Archive for May, 2007|Monthly archive page

Stuck in my Head

I spent the morning singing this song while milking the cows. hmmmmm.

didn’t take a photo of the swallows yesterday. i was otherwise distracted and ran out of time. i’ll do it later today though

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Swallows Nest: Day 6

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Now they’re getting hairy, it’s hard to see what’s going on, but i’m certain that the four are there alright … and one has begun to put a beak above the parapet. I think that they’re after running out of space in the nest already!!!

Swallows Nest: Day 5

A few things have changed today. They’ve gotten even bigger for one. it is the first day that you can see some of them over the edge of the nest. They’ve gotten hairy (or feathery, i don’t know which, and they’re showing those distinctive white beaks for gulping down the ‘donations’ from mommy and daddy. In today’s picture you can begin to see the claws on the feet, the dots on its skin that is the growing point of the feathers, the wings seem more defined, and they were shuffling about quiet a bit today (restless even).

I still don’t know about the fourth baby. I’m hoping it’s buried among its siblings.

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Soldier’s Poem

I love this song from Muse.

I don’t take any political message from it, nor do I care much for the melodrama in the video.
Start it off and close your eyes. don’t watch the video … it’s a song for god’s sake not a movie. For me anyway, the song is beautifully emotional.

Swallows Nest: Day 4

Where’s the other one gone to??? Yesterday there were fourin the nest. Now there’s only three. Hopefully it’s only buried nice and warm under the others. They seem to have grown a lot since yesterday even.

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I had a WOW experience this afternoon as I was putting up an fence out in one of the fields. I heard a strange noise in the distance behind me. I turned around, listened and heard it again but it was too far away to know what it was … so I carried on with what I was doing. I heard it again, and louder and from a different angle this time, so into the distance and saw and heard something I had never seen before. It went COOK-OOH COOK-OOH. A pair of cuckoos were flying north directly over my head. I’ve only heard stories that they were once common years ago. It made my day.

The Cuckoo

Swallows Nest: Day 3

…And then there were four! From the previous pictures I posted on Saturday, I thought I could make out two and a half little ones. To my delight in the pictures I took this afternoon, all four are clearly visible. There were four eggs there last week, but I thought that one of them hadn’t made it. I didn’t hand around long as mommy came back and started to make a bit of a racket! But boy was I a happy bunny when I looked at the preview window on the camera.

Not much of a change physically in them, other than they seemed to be more lively today. They were gently shuffling left and right, but not moving around. (I suppose it ‘s easier to move when your siblings aren’t plonked down on top of you!!).

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Dog Day of Discovery

Visited my neighbour Pat this afternoon to see how his two new greyhounds are getting on. He has them with six weeks at this stage. Now Pat was thrown out in an armchair recovering from the effects of a hard night in Reardons in Cork last night, he was sick of sitting around feeling sorry for himself, so he needed a little head clearing. We decided to go take the dogs for a walk. I personally think they might be loosing their minds with boredom being locked up most of the day. Out into the fields at the back of his house, Pat was annoyed that all the fields were getting ready for silage, so there was really nowhere for the dogs to go for a good run. The poor things, they are inside in their run all day, and the one time they get out, they can’t even open up the legs. It’s all hopping … maybe they’ll turn into good hurdlers! The poor things don’t even have names yet.
Anyway, I had enough of that and decided it would be best to cross over the road to our place and see what happens. I cycled back and put our two gurriers back into their bed, so there would be no incidents between our lads and Pat’s two gals.

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Pat with his pride and joy

They walked into the yard and our two lads barked up a fierce racket when they heard the other two dogs sniffing around. Our lads not too happy with what was going on on their patch … and rightly so. Off we went across the yard and into the first field, and the very first thing that happened: one of them ‘discovered’ cow dung for the first time, and instinctively started rolling around in it … only for the other one to come over and start eating it. eeeeuuuuuuwwwwww. (There are a few reasons why dogs do this: to cover their own scent, if they’re hungry, or if they’re short of nutrients or minerals, or internal problems)

Next up on their trip of discovery was the electric fence. Now, they’re used to chain-link wire in their compound so obviously wire is for biting. That’s exactly what they did with the electric fence. 6,000 kiloVolts running through its body, to lots of howling and tail between legs etc. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they both went back for seconds. They’re obviously not the smartest of dogs, but in fairness, I think they got the message second time around.

