Then there was the Willow Period where interesting willows would be turned into small sticks to be grown on into saplings. The birds certainly seem to approve of her efforts and the "shelter belt" she grew no doubt helps the climate and reduces our fuel bills by a few pence per annum. The long leafed, Red oaks are fine and very pretty in autumn but the willows tend to skyrocket over the years. Often into towering spires 50' high!
Meanwhile, the Danish birdwatchers are berating the way Fyn had lost much of its natural habitat over the last 200 years. Mostly as a result of farming, forest clearance and drainage schemes taking their toll on the marshes and estuaries. There is one valley which was allowed to be re-flooded after earlier use as farmland but it is a very rare exception indeed. Still the existing hedges disappear routinely to make "big machine" prairies for big farms to industrialize toxic "food" production. Which in turn demands the arrival of the diggers to lay miles of corrugated drainage hose, in trenches, to rid the prairies of their last natural ponds and springs.
Major earth movement and soil importation, to fill in ponds and hollows, is a surprisingly familiar sight. Larger ponds tend to be allowed to grow scrubby willow beards for bird cover so it can be abused by shooting parties. Pheasant seed feeders are almost as common as the pheasants themselves. Which is probably acceptable if you fancy shooting fattened goldfish in their own bowl for entertainment. Growing a couple of rows of sweet corn along the edges of the prairies is a similar scheme to ensure high pheasant numbers just to kill for fun.
Major loss of footpaths and tracks is the usual result of prairiefication. The politic-ooze have never completed their decades-old plans for improving public access to the countryside. There are no marked public footpaths and bridleways as there are in the UK. Access to "open land" is unlikely as so little is left uncultivated. The absence of access is probably due to the huge number of farmers and their lobbyists and financial backers in the agro-chemical business. However, most woods and their access tracks are freely open to the public and often well used at weekends. On my own morning walks I may see one another person on foot perhaps once a year. And then, usually, only on special holidays. A couple of times a year there may be machines working in the woods. Or a huge lorry collecting logs. Otherwise I have the place mostly to myself.
I only mention all of this as a background to the environment in which I travel so regularly on trike and on foot. My pictures share the beauty of low, rolling hills, copses and woods. Though I am very selective in my framing so don't get too excited if you plan a holiday here. There is much to like but my regular rants expose the other side.
Changing the countryside for the better need not be a major undertaking. Allowing an uncultivated strip along every field hedge and replanting hedges where they are absent would work wonders. It would provide a benign and beneficial habitat, public access and a wildlife corridor all in one. As I write this the latest incumbents of the liar's club are going to remove the last bit of protection for streams and waterways from agro run-off.
Meanwhile, the minor news headlines are presently describing a farmer ploughing up a rented field to grow yet more corn. You can never have enough corn to spill the harvested grain ankle deep for literally miles along the roads of Denmark! This same field had been a rare wild plant and even rarer butterfly habitat for years. It will take countless more years again to undo the damage of auto-poisoning and auto-fertilization which comes with all toxic farm industrialization. So enjoy your cornflakes but don't be taken in by the farming lobby's bullshit about nature and the countryside. They have "thriving and healthy" written on the side of every lorry transporter carrying pigs [unnecessarily] down to Germany for slaughter to make a penny extra per animal. The same animals which die young in vast numbers and often display bone-deep sores from rubbing against their constricting cages.
You will be pleased to know that I have been allowed out today. With no pressing jobs at home, nor mist to obscure my presence, I shall take advantage of today's forecast promising dry, grey but still. The only movement in the branches is due to scrapping blackbirds. A whole gang of them think they have taken over our plot! I shall be searching distant charity shops for replacement straps for my Gothic, leather saddlebag.
After 10 miles I had to ride between two tractors spraying the fields on either side of the road. Then past a third after about 18 miles. I ended up at Middelfart but still couldn't find any leather belts with common or garden, roller buckles. Most of them seemed to be for girl's night out.
I was going well all day while maintaining high revs. A few rolls of dark clouds passed over but it never did rain. I passed a motorway with a fence along the nearest side and was amazed how quiet it was. After passing under a bridge I was suddenly exposed to the usual racket. So I can confirm the audible benefits of fencing even though it was erected only for the benefit of a few luxury homes. Which still suffer the racket from the main road which passes right in front of them. An accident of geographic fate for lying on the busy edge of Fyn where the bridges cross to Jylland.[Or Jutland as it is better known in English.]
A stretch of brand new cycle path has been built between Harndrup and the edge of Brenderup and should be excellent once they lay the asphalt. It has cost a strip of several, rural front gardens and the edges of some fields, so I hope the cycle path gets well used. A local shopkeeper told me it would be officially open next week.
