Friday, 11 July 2014

Ruddy ducks and gruesome gorse.

Remember those darned Gorse bushes I had to hack at in an attempt to rescue ducks that didn't rescueing last week? Well this is what those spear like thorns do to a person

This is why I hate those bloomin shrubs - the spears are bad enough when they intially jab you but these after effects go on for days and hurt reeeeeally bad - did I mention how much I hate hate hate Gorse bushes?

Have to admit I am thoroughly fed up with these ducks now. To even catch a glimpse of them we have to sneak round to the pond as silent as a ninja, which is not easy considering there's gravel everywhere and we have to pass by a Great Horned Owl that hates people and makes a sudden racket if we dare to approach in clothes he doesn't recognise.
We usually get about a 3 second glimpse before the feckless ungrateful creatures head for the reeds and out of sight. Well I had a plan to help reduce that - remove half the reeds!

Sounded like a good plan until it dawned on me that I am the only one with the time to actually get in the pond and do it. It should be done every year really but last year we didn't do it at all because we were sulking after the Otter ate all our fish!
Here's the reeds that act as a hideout for Daphne (formally Jasmine - I got the name wrong), Donald and Daisy

It's worse than it looks because that only shows a bit of the pond.
So I bravely donned Mr TGs waders and slipped into that conga eel infested pond trying desperately not to think of all the creatures eyes that were on me just waiting for their moment to pounce.
Have to say I was very grateful for the lack of rain lately because it meant that the deeper areas of the pond were only chest height and there was no swimming required.
2 hours were enough in that pond for me in one hit. There is plenty more that needs pulling out because the far side reeds still cover half the pond but 2 large areas were trimmed right back (gotta leave some for the ruddy ducks)

I left the reeds over the decking areas to dry out and as a peace offering for all the eels and iguanas that may happen to have got caught up in them, but then I realised the decking is rotted and I could very well be going through it when I collect the reeds up - great!
So basically these ducks are boring - seriously boring! And I am still determined we need a Goose though I would settle for a Peacock!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Ducks - not my cup of tea

After writing my last post re The Handy multicutter I bought I contacted The Handy company via email detailing my issues with the machine and attached a link to my blog post. I didn't really expect to hear anything back so I was surprised to see an email from them a couple of days later.
They sent me a lovely link to an informative Youtube video that told me exactly how to start this tool up (yes, I say that in sarcastic tones) followed by a statement that there is an adjustment I can make to the brass screw below the chock lever and that this may help me start it, if not I can send the item back and they will check it out.
I will try adjusting the screw next time I use it but I don't hold out much hope of it working.

Anyway I'd like you to meet Jemima, Donald and Daisy

Apparantly Mr TG decided we should get ducks for eggs and it just so happened a guy up the road was giving some away. I'm not a duck person, they're about as high on my list of desireable animals as chickens, but Mr TG and my daughters went off and came back with this trio.
It would seem that the breeder of these ducks didn't socialise with them so they're about as tame and handable as a feral cat - great!
"What breed are they?" I ask
"Dunno. The guy mentioned Drakes,or at least his ad did"
I look dumbfounded at this "But Drakes are male ducks NOT the breed!"
"Oh yeah!" was the reply
"So have we got 3 feckin Drakes here then?"
"Dunno. Does it matter?"
"It ruddy well does if we want eggs form them doesn't it!!!!!" I was exasperated by this point.

It seems Ducks are not tameable once they reach a certain age either, they may be happy to chip away at food as you chuck it but you have no hope of petting them. Not that I'm bothered really but if they're all Drakes then what's the flippin point to them.
Of course I am left with building them a house - though Stacey has offered to help - and of course it can't be a bog standard house, oh no no no, it's going to be some floating Taj Mahal type construction!
So my daughter and Mr TG were also told that we need to teach them to swim - yup seriously! What the heck - surely Ducks just float? Comes naturally doesn't it? I aint falling for that codswallop!
But Stacey wanted to teach them just to be safe.
"You get in that pond and have at it then poppet but count me out" says I the ever supporting mother. I've seen what creatures slither in and out of that pond and there is no chance on this earth I'm getting in it. I've had enough fights with frogs, been chased by enough Iguanas (though Mr TG insists they're newts) and seen the quivalent of Conga Eels in there - nope, not even getting a toe in there. Plus it's deeper than I am tall.

Brave isn't she! Well, not so much as it turned out because she refused to go any further than a stone that was on the side because she couldn't feel the bottom.

So she gets in ready for swim instruction, attempts to place these rabid ducks in the water who then proceed to dive bomb in to get away from her, swim to the other side, get out and hide in the ruddy gorse bush. I am not feeling these ducks!

"See I told you they'd float" - that was my comforting input as Stacey flounced out the water.

The next half hour or so was spent trying to entice them out of the gorse bush (and I have the spears in my skin to prove it) and back into the water. It seems Ducks can hide very well and be as silent as a mouse when trying to evade the help of well meaning humans.
So what do you do when Ducks won't come out of the gorse bush? You grab a saw and take the friking gorse bush down, that's what!
This resulted in 3 ducks back on the pond, back over the other side and hiding in the reeds. That's it, I've had enough, I ain't chasing them out of reeds cos I refuse point blank to get in the water.
Current state of play is that the Ducks are hiding in the reeds still which has peeved us off because not only was their swimming lesson unnecessary - go figure - but we didn't get tot teach them how to use the special ramp we had built for them to get in and out on.
After all that pallaver I realised that we hadn't clipped their wings either before we let them go and we now have no chance of catching them so we'll probably be waving bye bye to them in a couple of months anyway as they fly off.

