is amazing how much fun they add to things around here. As I am typing I can hear them over in the tree farm cawing away. Oh, happy am I. xo kim

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Debra says:

    This touched my heart-I also love crows. I personally think it’s idiotic to shoot them-worse-it’s criminal and ignorant. But on to the good part of your story-does Papaya mind when his uh—butt is being photographed? He seems like the kind of bird that would not tolerate that!
    I love your home, and the story of sleeping with the windows open-oh my, don’t get me going on peepers! I just swoon over them.
    Spring is on the way!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi my long distance friend, Lots of folks shoot things here in the country that make me scratch my head. It is one of the drawbacks to country life.

      If you will notice, I took Papaya’s butt picture from up above on the back porch – ha ha, I’m chicken to take one up close, no he is just like me, no photos of my butt, please! LOL However, just because I was up high on the porch doesn’t deter him – he will fly up there to be with me in a heartbeat! Amazing how high they can fly. It is breeding season for the peas and he gets a little aggressive during this time.

      We are having mild temperatures again, I’m thinking it is another sleeping with the windows open night. YAY!
      xo kim


  6. lindasschaub says:

    Nothing like the first green shoots coming up through the soil … it makes your heart soar doesn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda – You are so right about that! Oh my green is good! xo kim

      Liked by 1 person

  7. D.A. Squires says:

    In writing my first book, I had to do a fair amount of research about macaws and ravens…and there was so much to learn. Crows and ravens are cousins, but I think they are more like siblings. Everything you described applies to ravens as well… they are, in a word, brilliant. I fell in love with birds writing their story (and it is their story)…and I was further inspired by your chickens and peacocks, who made their debut in the second book. The plot of The Time Seekers required traumatic, life threatening moments for both Taco and Noir…and even though I knew it was all imagined, these passages were nonetheless hard to write. To know what happened to the very real Cornelius, and his family, is utterly heartbreaking… I wish you had never learned their fate. My prayer is for the safety of all your beautiful creatures, including the brilliant black birds who have undoubtedly found their way to Red Dirt Farm by following the soaring spirit of one who was called… Cornelius.


    1. D.A. I know you put a lot of time and effort into research and obviously love and care too, into writing your books. I marvel at your gift and talent. I do understand that it was hard to write those passages, as you were invested in your characters – a sign of a good writer.

      Yes, it is heartbreaking to know learn the fate of my beloved Cornelius, but really, I guess I already knew in my heart what had happened. Such is the life in the country – we take the bad with the good. Every day now, the new flock flies over and caws but they don’t stop and visit yet…
      xo kim


  8. Mrs. N in Japan says:

    I smiled ….I really get this. We have thousands of big black karasu (crows) in Japan. Most people hate them because they rip open trash bags on trash day hunting for scraps. This leaves a huge mess-trash scattered all over the road. We have a cage for our trash-so no issues for us.

    But you are so right- they are very intelligent. I like them. When I tell people this they look at me as if I’m nutty. I talk to them while I’m out in the garden.

    There is one- and I’m sure it’s the same one- that sits on top of the light post and watches me….makes funny noises …snorting like a pig or growling…I look up and laugh and talk to him. There are other birds that keep me company too.

    When I read about the death of Cornelius and the clan ……my heart sank. I do NOT understand people who kill animals like this. While I am not a vegetarian and do eat some meats and fish….I can NOT tolerate cruelty towards animals…killing them because he was irritated with them….? That will come back to haunt him. I really believe that.


    1. To my fellow nutty friend – keep talking to those Karasu – surely they will reward you with lively conversations and who knows what else.

      Karma to the farmer who shot Cornelius – you know what I’m sayin’. xo kim


      1. Mrs. N in Japan says:

        Yep…I know what you are saying!


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