Monday, October 25, 2021

Fall Views: Harvesting And Hawks

Canadian Geese flying over the Cedar River near the John Deere Foundry.
 Saturday was beautiful. Sunday? It was supposed to rain most of the day. I went for a Saturday ride then. 

I had thought about going for a really long ride Saturday but I wasn't feeling it in the days leading up to the weekend and it was forecast to be slightly below freezing for that morning. I hadn't even dragged out my Winter weather gear yet! I actually got that rotated out with the Summer stuff put away on Friday. So, my idea at this point was to wait until it got closer to 40°F and to wear that new T-6 wind vest I just got. 

I also wore some thermal wind bibs, an Endura brand base layer, my excellent Bontrager Merino wool jersey, and some GORE windproof gloves. The feet got the long, Sock Guy wool socks and the Northwave Winter boots. A Buff for the head under the Bontrager Starvos helmet, some Spy sunglasses and I was off on the Noble Bikes GX5. 

That place up on Burton Avenue with all the animal themed iron sculptures now has this scary spider in the yard.

This fallow field and clump of woods gave a bit of color relief from the browns of the crops and harvested fields.

So, with wind, what there was of it, coming from the Northeast, I decided a run for the Northern county border would do for a ride. Plus there are glimpses of several bits of woods along this route on the first half of the ride. Maybe I would catch some Fall colors? Possibly, and I was also sure that I would catch some harvesting action, what with the day being so great and the following day forecast to be very wet.

These two mutts gave chase but this was as close as they got to me.

A view up West on Mt. Vernon Road from the intersection with Burton Avenue.

Not all the crops are out yet. Most every soybean field was harvested, but several corn fields were yet to be worked, and as I went North, I did not see much activity, which I thought was a bit curious. But maybe it was still too early? Hmm... 

If you look carefully you can see a Red Tailed Hawk silhouetted against a cloud.

This hawk is a bit easier to see!

While initially the harvesting activity was scarce, the Red Tailed Hawk sightings were not! Normally I might see a few during a two hour+ ride. But I must have spotted nearly a dozen on Saturday. I'm not sure what was going on, but Mrs. Guitar Ted and my daughter also saw many hawks on a quick run they took to Minneapolis and back Saturday as well. 

St. Paul's church on Burton Avenue. Note the harvester machine in the distance on the road.

Rest stop: East Janesville church.

Eventually I did come across some harvesting activity when a very large combine came rolling up the road from the North. The machine had a corn harvesting head attached and the overall width of this thing meant that I had to abandon the road and wait in a driveway I came across. That was rather convenient because otherwise I would have had to have bailed off into the ditch! 

A smaller combine harvesting near Highway 63 on Marquise Road.

Two more hawks soar above this unharvested corn field.

I ended up at the county line and went East two miles to come back on my favorite road in the area, probably, which is Sage Road. I guess I like it because it has fast, flatter terrain up North and more rolling terrain as you get closer to Waterloo. Then you have the East Bennington School House, an old country church, and the "Big Rock" to visit. Plus, I hardly ever see a vehicle on this road.

Empty wagons waiting to be loaded with freshly picked corn from the harvester in the background.

A "Gleaner" brand harvester. You don't see many of these anymore. I actually got to operate one of these once!

Coming down Sage Road I saw a lot more harvesting activities. Combines were everywhere you looked and wagons, tractors, semi-tractor trailers, big trucks, and pick-up trucks were seen waiting on the machines to dump their loads to be hauled away. The pick-up trucks, while not used to haul corn, were no doubt the vehicles used to get the workers out in the fields. 

A stop at the Big Rock for a 'nature break'.
Two men chat while a harvester works the corn in the distance.

Eventually I found my way back home after a casual two and a half hour cruise in the country. It was a fantastic day out and it seemed that everyone, and everything, was taking advantage of what possibly could be the last nice day in 2021. 

While that may or may not be true, I'll be getting out much more often now that the shop is operating on Winter hours now and I'll have more time on my hands. Look for more ride posts including "Brown Season" and "Winter Views" posts to come before the year closes out.


Ari said...

Saturday was great here. Sunny and dry. Yesterday was rainy and cold. That was my day to ride since I worked on Saturday. Oh well!

Phillip Cowan said...

It's been a banner year for redtails. Apparently they're faring well because I'm seeing them everywhere I go. Was out riding Saturday west of St Charles when we saw a hawk coming head on at us up the trail. I thought he was gonna buzz us but at the last second he flared out and perched on an overhead limb as we passed under him. Too cool!