Diane Becker, "Country Life"

I stood on the sidewalk outside our house on a recent beautiful winter evening looking at the deep black sky, trying, for the millionth time, to decipher what stars made up which constellation.

A reddish light that seemed to blink yellow was hovering just over the hill from our farmhouse. I pointed the light out to my husband, who was just then coming up the sidewalk behind me. The light was obviously too close to the ground to be a helicopter, and it wasn’t a light on a tower because it moved.

We watched the light come a bit closer and hover probably 200 yards away, and then it gradually got smaller as it floated away.

Unless owls are now wearing signal lights, I’m thinking a drone was flying above our fields.

Drones have been in the news lately. Law enforcement officials have caught sight of them in Colorado and southwest Nebraska. They say the drones have a 6-foot wingspan and were sighted flying in groups of six to 10. No one knew who owned the drones nor why they were flying after dark.

The mystery of droves over Colorado and western Nebraska may have been solved. Today the Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the U.S. Army has been conducting “counter-drone measures” using drones to draw attention away from underground nuclear missile silos in the area.

I’m not sure it’s been a successful strategy. I didn’t even know there were nuclear missiles in western Nebraska, and now that the mysterious drones have made national news, everyone knows.

As for the mysterious light that has been floating near our farm, I have my own theory. The night Tom and I were wondering what the light was, we also heard a not-so-mysterious sound — coyotes howling and barking at each other. I’m thinking a coyote hunter received a drone for Christmas and was looking for areas where coyotes travel at night.

We found out that if a drone comes right over our house, we can’t shoot it down.

If it comes within 400 feet above our farm or home, it is technically trespassing and we can file charges against the owner. We would first have to track down the owner by following said drone, which could prove difficult when a drone is more agile than someone in a pickup.

2020 is starting out to be an interesting year.


In other news

WAYNE — An explosive first half led the Wayne State women to a 78-73 Northern Sun Conference win over Minnesota State University-Moorhead at Rice Auditorium here on Friday evening.

WAYNE — The Wayne State men's basketball team wasted a first-half comeback against Minnesota State University-Moorhead as the Dragons rebounded in the second 20 minutes to finish off an 82-71 win over the Wildcats here at Rice Auditorium Friday evening.

Rats can drive cars. Not your car or my car. (Their legs really wouldn’t reach the pedals, after all.) Rather, researchers have created tiny cars just for their lab rats and certain experiments and have taught the little critters how to drive.