Well maybe not slash and burn per se, but certainly felt that way.

Yesterday, we’d said that if the wind was in the right direction, then we’d have a controlled fire in an oil drum whose bottom I knocked out the other day up at LEAF with a cold chisel and lump hammer.Hedge with a haircut!

And today, the wind was in the right direction.  But that was for this afternoon.  This morning, I carried on ‘slashing’ the left hand most hedge.  (…Well, as much as you can with Diane’s telescoping lopping shears…)

To the right here is the hedge from a kids-eye view about lunchtime.  If you click back to the last image of this hedge from a similar angle, you’ll see I’ve made pretty good progress so far.

While I was happily lopping away, Ian was working his magic on the area around the smaller greenhouse.  A few days ago, I’d dug up to the front of it, but it still needed finishing off, and this is what Ian masterfully did today.

If you click on the image to the left, you can see where he’s been working because the soil has that ‘freshly dug-over’ look.Digging around the small greenhouse.

He’s also moved a few paving slabs that were stood on their ends right in front of the greenhouse.  This was because they could have been excellent slug ‘dens’, but also because tomorrow he plans to re-use these slabs along the edging towards the path running down the right hand side.  I’ll get some photos tomorrow to show what I’m on about.

For lunch Ian had brought some ‘chuck steak’, bread cakes and French mustard.  And a frying pan!

And delicious it was too!  For me, there’s nothing to beat home-made food cooked over an open fire, washed down with Area 34 Tea, all sat out in the open air looking over what we’d done.  Marvellous!

All too soon it was back to work, so while I cut down yet more hedge, Ian prepared an area for a ‘proper’ Big Boys’ Fire.A 'Proper' Big Boys' Fire!

Once he’d got it going, I quickly downed tools and went to help him keep it burning.

We’ve found that these ‘oil drum’ fires a great for a ‘controlled burn’ in that you don’t spread the fire over a large area, so there’s very little mess and crud spread over a large area.

The only downside is that once you’ve got a small fire in the middle of a ring of bricks and you put the oil drum on, you have to really keep feeding it.  Fast burn?  Not half!  We were both constantly feeding it some pretty hefty branches -as you can see by the photo, and yet we could have put even more on.

And the heat was massive!

Within just a few minutes, we were down to T-shirts, sweat pouring off us, and Ian had to get the fresh water bottle so we could keep hydrated.  Thirsty work!

After a burn lasting well over an hour, we figured that the neighbours had probably had enough smoke for one day, so we let it die down and go out.  On looking round, we figure we’ll need at least one more burn, maybe two -especially as Jim next door asked us to burn some stuff for him too!

By four thirty, we decided that we’d ‘played’ enough for one day -after all, it’s not a race, so wearily packed up the tools and said a ‘Goodnight!’ to the plot.By the time we left this evening.

This shot shows my progress, and tomorrow I hope to get much further.

Today during a break, we discussed our pear tree and how it sways alarmingly in the wind -in all directions.

Luckily, today Ian found a long, thick metal ‘spike’ amongst the detritus.  Tomorrow, we plan to drive this spike good and deep right next to the pear tree (…crossing our fingers to avoid roots…), with only eighteen inches or so showing above ground.

We’ll then carefully ‘bind’ the tree trunk to this stake to prevent it moving around so wildly in only the slightest breeze.

We figure that it hasn’t been planted deep enough, so the next best thing will be providing a firm ‘all-direction’ anchor.

Obviously, the tree trunk will expand as it grows, but we’ll keep an eye on it and re-bind it as necessary.

More pictures and words tomorrow, then Monday: Rain!

As our next door neighbour Jim was saying, in the latest weather forecast, it was difficult to see where Yorkshire ended and the North Sea began.

Still, we’re not complaining.  We certainly do need as much rain as possible, and anyway, we’ve got a dry greenhouse and shed to shelter in!

More soon.

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