11 Apr 2016

11th April 2016 A busy day in paradise.


Monday 11th 43-52F, 6-11C, bright sunshine and rather windy. Gusting to 30mph later this afternoon. So not an ideal day for gallivanting over long distances on a trike.

The view of the magic portal from 'the back of the wardrobe.' Somebody has provided a helpful stepping stone on this side. Which is even weirder than the gap existing in a humble hedge between a narrow lane and a perfectly normal field.

Talking of hedges: The forestry machine which I photographed yesterday was collecting the previously felled hedges from up on the hill and bringing them down to the roadside in huge quantities. No doubt to be put through a chipper to make the popular garden mulch. I would not have gone that way if I hadn't spotted the oversized spraying machine on my usual route and done a quick about-turn. A Chiffchaff was shouting its head off in the roadside hedges.

Here is the forestry machine running back down to the already huge stack with a full load. The clue is in the brown dust coming off the rear wheels in case you thought it was standing still. Since it has no need to negotiate roads or traffic it can be loaded higher to save time. The jib provided extra stability to the load on the journey and it still needed the crane grab to unload. Another example of a machine with a completely reversible driver's seat and controls.

It is difficult to conceive of the sheer scale of jobs and areas which can be managed with modern mechanization. For the cost of the machine investment large prairies can be cultivated, sprayed and harvested. Forests can be thinned or cleared in [apparently] almost no time at all.

The earlier, tracked machine which had chopped [sawn] down literally miles of mature hedges did not just let the material fall. It was all laid carefully aside in a neat row on one side of the hedge using the on-board crane with a grab. 

This allowed the later, wheeled machine, using similar techniques and equipment, to work just as productively in collecting and ferrying the bundles. The machine with the balloon tyres can manage much higher speeds on the rough field without damaging the soil structure. It was able to travel at well above running pace while loaded high with the naturally dried hedging material.  

The image above shows how the felled hedging was laid carefully aside by the tracked machine some months ago. Its productivity was absolutely phenomenal as it cut down miles of mature hedges over a wide area including many hedgerow trees.

The worry now is whether the hedges will be grubbed out to increase the scale of the existing prairies. Has it been worth the investment in time and fuel to warrant simple hedge renewal? Cutting the hedges down results in multiple new shoots where there was previously only one provided better shelter from the wind where soil erosion can occur. We once drove through a brown dust storm where the wind had whipped up a dry field.

A call to a colleague on the mobile phone and this digger turned up to smooth the way at the steep change in level between two fields. Time is of the essence and the load might have slipped on the stepped boundary. Having to overcome the obstacle was slowing the forestry machine unnecessarily. By the time I had returned from my ride the pile by the road was three times as large. Only 10 miles, including a long climb, straight into the wind. 52F with bright sunshine but too windy to enjoy properly.

Tuesday 12th 40F, 4C, overcast, wet and windy. Rain is forecast for the next 24 hours so it doesn't look as if there will be much to write home about. If anything changes I'll start a new post. I can't think of a suitable subject for a rant right now. [So apologies for the lack of service on that front.]

T'internet has been on and off for the last 24 hours [probably] due to a faulty power supply for the fiber box. [According to Tech Support] I have found a temporary replacement until a new one arrives in the post. Fortunately I had saved the contact number on my [emergency] mobile phone because the home phone is on the fiber as well. Then I found I had to stand outside in the rain to use the mobile at home. Ain't technology wonderful? Can't live with it. Can't live without it. Just when you need to phone or email the service provider, you can't. Can't even look up the number online unless it has been saved and entirely another technology and service provider used to get in touch.

I am presently rotating a series of secondhand [charity shop bought] power supplies as each finds itself unable to keep up with the current [sic] demands of the fiber box: 12V @ 1.5A. I was tempted to fit a suitable plug on a long lead out to the [largely unused] car battery but feared the ensuing conflagration might make the 'Head Gardener' homeless. I have a series of [very] old "train transformers" bought from flea markets, which might be pressed into service with the addition of the silly little plug. There is a three day wait for home service should the fiber box prove to be the real culprit. Not quite what you'd call "high speed internet."

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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