Friday, 7 September 2012

Buzz Cut

The big field to the north of our house has been quiet for quite a while. Eric the farmer had planted colza [oil seed rape] and that was harvested ages ago. Since then he's just been back once to spread something --a feed or fertilizer perhaps; for the rest the field has lain fallow awaiting whatever Eric's going to grow next. Last year and the year before it was wheat and we wonder what he will plant now after the colza.
looking through our trees to the field edge
While he was here earlier in the summer harvesting we noticed that he was having a bit of a struggle to get the gi-normous harvester close in to the field edges because of the trees. The top side his field is bordered by woods on both the east and west sides. On the north it adjoins our 'patch' and although not a proper wood, some of our trees too have been growing out over the field's edge far enough to be obstructive. It is mainly the larger, higher branches which could pose a danger as they could easily break the windows of the cab. We'd noted the problem and for a while thought about how we could perhaps tackle it,  but cutting back large branches at height is not something we have equipment for and climbing up ladders with a chainsaw did not appeal!
trimming along our tree line
The summer continued and we shelved the problem as one to be considered 'in the autumn'. Yesterday we found out how the problem is dealt with. A nice chap in a small tractor appeared in the field. In a slow and stately manner he moved along the field boundary trimming where needed. We went out to say hello, as you do, when he got to our bit of the field edge. We'd not seen him before and he told us he is contracted by the farmers to trim the over-hang whenever the farmer feels it is necessary, usually once every 3 to 4 years. 
turning north along the eastern edge of a neighbour's woods
Attached at the front was a long mechanical arm which could be manipulated up/down and extended/retracted and, at the end, was not the giant hedge cutter we've seen on fauchage tractors [verging machine]. When they trim the hedgerows with these they leave a trail of mangled stumps in their wake. This telescopic arm had a series of 3 overlapping circular saws. When we had a look at the branches which had been trimmed off our trees they had  a much cleaner cut.
looking east: a neat line of trimmed branches from our trees along the field boundary
Today they came and shoved all the branches into a huge pile at the NE corner of the field. So problem solved!

16 comments:

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
This all seems rather goodly and, we assume, at no cost to yourselves which does, of course, make it even better. Looking at your photographs it would appear that a fairly neat job has been made of removing the unwanted, obstructive branches. And far better this than you should be responsible for any damage done to the farmer's machinery working close to your boundary.

Susan said...

I'm a bit surprised Eric didn't discuss it with you - I imagine he has the right to trim the trees, but it's not like you are uncontactable. What if the work had clashed with something you were doing?

the fly in the web said...

Rather a neat job, that and much better than the horrible hedge whackers.
But I would have expected (probably in vain)to be told what he was planning to do.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jane & Lance - The chap did a very neat job. It is quite nice to know that it gets done as and when needed.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Susan - I don't think it occurred to him. For years he had been contracted to maintain the grass & trees by the people we bought the house from.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Fly - in an ideal world we would expect it too but.... this is France.

Last year, the mairie forgot to tell us when they were doing works to the tiny chemin which leads to our lieu-dit and 2 others. First we knew was when we heard the clatter of the machinery and went to investigate and found them laying tarmac and no way to get round.
Give them their due when we said we needed to get out later they said 'pas de soucis' just come down and then moved all the huge tarmac-ing machines so we could get by.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

As I understand it you can cut anything back which is hanging over on your property, but it does not belong to you. So by rights it should be given back to the owner! This of course then becomes your problem unless the wood is any good for the fire!
A hedge has to be planted one metre inside your property and you should be able to get to the other side to cut it. We have one neighbour who complains if one leaf of our hedge should touch his fence. The neighbour who is on the other two sides thankfully does not care as the hedge is right up to the fence. I have to ask him if I can go on his property to cut it. Take care Diane

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Diane - all the lopped branches were pushed into the NE corner [adding to a existing pile] where Eric's field, another farmer's field, our property and woods belonging yet another person all intersect. We might use some of it for kindling/small logs but for now we have plenty.

Perpetua said...

So that's how it's done is it? I've often wondered, as we've mot yet been here when the bigger hedgerow trees are trimmed. It seems a good solution to me and the extra wood may well come in useful if you have another hard winter. :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - as no one takes any notice of the pile we'll certainly make use of it if we need to!

Jean said...

A satisfactory job all round, by the look of it, but I also would have expected him to check with you first.

I love the pictures of the shadows amongst the trees.

Vera said...

Well that was a tidy cut! Here they have a threshing machine which chews up the overhanging branches and makes one heck of a mess of the remaining trees / shrubs. Makes me feel quite sorry for them. Makes me want to 'heal' them in some way.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jean - Thanks. I was quite pleased with the light/shade balance. :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Vera - they have those threshing machines [like giant hedge saws] here too. The commune uses then for verging and roadside hedges--which then, as you say, end up terribily ragged and damaged.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

I am sure you were pleased that you did not have to do this yourselves.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@LindyLou - very!