Here we are at the end of a long day’s work……Cultivating another farmer’s field to make a bit of money on the side. I now have a fuller understanding of how the Seasons mod works, at least in terms of basic arable farming. If you use the default settings of nine days per season, each in-game day (real world time) equates to around 10 farming days. You can do a lot in that time! Let me take you through some of what I have doing in my first farming day on the Six Ashes map.

I set out to completely prepare my field for sowing, including the first stage of fertilizing. I think now that that I could have spread the work out rather than doing it all in one game day – fertilizing could have waited until the next week – ie next irl game day or even the one after! The upshot is that I am ready to sow but soil temperatures are too low for reliable germination of the seeds. I also bought more fertilizer than I needed (I filled up the spreader!) – so I’ve got around 5000l sitting around. That’s not a disaster – I’m just waiting for a fertilizing job on a neighbouring farm. But in the first week of March all the jobs are plowing or cultivating……With an occasional transport job thrown in. Doing plowing for other farmers allows me to try out some of the larger equipment like this Lemken Titan 18……It is a pig to line up for each cut because the tow bar is on a swivel and I think that the time lost positioning it outweighs any gain from a slightly wider cut. That all the jobs reflect the time of year is a good thing – it brings realism. I’m expecting jobs to sow or plant as the weather turns warmer and, when autumn comes, harvesting jobs. In between I’m sure there will be weeding and fertilizing to be done. In fact, I’ve already got my first patches of weeds……They popped up while I was doing my lime spreading! A look at the map shows them dotted around in every crop field…

I have mentioned soil temperatures being too low – Seasons brings much more realistic weather and crop growth. If you glance back to the shot of the weeds in my limed field you can see a number of icons at the top of the screen. The second from the left shows the air temperature and, below that, the ground temperature. I can open up the seasons menu of sowing and harvesting periods, and check what temperatures are needed for each crop to germinate……and I can get a weather forecast that lets me know what the weather over the next few days is likely to be……looks like it’s going to get colder and we may have rain on Wednesday! I may be able to sow on Thursday but Sunday is currently looking better 🙂 In Seasons time those days equate to early-April and early-May. I’d probably prefer to get my crop in the ground in April if possible. Like the real world, the weather forecast may not be totally accurate – it might be possible to sow on Friday despite rain being forecast (which would be mid-April). Then, once the crop is in the ground I’ll be checking how well it can handle what the weather is throwing at it. There’s a chart for that too……I’ll let you read that one for yourselves!

As you can see, Seasons brings a lot more to the game than bare trees 😉 There’s a lot more thought and planning required – all of which may come to nought if there’s a bad drought over summer or if it rains and prevents harvesting the crop before it withers. Much more realistic 🙂 There’s more I could tell you about but this post is already long so it will wait for another day. To close I’ll share a shot with you of how our previous farm, Oak Glen, would have looked in early spring…

With London and the Southeast bathed in sunshine since last Friday temperatures have soared into the low 30’s (Celsius). The mice have been getting at the machinery. Datacentres have been on high alert for cooling problems and component failures all week. I am aware that some failures did occur.

Rail services were affected between London and East Anglia with Greater Anglia deciding to introduce a system wide reduced speed limit to protect the overhead wires from damage and to mitigate against the rails buckling. Other operators with catenary didn’t feel the need to go quite that far.

Wednesday was a bad one for London Overground which usually has a good record of reliability. The morning saw a signal failure at Gospel Oak which caused major disruption. Then a track fault closed the section between Surrey Quays and New Cross. Finally, services on the Goblin Line were badly disrupted when a train failed at Gospel Oak in the afternoon.

At home it’s been too hot from mid morning onwards with the air giving a mild burning sensation in the nose. This morning the core temperature of the house is still 26.5 degrees and my office gets a lot hotter than that 😦 We all need to relax after the working day and computer gaming is one way of doing that. But my favourites are simulation games and most of these really make the graphics card and CPU work very hard. To avoid over heating my home pc I adopted a policy of doing some simple Excel spread sheet things I needed to do and playing SimSig – neither of which require intensive CPU / GPU use. The cooling fans have been reassuringly quiet and it’s been pleasantly relaxing controlling the flow of trains through Westbury 🙂

Westbury signalbox panel at 05:30. 2A02 is the 05:55 service for Yeovil Pen Mill (which will be late leaving as a broken window is being replaced). 5C08 is an empty stock working to Frome where it will become 2C08, the 06:18 service to Bristol. 6O68 waking the neighbours in the Warminster area (including my Cousin if she’s not working night shift) is a freight from Westbury to Eastleigh. The simulation is running a 1985 timetable which brings back some happy memories of visits to Westbury.
33205 arrives at Westbury with a Cardiff/Bristol to Portsmouth Harbour service in July 1986. 33205 is a ‘Slim Jim’ – one of a small batch of locomotives built to a narrow profile for the restricted clearances on the Tunbridge Wells to Hastings route.