France 2010

Just spent 9 days in Mazerolles, France staying with some family. They live in a typical rural farmhouse with a barn, various plots of land and some woodland.

Just a few shots of some grubs. All taken with an old iPhone so excuse the terrible quality. The Wasp Spiders were most impressive, especially when capturing and silk-wrapping their prey. The Red Bugs are also pretty impressive when covering large areas of tree in groups like the one shown below.
Female Stag Beetle
Female Stag Beetle
Wasp Spider enclosed
Wasp Spider enclosed
Wasp Spider on Dad's sleeve
Wasp Spider on Dad's sleeve
Red Bugs
Red Bugs
Toys and Tools
‘Cousin’ Andrew is a tree surgeon and timber specialist by trade so has loads of kit for felling, extracting, processing and drying timber.
Andrew's old Ford Tractor
The 'small' tractor used for mowing and wood cutting

This ‘little’ tractor is used for dragging the mowing attachment around and powering the circular saw and log splitter (video’s below). The day after we arrived I was asked to ‘cut the grass’, which turned out to be a couple of hours work cutting various small fields, access paths and garden areas as well as a small copse. Great fun, and the first time I’ve driven a real tractor.

Mower attachment
Mower attachment, PTO driven
Andrew's Unimog
The Unimog - 6.4ltr & about 1100Nm torque...

The Unimog – which I didn’t get to play with unfortunately – is used by Andrew for carting timber from sites on the trailer, tailing the mobile band-saw mill, and extracting material with winches. Lovely bit of kit, I want one!

On the Sunday after we arrived I was asked if I wanted to cut some firewood. This involved removing the mowing attachment from the tractor, attaching the Circular Saw to the PTO and 3-point linkage, and driving it all over to the wood pile. Here is the saw being used:
[vimeo 14313890]
The saw also has a log-splitter attachment geared-off the main drive. It works very simply by pulling the log towards a blunt blade with a large tapered screw. Hard to explain really so I videoed this also with phone propped-up on some long logs.
[vimeo 14313774]
And finally a short vid of Andrew’s mobile band-saw mill. This thing is pretty old now – I think it started work in 1988 – but still works well enough. Here some seasoned timber is being cut down for use in a roofing project. The idea of the machine is that it should be serviceable ‘in the field’ so everything uses very simple construction methods and readily available parts.
[vimeo 14313836]

Other bits and bobs:

Stupid Histamine
Histamine... one mozzy, 4 days swelling!
Workshop in medieval barn
Workshop in medieval barn
Tripple Entendre
Triple Entendre...