Lots of work being done on the farm and a couple of unintended purchases see my working balance stable at around £110k. The first of these purchases was a weeder – the Einbock Aerostar-Rotation 1200, which as you might guess clears a 12m swathe of weeds at a time. Early in game I chose to do my weed removal using the Hardi sprayer that I have shared images of in action. The reason for choosing to buy that first was the nature of weeds – the pesky varmints can show up on your fields at any stage of crop growth and herbicide can be used to remove them at any time. A Weeder however can only be used before the crops get to their second growth stage so if you can only afford one means of dealing with weeds, herbicide is the way to go. With stable income now assured on my farm, I can afford to add a weeder and that in turn means I can take jobs from other farmers that specify using a weeder. Here it is unfolding for just such a job for Mason in field 36……and ripping out the weeds……The weeder requires 130HP, so the Fendt Favorit will handle it. Job finished and weeder folded up I head back across Field 13 and I can see that my crops in 14 are ready to be harvested……So that’s going to be my next task.

Field 14W turned in just over 17000l of Canola……but the price wasn’t as good as I would like so that went to the Silo at the farm to be sold when things improve. 14E produced just over 13000l of Wheat, most of which went straight to Empire Stores for a good price with a small quantity held back to feed the Chickens – overall profit from that field, including the straw collected after harvesting, was over £16k. The Oats in Field 4 were also ready and, again including straw, returned over £10k. This was a very good return from a small field but the harvesting was very tricky with such an irregular edge, so I have decided to return that field to grass for hay and silage production. To that end I prioritised, fertilizing, cultivating and sowing field 4 before working on any of the others. Here we are in Field 4 – the sowing is complete……that’s field 36, where we were weeding earlier, beyond the hedge. I limed both the fields in plot 14 and harrowed the lime in ready for fertilizing. Lime is an expensive necessity that fortunately only has to be done every 3 harvests. That was the end of my in-game day. Early to bed for an early start harvesting our original field next day.

Sun up and back to work…..harvesting the Barley crop. This produced a huge amount of straw – 21 bales. I decided that I really needed to cut back on the number of journeys when I do have a lot of bales to shift. So that other new purchase mentioned at the start was the Anderson RBM 2000. This cost £50k but I was able to get £26k back on the Ursus T-127 bale trailer so the net cost was £24k. It’s a great bit of kit capable of carrying 24 bales at a time. Here we are collecting the straw bales after the harvest……and loaded up ready to take them for sale……That’s 6K earnt from something I don’t have a use for 🙂 Last task for this post was fertilizing the plot 14 fields ready for our next crops. I was able to tie that in with fertilizing field 36 for Mason which earned me over £8k after buying some fertilizer. Looks like he has a good crop of corn growing there – a harvesting contract for that could be a good excuse for me to buy a corn header 😉 Something to think about. And I need to think about another field to buy – Field 13 could be back on the agenda 🙂

I’ve been here before but last time it wasn’t forced upon me. I gave up train-spotting at the end of the 1980’s because most of my favourite classes of locomotive had been withdrawn from service. I could have stayed and continued to enjoy the hobby that I’d been doing since I first went to work but I chose to move to Plane Spotting and the rest I have already told you in various posts though my How I got into Football post probably is a good point to start for anyone new to my blog. When I retired 3 years ago, getting back to train spotting / photography was very much one of my target activities. It didn’t truly kick-off straight away but early this year I was up for it and did a couple of great trips out. Everything looked set for my rail future – much of which would have been blogged on here. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit 😦

It’s been 5 months and currently any use of public transport for leisure purposes is frowned upon. I’d love to be tripping down to Clapham Junction for a morning’s trainspotting but that’s not an essential journey. Though I do wonder if it becomes essential if it’s important for my mental health? I guess that’s beyond the understanding of government agencies and I doubt that most of the muppets that rushed to the seaside in their droves in the current heatwave would understand either despite placing everyone else at risk of illness / curtailment of freedoms by their actions 😦 Basically, I can’t do my railway hobby if I abide by the rules and I’m not about to place the keyworkers in those industries at risk for the sake of my hobby.

