Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Barn Swallows are back!

A barn swallow in the cow barnThe return of the first Barn Swallow to the farm is always an anticipated event. Conversely, it is hard not to feel a little sadness on the day in late August when all of the swallows, the ones that arrived in spring along with their now adult hatchlings, line up on the power wires in front of the barn to stage their departure. I have always loved the Barn Swallows from when I first knew them as a child visiting my grandparents on the farm.

A pair of early arriving barn swallowsWe almost lost our swallows in the late 70's-early 80's when the old original barns fell in and I removed them. Those old hand hewn beams were a hands down favorite place for the Barn Swallows to build their mud nests. We got down to only one nest in our newly rebuilt shop, and I worried that they would soon be gone. Although I know it's unlikely, I like to think that our swallows are direct descendants in an unbroken chain that traces back to when the first swallows discovered the Howland homestead over 200 years ago. Since we began farming actively and the cow barn is now open every day, our Barn Swallows have shifted their base of operations there, and we have multiple nests every year. Phil

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Off to New York

Mae and FloraWillie Denner and his daughter Mae came down from their farm in Chatham, New York, Little Seed Gardens, to pick up their new heifer, "Howland Homestead Flora". Flora is 4 weeks old, the latest daughter from our faithful milk cow "Dora". Flora goes to join "Nelly" and "Lana", also from our farm.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A new calf

Our Randall cow "Doreen" had a heifer calf today, "April". She was quickly cleaned off by mom despite being born in the mud as can be seen from the picture. She was up and nursing in no time. April joins "Coleen", her full sister from last year. A previous heifer of Doreen's was "Noreen", who lives at New Pond Farm in Redding, CT. Doreen's mom was "Pandora", a heifer we bought from Cynthia Creech, and who now lives on WitnessTree Farm in MO.