Wednesday 5 November 2008

Tree Trouble

With all the leaves falling I was able to take a good look at the large poplar tree that’s on the edge of the chicken pen just behind my house.

This tree had partially come down during the small hurricane that went through here in 2006, in fact the day before I saw the house for the first time. It’s also the tree that had a hornets nest in it and G, after bravely spraying the nest for me had looked into the hole they were in and said that the tree was really rotten at the base as well.

What I saw this time rather worried me, a large piece of branch had broken off the top and wa
s hanging in the tree caught on another branch. It was raining and very overcast so I didn’t bother with a photograph.

Overnight we must have had some more wind because the branch came down. I must have some guardian angels because the branch fell in such a way that it missed everything it could have hit, like my roof or my animal trailer.

To give you an idea I managed to put this composite photo together.

The fallen branch is about 5 metres long (15 ft). I’ve been debating over the future of this tree and the two other large poplars planted alongside the house and this has sealed their fate. Today I had a tree surgeon round. There was much intake of breath so I think the quote is going to be rather high but then you wouldn’t find me climbing a rotten tree to take it down piece-meal. The other two can probably be felled in one piece but there is a possibility that one of them might take out some of the new fencing posts. Needless to say I won’t be racing to put the fencing up along that stretch.

As you can see the weather yesterday was lovely and the evening sky was a treat too.

A Sunny Day Again

It’s been rather wet here for the last few days but out of the blue yesterday was lovely, sunny and warm. C and S from the next village popped by on their way back from the bank. We’d arranged to try and put up the new alpaca shelter on Monday as C thought he would be busy on Tuesday. Monday morning the weather was terrible so no shelter. Happily the bank visit passed quicker than expected so did I want to start the shelter that afternoon? You bet I did.

While C went home to change I raced round and collected together everything we would need. Rail spike sledge hammer, drill, screwdriver, metaposts, the kit of parts I’d started last week, dumped it all into the trailer and set off for the field.

It took C about an hour to get the meta posts hammered in and the basic frame screwed together. It was so much easier with the two of us; it’s the little things such as when you are on your own drilling the pilot hole and then fixing the screw requires going up and down the step ladders to change pieces of equipment and pick up the screw where as I was able to pass things up, and hold onto the tools not being used. I swear that if we were really meant to do DIY we would have been born with at least one other pair of hands.

After that it was on with the cladding. C zoomed off round the shelter leaving me a bit redundant so I grabbed the lasure (wood treatment) and followed him round painting as fast as I could.

It turned out that I’m three pieces of cladding short to complete the shelter so rather than put up the wood we have and then find I can’t get similar we decided to not put up the last section, which will be at the front right. I’ll buy more cladding this afternoon and when we have the next dry spell I’ll pop that on – yes it’s raining again today.

Hazel, as you can see came to check out the new building. The piece of wood on the ground at the front is part of the roof. I’ve yet to decide what I’m going to use for the roof and it’s final placement will depend on what I choose and how long those roofing pieces are but once I make the decision it shouldn’t take more than a day to finish.

It’s so kind of C to come and help out with this as it took the work from what would have been a long day for me down to 4 hours to produce what you see above. C will be back sometime, as long as the weather gets better to saw off the overlapping edges. The panels are constructed in situ because the ground isn’t level and it allows for that and any twist that may occur as the metaposts go in. It may not be the best looking structure but it’s not something that’s supposed to stand for centuries and as I’ve remarked before my alpacas have yet to use the one I made for them a year ago. However I think they will use this one as there is currently no other shade in these fields and it will take a bit of time for trees to grow.

Not Much Sleep

I like quite a few people am rather tired this morning having decided to watch the results of the American elections. I managed to stay up until the west coast declared and the magic 270 was passed, 5 am here. What a night; trying to get my head around the voting system in the States. It’s so different to the UK system and I couldn’t believe how long it took to vote.

In the UK you can nip in and vote before or after work while in the States you needed to take a day off work, some queues had a wait time of 5 hours or more. After that the ‘calling’ of the states based on exit polls; I think if this was done in the UK there would be quite a difference between what people said they voted and what they actually did in the privacy of the voting booth and that’s if they did tell you. I for one wouldn’t say as I believe in the right to a secret ballot. Add to that the fact that people have been able to vote for the last month and that in some states some military votes wouldn’t be counted at all unless the populous vote was tied:- it is just such a different system but then it is a vote carried out over a much larger area and with so many more people voting than anything I’m used to. To put it in context, President Elect Obama won nearly as many votes as the population of the UK, 61.5 million.

I’m glad I watched, as the TV endlessly said, it was history in the making which ever way it went and I hope it will enable a fresh start in the way the USA is perceived by the rest of the world.