Tuesday 10 February 2015

Aches and Pains.

No, not chain-saw injury, but rat damage!
I ache like an aching thing. I must be getting too old for all this physical stuff. (OK, not serious really). I had a good old session mucking out JF Bob's cattle barn again yesterday and then today Liz and I were over at Vendor Anna (and Paul)'s place beyond Carrick on Shannon attacking the overgrown hedge we started on back in November before Christmas, the snow and our hosts' 3 week escape to find some Canary Island sunshine all intervened.

Breakfast of Champions - boiled goose egg and toast
'soldiers'. 7 and a half minutes, boiled to perfection.
The muck-shoveling is quite physical but not a problem. It's the hedge that takes it out of me, as it's full of thick, chain-saw sized trunks which need taking off at "roughly head height", so I spend a good part of the day hefting the saw up and holding it there while I make the cut, or clambering around trying to tie ropes on even higher so that Liz can put some tension on the stem and stop it falling into the telegraph wires and onto the lane. I hope I don't sound like I am complaining - we LOVE all this stuff; one of the things that attracted us to this small-holder life in the first place was the chance to do some serious gardening and spade work.

A first egg from the young Buffs (right)? We now have no
idea what the egg on 13th Jan was, maybe a sputter from the
Guinea Fowl?
And we get fed. of course. Any job which involves getting fed is better than any job that doesn't and Anna knows the way to our hearts with her delicious lasagna and apple crumble. No, not on the same plate! So a good time was had by all and the hosts now have a much improved panorama down across the River Shannon from their front door. There were just two uprights that the 'Health and Safety' Manager (Liz) would not let us touch and these had grown up to form a 'Y' wrapped around all three cables running down the lane. These though, Paul thinks the phone people should be willing to come and sort using a man-up cherry picker, especially as we've done all the hard work for them.

The fire hood gets a second polish.
So, 9 o'clock this morning saw us loading all the gear into the car, but we needed to head for the chainsaw main dealer in Boyle (East Brothers) first as I needed chain and bar oil for the machine, a new 4 mm round-file (for sharpening), a new chain (the existing one was well past its sell-by) and, annoyingly, a new pair of posh, kevlar, safety gloves. My 'old' pair (only 3 years old) had survived all the abuse I've dished out in my inexperience in 3 years of using the most dangerous piece of kit on the 'farm'. They were well used looking and soiled but had no nicks or cuts, tears or even undone stitching. Then at some point between me taking them off last week and stashing them, as usual, in the shelf in the shed in my chainsaw hard-hat, a rat has eaten great holes in the old leather of the palms. Thanks, rat! I hope you were one of the ones Blue has recently 'terminated'. So we needed to buy a new pair; simple enough except that my hands are quite big (XL) and all the XL shelves were empty except, by coincidence, for 'Stihl' gloves.

New brush-cutter / strimmer
While we were in that Alladin's cave of man-toys, we also accidentally bought a brush cutter / strimmer. This is a piece of kit which you need for the margins of your territory, where my little lawn mower dare not go and where you cannot allow sheep or rabbits to keep the herbage down. We've borrowed one in the past, to knock back the rushes in the East Field, but we hadn't bought one for ourselves. Every year Liz glowers at the nettles which grow in our 'woods' and I glower at the brambles along the side of my veg patch, at the rushes which grow in the field and the docks and plantains which erupt from the orchard turf, unchallenged by the geese. The geese would not top off a plantain even if they were down to the clay everywhere else. So we bit the bullet and asked the man if he might have a machine tough enough to tackle briars, docks, plantain and rushes but light enough to be managable by Liz (she insisted on being the main destructive force in this department so did not want a hulking great 'professional' machine that only I could lift). We therefore have, sitting in the living room on the sofa waiting for its first outing, a Stihl FS55, a 2-stroke with the 'handlebars' fitting and a shoulder harness. I think I can probably predict what we are up to tomorrow, more physical stuff!


Care Towers said...

you know your place when you've been demoted in the pecking order by a brush cutter! Still, looks the business.

Matt Care said...

I got my hands on it eventually!