Forget that this encounter had almost killed me …..
Following, are two of the reasons I am extremely frustrated with the tearing down of the barn swallow’s nest where I now live! I had no idea how it would lead to, and tie together with what had happened in my childhood — it had almost killed me, … more than once but that’s not unusual; I’ve come that close a dozen times – even flat-lined once.
The primary reason I was upset, was how insensitive and crass it seemed for them to tear the nest down, especially when there were 4 young swallows currently living in it, along with the parents.
It was their home, for the time they lay over here, only to raise their young.
I’m sure that the neighbor ladies who tore it down had no idea of the ramifications, yet it was the displaced small swallows, only into their 2nd day of flight I felt sorry for.
It broke my heart to see them, small as they were, hanging onto the door jamb, late at night and in yesterday’s rain.
I’d called the Audubon Society and Lane County Extension Service and was told it would do no good to put up a new bird house; they wouldn’t use it; their houses were nests of hardened mud, feathers, horsehair and hay – it’s what works for them, and it’s why they return to the horse ranches that they live in a close symbiotic relationship with.
Normally, it takes one to two weeks of constant work for the courting couple to build a nest for their young, and it was a joy to watch the birthing and raising of their young, much less their first flights! When the days begin to warm and the insects rise from their fields, the skies are filled with swooping graceful swallows – a joy to watch and the entire surrounding area is devoid of mosquitoes making the warm evenings quite pleasant here!
It’s beyond the ability of the baby swallow’s parents to replace the nest now; it’s just too much work to go through with new young, who are learning to fly and trying to grow strong for their coming long migration south. The parent’s constant duty is to continue feeding them as they grow and learn to fly and feed themselves, as well as keeping their own strength up; their lives have a natural rhythm which cannot be, ….. should not be, interrupted even by insensitive, crass, unthinking humans.
Every year, just like the Swallows of San Juan Capistrano, they return here after living in South America (so I’m told) – the other end of their long journey.
I should mention here, that to tear down a swallow’s nest is against the law. When the ladies did it, I was so frustrated / so upset, I thought it best to not talk to them ….. I was quite sure I’d tell them what I thought of them, … of their actions. They’d see my fragile emotions which normally doesn’t bother me. Instead though, I left a note – admittedly, a poor way to handle it.
As an explanation of the note, I admit, to my disdain, that I thoroughly lack an acceptable amount of tact when I’m upset; my note was not much better, so needless to say, it was NOT well received!
As a result, the neighbors are now in a passive/aggressive mode and giving me the silent treatment along with periodic slamming doors. That’s OK; I can handle it, but having attempted to talk to one of them since, it ‘s still indicative of the lack of maturity and they’re just not the kind of people I would have grown very close friends with anyway! So be it; no big loss.
When things calmed down, and I apologized for my inept note, they insisted that to tear the nest down is NOT against the law, and besides, I speed anyway. Hello?
Whenever anyone leaves the door to the barn open, the gals are sure to appear with a scowl on their faces and shut it, often with a loud noise, making sure I notice their disdain at it being open and that of course, sets the dogs barking ….. their plight? They are kept locked up, 23+ hours a day in a horse stall and have no idea why the loud, startling noise!
The current problem though, is that where the babies are hanging onto the door jamb all night, and onto the hot (when it’s on) light fixture, they’re leaving droppings in the doorway which we must all walk through. The droppings, are a known health hazard.
Where the nest had been, ….. was in an area where no one had needed to walk, at least not for the 5 years I’ve lived here. Now, with their nest gone, they hang precariously onto the door jamb all night, in the rain, and we must all walk through, their droppings, numerous times daily.
The particular health hazard is now a potential health problem for me; it may not be for others, for many are exempt / immune from this infection, but I’m not – I have the results of having played in the fields where swallows nested as described below, when I was a young boy. It may have been at the same age all my friends and I came down with TB from playing baseball on the TB sanitarium lot (yes; the government quarantined people back then; my TB, wasn’t discovered until High School age, long after I’d survived it.
As 6 and 7 year old boys, we were there in that field on the other side of the reservoir, armed to the teeth and ready to attack the 3:15 ‘enemy train’. We were young enough to not understand why the swallows would “dive bomb” us (evidently, we’d gotten to close to their nests, …) but to us, that just augmented our playing soldiers – it was not long after the close of WWII and to us, the swallows were the enemy Luftwaffe fighters.
We brought brooms to swat them out of the air ….. that only happened once. Heart-broken, the one we caught, didn’t survive our attempt to keep him in a cage; we were boys and boys do stupid things, …. once, … but we learned and left them alone. My neighbors, the “ladies” haven’t learned. “Next year”, they say, they’ll not build a nest there!”
