Wind will it stop (you're snow fun anymore)
Last night, I sat here and pondered the Met Office's Yellow and Amber warnings for wind in the Highlands today.
I was meant to be working on site, so I sat there and wondered whether I should attempt it or abandon it altogether and treat myself to an extra half hour in bed.
The job that I had to do today involved measuring timber in a forest that was a 90 minute drive from home in Foyers. It is a fairly substantial contract, involving nine or ten days working in a handful of productive conifer stands on the same estate.
I started the work a couple of weeks ago, having won the contract after some recklessly low pricing ("What was I thinking?" is becoming an all-too-common refrain when I review my tendering).
Then, before I even really got started and into the swing of things, that tree planting job in Aviemore took me away from for several days; a delay made worse by the unseasonably early snowfall during that time.
Once the tree planting was over, I became tied-up with miscellaneous one-off jobs and office work that left me feeling that I really needed to get back on site and get that timber measurement job under wraps.
With that in mind, I got up at 05.15 today, looked out the window and decided that it wasn't too windy in Foyers, and then proceeded to drive South on the A9 in the hope that it would be likewise where I was going.
Of course, it was blowing a gale by the time I arrived on the estate and little had changed by the time I had drunk a cup of coffee with the head stalker and discussed the safety - or otherwise - of actually venturing out alone into an already-part-blown forest in such windy weather. It was clear from the swaying tree tops outside his office that discretion, rather than valour, was required, thus I drove home ruefully.
Still, every cloud and all that: I managed to spend the rest of the day catching up with some admin and other jobs.
My afternoon was further brightened by the arrival of two publications in which I have just placed adverts: Farming North and Scottish Forestry (the journal of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society, no less).
Aside from marvelling at my lovely advertisements (see below), I skimmed through Scottish Forestry and found an interesting article on a study of the effectiveness of glyphosate ecoplugs when deployed to kill rhododendron bushes after treatment with a chainsaw.
The author concluded that these plugs are at least as effective as the conventional method of spraying the freshly cut stumps with glyphosate in solution with water.
That may not sound like much to get excited about, especially as the plugs are quite expensive, but the fact that their use is not constrained by wet weather, which more often than not prevents the timely application of glyphosate by knapsack sprayer (the much more common alternative treatment) makes them worthy of consideration in my book. As an extra bonus, there is less chance of collateral damage to nearby plants - among other benefits - by avoiding the knapsack spray method of application.
There is much more to the article than that and I would recommend anyone who is interested in this approach to buy the journal and read for yourself.
Indeed, why not consider becoming a member? It does not cost much, the journal is informative and very well produced, the society holds regular free field trips and your cash would be supporting a venerable institution.
Alas, I get no commission for increasing the membership, but still have no hesitation to recommending it for those with an interest in trees and woodland management, whether professional or just in passing.
Their website address is http://www.rsfs.org/
Finally, in case you are interested, here are my latest adverts. They may not win any design awards (apart from maybe the BAD design award, ho ho) but they are good enough for my purposes.