I've now informed Mr TG that I'm getting Geese! At least they can defend themselves against the dog and it'll be fun to watch them chase people off the property. Ducks are so boring!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

'The Handy' multicutter tool

I've had my eye on a particular tool on a particular shopping channel for some time now but I decided to wait until the tool dropped in price before I tried it out.
The tool I speak of is this

I've watched many a presentation on 'The Handy multicutter' and have marvelled at how easy Derek Belcher makes it look to use. His claims of easy assembly, light weight and easy start have had me hooked for some time because I've been after each of those tools for some time now.
The price is usually around £300 but no way am I paying that so when I saw it recently on air for half that I jumped at the chance to own my own Handy tool.
This land needs alot of strimming on a regular basis and I've always had to rely on Mr TG and his industrial size bush cutter - I've never dared use it because it seemed so heavy and I had nightmares about taking the legs off my dogs with its sinister looking metal blade. I wanted a petrol line trimmer!
When the tool arrived I was kind of wary about using it - what if all Dereks claims were false, it would end up being the same waste of money as the 'Vitamix' was.
Mr TG set it all up for me, showed me how to mix the petrol and oil and then gave it a fire up - that is the point where I should have realised it needed to go back. Mr TG uses these things all the time but even he struggled to get this thing to fire, when he finally got it working and handed it to me that is when I really should have sent it back - not only was it hard to start but it is not lightweight... at all!
Mr TG was doing the usual "I told you it would be rubbish" speech and of course I was determined to prove this tool worthwhile so I assembled the ungainly strap and started strimming away (with the dreaded bush cutter attachment as Mr TG refuses to believe a line strimmer is of any use to anyone) and I had to admit it felt awkward and really uncomfortable.
I decided to give it a chance though and a couple of days later I reluctantly dragged it out to strim all round the greenhouse area

I donned all the protective headgear and chose to throw the ridiculous safety gloves that come with it - those humongous Orange things that fit no man on earth and wear my leather gloves instead. Incidentally I noted in the instructions that it advises to use well fitted leather type gloves! So why supply those dangerous orange things instead?
Here I am all dolled up ready to fire this sucker up

This is me after 20 minutes of trying to fire that fecker up (excuse the language but seriously I was fuming by this point)

Honestly by this point I was all for boxing the thing up and sending it back. I followed the instructions to the letter and still couldn't get it going, the only reason I decided to keep trying was the thought of having to tell Mr TG it was going back and the smug look that would have crossed his face.
Eventually I got it going but it was more by sheer luck and the hardest, nastiest yank on that string I could pull, only for the darned thing to cut out and refuse to go again - great! I hadn't turned the choke off within a millisecond so I had flooded the engine! I left it for 10 mins, went back - nothing! Tried again - nothing! There was nothing in the instructions to tell you what to do if it had flooded so I stood it up, refrained from kicking it and left it a further 10 mins. When I next fired it up I didn't bother with the choke and it flew into life!

Here's what I'm hoping to tackle with it

Although I found it awkward to hold and it creased my back up I have to admit it did a really good job. The line strimmer did a good job around the rocks and the dreaded bush cutter cut through the docks and head height weeds extremely easily.
I did struggle to hold the buttons down though - I get cramped hands very easily and I had to keep releasing and stretching them. You can push a small button in that keeps the cutter going until you release it but I noticed a drop in power when I did that.

The after effects

So is 'The Handy' worth it? Will I be keeping it? The answer to both is yes but in my opinion it is only worth it at the price I paid for it not the original asking price. I will keep it because it means I can do everything myself now and not have to keep bugging Mr TG to do certain things for me and although I haven't used the chainsaw part of it yet it's going to save me alot of sawing of trees in the spring.
Have to say I was a little bit miffed to see Derek Belcher presenting another Multi cutter with a Mccullochs engine after I bought this one, especially as the sales pitch was exactly the same! I got this one because Derek put his name behind it as he owns the company and I find it a little conflict of interests that he's promoting another similar product.
Would I recommend this to a friend? No. To an enemy? Most definitely!
The reason I couldn't in all good conscience recommend it is for several reasons
  1. It is NOT easy to start....ever!
  2. It is not as light as the presenters make you believe.
  3. It is awkward to use and the handles really aren't thought out properly.
  4. The harness does its job but isn't as good as it could be.
  5. It has to be used on your right hand side or you'll get burned.
  6. The length is strange. I'm not tall but even I have to bend over to get the cutter to the floor.
  7. The line strimmer does a good job but when it loses line you have to physically open it to pull more out (Mr TG claims older versions of line trimmers simply had to be pressed to the floor to release more line?)
  8. I dread using it.
Having said that it does have some redeeming qualities
  1. The attachments are very easy to change over.
OK so it has one redeeming feature however I will perservere with the tool and I'm sure we will become great buddies. OK basically I cannot be bothered with the hassle of sending back - not after the 'Vitamix' fiasco.