Saturday, May 21, 2011

Homeless Barn Swallows

Amanda captured these quick pictures of barn swallows when they returned today.

Barn swallows have nested in our barn since before we moved here 16 years ago. We've seen several generations of these animated birds. At times, we'd have a dozen nests full of hungry hatchlings! We helped them defend their nests from snakes and made sure we didn't leave anything around the cats could use to get to them. If our work agitated them enough they would communicate that by chattering angrily and flying at us. We respected their parental instinct and moved our work further down the barn aisle which always settled them down. Every spring, the barn swallows arrive and fly circles around us chattering in the excitement of making it home! We eagerly watch and tell each other when they first arrive. I always shout a cheery welcome to them each year.

This year was different. Their return was later than usual and caused us some worry they weren't going to return. They arrived home today, and instead of flying around chattering happily, they were confused. Their barn was gone! The chattering was more anxious. Their flying was frenzied. They flew into the house looking for lodging! They also flew into our travel trailer. Brandon opened the small barn door so they can live there if they choose. We hope at least one pair nests so we can continue to enjoy these delightful birds who benefit us by eating flying insects every evening. Clint says if one pair takes up residence in his workshop, he will make a tiny door just for them.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A New Playground

The embers that blew from the barn set much of our yard on fire. We had to throw away many of the children's outdoor toys because they had melted. Even their metal (shed) clubhouse had the wooden floor burned out. We wanted to give them a safe place to play this summer.

Clint, Brandon and Amanda put together the Highlander Play Set with Slide. Clint added a second slide (dark green) from an old swing set we had. We also had another wheel we could add on the inside. Their smaller swingset is sitting behind the Highlander swing set.

I had help from Amanda, Joshua, Caleb, Bethany, Emily and Hannah in putting together the Cedar Chateau. Clint had to finish the inside table, sink, stove and the picnic table on the outside once it was moved into place.

Eventually, I will stain the sandbox to match the cedar pieces. The playset and the chateau need a better coat of stain on them too.
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Friday, May 06, 2011

Highlander Swing Set

Work faster Clint!!! :-)
The children chanted "Build! Build! Build!" until Clint woke up the morning after we bought it. I am pretty sure this was orchestrated by Joshua! They were tickled with themselves to the point of giggling, so it was a fun way to wake up.

This is the Highlander Set from Sams Club. So far, we are very pleased with it.
We also purchased the matching Cedar Chateau Playhouse, but have not had time to put it together yet.

Life is very busy with Clint's work, farm, insurance (fire and the accident), errands, appointments, etc. We have not had time to return calls or e-mails, but want everyone to know we love them!

You can see the finished playground here.
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