Beau April 13th, 2010
The weather has been so nice the past week that it’s hard to keep up with all the changes. Everyday there’s something new around the property, or in the garden. I love walking around outside before the sun comes up, in that peaceful, subdued light of dawn.
Yesterday the air was perfectly calm, and as I walked outside I looked up to see the most beautiful clouds! I believe these are Virga cloud formations, denoting the fall of moisture or ice crystals from the clouds, drifting downward slowly but evaporating before reaching the ground. I’ve seen it a few times before, but not at dawn as the sun rose.
I wasn’t sure what I was seeing at first, but then realized that the precipitation was very slowly falling in the calm morning air. It was neat to see… here’s a closer look:
As I turned around to look behind me, the same weather phenomenon was taking place from all around the area. This cloud line was marked by small lines of moisture in a vertical fashion. You just never know what you might see when you really take a good look.
Later in the day I saw a bird flash past the eave of the house and realized that the barn swallows have returned! What a journey they make across two continents. They’re three days earlier than last year, and about a week later than the years previous.
I went out to say hello :) and it was a solitary bird zooming all around the house. Later in the day two more swallows had joined the first, chasing each other around as they decide who gets which of three nest sites on the house. I enjoy watching them fly and really appreciate that they eat insects.
And this morning the little chickies moved to a bigger home. The little cardboard box was getting too crowded for them, and they were hopping out while trying to explore a little more. I was going to put together a bigger cardboard box, but then realized that the wire kennel I use for the labrador retriever would make a perfect brooder for these guys for a few more weeks. I just taped a little carboard around the bottom half to keep their scratchings in.
They’ve grown about twice their size of a week ago, and run around flapping wings and dive-bomging each other. Even though they bash each other out of the way for food or water, they seem to get along pretty well so far. I think there’s two roosters in the mix, but I won’t know for sure for a while yet.
I keep them on a little glassed in porch area that is naturally heated by the sun during the day. At night I’ve been using a 250 watt lamp a couple feet away. Now they’re old enough where it’s not as critical to keep really warm all day and night, but I keep them out of drafts and the temperature from 75-85 degrees. The new brooder cage has a rock for the birds and the waterer to sit on, and a little log for a mini-roost. They still like to sleep snuggled up on the floor, and when it gets really warm they sprawl out in every direction. I’ve got 2-4 weeks to get a coop built before they get really big!