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 In the year 2020

3 April 2020

  Pungi stakes.

Went for a constitutional walk this evening, the first time I have been away from the house in three weeks. It sure is eerie with cars in all the drives but no one to be seen and its so quiet. I did see this though:

  Pungi stakes.

Which reminded me of being in ♉   Stoupa last year at 'the restaurant at the end of the universe' but you will have to scroll well down to see what I am on about. I was at university for most of the 60s during the Viet Nam war so not all of you may know what I mean by pungi stakes,♉ don't follow the link if you don't want to know, and you probably don't.

Oh and BTW I have just discovered a major problem with the homepage at cribbitDOTnet ... I can't tell the difference between ♉   cuttlefish stifado and ♉   logs to burn but I know which I would rather eat.
Even more logs
Cuttlefish stefado.

1 April 2020
More frogspawn.

Pleased to see another blob of frogspawn this morning. It is much smaller than all the other bits so I nearly missed it.

  A new smaller bit.

31 March 2020
♉   Logs to burn.

So that is all the processable wood processed. What ever am I going to do for the next two weeks of lock down?

Years ago I stayed with friend Pam's family who had a farm. At the time her dad, the original famer, was still living in the family home though his son was now running the farm. One morning dad asked me if I could give him a hand with the chores his son had given him for the week. Of course I was happy to oblige and the old man and I spent a happy morning doing what ever it was. After lunch Pam came to me and said 'Now you've finished off all the chores my poor brother will have to come up with a new set for dad to do, keeping dad busy is the hardest part of running the farm.'

  Newly split logs into the store


  A good clear out of the junk wood pile

29 March 2020
♉   Logs to burn.

  Last years stock pile ready for the saw

This morning I moved all the wood from the side of the workshop onto the lawn and got to work with the chainsaw. The dry old logs made for hard cutting without the usual sap to lubricate the chain. Needed rather frequent tops up with fuel which was beginning to worry me as there would have been no way for me to go out and get more. I was also a bit leary of the fuel anyway as it was last year's and I know that it does not age well.

Some of these logs came from part of a cherry tree that came down last year. When I got to them I found that the centre was completely rotten so no use for turning. This put me in mind of an escapade I had with my Uncle Roy years ago when I was about 35.

It was at the start of the Dutch elm disease infection and one of the magnificent elms in Roy's churchyard had succumbed and the parish council wanted to get it cut down and removed. So Roy volunteered us, knowing that I would be bound to be up for a very large quantity logs.

We fixed a date and duly arrived with chainsaw, trailer and winch. I'd been getting just a bit cocky about tree felling as the last couple I had 'dropped' exactly where I said they would drop so I was pretty sure that I could do the same for this one. Threw a rope into the heavens and connected it to the winch and hauled away pulling the tree in the direction I intended it to go.

Then I cut a small notch in the planned direction of fall, a shallow horizontal cut and then a sloping downward cut to give the trunk space as it comes down. The next cut is from the other side of the tree and this is a much longer and steeper cut heading towards the first cut but leaving the solid part of the trunk to act as a hinge and control the direction of fall.

Well that was the theory. What I hadn't realised was that the tree was completely hollow, so my second cut whizzed into the tree before I coud stop it and there was no substance inside to act as the hinge. The tree came down with a big bang, partly over the church wall, osbstructed the pavement and reached out into the road. Not what had been planned at all!

Then the saw decided that it had terrorised the 'locked down' neigbours enough and refused to start and it started to hail so I've come in for lunch so this will have to be 'continued in our next'.

  Stop for a fill up with petrol

  That's seen off the big ones. Then the saw decided that it had terrorised the 'locked down' neigbours enough and refused to start.

29 March 2020
♉   Logs to burn.

This is the time of year when all my various logpiles get sorted out. Last week I completely cleared 'the house' pile, mostly taken over to ♉   Cribbit and used to keep me warm while working on the refurb there. Now I'm moving most of the 'bottom pile' up to the house and then it will be a chainsaw job to cut up the various large bits I've acquired during the year.

These piles work like FIFO [First In First Out] memory. Logs go in at the top and are extracted for use from the bottom, theoretically this means that the driest logs are used first. I use the term 'logs' rather loosly, I have never really recovered from an American friend falling about laughing at my measly and motley collection of small branches, twigs and reclaimed building materials that I refered to as 'my logpile'. American logpiles are a work of art and filled with logs to be proud of. Well you can see what mine are like below.

  'House' logpile

  'Bottom' logpile

  'Side of workshop' logpile, waiting for a visit from the chainsaw

  'Re-claimed wood' logpile

  The slatted front pulls out as the store is depleted


28 March 2020
More frogspawn.

Had a good look round the pond yeterday and to my surprise and delight found at least three more blobs of frogspawn lurking in its depths. So got out my trusty underwater photography pyrex oven dish and here are the pics!

  The pyrex oven dish floating and waiting for the camera.

  I presume it sunk as soon as it was laid.



  The first lot has started to go squishy, won't be long before there will be tadpoles.


10 March 2020
More overnight.

Pleased to see another blob of frogspawn this morning but no sign of the frogs. Confusing pics until you realise that the first is from the top looking down and the second a close-up from below.

  The view from above.

  The new addition.

9 March 2020
Frog spawn.

Surprised to see frogspawn in the pond this morning, surprised because I had not detected any froggy activity down there and I check it every day. Usually there is a croaking and a splashing, so much so that it has been known to attract the attention of the local cats, but not this year.

Reluctant to make any sweeping statements about this but last year the first batch was discovered on the
♉   14 March 2019 and on the ♉   23 March in 2018. ♉ ♉ I am told that February 2 links this year was the wettest and probably the warmest since records began.


  Frog and other spawn on 9 March.


10 January 2020
South Africa.

Cape Town 25 December 2019.

I spent the xmas season with the tTs in Cape Town and the ♉   markup of my visit is in this link or can be found linked from the ♉   South African pages of the website.

  I arrived on xmas day just in time to drink ♉   'to absent friends' at 1100 gmt, following Tanya's family tradition.

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