5th June, 2012: The swallows are here! Indeed they have been here for a few weeks ... and I have had to evict them! I discovered that they had made nests in the pig arcs which I use to provide some shelter for sheep in my fields. That's lovely and no doubt the sheep help contribute nice warmth to their homes.
Unfortunately with all the rain we have had for the past few weeks (the wettest drought on record ...) the floors of the arcs had turned to a nasty, muddy mess of sheep shit and wet ground. This was not doing the lambs' feet much good and I had been spending time cleaning feet and then treating for limps and soreness and some infections. Even after setting up the foot-bath, the mud was sticking much too firmly to the feet.
So there has been nothing for it but to turn the arcs upside down. However, this does leave a nice area of good, wet mud as the building material for the new nests.
So the swallows will have some extra work, unless they go back to the old nests in the barn?
I love to see the swallows swooping low across the fields in early evening, helping to reduce the midge and fly population by a bit. But pretty impossible to photograph, so in due course I will add an upside-down arc and mud-patch picture to this item!