It was years later that a doctor explained to me, how that had all come together to cause a symptom that had almost killed me …. several times. He was looking at my X-ray, and asked me “where you from?” I replied, “the mid-west”. “I know that; where exactly?” Puzzled, I responded “Southern Illinois – Mt. Vernon, to be exact.” I hesitated, and asked, “how did you know?”
He went on to explain that he’d recently read of those which had my particular “symptom,” which he could “see,” clear as day, but I was his first encounter with one (I had / still have a [non-marsupial] pouch on my esophagus), and it turns out, all of us who did, came from that specific geographical area of the nation. He had my attention immediately.
As we talked, and I joked, “evidently, I missed my calling, …… I could have, been ….. all my friends and I … could have been gem smugglers.”
He laughed and explained how the pouch develops – from a small spore carrying germs, which breathed in, lodges in the esophagus and causes a lesion which eventually turns into very stretchy skin, and therefore, a pouch as it fills as it expands. It’s only lately that man has begun to become aware of the interactions of all this intricacy of nature.
In my case, my pouch just catches phlegm and mucus, … at first, but then, it captures food and won’t let it go down into the stomach, and subsequently that all catches more food, which results in the pouch filling and subsequent choking and being unable to breathe. Only once did everything begin to go black, but I had to rush for the toilet in attempts to get it up often. Interesting, a year and a half later, yesterday, …. the day after people read this, it happened again, as I was driving on the freeway. As the checkerboard lines began to appear, I was able to pull over and up-chuck what was stopping my breathing onto the side of my car door and the roadside. I’d been trying to eat a breakfast burrito and couldn’t breathe again ….. After cleaning the mess, I wonder if it’s time to get my throat expanded again? Maybe the warning …. having this story pop up on my blog feedback, showing me that several people had read my story yesterday, …. is actually the Holy Spirit’s doing …..
I’ve had histoplasmosis for decades now. In fact, in recent years, I’ve had to have five medical procedures caused by the infection which I got in my youth. Why I’m updating this tonight is that, though it’s 4 years since the last time; unable to talk, or breathe, I had to rush to the bathroom @ Applebee’s restaurant and get the food which was choking me, “up-and-out” again.
The last procedures was done, a year ago, last January; prior to that, I had others which occurred in 2008, 2006, 2002, and 2000.
Regarding the current situation, I’d rather not have my throat irritated further, and therefore would prefer that I and others not have to walk through the droppings, atomizing them to be inhaled. Unfortunately, what’s done is done ….
Now, it’s the next year, 2012, and the 4th day of spring (when I wrote this – now, 7 months later, I’m in the process of moving – another long story).
(When I wrote this, I thought) I’ll be watching for the swallows, and remind the landlady that there are 3 ways into the “hallway, which leads into the barn” and the swallows seem to prefer their nests being built low, and on drywall – the mud, hay, and horsehair seems to stick better to drywall than to the joists. If the babies can’t fly well on their first attempts, they die when their first attempt is from 50 feet up rather than 7 feet. One can say I shouldn’t make such a fuss but we are to be good stewards – after all we were given the “dominion over the kingdom.”
There’s an easy solution. Hang heavy slit plastic in the doorways to the hall – the kind used to keep the cool air in restaurant freezers. The swallows nests won’t be torn down that way . . . . Or, tack plastic to the wall …. They’d have to find somewhere else – like on the side of the house. I suspect though, the same scenario will repeat itself, in spite of how much tact I attempt to use – my cynical nature. Hopefully, my new place will be ready and I can move before I have to watch the babies hanging onto the door jamb and light fixture again.
The information below is from: http://www.bing.com/health/article/mayo-126212/Histoplasmosis?q=histoplasmosis
Histoplasmosis is an infection transmitted by airborne spores that you breathe in when you work in or around soil that contains a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum. It generally affects your lungs, but may spread to other organs or tissues outside your lungs.
Farmers, landscapers, construction workers and people who have contact with bird or bat droppings (spelunkers?) are especially at risk of histoplasmosis.
Most people with histoplasmosis never develop symptoms and aren’t aware they’re infected. But for some people — primarily infants and those with compromised immune systems — histoplasmosis can be serious. Effective treatments are available for even the most severe forms of histoplasmosis.
Several types of histoplasmosis exist, ranging from mild to life-threatening.
The mildest form of this malady, often produces no signs or symptoms, but severe infections can cause serious problems throughout your body as well as in your lungs. When signs and symptoms do occur, they usually appear three to 17 days after exposure.