Cleaning combine turns out to be labour in vain

All day long the sounds of chain saws at work has reverberated through the house. A willow and ash tree have had to come down as they were threatening the safety of overhead power lines.

Mrs Downs Diary
Mrs Downs Diary

Already our electricity supply has been interrupted twice this year when branches of the willow snapped off and fused the power lines; the situation was not going to improve.

The ash tree was taken down as a precautionary measure as the trunk was hollow and rotten. If it had fallen, nearby power lines would have been taken out. Too risky to leave. The willow tree was growing beside the pond in the field behind the farmhouse before power came to the village.

Whoever put the telegraph posts in across the paddock to carry the power lines, clearly had not envisaged how big the tree would get.

In the event a team of nine men, four vehicles, one of which had a cherry picker on the back to lift a tree surgeon up into the branches of the trees, and a shredder came. I was most impressed with that bit of kit.

Once shredded the chippings were blown into the back of one of our big grain trailers. I plan to use this bark to suppress weeds around a newly planted hedgerow.

The team’s work ethic was impressive. They only stopped for a twenty minute lunch break and worked straight through till the job was finished in the late afternoon.

When they left, all the tree trunks and big branches had been cut into manageable logs. My only regret is that we do not have a wood burner stove. But apparently we might. John is acquiring a number of potato boxes to store the ash logs in.

“ It will take a couple of years for the wood to dry out properly,” he said. “And by then we might have bought one.” Currently we have oil burning stoves that look like wood burners, but that do not make any of the mess.

Shredding the branches sent a fine veil of bark particles into the air to settle on all surrounding machinery and grass in the paddock. The particles also drifted across to the combine which John had brought out from the now empty grain store, to prepare for the start of harvest. Since last year vision through the wrap-round windows of the cab has gradually been obscured by fine debris and chaff from the grain in the store; so a good wash down was yesterday morning’s main priority.

Poor timing. As the tree surgeons were hard at work, chippings being blown into the back of one of our trailers, John thought he would wash down the combine windows so that the machine was all ready to go in the next week or so.

The windows were sparkling for about ten minutes and then the fine particles from the bark debris started to settle. Talk about a futile task. The combine is back in the shed to be washed down another day.