Well spring has arrived at last despite the fact that it’s only December. As the moon is right we started to cut some ash trees under the telephone line today. Telecom (bastards) came when we were in England a while back and put up a new line for our neighbour over our land and instead of taking care to follow the original line just strung the new one willy-nilly between the poles and weaving it through the trees. So now we have 15-20 meter trees trapped between phone lines and of course if we pull the lines down or if one of our trees falls on them we are responsible. Bastards! (or did I already say that?). Luckily I have a very long 3-section ladder and managed to get up above the lines to lop the branches and one fork on each tree before cutting them at the base. The sad thing is that not only are the trees budding but when I cut them the lymph is still rising and rising strongly. It was literally gushing out. Horrible. Then I took a walk to see what to do about the wind-downed trees. Some pretty big ones down and mostly healthy ones. Of course, after 4 years of putting off the work today to remove the trees from between the telephone lines and finally clearing the line there is a new one blown right onto the line and half resting against the telephone pole further down. Back to square one. Both it and another two trees are in the worst position possible, resting at 45 degrees against other trees. If this had been on flat land it would still be tricky, especially due to the size of the trees but on a steep slope it would mean cutting well over my head. I’m going to have to think about how to tackle this to avoid decapitating myself and chopping bits off me.
We had friends round today and thus I had help with hauling the trees away from the lines but after a full English brekker for brekker, mince pies, two sticky toffee puddings and custard and the real killer sacher cake and kendle mint cake I’m feeling well sick. Tomorrow, diet again.
This afternoon the mountain rescuer helicopter went back and forth three times. Never a dull moment here. This time, at lunch time 4 off-piste skiers cutting across the slope somewhere near the Jervis refuge got washed away by an avalanche 2 dead two still missing. I’m no expert on snow but even I know that today was definitely not a day to ski off-piste, fresh snow, hot sun, wind. Apparently they were local people too so we are now waiting to see who. What a waste. It’s not as if there were no warnings posted and most off-piste skiers are pretty expert so surely the must have known of the dangers. Our little valley is not having a good year.
On a happier note the ravens were out in force today in crystal blue skies clucking and honking and flying upside down and dive bombing each other and doing a new trick today I have never seen before, tilting their heads onto their backs as they are flying along. When they do this and fly over you they look like they have no heads. I would just love to get a photo of this and tomorrow I’m going to keep the camera with me all day Justin case (which of course means they won’t do it anymore). They were all flying lower than usual today too possibly because of the buzzards circling higher up most of the day though the ravens in general don’t seem to worry about buzzards and will happily buzz them when they get the chance.
When I came back from England I brought a bag of flints as for yonks I have been wanting to try my hand at flint knapping. I discovered though that surface flints which have been subject to frost are useless for making stone tools. Dohh! So I got on the web to hunt out where I cold find some local greenstone which the Neolithic chappies here used instead of flint. Apparently they collected them from the rivers, which I will have a go at sometime after the spring, BUT in the meantime I discovered that a good thing to use, though a little tricky apparently, is Johnstone which is supposed to be the stuff old loo cisterns are made of. Plenty of those about. An excellent forum I read regularly is Paleoplanet (http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/directory) which is where I found this info from and I just discovered today after reading for months, they have a rich section on flint knapping. Double dohh!!. So Massimo, if you’re reading this, it’s down the dump on Tuesday.