The awful stretch of cycle path out of Middelfart towards Odense has finally been relaid with new asphalt. Long overdue, but now a perfect surface, apart from the farmer's mud at regular intervals. In fact there was mud everywhere I went today. Main road, minor road and tiny lanes alike were all plastered in the stuff! I'm still hoping they will brush the brand new cycle paths further south on the busy road between two villages. These newly laid paths are presently covered in stones, gravel, sand and mud from the continuing pipe laying and cable work. As much of the road surface in presently unmade it makes the cycle path a poor first choice at the moment.
I returned with one, brown leather belt which I could use temporarily. I shall give it a coat of magic Kiwi "dye and polish" to tone it down. The buckle isn't right either but who else will notice? It's not as if cars will pull alongside, wind the window down and tell me my saddle bag straps don't match! Or perhaps they might? 54 miles, not out.
Wednesday 21st 47F, 8C, quite still, with a strange orange glow shining in the east under the heavy cloud cover. The rumour has it that it might even have been sunshine. Rain forecast for later with the wind picking up to about 20mph gusts. The sky was weird as I walked along the road towards my exit to the woods. Blue-black as ink with a strange sort of lighter vapour trail drawn right across it. The cloud was so dark that it looked strangely threatening. While above me there was even a hint of blue in places. The lengthy easterly trend has finally given way to westerly winds.
Noisy chevrons of geese are still crossing in random directions. While huge numbers of gulls were visiting the lake. I am fairly sure they are a right bunch of copycats. The annual leaf fall is well under way despite many trees still looking reasonably well furnished. I disturbed a deer by a field hedge. It dashed off for about a hundred yards and then stopped to sum me up. Not liking what it saw, it bounced off across the prairie before putting on a curve to take it back to the safety of the woods. And who can really blame it? Certainly not I. The view in the bathroom mirror is easily enough to give one pause!
A short, late afternoon ride under grey skies with a crosswind. Only 7 miles.
Thursday 22nd 51F, 11C, grey, wet and windy. Gusting to 30mph from the SW. Rest day.
Friday 23rd 50-55F, 10-13C, windy and sunny. A bright morning ride for 22 miles. Headwind going and tailwind coming back. A chronically obese driver raced up to a minor junction on the main road on which I was riding. Apparently, it is unnecessary to stop at the line provided you are driving an oversize SUV plastered with hunting signs. So he didn't stop and overshot by 2 meters or 6' just as I approached. It seems my glare pricked his auto-psychopath response and he had to wind the nearside [electric] window down to bawl at me as he roared past into the village. I waved him on without looking in his direction. As I was not going to give the raving nutter the satisfaction of even a glance. As he was clearly on day release from the driving nutter's mental hospital he might have driven into a bus queue because I had spoiled his day.
Saturday 24th 50-53F, 10-12C, windy and grey but dry. A short walk to count [mink] gulls on a distant field.[Lots!] They kept peeling off the front row and traveling anticlockwise. My estimate would be at least 5000 with loads more constantly arriving as I watched them though my binoculars. All of them were facing the wind ready for take-off. Think of the chaos if you looked up and were the only gull sitting there facing the wrong way on the front row!
My ride was into a headwind under grey skies. Tailwind coming home. A raving lunatic in a dark car, without headlights, deliberately passed very close to me at very high speed. I saw him coming in my Cyclop rear view mirror but had expected him to pull out before he reached me. There was not even the excuse that there was oncoming traffic. Nor was there any excuse for his ridiculous speed. Not that many vehicles were traveling at anywhere the speed limit this morning. Just another day in driver's paradise. The sooner they bring in driver-less cars the better! The problem will be the nutters who think themselves so clever that they don't need it. 17 miles.
Sunday 25th 46F, 8C, bright sunshine with a breeze. An hour and a half walk up to the woods and back. The tracks had been ripped up by machines. A mud bath as wide as a motorway in places! Cool wind on the way back past the pheasants. Erratic gunfire could be heard at intervals.
My ride took place in the afternoon. Bit of a crosswind still in bright sunshine. Just as I headed home it started raining from a single grey blob which had all but passed over. It even managed a rainbow as I sheltered in an archway. A few minutes later it was all over and I rode home on wet roads. Ripped off [again] by a supermarket. Huge price label showing a half price discount. Full price at the till. Thieves, damned thieves and Danish supermarkets. Now I shall have to go back and demand a refund. Saw several motorcycles from the time around my youth. [In the last century] Only 8 miles.