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Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

Talkback: Planting to cut winter fuel bills

Posted: 08/02/2013 at 17:52

When you say you dry the laundry indoors, do you mean that you don't have a tumble dryer?  If you have room - maybe stacked on top of your washing machine - I'd suggest that you consider the value of having one.  Drying things indoors means that all the water has to go somewhere, and if it means your property is affected by damp/condensation as a result, things aren't going to be improved by just a few grilles.  Any mould can even affect your health, as well as the property itself.  The dryers don't always have to be the sort which needs an outside wall for the vent/exhaust - you can get condenser dryers relatively cheaply.


Posted: 07/02/2013 at 09:39

You can get LPG tanks which are sited underground - the only downside (appearance-wise) is that the lid they're usually supplied with is a really vivid shade of green which blends in with nothing!  It would be relatively easy to conceal it by using a planter or something - however people often don't seem to do that so maybe it's not advisable.  Most modern oil tanks are a darker shade so don't look quite so bad.  I think there's a problem if you choose to rely on any solid fuel as the sole source for central heating but there are systems which can utiise the extra heat from a solid-fuel stove.  I don't think you'd be able to keep up with the supply/demand of wood from your own land unless you have a huge acreage!

If you are able to consider a completely new installation ref heating, perhaps you'd google "ground source central heating".  I think this is probably only viable if you have a sufficiently large plot - but I wish I'd been able to have it installed.

On an almost daily basis I meet people (through the course of my work) who want to have a log-burner but who aren't used to the practicalities of it all.  They don't consider the cost of logs in the first place - the delivery and storage issues - and the fact that there would be many occasions when they'd miss the convenience of having an automatic timed system.   Not nice coming home to a cold house in the middle of winter!  Having said that, I do burn logs (on an open fire in the sitting room) but the cost is rising all the time.  Last half-trailer-load was £70 and I have to barrow/stack them myself.  Takes most of an afternoon & it's a real problem if the weather's wet & I have to cover the whole load where it's been dumped, and then move the logs under cover later on.

I recently had to go to an empty house which had a log burner in the sitting room.  There was a small mesh sack of logs on the hearth - the sort & size you often see for sale on garage forecourts round here.  I was astonished to see that the sack was printed with instructions as to how to light a fire - starting with "get a newspaper, tear it into strips, and make them into balls .......... put these in a pile in the fire-grate and put some kindling sticks in the form of a wigwam on top of them................

It didn't actually tell you how to strike a match!


Please fill this in!

Posted: 05/02/2013 at 10:09

I guess from the initial post that "crimstudent" probably used the same text when putting his/her request on several forums, without considering the fact that he/she would need to adapt it to suit each one.

Even if he/she gets fewer responses than he/she was hoping for, at least there's a possibility that he/she might learn something about needing to do that - as well as re-visiting each site to check and acknowledge any replies.  Not the initial object of the request, perhaps, but another (different) lesson learned, maybe...............!

B******* Magpies

Posted: 03/02/2013 at 17:39

I don't think you can deter magpies - but probably because you are throwing stuff which they can easily see - on to an open area - they are going to think it's a permanent picnic!  They are ground feeders and don't/won't/can't eat from suspended bird-feeder type things.  They will, of course, hoover up stuff which falls from them on to the ground below.

I don't think it's ever a good idea to site bird tables/feeders right out in the open.  The smaller birds need to feel safe, and so if you can hang things from the lower branches of, say, a small tree you'll probably find that the small birds will soon discover the food source and will be able to shelter in shrubs etc nearby  - if you have them.

Missing label

Posted: 03/02/2013 at 16:57

looks like stag's horn sumus to me - aka rhus typhinia


Posted: 31/01/2013 at 17:36

thanks for the response, Joe - I did admit to being "dangerous" ref the elastic loop..........& no nozzle with the fuel can (I must have lost it).  I have to empty the grass box far too often, perhaps because I can't always manage to mow when the grass is dry & the chute/boox seem to clog up faster than I'd like.  The Hayter is, as you say, rather low and I don't find it nearly as good as the Atco, which was a rotary with a roller.  Lasted for 27 years & eventually they couldn't get spare parts for it.  The ground/soil here is very light, so compaction not much of a problem really & I spend so much time repairing rabbit damage that the Atco's roller was very useful.  Ref edges - maybe a retractable wider front wheel would work?   I used to have a battery driven lawn edger which was quite heavy - you rolled/dragged it along.  Worked a treat - but it disappeared some time ago - house move I think, when some stuff was accidentally left behind.


