Feasting On the Wing

Monday afternoon I mowed off the yellow sweetclover cover crop and found myself surrounded by birds. Tree swallows and barn swallows, their liquid bodies looping and darting all around me, catching the insects flushed from their hiding places in the field. The swallows kept at it all the time I was mowing, and even long afterward, feasting on the wing.

It always makes me happy to see those birds flying over the field. It tells me that I’m doing my job as an organic farmer, extending hospitality to as many creatures as the land can support. It tells me that the land is tending toward health, with a rich and diverse habitat. Plus, the swallows are a delight to watch.

It’s not always easy being hospitable to all the creatures that call this farm home. A couple of baby deer have decided to eat down to the ground all the sunflowers I was hoping to harvest for the CSA later this month, and some as-yet-unknown four-legged critter has been snacking pretty heavily on our first cucumber succession. (The crew thinks a raccoon, but I’m betting on a groundhog.) But in the main, there is room for all, and all are welcome.