our meal shed is full of mysterious noises. Whooshes of air just above your head. A farm ghost? No swallows feeding ravenous nestlings who nearly topple out of nests in their eagerness to get to the next beak full of insects.
Our swallows are now on their second brood. The long hot spell must have persuaded many pairs to take a gamble on a repeat family.
The youngest birds now join the many swallows swooping above our heads whenever we go outside.
Each nest leaves its own little contribution to the décor below.
A pile of bird droppings. In other places around the farm, other droppings are also betraying the presence of incontinent mammals who share our living spaces.
Take the Land Rover bonnet. It has it’s own prestigious parking space in the big shed. Unless the weather is Arctic snowy and icy, my car must stay outside. No room at the inn for my vehicle.
But there are benefits. It is not covered with bat droppings each morning, which the Land Rover is.
It is actually a mystery as to why the bats have suddenly discovered the Landrover is an ideal evacuation site.
We have always had bats in the buildings and yard. In the early evening bats criss cross chasing flying insects in the increasing gloom. But we have never found bat droppings before.
Now they are scattered across the roof and bonnet of the Landrover; microscopic poos that John whisks off with a brush each day.
I was mystified as to why the droppings were mainly concentrated in one area where there is no obvious roost facility in the open barn. We have always seen bats coming out of the old granary at dusk and presume that is where they roost.
Then I read that bats frequently have a favourite feeding perch where they take the moths and insect prey to eat. That would also explain the small bits of butterfly wings that dust the Land Rover bonnet.
But other droppings are far more sinister. The combine is newly chugged out of the big grain shed for it’s annual overhaul prior to centre stage performance on the farm.
Scattered across the seat in the combine cab and floor were small, spindle shaped black droppings.
Rats. Or maybe the rat that Millie, our Jack Russell, caught in the grain shed a few weeks ago.
Now cleaning up after rat droppings is not such a simple job as dusting off bat poo. You have to be careful.
John donned a face mask and gloves as rat droppings can transmit a number of nasty diseases to unlucky farmers.
It crossed my mind that when I occasionally moan about the lack of status that my car is granted in parking areas on the farm, the grain shed has been one of the places that John has suggested I might use.
But I’m staying out in the open. I have enough trouble keeping out of the excrement in my life so to speak, without parking in the midst of it.