We trudged on. Pat was keeping an eagle eye out for any rabbits in the distance. They were there alright, but the dogs don’t seem to have the killer instinct. In fairness, the rabbits run around outside their compound all day, so you’d think that they’re be dying to have a go off one without having a fence in the way. Not so. Maybe there were too many interesting new smells going on. The rabbits will live on for another day until a fox or our lads take out the odd one that gets isolated from the burrows

On we went up to the top of the hill overlooking the town, and Pat was feeling the pressure. His lack of fitness was showing up (he’s only 27 … he should be lepping around the place). We found a nice spot of grass to lie down for half an hour and watch the world go by. Meanwhile the hounds discovered that tufts of grass that had come loose were a great thing to shake about (like how dogs shake their prey to kill them). Maybe they’re coming on. No sign of any hares up on the hill today. Pat was saying that the last time he was up on that part of the farm must have been fifteen years ago when we were drawing in the hay. That was a bit surprising as most of the kids from town end up there at one stage or other during the year.

We headed for home and another new discovery for the dogs. Cows!! That seems unbelievable, but they were scared of their lives of the cows as they had never come across them before. One of the girls followed us across but the other just stood at the fence on the other side and would not budge, even though there was a corridor 30 yards wide through. nah, no hope of her moving. stupid mutt. so we had to go back and put the leash on her again and drag her through. (The cows gave the dogs a second notice and went back eating). She’ll learn.

Eventually back to base after about two hours away, so I invited Pat inside for a while. we tied the dogs to the garden gate and went inside to watch the sports news. Two minutes one of them flew past the sitting room window doing a lap of the house (her lap of honour obviously). She had eaten through the leash. €15 gone in one foul swoop. We wondered what to do with them while we had a bite to eat, so we left them in the scullery and hoped for the best (they’re not house trained). More discovery!!! Shoes are for eating, plastic bags are for eating, rubbish bins are for toppling over. This in a house where dogs are for outside and people are for inside!!!

I’m sure they’ll sleep well tonight with lots of happy dog dreams … not the usual howling at 4am 🙂

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The one on the left is covered in muck … and a leash destroyed too

It would have been a good day to have the camera out with us … but alas i only remember these things when it’s too late.

Swallows Nest: Mommy and Daddy

I said I’d send a picture of the parents of the little baby swallows in the nest, but the only time I could take a picture was at night time when they are unable to fly because of a lack of light. So I went out to the garage tonight armed with my camera and this is probably the best one I ended up with. I was only about four feet away from them, so the camera only focused on the back wall, but you get my drift. This is what they do at night time … nothing much other than try to look innocuous! Looks like one of them got kicked out of the nest. I guess HE must have been sent to the doghouse 🙂 .

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Swallows nest: Day 1 (Saturday)

Every year in spring we wait in anticipation at the arrival of our swallows. We allow them pretty much free run of the farmyard to nest where they want. I don’t mind the mess at all because of the benefits that they bring here. Most notably the fact that they kill so many flies and insects, and also because it’s wonderful to just stop and look at them whizzing about the place. They are so fast and agile and have the ability to turn on a six pence. They started arriving this year in the middle of April, only a few at first until eventually I think the majority arrived rather later at the start of May. I think we’re back a few this year but not to worry, once the young start getting out and about, there’ll be a nasty surprise in store for all those winged insects.

But arrive they did and now they’ve also started breeding. There is always this one nest in the garage where we park the black car, up on top of the shelving

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Perched on top of a rack of shelves, just under the ceiling, and onto an old Dolby speaker

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Using an old car wing mirror, you can see the young ones in the nest

From the picture of the nest above (taken Saturday), there are three young ones in the nest. They have a very light fur, are blind and are tiny. To get an idea of how small they are, compare them to the size of my fingers at the edge of the picture. I had looked into the nest for the first time on Friday, and there were four eggs there. Maybe there’s a fourth lad underneath the other bodies, we’ll see later … or maybe one just didn’t make it.

I’ll try to get a picture of mommy and daddy, but they’re hard to get as they move so quickly. At night and under artificial light when they’re perched up high is the best time because they don’t like flying in the dark.

I’ll also try to take pictures every other day to keep ye updated so that ye can see how they’re growing. It should be interesting, as i’ve never really had the chance to look into the nest on a regular basis. Usually they’re in too awkward a place.

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I know that I’ve not written much anything in the last few days. that should change over this weekend. I’ve been busy doing other things, and also trying to set things up as I would like here on my wordpress blog. I’m picking up bits and pieces as i go which is good.

For now I need to go to bed.

This post was going to be a test post to see if the feedburner email subscription (at the bottom of the sidebar on the right) actually works. It is too, but i’ll leave what i’ve written above there.

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This is my left hand taken a few days ago. Rough???

Okay … there’s a few minor welts, but it could be a lot worse …. it used to be much worse a few years ago, but I copped on. It’s actually very hard to take a good picture of both your hands at the same time without getting your head or shoulder in the way. I failed to manage and only got a hand and a half at best!! Some other time when the sun is shining again … it could be a few days by the look of the weather.