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  • : The blog of Frank Beswick. It deals with my interests in religious, philosophical spiritual matters and horticulture/self-reliance
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April 29 2011 6 29 /04 /April /2011 10:39

The article outlines the important safety concerns involved in deciding to cut down trees, when you should cut one down or ask for professional help and how to ensure that you use the proper safety equipment and clothing. It explains how you will go about felling a tree in a safe way.

Safety matters

Basic principles

Tree felling is dangerous. The bigger the tree size or height, the more dangerous the felling process will be. First of all, assess whether you have the skills and tree cutting equipment to fell a tree safely. If not,hire someone who has the required skills.

Tools, training and related safety measures

The equipment will include chainsaw, bow saws and possibly an axe. If you are using a chainsaw, get chainsaw training and wear the right clothing: a protective suit, earmuffs, gauntlets and a safety helmet. This is because in untrained hands, chainsaws can get out of control and injure their users.

Necessary precautions

The larger the tree, the more proper climbing gear is needed, and you must be proficient in using it. Taking a course in tree climbing skills is useful.

Health safety

Furthermore, when felling trees, have someone with you, together with a first aid kit and a mobile phone. Carry tools in a safe way. If you drop an axe on your foot, you can be seriously injured. Wear boots with steel toecaps. You may need ladders for small trees.

The felling process

Thinking ahead

When felling, consider where the tree will fall and what/who it might hit on the way down.

Ensure that the area is secure from pedestrians and animals. Firstly, using the bow saw, trim all branches so that you are left with the trunk. Clear away the branches so that they will not cause anyone to trip.

Then, using a chainsaw or axe, cut a V-shaped wedge in the side of the tree in the direction that you want it to fall, so if you want it to fall northwards, cut the wedge in the north side.

Then start cutting on the opposite side. It is possible to attach strong ropes or cable to pull the tree in the direction in which you want it to fall.

More complex jobs

Smaller trees can be felled in one piece, but larger ones are felled in sections, the top being removed first. Tree surgeons rig up a complex array of ropes to ensure that these sections are brought down in a controlled way. Some use a crane. The fallen tree is then cut into sections. Stumps are hard to pull out, so some people leave them and others apply a stump killing powder.

Tree rings from a felled tree with scallop effect tree trunk.1 Tree felling for heathland regeneration at Bickerton Hill (SJ 496 52
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Published by Frank Beswick - in Plants & flowers
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April 28 2011 5 28 /04 /April /2011 19:20

This article shows you how to earn money from writing articles, reviews and other forms of writing. It demonstrates how to be professional in your attitude and ways of working, which will, in turn, enable you to produce the kind of work that editors actually want.

Getting started

Many people dream of writing for money, but no one can write about everything, so decide what is your specialist area. This should be what you you know most about and are most interested in.

You must decide what type of writing to do: e.g.articles, stories, reviews or plays. However, realise that an article is not so easily written. It must be carefully crafted, and you can only do this by editing and making improvements. You need to write what readers will want to read.

Writing professionally

Most people can write something, but if you want payment for writing, you need professional writing skills. Being paid to write means getting an editor to accept your work. It is rare that an editor accepts an article sent by post. You must contact the editor to see what the magazine wants and submit proposals for articles.

Study the magazine and adapt your writing to its style and requirements. If you see an article in the magazine and can think of an article that takes a point further or is a spin-off from it, make your suggestion to the editor. But before you submit the article, ensure that it is double spaced with your name at the top left of the first page, that it has page numbers and that it is presented in excellent English This will show that you have a professional approach. Being professional means carefully editing your work before you submit it.

Developing your skills

Anyone who wants to know how to be a freelance writer must realise that no one is the 'perfect' writer. You can always improve even if you have excellent English, particularly when you are a beginner. There are several courses run by writing school, some courses teach you journalism, and others might teach writing skills in general. You might even want to attend an online writing class or join a local writers' group for feedback on your work.

However, one of the most important ways to develop is to be never fully satisfied with what you have written. Try to constantly improve, and keep working at it. Remember, most writers struggle at first so do persevere!

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April 27 2011 4 27 /04 /April /2011 21:06

Fungi are neither plant nor animal, but a separate category of creature, closer in some ways to animals than to plants.

At school most of us were taught that there are two kingdoms within nature; plant and animal, and that fungi (mushrooms, toadstools etc), being creatures that are stuck in one place, definitely belong to the plant kingdom. However, fungi are strange plants; they have no roots and do not contain any chlorophyll. This initial belief originated with the Greek thinker, Aristotle, and it was then carried-on through the Middle Ages and adopted by the great botanist, Linnaeus. But it is wrong. There are several kingdoms (taxonomists argue about precisely how many). To the previously mentioned kingdoms, we can add fungi, seaweeds and several other microscopic based categories. Perhaps it is a matter of language; the technical name is fungus (plural fungi). The words mushroom and toadstool are popular names, mushroom denoting a fungus that you can eat, toadstool denoting one that you cannot.