I know what you mean about swearing............... my garden's far from immaculate - rabbits & dogs to thank for that!


Posted: 31/01/2013 at 11:11

I don't mind about mowers making a noise!  However, what I'd like would be as follows:-

easy to attach/detach the battery charger plug. (mine has electric/key as well as "pull" start facility)

fuel tank designed so that it was easy to refill from the normal type of plastic fuel containers.

grass box easy to detach from the mower with one hand.

mulch facility (which mine already has)

some means of using the mower to trim lawn edges - additional blade which could be engaged as required, maybe? - plus I find it quite difficult to mow close/parallel to lawn eges without the machine (Hayter) falling off into the flower beds because the wheels are rather narrow & there's no rear roller.  Wider front wheels would help a bit, I suppose.

grass chute which didn't clog up when the grass is damp.

rear rollers + some weight - not just because of "lawn stripes" but also because it would help keep the lawn surface more level and even.  Problems arise in my garden because of mole tunnels, rabbit latrines etc.  My old Atco used to deal with this really well, but the Hayter doesn't.


squirrel shot for coming to the table.

Posted: 26/01/2013 at 08:38

Perhaps you didn't notice that I did say there's a public footpath crossing my land!  I've no objection that - but the people who come after the rabbits don't stay on the footpath......... and I want to know they are there and are taking rabbits, because I don't want the risk of any sort of accident to other animals/people, which is what apparently happened to an acquaintance of someone else who's posted on this thread.

I use the local field footpaths myself, but have asked permission from the owner of the adjoining estate for access to the woodland treebelt where I now often take my dogs for a walk.  There's a "no trespassing" notice + text indicating it's private property & I wouldn't go there without having asked them.

You might not have noticed either that in an earlier post I said that if the chap in question had been a better shot, he'd have got away with it.  I read a report about the case too, and got the clear impression that the man was reported by his neighbours who appeared to be in dispute with him anyway. I still don't understand why you seem so concerned about people trying to get rid of squirrels.  They are classed as vermin.  Would you mind about it if they weren't a "cute little animal with a furry tail" - i.e. a rat?  I'd hoped to make it clear that I'm against cruelty of any sort, and in the case of rats and squirrels, traps might be a better way of dealing with them.  However, a rat trap is designed to kill a rat but a squirrel trap takes them alive so that they have to be "despatched"  by other means.  In my own opinion, a good marksman is probably a better solution in that the squirrel probably won't know what's coming, and doesn't have to spend some time in a cage first.


Posted: 25/01/2013 at 19:29

I have two "issues" with my current mower (a Hayter) and wish I'd tried it out for myself before buying it. 

1.  It's electric (key) start as well as having a pull-cord,  and I find it really difficult to connect the tiny 2-pin plug from the charger to the mini-"socket" on the machine itself, and it's just as difficult to separate them once the battery's charged. 

2.  The grass box is extremely awkward to detach from the mower.

I gather that these days the motors are designed to cut out for safety's sake when you take both hands off the controls.  However, it's impossible to detach and empty the grass box with one hand!  I've had to resort to being dangerous (!) and wind a stretchy cord between the handles/controls to keep the motor going, otherwise I'd have to re-start the wretched thing every five minutes.

Best type of bird feeder for a city garden?

Posted: 25/01/2013 at 17:57

Do you have any sort of outside space/yard/garden or do you have a "balcony flat" or similar? If so, you'd probably be able to use the feeders you already have.  Some birds  (blackbirds for instance) are ground feeders, so prefer to take stuff from that level but will venture on to a bird table if it's big enough.The chances are you'll get pigeons too! 

I think it's a mistake to site feeders right in the open, away from places where birds can perch whilst waiting their turn, as it were, and they need to feel safe from predators as well - so if you have any large shrubs it would be a good idea to site any feeders fairly close to that sort of shelter for them.  I think you can still get a feeder which can be fixed  to a window pane, via a suction pad or two, and these are fine for the smaller agile perching/climbing birds such as blue tits etc.

Perhaps  you could take a look at another thread on this board about feeding suet etc to birds, as you'd probably find the info and suggestions useful.


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