Bullies of the block

There is a barn swallow family that has taken up residence in the barn this season.  These are small, narrow birds with a delightful chirp.  When I do my chores, I find them entertaining, as they swoop around the rafters in their little groups.  It appears they live harmoniously with each other.  We’ve been keeping an eye on the nest above one of the horse’s stall.  In the past, we have had birds (yellow songbirds)  build nests in our garage, which we found undesirable.  Upon walking into the garage, an adult bird could be startling as it divebombed past our heads.  A few years ago, when some baby birds were about to fly away from the nest, one tiny bird flew directly at me.  With no malice intended, I raised my arm to shield my eyes.  The little guy fell to the garage floor and apparently died from shock.  My heart sank even deeper when the parents showed despair.   The barn swallows, however, have remained near the barn’s ceiling and have never bothered anybody.  This morning while I was mucking out the stalls I had a strong feeling to look upward.  There were two young swallows, not the three that we saw the night before.  As I was about to search the barn floor, I heard frantic shrieking outside.  There they were, the bullies of the block , aka magpies.  These thugs show up every year in the middle to late summer looking for trouble.  They enjoy harassing other birds and have been known to eat others’ fledglings.  The young birds are too big at this time to be devoured by the magpies, but they could be knocked off their perches by the bully birds, couldn’t they?   Magpies don’t even get along within their own group; they scuffle with each other every morning on the rooftop.  To my surprise and delight, here comes the cavalry.  The adult barn swallows flew fast and swiftly towards the magpies and chased them away from the barn.   Now I worry the winged thugs will rally support from the other like-minded birds of feather and return with a vengeance.  Let’s hope the young swallows will have found their wings by then.


If a Plant’s Roots Are Too Tight, Repot.

– Gardening headline, The New York Times

I read this simple statement in an inspirational publication and wondered how this could apply to one’s life.  Furthermore, how do I know when a plant’s roots are too tight?   I have a potted plant that’s over nine years old.  For the past four years, it has remained the same height but has endured lack of water, and at times, lack of light.  Even with this neglect, the plant prevails.  Suddenly, the light bulb flashes in my head!  Of course, it might stand firm, but it sure isn’t growing.  Now that’s a briliant observation!  🙂  Perhaps I should pay more attention to the flora in my life and grow with it?

I’m pleased to say that I did repot the nine year old plant, and it appears to have a new lease on life.