Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Haymaking

It's that time of year again. The local farmers are busy cutting, turning and baling the hay ready for the leaner, winter months. As we walked around the Reservoir at Mapperley the other day, evidence for this industry was evident in the surrounding fields. Last year, the hay bales were wrapped in white plastic, this year, the farmer obviously preferred black.
among the flora of the area are the straggling stems of the Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis). The candy-striped pattern on the flowers of this plant always remind me of seaside rock and sweets in general.
Another scrambling plant in bloom at this time - although you would hardly know it - is the Black Bryony (Dioscorea communis). The large, heart-shaped, glossy green leaves are rather beautiful and certainly outshine the minute, pale-green flowers which hide among the foliage.
Climbing plants seem to be the theme today. Here's another, the Bittersweet or Woody Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara). Of the same family as the potato and tomato, the fruits of this plant are poisonous to humans, although birds find them good to eat and disperse the seeds in their droppings. The flowers, though small, are rather pretty.
Soon after we arrived home yesterday, we were alerted to the noise of a plane flying overhead on it's way to landing at East Midlands Airport. We rushed outside, grabbing the camera en route, just in time to see the worlds largest, full-production plane. The Russian-built Antonov 124 nicknamed 'Ruslan'. You may remember my excitement last October at the sight of the Antonov 225 at East Midlands, that particular plane actually holds the record as the biggest plane in the world, but never went into full production. The 124 has been produced in significant numbers however and here it is...disappearing into the clouds!
It is capable of taking 122 tons of cargo, nearly 3,000 miles and has a wingspan of 240ft - 16ft more than the biggest 'Jumbo' jets.
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