|A Good Bit of Plotting|
|Yesterday was quite an eventful day. |
For starters, it was a Wednesday which meant l was volunteering at the reserve. Tom [the warden] and l were working on the internal wildlife cameras. The reserve now has three working units. I donated two l had from my garden here in Willow, and the reserve had two of its own, although one is broken, meaning they only have three active cameras.
The cameras serve a dual purpose; One] the obviousness is watching the wildlife and their behaviours, and Two] watching the human-wildlife and their vandalistic and anti-social behaviour.
We sadly have vandalism here, and whilst it is not as rife as it once was, we still bear the brunt of damages. Only recently was one of the two conservationists threatened by two older lads with a rottweiler. We have a no dog policy in Gazen Salts on or off-leash, dog owners are not to bring their charges in here, and this is to protect the wildlife. But that doesn’t mean everyone adheres to it.
So Mike wasn’t too impressed that he was told to eff off after politely informing them that this was a no-dogs area and that they probably didn’t see the sign, but they should be aware of the operational cameras.
Sadly the cameras were in a different time zone, so that incident between Mike and the two lads wasn’t caught on film.
However, one of my extra tasks with Gazen Salts is working with Tom and these cameras. I offered to take on the role of checking through the images and keeping back what would be of interest to the reserve. This is my second week in the position – there was no one dealing with it before, so it’s all a new challenge.
But after the Sunday morning fiasco with Mike and the lads and their dog, l decided that all the cameras needed to come down and 1] be repositioned, 2] be reset with different filming times, and 3] be reprogrammed as to how many images are captured and what quality.
In an ideal world, the reserve could do with six cameras covering particular zones over the space, but as we only have three cameras, we have to be a little savvier. So yesterday, Tom and l examined the area map, decided to site the three cameras accordingly, and l suggested a triangulate strategy.
We now have one camera near the main entrance, another on the central lake [where the incident happened last Sunday] and the third near the bird station shelter. One gate and two seating areas. This will award excellent coverage.
However, l had initially set up the cameras to be working on a programme of seven days a week cover and activating between the hours of 4 pm to midnight and taking a photograph every three minutes, which meant each camera would take roughly 800 photos in that period and l could come in the following Monday and download the cards.
With the new settings of a photograph, every two minutes between 8 am to 9 pm seven days a week works out to roughly 2300 images each. It means l must be in every Monday and Thursday to download the cards and then go through them.
That’s a lot of imagery. It doesn’t bother me as l am used to scanning thousands of my photography monthly, what’s a few more. Plus, it might be fun, especially seeing more of the wildlife. I looked through my first batch last Monday, and that was ‘okay’, but one of the cameras was playing silly buggers, had the wrong programme, and took a photo every thirty seconds!!!?
With that setting terrible, although the camera activated at the right time … it was out of space by midnight the first day! Palm slap forehead moment!
Anyway, here’s hoping the next batch will be better. Below you can see two images caught on camera two, which is by the lake. I wondered if it was some Magpie and Crow convention and what is it about benches that Magpies love so much?
|Sandwich Allotments displaying location as well as our proposed plot’s location.|
|In other news.|
Yesterday afternoon, Suze and l visited Sandwich Allotments on the outskirts of the town over in St Bart’s Road, which you can see in the above gallery.
There are 78 allotments here, and Mike [one of Gazen Salt’s conservationists] was telling me about an allotment he has there with his wife and how normally allotments or community gardens as they are known in other parts of the world are like gold dust to acquire had several empty plots.
Well, this piqued my interest, and when l finished in the reserve yesterday, l talked to Suze and asked what she thought about us getting an allotment? It would cost rent-wise £80 per annum, which includes water usage!
There were a few reasons l wanted a plot 1] for the obviousness of growing crops to eat, 2] for being able to expand my composting operation, 3] to grow crops for both the compost and worm productions and 4] to have some chickens for the eggs. I eat roughly six eggs daily, and Suze eats probably a dozen eggs weekly.
A chicken costs about 15 p a day, maybe slightly less, so if we had a flock of eight chickens, they would cost us around £1.20 a day and about eight pounds a week to maintain, especially if we made the chicken feed ourselves. It costs me £2.20 to buy a dozen medium-sized eggs, and l am buying sixty eggs weekly. So even the saving of a fiver is still worthwhile especially given l will know the eggs are fresh.
I used to keep chickens back in 2008 and 2009 and know what is required to maintain them. It’ll cost more upfront to get the system going, but it is one of those times when you have to spend out to make the saving.
But there are many benefits to having an allotment and not just for the sake of maintaining a flock of chickens. The growing of edible crops, having a much broader herb garden, incorporating wild flowering methods successfully into the overall layout and not being restricted by, for instance, the inherited design here at Willow.
It will allow me to work on the compost systems better to produce a workable medium for the gardens and the allotment and a soil medium for the worm farms.
I intend to move the worm farms this year into a different environment where once l can kickstart the business properly, and I will perform this once l iron out all the current crinkles.
There are many benefits in that area alone, never mind the mindfulness and well-being aspectation of outdoor gardening as in the wonders it does for mental and physical health. These are things l know already. Running an allotment is not new to me as a concept. I used to help with these community-styled gardening ventures before as a youngster and even in more recent times.
The last allotment was in 2012, so l might be a little rusty; however, l was still working on gardening methods from that point until today, so it’ll not take long to get back into a routine.
The other significant bonus is that it will significantly help Suzanne; it’ll award her a lot of focus, something she has struggled with since cancer and the remission. It will give her some much-needed direction and something she feels she has lost, which is purpose.
Also it will enable me to add another series to Earthly Comforts as well as furnish me with even more subjects and information to write about.
Ao an allotment will significantly help us for many reasons, and l think that is huge. I will keep you all updated to our progress.
|How typical! |
Always one to stick the boot in!
The plot we looked at yesterday which has been abandoned for six month was let out yesterday at the same time we were viewing it!
Just been to the Guildhall and put my name down as there are four others available – l do so hope we can get one soon otherwise if like the last time, l was on the Kingsdown waiting list for three years since 2017 and they only offered it to me the first week l moved into Sandwich in 2020
|A few photos l took yesterday in the empty plot and a slow worm that was in Mike’s compost pile.|
|Thanks for reading, see you next time.|