Wednesday, July 17, 2019

November Hill farm journal, 80

On Monday morning I found one of the barn swallow chicks on the stall floor, dead. It may have been the one that kept falling out and possibly injured itself. We had closed off that stall so the pony and donkeys wouldn’t step on any wayward chicks, so I know that didn’t happen.

By evening, there were only two chicks left in the nest. The resident black snake made a valiant effort to get to the nest for a meal, but the parents had placed it well and the snake fell to the ground before getting to the chicks.

I told the parents yesterday morning to please get those two remaining chicks out and flying - and by afternoon when I fed lunch to the horses, they were out in the barnyard practicing! They followed me to the back pasture when I was doing water troughs and were flying maybe 15 feet off the ground, with lots of landings.

Today I was out early, watering the pollinator beds, and heard birds calling above me. The entire flock of barn swallows were flying high! After the video above, they actually came directly over my head and circled and swooped, as if to show me they were all doing well. I assume these weeks in the barn hearing our voices, being close to us as we do chores, acclimatized the chicks to humans. It was a treat to see them all enjoying the cool of the morning, and to watch the young ones practicing moves in the air.

We’re once again in the midst of high heat, with daytime temps in the mid-upper 90s, and heat indexes in the 100s. The herd are doing well, as it seems to be a drier heat that isn’t as draining, and we’ve had a breeze blowing which at least keeps the air moving around us out there.

The native plants seem to be much more able to handle this weather than the non-natives do, but I’m trying to keep them happy, so I did a deep watering this a.m. We may get a thunderstorm late in the day, which is welcome, as the pastures could use the water too.

We have another week of this kind of weather, but I read last night that moving into August we have a period of lower than normal temps on the way. Hallelujah! I need a break from this, as I know much of the country needs as well. And much of the world.

As many of us do, I worry about the planet and what is to come, but for this morning I’m focusing on this little flock of barn swallows who made it in spite of the dangers of nesting and fledging. Flying high and celebrating their success.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sorry to hear about the little one that didn’t make but it’s good the others are out and flying about. I’m glad we don’t have a resident snake because I am seriously petrified of any snake. Just the way I am. We had a swallow that fell from the nest a while ago and J. Put it in a bucket with straw and water. The mama would come down and feed it. Unfortunately, our barn mucker thought it was a good idea to put it out underneath a tree without the bucket. Without permission. It disappeared probably a fox or one of the cats got to it. J. Was really mad about that. There were other things going on and he is no longer employed with us. So we’re back to mucking ourselves. Just better that way and no more drama.

We are supposed to be in for a heat wave with high humidity this weekend, can’t wait, will have to get out to the barn very early to beat the worst heat.

billie said...

We are all sad about the one who died. I don’t want the black snake ON me, but I appreciate its taking care of mice. It usually stays away from us - I haven’t seen it most of the summer but husband catches glimpses. Ugh re: barn worker putting the baby out. Agreed - if not the right fit, barn help is not worth the money or the time saved. We are lucky to have our farm helper who takes care of almost everything on the farm and the other helper who does big picture mucking duty one day a week. It’s hard to find someone who cares as much as you(we) do about the routine and doing things just right.

I’m ready for fall. Period.

Take care and stay as cool and hydrated as is possible! I took 4 showers yesterday and had to do laundry b/c of the dripping with sweat clothing I removed before each of the showers!