Unlike plants, fungi are air breathers, and farmed mushrooms deprived of an air flow become small, brown and inedible. Whilst plants have roots, fungi have hyphae, a large network of threads that absorb nourishment from the soil. A vital difference is that while the plant that you see above the ground is the main part of the creature, the fungus that you see is merely the fruit. The bulk of the fungus lies below ground in a huge network called the mycelium. The visible fungus that you see is to the mycelium what the apple is to the tree.

Many fungi work symbiotically with plants. These are known as mycorrhizal fungi. They weave themselves into the root environment and vastly widen its surface area. This means that they can draw minerals from the soil, some of which are passed onto the plant. In return plant sugars, made by photosynthesis, are sent down to the fungi. As fungi cannot make sugars themselves, or they make them with great difficulty, this is an important contribution. It is the fact that fungi are not plants that enables them to work symbiotically with plants. Their differences make them complementary, in many cases, though there are some parasitic fungi that damage plants, such as honey fungus which damages trees.

Tree Fungustwo taodstools
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Published by Frank Beswick - in Plants & flowers
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April 20 2011 4 20 /04 /April /2011 15:22

The article shows how to establish and run an organic vegetable garden by showing how organic gardeners feed the soil, avoid pesticide use and rotate planting.

"Feed the soil and the soil feeds the plants." This is the principle of the organic movement. Organic growers believe that the soil is a living reality to be cultivated. They feed it with manure, compost and leaf mould to replace nutrients lost by extracting crops and to maintain humus, the natural glue that holds soil together, retaining nutrients and water. Compost your weeds, as doing this replaces nutrients when it is added to the soil, so get a compost bin. Only after they have fed the soil will organic growers add fertilisers. Ensure that you put this soil nourishment in to balance what you take out in vegetables.

Do not use pesticides, because organic growers realize that pesticides kill not only harmful insects, but helpful ones as well, such as ladybirds, which attack aphids [e.g. greenfly.] Instead try natural methods, such as encouraging hedgehogs and insect-eating birds. You can do this by providing a pile of twigs and leaves for the hedgehogs and nesting boxes for blue tits, which attack insects. Never use non-organic slug pellets, because they cause hedgehogs to die in agony when they eat slugs. Instead use special organic pellets that simply gum up the slugs' digestion, but are not poisonous. You may use Bordeaux mixture against potato blight and other organically permitted herbicides. Net your cabbages against birds, as wood pigeons are very greedy.

Ensure that you have a good crop rotation. There are various rotation systems. The simplest uses four beds: potatoes, onions and leeks, legumes [peas and beans] and brassicas, such as cabbage. You might have others for salads, strawberries and carrots. You rotate the beds year by year, so potatoes are followed by cabbages, which are followed by onions and so on. There may be a separate section for perennials, such as fruit bushes. It can be a good idea to grow strawberries in containers to ensure that they do not spread. Many gardeners grow mint in pots because it spreads so wildly. Raspberries do the same, so you have to pluck up spare shoots that spring up away from the beds.

Always seek advice from experts, if you find a problem, and always be ready to find out more.

1 The rock garden with pergola. | Source | Author Zipity11 | Date 20
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Published by Frank Beswick - in Agriculture
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April 18 2011 2 18 /04 /April /2011 19:19

The origins of the modern festival of Christmas

Midwinter is not a pleasant time. It is cold and dark, especially as you go further north, so people needed to boost their spirits as the shortest day approached. Across Europe a great midwinter Pagan festival developed to cheer them up. The people of the North called it Yule. The Romans called it Saturnalia.

At Yule the Saxons and Norsemen countered the cold and dark of the northern winter with a huge feast where they ate roast pig cooked over the Yule log, which was dragged in from the woods to burn on the hearth. They drank mead and ale and kissed under the mistletoe [or more] All this was to emotionally strengthen them for the last half of the grim winter period until the first signs of spring. In the meantime the Romans had their own celebration, Saturnalia, and being Roman, they celebrated with rowdy, randy revels. This is where the Church came in. The priests were unhappy at the behaviour during the feast, so decided to make it Christian it by setting Jesus' birth on Saturnalia day, the 25th December, to encourage people to celebrate more religiously. Linked to this was the belief that a Pagan deity, Mithras, a rival to the Christian God, was supposed to have been born on 25th December, so the Church could muscle in on Mithras' celebrations as well.

The strategy worked to some extent, and the name Christmas [Christ's mass] developed, but the Pagan aspect never went away. The Yule log is remembered, even though it is now chocolate. Kissing under the mistletoe, a memory of Pagan fertility rites, still happens. The Christmas tree was an old German Pagan symbol that was brought to Britain by Prince Albert. Its evergreen status was a sign of everlasting life in the cycle of rebirth. Massive feasting is still the norm.

In fact, nowadays we have the remnants of the Pagan festivals, with a superficial [for some people] Christian religious belief/mythos covering it. Old festivals never die, they merely evolve with the times

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Published by Frank Beswick - in History
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