Don’t Forget The Barn Swallows

I wrote this post and posted it over a year ago, back when I still lived up north.

Yesterday, as I walked down my driveway in Florida I was greeted by about a dozen or so barn swallows, diving and swooping as if to say “hello again”.  So I thought I would share this post again.  It was like seeing an old friend from days gone by.

This post is based on a note I wrote and placed in my journal.  It stayed in my journal for a number of months as I passed over it for other post topics.  After sitting in my journal for so long I had forgotten why I even wrote the note and so I continued to pass over it each day.

So today I thought before I just give up on this note and throw it away I’d take a stab at writing something about it.

The note read, “Forgot to open the barn doors for the barn swallows”.

About two hundred feet south of my house is an old bank barn.

If I had to guess I would say it’s eighty to one hundred years old.  It’s the traditional barn red but in desperate need of paint and renovation.Barn1

When I was a teenager my father and I cleaned it up and put in horse stalls.  Through the years we had a couple of horses but they are all long gone.

The entrance to the stables has a set of dutch barn doors.

In the fall we close up the bottom of the barn and every spring even though no domesticated animals occupy the lower level we open up the top half of the doors to accommodate the return of the barn swallows.

Barn swallows are great birds to have in your barn.  They help control the insect population and they are really cool to watch, they’re aerial acrobats.

The swallows build their mud and straw nests usually in the lower portion of the barn where it’s cool throughout the summer.  They stick the nests right to the old timbers that support the upper level barn floor.

It’s really cool to watch them feed as I mow my yard .

They buzz around my lawn mower catching the bugs kicked up by the by the mower blades.  They dive bomb the mower and sometimes I swear they are going to run into me but with great precision they bank away like an F16.

Last year in late April I drove by the barn and realized I had forgotten to open the top half of the barn doors.

Barn Doors

The barn doors I forgot to open.

I felt as if I had betrayed my friends and hoped they had not left for some other barn, or worst I hoped they had not been stuck outside and succumbed to the elements.

I made sure that evening that I went down to the barn and propped open the doors hoping it wasn’t too late for my swift feathered friends’ return.

Just a few days later there they were going in and out of the doors reclaiming old nests and constructing new ones.

I wasn’t too late.

I was glad I didn’t mess it up.  I was glad we still had our deal, you eat the bugs and entertain me while I mow and I’ll give you a great place to live.

So I guess that’s why I wrote the note.  I guess I was distraught that I may have let down the barn swallows.

I was concerned that getting caught up in my life that I forgot about my duty to those who needed me.

This year the doors were opened before the end of March.

I know I will miss them when I move south.  I’ll have to pass on the barn door duty so the swallows can continue to live in their barn.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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