Thursday, April 29, 2010

Visitors from the South

They are my favorite visitors, the Barn Swallows. Although whether they are visitors here, or in the south when they leave for the winter, I'm not really sure. However, if their leaving is a sign that Summer is over (as they line up on wires as if waiting for a train) then their return is a definite indication that Spring is well underway. One swallow may not a Summer make, but the four pairs that have returned again this year are surely a hint! It amazes me that they can fly as far afield as Argentina, and still find their way back to a small barn in rural Virginia. Supposed to be something to do with the Earth's magnetic field, which strikes me as OK for the North/South direction, but leaves a lot of latitude (pun intended!) for East/West deviation. Anyway, I'm just glad to see them back, and watch their antics in catching their body weight in bugs to feed their offspring and themselves. My bird book says they fly around 600 miles every day to collect enough! Makes my daily 4 miles around the farm small beer, and puts into perspective those thousand's of miles journeys.

Triskelion's Leonardo and Triskelion's Mona Lisa

We say farewell to Leo this Sunday, and to Mona shortly. Weaning has been relatively trouble free, and are thankful that our cows are so easy to handle, and seem to have passed that down to their calves. Mona is a sweetie and, as we bonded in those first 24 hours as I tried to encourage her to suck Bessie not my fingers, she will be hard to let go. Not least because she is a great example of a mini-Jersey calf, but also she gets quite excited when she sees me coming. Leo is more timid and standoffish, but perfect for a bull calf as you really don't want him in your pocket - even if it is cute when he is small! Both have been taught to halter, lead and tie, and should do us credit in their new homes. Mona will be joining Elvis, and Leo is off to WV with a clean bill of health, both with up to date vaccinations.