28 Apr 2016

28th April 2016 Battling excavators.


Thursday 28th 42-46F, 6-8C, cloudy but briefly bright and breezy. Rain forecast for the rest of the day. I'd better get an early walk in. It grew steadily more cloudy as I walked to the far woods. A cool wind was making my eyes water where there was no shelter. I passed four huge stacks of felled hedges within a few hundred yards of each other. A farmer was continuing the millennia-long battle to drain the undulating fields of winter ponds. These not only [literally] bog down the tractors and other machines but kill or stunt the crops which might have grown there. Often leaving large patches of bare earth later in the year. Or even worse, a crop of undesirable weeds which might contaminate the desired crop.

With so many natural corrugations in the landscape there is often no easy outlet for many of these field ponds. Which is why they have employed a larger excavator to dig a channel for the drainage pipes along to a marsh reserved for hunting and wildlife.

The woods are greening above a carpet of pinkish-white Wood anemones.

The huge, Case, double-tracked tractor is an ideal tug to pull trailers of sand for back-filling the drainage trenches. Many normal tractors are prone to sinking in the soft, silty soil. Which can leave ugly scars on the fields. Doubling up the wheels of agricultural tractors is increasingly commonplace to spread the load and improve grip on such soft soils. The local soil is rather strange with a high sand content over clay subsoil. It has a strange habit of being self-healing to footprints and being worked. Rain can easily flatten previously sharp furrows in some fields.

Somehow it remained [almost] dry for my ride. I took a chance and visited another, more distant village. The roads were wet at one point but I returned mostly unscathed. 19 miles. Nearly four months gone and I have only just passed 2000 km! [Insert red-faced smiley here of your own choosing.]

Friday 29th 42-46F, 6-8C, windy but bright start. Rain this afternoon and gusting to 40mph as a low passes just north of Denmark. I was just reading the Danish DR news about blog images being borrowed illegally by commercial businesses. The particular [lady] blogger they interviewed had a huge number of visitors per month and actually makes a living at it. Presumably from my pet hate: Advertising!

 A typical field pond or puddle caught in a corrugation in the landscape. The damage to the crops is obvious but the linear humps below are each tall enough to make drainage a real, or very deep, struggle. Made worse by the need to keep all the big machinery on the spray tracks. Any detour around a puddle throws the whole GPS/track system into chaos! Often there is no low point in the area which makes economic sense as a drainage reservoir.

The lady blogger's layout, presentation, content and imagery were all first class. Though admittedly not in subjects which would interest me enough to visit. Mostly food preparation, recipes and DIY home decorations. Though that is rather underplaying her total coverage the whole thing is very professionally done. I wonder how she manages to have more than one image side by side. Even with my stretched page width the pictures would have to be tiny to allow two images alongside each other. I tend to limit image size to avoid long download times for those still on the end of a wet piece of string. Being able to enlarge my images by clicking provides a better view. Though never as sharply as the ~ 3Meg originals, of course. So many of my pictures benefit from full HD [24"] screen that they often seem quite tame when seen on the blog page. There is no sense of immersion in the landscape nor much of a sense of perspective.

I am aware that my own blog must often read as one long series of complaints, usually decorated, at intervals, with pretty pictures. My text might occasionally[?] come across as rather negative. Though it doesn't usually feel that way at the time I am scribbling my thoughts. What I usually mean is that improvement is easily possible if people would just behave themselves behind the wheel. Or produce quality goods actually worth selling. Which precludes expensive gloves which sweat badly within a 1/4 of an hour's ride. Or [expensive] lopsided saddlebags with appalling standards of workmanship! I can obtain a very decent sports bag with absolute perfection in stitching, pocket complexity and build for a fraction of the price of the saddlebags I so regularly complain about. 

In reality, I consider myself incredibly lucky to be able to walk and ride in such beautiful countryside so near to home. I also have my health and fitness well beyond anything others, often much younger than I, must suffer. The trick has been my wife's steady insistence on healthy food and consuming a good range of organic fruit and vegetables. Not smoking, consuming almost zero alcohol, avoiding takeaways and known unhealthy foods and sugar-laden drinks keeps my weight at an optimum level. Importantly, my energy intake matches my [not inconsiderable] levels of exercise. I have so many interests that I must try and spread my time evenly depending on each inspiration bubble of the moment. This all keeps my mind active as I flit from project to project like a butterfly. [According to the Head Gardener.]

Today, I walked a loop up to the woods and back via the marsh. The wind is already roaring in the trees and hedges. The few birds I saw or heard were travelling so fast downwind that there was a Doppler effect. Not a great day for a ride! A much better forecast for tomorrow. Rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


No comments:

Post a Comment