Thursday, 26 April 2012

Wednesday 14th December 11

I slept later than I really wanted to... I have on the previous several Wednesdays taken pears into Scoop for 10am, or soon after.  However, today, I hadn't collected the pears together the previous day, and I got up late too... so I got some pears from some I've got stored in the garden, and took a tray-full in at 11.30.  I bought a tub of peanut butter as we've run out.

I came back via a large pile of leaves and collected a dumpy bag full, which I brought back on my trailer, and added these to my leafmould enclosure.  I did a little bit of work down the garden, sorting out an empty pallet compost bin which had collapsed.

Then, due to worsening weather, I came in and focused on editing a 'guest blog' which someone had emailed me about.  The idea is that I publish an article on something, which has a link to a website, and get a small payment for it.  I get a lot of offers to do this but this one, on wood-burning stoves, is the first one I've said yes to.  I get a lot of really unsuitable offers, nothing to do with anything I'm interested in, or low carbon living.  However, this one looks good... and I edited together two articles, adding my own stuff too, and then emailed it back to the chap who sent it to me, and now await his decision.

I also wrote a 'note' on facebook about a study design I have been thinking about which I think would ascertain whether homoeopathic remedies work.  This stems from a discussion with a good friend who's into complementary and alternative therapies, and said that you couldn't test homoeopathy in a scientific manner.  I'm also interested as a few years ago, I knew someone who consulted a homoeopath about her bi-polar disorder. The homoeopath advised her to stop taking her medication and start with homoeopathic remedies instead, and a couple of days later, my friend had committed suicide.  I don't know the name of the homoeopath who did this, and if I had done, I would have reported them to the police as I hold them partly responsible for my friend's death.  I also accept that my friend was partly responsible as she'd listened to the homoeopath and done as they had suggested.  As far as I'm concerned, homoeopathy is based on 3 illogical and unscientific 'laws'... and is no more than a placebo.  I'm a huge fan of placebos, they often work really well!

I also dealt with an enquiry, from a chap in Leeds who runs Leeds Green Drinks.  Next month he's running a Yorkshire Green Laughs event, with a comedian, and he asked me to help with publicity, as I run the York Green Drinks facebook group.  I told him I'd be willing to do some entertainment too, and have got myself a gig.... no fee, but it's exposure, which is great, and I get my train fare paid!

Later, I went out to collect unsold pears, and then to town to see David and take him to YAYAS.

Tuesday 13th December 11

Well quite a good day, with a fairly leisurely start, a bit of work outside and then, after lunch, a cycle out along Tadcaster Road in the wind to see Edwina, and her garage conversion... now her living room!  Her garden, too, is looking a bit different, with a new raised bed, paths with slate chippings, a decking area with a pond, and a conservatory on the back of the house.

We had a coffee and a good chat and catch-up. I didn't stay long as the weather was looking like getting worse.  I flew home with the wind behind me, going over Millennium Bridge and through the Barracks to pick up some logs.  I chopped up the sticks delivered yesterday evening by my gardener friend, using loppers, and stacking them in wooden fruit trays.

I then watched a bit of a cycling video with my son, and Gill came in with our younger son, and we had a happy harmonious evening.  I sorted out yet more pears for drying, and enjoyed a programme on Leonado da Vinci.

Monday 12th December 11

Up bright and fairly early... as was due to be at David's house in Tang Hall for 10.30, with chainsaw, rope and other tools and equipment. When I'd visited David to see his dead Eucalyptus tree, he'd said he'd got a step ladder, but I don't think it was very big, so I decided to take the bottom two sections of my huge ladder.  I got it balanced on my bike, with one rung on my saddle and another on the handlebars.  This meant I had to walk my bike round... but it only took 10 minutes so I think I was more or less on time.

I removed the small top twigs first, and then fixed a rope to the branch and got David and his friend to pull it towards the grassy area beyond the end of their garden.  I bowsawed it off at about 2.5 metres from the ground, and it went exactly as planned.  The tree had 3 main branches, each of which were pulled successfully to the grassy space, and the two chaps then used my loppers to dismantle the branches into twigs (for their brazier) and sticks and branches for my stove.  Finally, I took the trunk down with the chainsaw, and this time Angela, David's wife, pulled it into the garden, with the aim of avoiding a raised bed.  This took just over an hour.  Then I cut up the trunk into 4 pieces, and put the saw over the fence so I could despatch the branches which had been pruned down, and walked round to do that.  David took his van round and loaded up the chunks onto the roof... he had a net to contain them, and was happy to drive them round to our house.

I then had a coffee break and then installed the compost bin I'd got for them. Angela cut back a privet and a holly, I cleared a space on the ground and did my usual trick of cutting a bit of a trench and covering it with chicken wire before putting the compost bin back, and weighing the base down with some of the soil I removed.

Finally I put some spent chicken bedding in the base of the compost bin, and explained about the optimum conditions to rot it down.

I walked home with the ladders and chainsaw and a few of the sticks which hadn't ended up on the roof of the motor vehicle.  David said he'd be round at 2pm, so I walked quickly home and had 10 minutes to make a sandwich and eat, before David arrived and I helped him and his friend unload.  He gave me some eggs and a tin of chocolates as a thank you... as well as a good load of fuel!

I thin got busy cutting the branches down to usable lengths and attempting to split the big trunk-chunks.  I could only split them once I'd put a chainsaw cut along the side of the log.  Dead Eucalyptus is tough!

Sunday 11th December 11

A really good day... mainly because I got to spend quite a bit of it outside!

I cycled down to Country Fresh to do some shopping and pick up compostables... just one sack today!  But I did a couple of hours compost heap loading and tidying up in the garden, including rescuing the last of the small-but-tasty apples from the £6 Radio Times tree, which has become a really good cropper.  The birds like them too!

I got ready for tomorrow's tree work, finding a rope to pull the tree the right way away from David's pergola, and checked my other tools, sharpened my chainsaw blade.  My only worry is that the ladder David has won't be nearly long enough.  I'm considering taking mine.... on my bike!  Could be fun!

During the evening I washed out 4 little tiny glass jars to fill with red pepper paprika for the Stables teachers' Christmas present, and 4 jars of dried pears, all containing exactly the same number of pear halves.  We are donating these as we can't afford to give money for a seasonal present.

Gill did lots of cooking... including 4 lemon cakes... which meant that I had loads of washing up to do.  Watched a moving documentary about the Japanese tsunami.

Saturday 10th December 11

A good day, feeling completely recovered, no headache!

Woke at 9.30 and felt sprightly, got busy around the house but was quietly looking forward to the LETS party at Maryvonne's at 2pm.

I'd helped organise this as whenever I post a message from the YorkLETS website inviting members to come to the regular monthly meeting, Maryvonne often replies, saying sorry she can't come as she's busy somewhere.  So when we were thinking about how to include Maryvonne with LETS in some way, someone suggested asking her to host our Christmas Party.

It was a good party, with a mix of LETS people and some of Maryvonne's friends.  There were a couple of children who were happy with some balloons.  When it drew to a close, I walked Debra home, which meant she didn't need to walk into town to get a taxi.

A very enjoyable event.