On the last day of Montana’s upland season I encountered neither swans a-swimming nor geese a-laying. And, with the thermometer hovering at 15 degrees while 20 mile per hour winds whipped down from the Rocky Mountain Front, there were definitely no maids a-milking (unless they were sequestered in a well-heated barn somewhere.) Edo did, however, late in the day, find a single rooster for me in a big field of snow-covered barley. I had time to cock both hammers of my Thomas Horsley bar-in-wood, but only needed one. As we began the long walk back to the car, a merlin flew into my field of view. Strangely, while Edo and I trudged through frozen stubble, across frozen irrigation ditches and past feral Russian olives, the little falcon kept us company, swooping several times so low over my head that I swear I could have caught it with a butterfly net. I don’t think it’s anthropomorphism to suggest that it might have been simply playing. If not that, then your guess is as good as mine.