However, I need to be doing one of those observational hobbies for my personal well-being. I enjoy a bit of Birding but unless I go all over the country visiting reserves, etc then there’s only the limited number of species in my local area 😦 One good positive note in passing – The Great Tits have raised 2 broods in our nest box this year 🙂

So I’ve been mulling over the non-computer game options available to me (bearing in mind that I’m also missing football!) I think it’s time to go back to Plane Spotting. I can do that from home and I have most of the things I need to start off again. I have a good Frequency Scanner in the Uniden Bearcat 780XLT which means I can monitor transmissions on the local frequencies. I also have an Icom IC-E90 which receives the Airband frequencies. So I’m well covered in terms of important equipment. There’s also a lot of useful websites providing flight tracking that weren’t there or were in their infancy last time I was involved in this – it’s almost like having radar in your living room! The only negative is the need of a good quality spotting scope. I used to have one of the Kowa ones and it was good but it has suffered from disuse and will need to be replaced. That isn’t cheap but in the interim I can use my binoculars that I use for birding and trains.

I fired up the Bearcat Scanner today. It’s receiving well. The frequencies I programmed in are still correct for my area with the exception of the one for Heathrow Director – that has changed from 119.725 to 119.730. I thought, “best I get that corrected in the memory.” I spent 20 minutes trying to update the memory on the scanner before I realised that it can’t handle the intervals between .725 and .750! It’s too old to have that fine tuning built in! You may now laugh at my confusion when I was punching away at the buttons and not understanding why the memory wouldn’t accept the input frequency! 😉 Fortunately, it doesn’t matter because AM transmissions are very broadband and I’m using a very good Ham Radio 2/4 metre antenna which means I’m getting the transmissions anyway 🙂

For the record – You can check out the base-station here… https://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/BC780XLT

And the portable Icom IC-E90, here… http://www.rigpix.com/icom/ice90.htm

I’ve ordered a Kowa TSN-602 and associated zoom eyepiece but I don’t know when that will arrive – I’ve been waiting for a delivery from The Czech Republic since June 05 and that only reached Heathrow yesterday – 20 days on a journey that usually takes 5-7. These are the ongoing hidden effects of Covid-19 – my mental health, the availability of items, the need to be careful out there… I hope you are all keeping safe and well.

It’s amazing how fast things can move when you apply yourself – which translates as spending most of my gaming time in Farming Simulator 19. Buying the Massey-Ferguson 7726 and the new plough dragged our working balance of cash down to around £30k and I’ve been busy trying to recover the situation. It didn’t help that I had to cultivate, fertilize and sow my fields – that all costs money although I fortunately had lots of seed at the farm so that wasn’t going to add to the expense.

To enable the expansion of field 4, I took advantage of the chance to buy the ‘deadspace’ areas of the map. These are those places that don’t form part of the buyable fields and in this map come for free. Here’s a look at the map with the deadspace highlighted in blue……There’s a lot of potential there if you want to use it and buying that land gives you full access. I prefer to only use it where it’s logical to do so like the areas around field 4. I identified the area between the chicken coop and the neighbouring farmers field as a place where I could legitimately harvest the grass – in fact, owning the chicken coop gives me half that area anyway. So I mowed the grass to boost my silage bale count with the offered price rising……I subsequently mowed field 32 and with all the bales captured, that was £33k back in the bank 🙂

The Chickens are working hard – I took 4 cases of eggs over to Willowbrook Stores……I now have 70 Chickens and 2 Roosters 🙂 The fields of crops are looking good…

I found myself with everything done that I could do pending harvesting those fields. So some time to choose what I should do next. There are a couple of things I would like to get into. I’d like to do either Sunflowers or Corn as a crop – that means buying some new equipment. I’d also like to get into Sheep – that means building a sheep pen and having lots of grass and hay available. The original field could actually house a sheep pen and provide a good source of grass but I’m not sure if that would be enough and with each sheep costing £1500 the price of setting up would be quite high. Must get more money in the bank!

So that’s why I’m driving this beast……I’ve taken a contract for harvest some sugar beet and I’ve leased the ROPA Panther. This was going to earn me £18k but it was also going to be a very long job! I was complaining about Grind a couple of posts back – well this is even worse than ploughing……There’s just a huge expanse of green that we have to harvest and the machine only cuts a tiny swathe at a time 😦 And the trailer they leased me had to do 10 trips to take it all to the store…

This was a nightmare of a job and in the end, as I reached that point where my concentration had been dulled, I saw the Contract Finished note appear on screen. And that’s when I screwed up – I should have taken the last load to the sell point – I should have taken any left over sugar beet to my own silos. But I clicked on the Complete button and cost myself a potential £12k bonus 😦 That’s what happens if you get stuck into a job like this one and you take your eye off the ball to the point where you’re just pleased to see it’s done. Such is life – I’m at least £18k to the good and the bank balance is £112k. I’ve got those 4 crops to harvest very soon and then I can look at trying something new 🙂