Roadside conifers

There is a row of conifers alongside the road outside the property – they have been there ever since we moved in. Recently, these roadside conifers have become more and more of a problem as they take a lot of water out of the ground (impacting the vegetable plot) and produce a lot of shade (again impacting the vegetable plot). On the upside, they do provide a good wind break!

When you look at the before and after photos below, you begin to realise just how much they have grown in the last 8 years. Our local tree surgeon reckons that they will only last another 10-15 years at most. In fact, we have already lost some of them in the last couple of years.

Rather than leave them to the bitter end, we have decided it is high time that the roadside conifers are taken down. We are going to replace them with natural hedging that is more in keeping with this area. However, it does mean fell them and then digging out the roots! Hopefully, we will be able to digging out the roots without knocking down the dry stone wall at the front of the property!

The good news is that it will provide space for (yet) another row of fruit trees in the orchard.

Roadside Conifers in 2013
The conifers along the roadside in December 2013. This was the day Northern Power Grid installed our three phase electricity supply.
Roadside Conifers in 2021
This is taken almost 8 years to the day later than the previous picture. It is difficult to believe how much they have grown in that time.
It looks pretty bare now with them gone, but once a natural hedge takes it’s place it won’t look so bad.

Replacing LED drivers

We installed two sets of suspended lights in the kitchen back in 2014. It was one of those things that we installed with every intention of “tweaking” at a later date. However, we never seemed to get around to it! On a couple of occasions we thought it could have been a little bit brighter in the kitchen.

I thought it would just be a case of changing over the light bulbs.

Screwfix stock some slightly brighter 12V LED MR16 bulbs. I thought it would just be a case of swapping the bulbs over. Simples. But no. That didn’t work. Well, it worked for one. But once all the bulbs were replaced, they all went very dim. Some of the new ones stopped working altogether!

Although the difference in the LED bulbs (4W for the old ones and 6W for the new ones) was minimal, it seem enough to tip the old LED drivers over the edge! A quick test with a volt meter showed that the LED drivers where outputting about 4-5V rather than 12V. I later wondered whether it was the defective LED drivers that was producing the dim lighting. However, by this point I had swapped all the bulbs over! I wasn’t going back!

On reflection, the old drivers were 7 years old so they hadn’t done too badly. The replacements were only £15 each on Amazon. Simply changing the drivers over fixed the issue of dim or non-working bulbs.

Replacement LED drivers
Two new LED drivers for the suspended lights in the kitchen. One driver for each row of lights. Each driver is rated to 60W, but there is only 5 lights on each row (each is around 6W each). £15 each from Amazon.
Replacement 12V MR16 bulbs from Screwfix. £8.29 each
New bulbs installed and now significantly brighter than before!!

New orchard – new trees!

It has been a long time coming, but we have decided it is time to plant new trees in the orchard. It is easy to forget how overgrown this was when we first moved into the property. Despite multiple attempts at pruning the existing trees, we have finally had to admit defeat! Plus the wind has taken it’s toll on the aged trees and we have probably lost 4-5 during the last couple of years.

Cutting the existing trees down seems like a big step, but they are at the end of their life and need to make way for new ones. The existing fruit trees either bore little fruit or no fruit at all.

Looking back at the orchard when we first moved in, it is a wonder that we hadn’t done this earlier! Here’s a post from 2013!

We have replaced all of the trees with heritage varieties – all of which have been grown in Yorkshire. After talking to a number of suppliers, we ordered all of our trees with RV Rogers in Pickering.

Here’s a list of what we have planted.

The intention here is that these are full height trees (rather than dwarf trees). This will enable us to mow around them with ease.

OK, I am on a break. First job – cut the trees down into logs.
Second job is to feed the left over branches into a shredder. Third job is to dig up the roots with a mini digger!
Then it is a case of tracking in the soil where the old trees had been and reseeding the grass.
Once the grass had reseeded, it was a case of marking out where the new trees are going to go
New trees planted – the first 8 are in! The tree in the foreground on the left is a Quince tree that we planted a couple of years ago.
Each tree has a hefty stake and a strim guard (the dark brown thing at the base of each tree). This protects them when using a strimmer.
Each of the trees has a pretty hefty stake in place, plus a strim guard, felt mat and a protective green basket (to protect it from chickens, dogs and deer!).

And just for the sheer hell of it, here are a couple of pictures from the orchard in 2013/2014.

This was after we had had a good tidy up. The old shed is gone and the trees have been pruned back.
The dry stone wall along the edge of the orchard has been rebuilt – if there was ever one there in the first place!
Here’s the orchard as it was when we first moved in.
The shed at the end of the orchard (this is where the gates are now).