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Hacking about in the Hawthorn

A bright and sunny start to the day with not a breath of wind so after a slow breakfast and jug of coffee K and I made a start out side. My first job was a periodic check over the wind turbine. Basically a visual check on the guys and all surface nuts and bolts.

There are 3 cables that bring the electric from the turbine, down inside the tower and across to the connection to the main power system. The turbine top is free to turn around to catch the wind which means that the cables can, after a long time get in a knot. Most turbines use a “slip ring” which allows the tower top to rotate and power is transferred through 3 carbon contacts but on my “keep it simple stupid” design I rely on the fact that the turbine very rarely spins around on the tower top and basically sits facing the prevailing wind. There is over 50cm of slack in the cable so it will take many turns of the turbine at the top to take up all the slack.

The cable has a 3 pin plug which means it’s only the work of a few moments to take of the hatch cover, undo the plug and unwind the accumulated turns in the cable. With the cover of I could also grease the upper turbine bearing which until a year or so ago was a real chore which required lowering the tower to squeeze grease into said bearing.

I made a nice improvement to this set up by obtaining the greaser designed for the stern tube of a canal boat. It’s basically a brass tub of grease with a screw down plug at one end and a 12mm copper pipe taking the grease away as the screw is wound down. I fitted the greaser in the hatch at the tower base then ran 12mm copper pipe all the way up the outside of the tower. The pipe terminates inside the top swivel bearing so as the screw is turned grease is pumped all the way to the tower top and into the bearing, Much easier than lowering the tower, greasing the bearing is the only regular maintenance of items at the tower top, so that’s that done for another 6 months.

Katherine meantime had made a start on our last piece of hedging work for 2020. We’ve a good few hundred metres of hedge to keep tidy and it’s principally done by hand by K although a year or so ago I did get a petrol powered, long pole hedge trimmer so I can now help too.

Behind the house is an ancient Hawthorn hedge which supports a fair number of resident sparrows etc. With nesting season soon to be upon us this hedge needs to have its annual prune, it’s the last bit to be done this year. It’s a horrid job that for many years K has managed single handed. The slope is steep and frequently wet and the Hawthorn manages to grow at least 30cm each year with massive nasty sharp spines. We’ve also added in some copper beach to fill in some of the gaps and these are now taking over and filling in some of the ancient gaps, but that doesn’t need a trim yet.

Once I’d finished the service on the turnip (turbine) we worked together to get the hedge done and now have another massive heap of hedge trimmings awaiting a nice windy and dry day for a bonfire.

Just before we came in for a late lunch a squadron of Red Kite went over, normal enough for us here but cruising along in their slip stream was a Heron which is not a common sight here. Can I save him up, and record him at the end of January for the RSPB annual bird survey on the 29th of January?

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