Good News and Bad News

This is my 100th post. I don’t know why humans like zeros so much but we do. Put a couple of zeros at the end of a number and we get all excited. In any case it feels significant on some level. I started this blog last Fall…or Autumn as it is called by many. I wanted a way to share my experiences in the gardens as I learned more about permaculture. I wanted to connect with others who I knew were following a similar path. I had no idea where I was really going with it all.

I suppose I still don’t. But I know I have “met” a lot of people, and I now follow quite a few blogs. I have learned a tremendous amount just reading about their day to day lives. And that has been wonderful. People in Ireland and England and the Rockies, and Australia and New Zealand, and even here in New England, follow me, and I follow them. We love chickens or gardens or cooking good food. We have different experiences, different weather to cope with, even different seasons…..but we have the same dream. To live simply, with Nature..or the Goddess, Gaia…what ever name you choose. We feel in our very soul that our modern lives have gone very wrong. We have lost our way. But we have choices. And we can choose to stay connected to the natural world. And it feels right! So thank you to everyone. I am more than happy to share my life at Brookwood Shire and I thank you for sharing your lives with me.

On a less happy note, I met with the Arborist from National Grid. He was a decent man. He understood and respected my point of view. I suppose that is the good news. But…they have tried lots of ways to manage the trees under the wires, including goats ( they eat everything but the tall trees) and this method works best. But for the Round Up, it isn’t a bad plan. They cut “target trees” (trees that grow tall), and leave the trunks to rot and to fertilize the soil. Cutting the taller trees provides light for the smaller shrubs to fill in the area. They squirt a bit (?!) of “herbicide” on the stump and that prevents the tall trees from coming back. The plan is that eventually they just have short vegetation under the wires. I suggested they just come more often to cut the tall stuff but that was not the plan. He told me they have been doing it this way for years. I have always been assured that they didn’t use poison by the people who came so I don’t know. In any case he said they actually use less and less herbicide every time and the plan is to not need it. They agreed to not use any herbicide on my property or even at the edges…I think we agreed 20 feet. But the owner of the property next to mine had given them permission to use it on his land so there wasn’t anything I could do. I do have a name at the Dept of Agriculture I can contact. They apparently set the policy.

I am not happy about it. But I am glad we were able to have a civil conversation and exchange ideas. I think they could do it without the herbicide, but apparently it is a small amount.

They will have to cut these birches. They are not that tall but they are too close to the pole. But they will not poison them. So they will come back. Maybe I can move a few of the seedlings to a safer home.

And they will cut a few feet off this hemlock, and the pine behind it. They will try to redirect the growth away from the wires. I know they would like to cut it down,but they did not suggest it.

They are nervous about my birch grove but I assured them I was planning to coppice the taller trees for firewood in the fall so they would not come near the wires. I have never coppiced a tree before, but it seems a perfect solution. The trees stay short enough for the wires, and I harvest some firewood. It is sustainable. I will have to do a bit of research,but I am confident that I will be able to figure it out.

It is not the outcome I had hoped for. I will continue to try to find a more sustainable way to keep the wires clear without using herbicide, and I will contact the Dept of Agriculture and express my concerns. I will contact my neighbor who owns the land behind me….he is the only neighbor I don’t know….and perhaps we can come up with a better plan for the future. And I will grieve for the trees that will be sacrificed for us…so we can have electricity.

And life will go on. The electric company comes every four years and disrupts things….but new things grow…nature is not easily stopped.

And that is a very good thing!

About patti

I am a retired kindergarten teacher, tending a new kind of garden now, raising chickens and exploring permaculture. I live with my husband, Bill, my beloved dog, Fergus and my cat, Mighty Merlin. We have a small cottage and a tiny bit of land called Brookwood Shire. It is our sanctuary.
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5 Responses to Good News and Bad News

  1. wspines says:

    Congratulation on your 100 blogs, all have been educational, good reading and fun. I am sorry that you didn’t win the war with the electric company but you did win some battles.. Everything looks great at Brookwood Shire. I so glad that we met, thanks to Colette.

  2. Bummer about the Round Up. The farm where we’re moving was recently attacked (the best word I can use to describe it) by the power company people. They don’t use poison (that I know of anyway) but they do cut anything within 5 metres (16 ft) of a power line. It looked more than that to me but the result was a lot of trees were cut back to just a few feet above the ground. I have to say our property was pretty much spared but the neighbour has been left with a chopped up hedge where there used to be a lovely row of privet trees. Privet is a bit of a pest, but a row of them works nicely as a hedge.

    My husband met one of the scouts who was following up on the massacre and he was about to order a couple more trees to go. Hubby convinced him to leave one alone – or so he said at the time. In the city, we have our street trees pruned delicately, by hand, a couple of times a year. In the country, huge choppers come by every few years and do their worst. I do sympathise with the power company, they have miles and miles of wires to protect, but boy do I hate the destruction.

    • pattigail says:

      Attacked is the right word. It is incredible to me how they butcher things and just leave a mess. They trample things, cut things….and apparently poison things here and there. While there may be a sensible plan, the people actually doing the work don’t always seem to understand it. Having lived with these power lines for over 25years I have seen a few different approaches. Most are messy. I never saw the goats..they were tried in New Hampshire apparently. But no matter what they do, Nature does recover…..and that gives me hope.

  3. bridget says:

    With the news from Friends of the Earth this week that tests in Europe reveal weed killer in human urine one would hope companies, and indeed landowners, may review the use of these poisons. Good for you for making a stand.

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