Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Die-back

We have had a "clouded" free standing Laurel hedge ever since we moved into our house.  The largest Laurel, which must be 50 years old, started to die back.  As most of the effected brances were lower down in the bush we decided to cut out the affected area.
Initially we have cut out the lower branches on one side, leaving a canopy overhang.  Most of the branches could be broken off and broken up using gloved hands.
What we are left with is a bare ground and a few branches that would not fit into the green (its actually brown) wheely bin.
The main trunk is affected by fungus (Oyster Mushrooms) suggesting that it is in very poor health.  All of the additional sprouting trunks are healthy and adding to the canopy cover.  Old laurels often undergo this type of change as the original old tree dies back and new growth emerges from the root system around the tree base.
The whole shrub may be cut down next year and replaced with a shed.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Bread from grain

This year we grew some wheat in the garden.  We harvested it last month and extracted the grain from the chaf.
This month I decided to turn the grain into flour and make bread.  This little mill has a course chopping blad with which to kibble the grain into grist and a fine blade to reduce the grist to flour.

Of course, the whole grain will make wholemeal flour and will need to be either sieved or mixed with strong white flour to give a good quality bake.
The little mill has reduced the grain to wholemeal rough flour in two passes. Now a 50/50 mix with French T55 flour will finish the job.
Kneeded and ready to rise, the dough is a good texture.
And now - the final dough has produced four very good looking rolls. The proof will be in the tasting , later on.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Flying the Tiger

 Today I started my simulated flight with a Tiger Moth parked on the Concourse at IWM Duxford.  The American Museum Hangar can be seen in the background.  This scenery is one that I have just finished designing.  It had some difficult hoops to jump through in the process.
 OK, Start the engine and taxi out to the end of the grass runway.  There is no radio on board so the flight has to be pre-planned with the tower and the local air traffic control.
 Take off and head West into Bedfordshire.
 On route I pass over the old station at RAF Bassingbourne, using this as a landmark.  This station used to be an American Airbase during the second world war and now has a museum.  It was re-opened in 2018 to train UK troops for overseas operations.
 Reduce power and speed. 20 minutes into the flight I can see Old Warden Aerodrome ahead.  This is the home of the Shuttleworth Trust air museum which houses early aircraft and old flying aircraft.
 Turning into approach to land.  The grass runway is short and in this tail dragger, the line of the runway is obscured by the engine. Side boards along the runway help with direction and you can always lean out to see what's ahead (No problem with wind and prop wash leaning out in a simulator).
 Taxi off of the runway and onto the grass parking area.
All parked up, switched of  and tied down and the cafe is just across the hedgerow.  The cafe will be open and welcoming - (no CoViD-19 Pandemic on a simulator).

RAF Duxford is one of my airport models for X-Plane 11, The general scenery is OrbX True Earth and Old Warden Aerodrome is also OrbX scenery.  The tiger moth was  designed by Henkisan and the livery by Frederick Stegmann.  The additional livery with the G-TIGR registration is by Paul Mort with a panel adjustment by me.

Friday, 10 July 2020

More Foxes

I like this image of a foxcub in front of our blue geraniums.  Though the low lighting and large lens does loose the depth of focus that I would have liked to have.

 This is dad and boy cub checking out the bird feeder for fallen seeds in the late evening.
 They will take any opportunity for food when the weather is cool.
The boy cub is getting big now and is a similar size to the dog fox.  We have not seen the vixen and the other two cubs for a couple of days, but I shall soon put the Wildlife camera out and see if we can pick them up later at night.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Garden Crops

 When we cleared the bed against the front fence, I recovered a straggly carnation, which I am now growing into several pots.  When the runners have rooted they will be planted out as separate plants.
 The netting cage is doing well.  It has kept most pests and bigger animals away from the plants and has stood high winds and torrential rain without detrement.
 The rows of root vegetables look crisp and clean so far.
 Fruits and leaf vegetables are also doing exceptionally well in this caged bed.
 The greenhouse is still a bit of a shambles, with a large anount of plants packed in.
Potatoes are in full leaf and tomatoes are growing, but they are not as tall as I would have expected after a spell of cool weather.
I have tried to grow courgettes from seed as I do every year, bit this year, 3 different packets of seed have failed to germinate, so no courgettes - unless I can get some at a garden nursery next week.

Friday, 5 June 2020

How many badgers are there?

We have had Urban foxes for years and there has been the odd night when a badger has visited.  With lockdown for CoViD 19, it seems that wildlife is on an upturn.
Our wildlife camera picked up lots of Badgers two nights ago, this is mum and dad keeping an eye on the three offspring.


Last night, the youngsters were out in the dusk, which is unusual for badgers.  The temperature had dropped overnight and the cooler conditions had probably left them hungry.

As long suspected, we are now able to confirm that the Foxes have 3 cubs.  Not a great camera angle, but all three are in the frame at once.

Rosie has treated me to a bat detector (as an early birthday present) which is going to give a better idea of the types of bats we have been seeing around the garden at night. Last night the cool weather conditions and rain were not conducive to bat sightings.
I picked up one lone bat passing overhead, but did not see it.  I also noticed that at specific frequencies, the detector would pick up a background buzz, which is probably from high flying insects.  Tomorrow night may be better!

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Tiger on FSX

 Just occasionally I stray back from X-Plane flight simulator to other platforms to see how they compare.  Flying a Tiger moth on FSX was fun.  Take of from Old Warden Aerodrome in Bedfordshire and fly a simple circuit.
 The aircraft is very stable in this simulator and in a slight breeze it is like flying in still air as we climb out.
Making the turn into the circuit.
 Flying over the aerodrome.
 Crosswind to final approach.
Landing on the grass field.  I still feel that FSX is missing a lot of the refinements of X-Plane.