The Swallows Barn
At last I am able to send you a picture of the barn, a general
view of the landscape. It was taken from the north, over the bioenergy field. A
glimpse of the house can be seen on the left. The lake behind the buildings cannot be seen in the
picture, because it is situated so much lower. Another possible direction for the picture would have
been from the lake, but my foot is not yet strong enough for handling the boat, and using the canoe would
have been difficult because of the big waves due to strong winds recently. Hopefully the
picture was worth waiting.
I am already used to being without swallows. I saw the
last Barn Swallows 13 days ago, 5 to 6 migrating birds in the evening. At first it felt very
sad and I am still missing them. The barn and the yard that were full of swallows and their
calls and twitter, are now empty and silent. At times there are, of course, other birds
instead, but swallows delighted us with their presence all the time. And swallows are something
special. On the other hand I am glad that the swallows will soon be in the warmth of South Africa
and will, in turn, delight you.
Pictures from a swallow perspective: I took pictures of an
aerial photo hanging on the wall. I think the result is surprisingly good, well, at
least if you do not enlarge the pictures too much. In the pictures you can see almost the
whole yard as the swallows see it. In order to eliminate the flash reflection I had to take the
pictures not straight ahead but from the side. Another thing is that the picture was taken some
20 years ago and some things have changed since that. For instance that big dirt heap
between the cow house and the house no more exists (it was dug out from under the cow house floor when
making major rearrangements in there: cows out, bulls in). As you have seen from newer
pictures the house is nowadays light yellow instead of brown and there are less trees around the
house, which is good both for the people (more sunshine) and the swallows (more room to fly
around). What we call "the barn" is also no separate building but the highest yellow
part of the cow house used for storing different things.
The cow house was built in 1963 and it took some years
before the first swallows appeared. In the first years there were only a couple of pairs nesting
but then their amount was little by little growing. Now it seems that after the livestock was
off, the amount of nesting swallows has diminished by a couple of pairs, but that does not
necessarily have any effect on the amount of active nests. It is more essential how many
second-brood nests there are.
When we still had livestock, we used to store in the barn
hay, grain for livestock, straw, farm implements and firewood. Now as the cowhouse has soon
been empty for 4 years, we no more need to store anything for livestock, and the swallows are the
masters of the barn.
The weater has cooled down, the daytime temperatures have
been below 10 deg and at night some degrees below zero. Nightfrost is usual at this time of
the year. This is the time for harvesting the garden and starting to clean tree leaves off
the lawns. That is a big job and I have got two yards to clean, the farm and the summer
cottage. Luckily, I no more have to do it much by hand, using a rake, but I just attach a
leaf-collecting device to the lawnmower, sit down on the seat and "let it burn" as we
say in Finland. What is left I will finish by an air-blowing machine (I do not know how it
is called in English). The leaves will then be mixed with the soil of
the garden to make it more fertile.
Have a nice spring with swallows and a lot of