Monday, 29 February 2016

"Spot the difference"

At last; dry enough to get under way with some serious cultivations. Does it make the work any less worthy if I actually rather enjoy steaming up and down on the tractor; and taking the corners just a tad on the speedy side? 
No; I thought not. You've got to get your kicks where you can.

The soil here; through virtue of being sandy does dry out pretty quickly; even after days of rain. And the frost helps by squeezing some more of the moisture out.

Although, when I put this theory to a couple of country friends at the weekend they looked at me quite blankly and wondered aloud what on earth I was on about. To the point where I questioned whether I was talking sense.

It was only by having to explain myself more fully that I started to believe the validity of the statement.
 The water between the soil particles gets frozen; thus expanding; it's pushed to the surface; then subsequently on thawing; the wind and sun is more likely to whisk the moisture away through evaporation. 
Just like when unwrapped food in the freezer dries out at the edges; or how freeze drying works I suppose.

So it made me have a thought for all the knowledge that we do have; some directly imbibed from what one would hope were reliable sources; then tested if opportunity arises; and some worked out for ourselves through observation...
 "If this applies here; then surely it should apply there."

The saying goes something like "We should never over estimate a persons knowledge; but nor should we under estimate their intelligence"

Perhaps one flows into the other, but none of us are born knowing anything.
So if you don't know, find out.The closed incurious mind seems like an awful waste of good grey matter. But of course, you do need to be interested in the first place. 

So back and forth with the duck foot cultivator, seen here, to get deep into the ground that the chickens have laid bare with their grazing; then the same again with the spring tines and following clod crumbling bar, pictured elsewhere; to loosen and aereate the soil, and expose any weed roots to the dessiccating effect of the wind and frost.... Only it's going to rain again tomorrow. 

No matter its a start, and the days are lengthening noticeably now...

Its hard not to wonder, just how well adapted psychologically we truly are to these dark northern climes in the winter.
 How about we all just down tools; and migrate to the Med' for the dark days?

Tines getting quite deep and groovy, note the enthusiastic mole activity in the foreground, that's what comes of applying lots of love and compost... A healthy population of worms to encourage the velvet coated gentleman... If you ever get to look at one close up, check out its front paws, incredible digging machines...

New ladies in the background are curious, they'd be doing some enthusiastic worm bothering here for sure.

Guaranteed gargantuan crowd pleaser; hooge rocks; in a hooge trailer..

It was shortly after what should have been a solemn occasion; that the conversation re soil moisture arose.

 A dear friend, has sadly lost one of her dear hossy friends to tetnus (vaccinated yes; but it doesn't always work).
 So in the spirit of 'moor trees' and at her request I took a small Hazel to the lower slopes of Easdon on Dartmoor; to plant upon his remains, once the digger had done its work.

These enormous granite boulders; nestling here in a full sized tractor trailer; weren't from the grave site; but were extracted from quite nearby; imagine trying to cultivate round them? Small wonder arable crops are confined to the lowlands.

Anyway between bouts of trying not to giggle 'cos we should be serious, and the dotty dalmation doing a gleeful valedictory gallop past every two minutes, the whole funereal event ended up fairly chirpy.

He was a chirpy equine when in the mood; and apparently partial to eating hazel trees so would have appreciated the gesture one hopes...

 And thence we repaired to the Warren House Inn (highest pub on the Moor... sorry no stats) for raising of pints, chips, and selected topics of lady conversation (more chortles) as a final send off .

It was so clear up there that day... You could pretty much see for ever; or at least as far as Plymouth...
The edge of the known universe.

The previous day had also been spent happily in the safe hands of a senior yoga teacher, who had come to the sticks to bestow her knowledge ....Prodigious quantities of; but lightly worn.... The best combination.

 Thereby putting everyones' bones back closer to where they should be, and reminding us of the fact that everything starts from the base... i.e. what is touching the ground and how it is placed, will affect how everything else lifts up from there.

It's all stuff that us teachers tell our students in various ways every week, but sometimes just a different form of words to emphasise; and pass on helps.

It is after all; just physics innit? In order for something to lift up; that is; the whole body; particularly the spine; something else has to press down.

 But how often do we practice it? How often are we far more in our heads than in our bodies?

I often give my yogis toe exercises, when they're standing up. It's not strictly yoga per se. but it does take their minds into their feet, instead of just having their brainy brains fizzing round in their heads..

It also lifts the arches of the feet and starts the process of getting things back where they should be, building a foundation for the structure above, so everything done is a little less difficult in the long run.

Of course its not a panacea cure all; for every ill... Beware of anyone claiming that for anything.

Something like this..

Big toes pressed down, all the other toes up...higher.....

All the small toes down, big toes up..

Then; here we go...trickier stuff now; big toes down, little (5th) toe down, the triumverate of toes in between up...

There is an arch; of sorts across the forefoot...Which should add to the spring in your step once you've got it.

And taking longer strides might mean your shoes wear out less quickly; fewer ground contacts per mile?
Footwear manufacturers aren't going to like that idea much...

And now; relax your face, and unscrunch your fingers...

The brain sends the message to the fingers, perhaps thinking that's what you're trying to do..
Similar wiring diagram I suppose, and the poor, mostly ignored toes aren't used to getting messages sent solely, specifically for them alone.
However with practice; and persistence; you can get through; and even if it's not perfect reception; you are at least a little more aware that you're connected to the earth; and thereby everything else; on and around it.

 And that concept can come across as a bit 'Unicorn bothering' to some; but the interconnectedness is also a real actual 'thing' rather than just an airy fairy twinkly cosmic way of magical thinking.

"Feel the Force" .....Said someone...Tis powerful stuff.

But like most endeavours you've got to put in the effort; and the hours initially; before you start to accrue the benefits... 

And of course.

There really is nothing new under the sun; as a lecturer at agricultural college often used to remind us all; nearly thirty years ago.

 And now the very same chap comes to my classes; just to rearrange the same old stuff into a hopefully more usable and comfortable form...

Interesting collection of sticks n bones, and a barbed wire ball, on the gate post at the funereal farm....

Seem to be doing a reasonable job of keeping the warlocks at bay... Haven't been troubled by them for months...But the three year old who lives there is quite keen to exhume the deceased horse very soon, she wants to see if its transformed into a skeleton yet....Patience is a really hard crop to cultivate.

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