Our early weeks on the small Gradyville farm  were filled with discovery, a time of experiencing spring in a setting new to us.
The kitchen window and the sliding door in the tiny dining area look onto the back dooryard, past the weathered trunks of box elder and silver maple and on to a pair of twisted crab apples trees.
In one hangs a vintage bluebird house installed by Haskell Rogers.
The shingle on the roof is curled and the perch is missing, but the amount of activity around it suggests a history of satisfied tenants.
Noting what appeared to be a waiting list for avian domiciles Jim brought an old board down from the tobacco barn and fashioned it into two more bird houses.
In this the third summer of our residency, we've noted that while bluebirds swirl about the two backyard houses, the house located in the goat willow on the edge of the front lawn has been consistently occupied by tree swallows.
I watch them in the mornings as they dart and dive through the shimmer of early sunshine, sailing through the clouds of small insects which hover just beyond the porch.
This evening I noticed one bird sitting rather stolidly in the circle of the birdhouse entrance. She [or he?] seemed oblivious to the other birds who swooped about the branches of the willow or teetered on the nearby power line.
I approached quietly with my camera and was able to snap a few photos before
Willis the Cat
bounded in to help.
The birdhouse is protected by a barricade of fencing wire, but Willis had to exercise his privilege of looming over it from an upper branch--just because he could.
I prodded Willis with a twig until he jumped lightly down and strolled off to recline on his favorite humped grey rock--his back to the birdhouse where the swallow again perched, tranquil in the enfolding twilight.
Its a pity that a hard working cat can't enjoy a bit of recreational bird-watching
without being suspected of evil intentions.