Tractor Time

Gotta love the Kubota tractor & 5ft rotovator: it may only be a small tractor with something like 22hp, but it does such a great job when it comes to getting my fields ready for action. Wednesday saw me walking several miles with the pedestrian Honda Izy lawnmower (also brilliant) cutting down the remnants of last year’s herbs, spinach, fennel plus inevitable grasses and other weeds that had started to perk up; to prepare the way for a session on Friday afternoon on the tractor. As windy and cold as ever (it takes a while to stop shivering after several hours in the cold wind without a cab for protection), I just managed to beat the incoming rain after a 3-hour session of shallow rotovating. The field will sit there and wait for a couple of weeks, then we’ll go over it again, knocking back any missed or re-growing weeds; before a final pass a couple of weeks after that which will give it a lovely friable tilth ready for sowing and planting into. I can only try and imagine how long this job of ground preparation would take by hand…

Deer Me: Caught in the Act

deerme_smallerProof of the culprits hanging around the field & polishing off the leaf beet – and digging holes in inconvenient places! These two roe deer appear next to the hedge,  by a pile of brassica stems from last winter which we left piled up to attract hedgehogs and other wildlife – seems to have done the trick anyway! Who says badgers aren’t territorial?!

Wildlife Cam

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Flying fox
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Naughty wabbit

So Santa bought me a very exciting present this year: a wildlife camera! I’ve been wanting one for years, and not just to see which little blighters have been eating certain crops (the deer prints, badger burrows and rabbit droppings kinda give the game away); but there is something very exciting even to a hardened grower or farmer about seeing your fields appearing unfamiliar snapped in the dark and the local wild nightlife out to party.

 

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Spot the redwings

The camera has infrared LEDs to work at night and a motion detector which can be adjusted for sensitivity, and can take photos or video. I set up the small box in the leek patch between Christmas and New Year just to see what was around. Although the nights were cold (several pictures of freezing fog with the glint of an eye just visible through the mists), it caught quite a bit: a flying fox, rather large and bold rabbits, lots of blackbirds and thrushes (hurrah! Eat those slugs guys!), and redwings. I’ll set it up somewhere else today I think and see who else comes to visit…