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

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