In the barn, the last of this year's swallows have taken the opportunity of stretching and exercising their wings in the spell of warm weather last week. Some of our swallows have had three broods and the last young are almost ready to fly on that amazing journey which starts here on the farm and ends in Africa. The mystery of how they find their way is one of the world's great unsolved ones. I just wish I could tell them in some way to avoid Malta, where they will be shot at unmercifully. They share the barn with Tip, our old sheepdog, and I think he probably misses them when they go as they are a bit of company for him.
As they go then the winter visitors begin to arrive. Friends G and J saw redwings at the coast (and I believe some in G's garden) last week. This is very early. When I mentioned this to the farmer he said he thought he had heard some last week and had looked up to see that identifying swooping flight and a small flock passed overhead. Whether they were fieldfares or redwings he couldn't say, but it looks as though they are already beginning to arrive.
There are plenty of berries for them to eat but it always troubles me that they seem to eat them early giving no thought to the possibility of a hard winter and no food. Don't you find it odd that birds can fly to the other side of the world, and return next year to the same barn that they were born in, and yet they don't have enough sense to leave the berries and look for other available food?
It has been windy today and here on the farm the pine needles have been falling thick and fast. I had friends for a cup of tea this afternoon so I swept up the pine needles before they came. I need not have bothered as they were just as thick by the time they came. When the farmer opened the back door to come in for his lunch the wind blew a cloud of rowan leaves in with him - and this all of half an hour after my weekly cleaner had left.
Tomorrow Tess goes for a shampoo and haircut so it is a busy morning - luckily the supermarket is en route so I can call there as well. Visitors come to stay on Wednesday - so it is all go this week.
Any of you who remember Derrick of Melrose Musings (he stopped his blog about a year ago) will be interested to hear that I have been in touch with him as last year he was my partner at Willow's annual cyber ball. He has agreed to be my cyber partner again this year and has packed his tuxedo as he will be away on holiday. If you want to attend the ball go to Willow's site. You can choose whoever you like to be your partneer Fred Astaire, George Clooney, even your own better half - after all anything is possible in cyberland. When my son comes I will get him to put willow's poster and link on my blog. I have tried repeatedly to do it, but it is beyond me. Have a nice evening.