Afonso Xavier Canosa Rodriguez


On philology, potatoes and construction.
Well, this is just my first approach to blog-writing. I want it to be the way to keep in touch with colleagues and friends.




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Plowing, tillage, and finally planting (with some rain in between)

First week of May I finished plowing for this year. After some rainy days, I tilled the last piece of land on 9 May, and on 10 May the last (and most of the) potatoes for the year were planted.
Subject: potatoes - Published 27-05-2013 22:50
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Furrows

One sunny week and the plow cuts rows of furrows on this not so easy to plow land. Thanks to the wagtail, the blacksmith, the robin, a couple of crows and the shyer warbles that, even if not daring to come over the open ground, kept jumping through the bushes nearby.
Subject: potatoes - Published 22-04-2013 22:49
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Seed tubers in storage

And the rain came back before the sun dried up the soil enough. And it keeps raining.
Subject: potatoes - Published 25-03-2013 22:38
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The sun and the soil
Wet field
After two months of abundant rainfalls, finally, last week, first moderately frosty mornings arrived followed by cloudy, though not rainy, days. There were some sunny hours on the wet fields, too.

Soil moisture is barely over the level to allow final preplant tillage and planting of the first potatoes of the year.
Subject: potatoes - Published 04-03-2013 22:06
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Late season crop harvested

The last late season potatoes have been harvested today. Damage-free tubers are stored together for the curing period.
Subject: potatoes - Published 17-09-2012 21:52
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Late season

Due to rainy weather, late season potatoes were planted later than usual. The plants have already sprouted and begin to develop their first leaves over a no bigger than five centimeters stem. This is how much an average size plant has grown to date.

Subject: potatoes - Published 18-06-2012 20:34
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Turnips and broadleaf weeds

I spent the day in some fields that have not been cultivated this year. After harvesting the potatoes the soil was tilled and left flat. Then turnips were sowed, seeds scattered over the land immediately after cultivation. Since then, apart from picking off the leafy stems of course, no other action has been carried on in this plot. No other crops were rotated, the soil is going to rest so turnips could grow to their full, senesce and produce their seed crop, picked again to be sowed in other fields after a new potato harvest cycle is completed.

Besides a complementary crop with its seasonal sprouts, turnips are used for biological control of weed species. Appropriate cultivation plus turnips seedling vigor shade other competing plants, first forming a cover that occupies almost all available space during the first months, then growing up and using resources that effectively suppress any other broadleaf species.

Well into a new annual cycle turnips are still absolutely dominant in the field.
Subject: potatoes - Published 23-05-2011 22:10
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y=mx + c (reviewed)

The female flowers of the hazel are sprouting their reddish tops.

The weather is sunny after some days of moderate rain.

The willows appear white with flowering catkins, the alder has grown its dark cones, blackthorns full bloomed, the joy of spring spreads everywhere and I, I... well, be it the weather, be it the trees, be it that I have to start a new job again, here I am too, giving my touch of colour to the landscape with the red-to-yellow of the exposed soil. My brush, a Howard rotavator. :-)

I work a small piece of land that has been previously plowed. Not the whole plot, just a small part of it, some rows to open the early season.

I need to calculate the minimum optimal area to be planted.

I am a machinist, a tractor driver. From my farmer point of view a row is the unit.

The planting machine is leveled and adjusted to plow rows 75 cm from one another. The widest machine to be used, a sprayer, covers 12 rows. The most effective use would be an even number of turns as the plot is entered and sorted by the same place and, well, I want to take advantage of that way back too! :-)

So 12 rows * 2 turns = 24 would be the most effective minimum number of rows to plant.

With the rotavator I smooth the soil so I have no reference of rows at all. I convert the length of rows to metres and stick a piece of a branch to mark the area. 24*0.75=18m. minimum effective width.

Two months ago I spent a whole Saturday morning converting the distance to different stars from light years to kms and then to earth years of distance at a velocity of 300 km/h. Not that I want to move that far away, I just wanted to exercise my brain for a while: the exponents became meaningless for practical comparisons (next time I'd try to calculate the total number of tubercles produced in the world, for instance), but at least I could better understand how different units are more operative than others!

The easiest way to calculate the area to be planted would be measuring the sprayer at its full width (9m) and then calculate the product 9m * 2 (number of turns) = 18m. That is, no need of counting rows at all!

Be it the power of experience, as it is by experience that the number or rows needed is known, be it an atavism or just a tractor driver way of thinking, at least for these plots there is a basic unit that appears to be graphic an intuitive without losing exactitude and transferability to SI units of length: the line, a row.

Now, as the hazel female flowers keep sprouting, the sun shines over a wet soil: good weather for the best results of potato plants per square metre, sure, and ... per row too!
Subject: potatoes - Published 07-03-2011 22:56
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Harvesting

A new crop has been harvested this month. As it has been a very good year for potatoes a first more-careful-than-usual selection was made in the plot leaving the small number of damaged tubercles or those with green surfaces.

Now potatoes are stored and will be trimmed and selected again, this time according to size.
Subject: potatoes - Published 27-09-2010 13:30
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Potato harvesting machines

I spent most of the day repairing and improving the small potato harvesting machine. It has proved to be more efficient than the potato harvesting combine for these small, irregular, sloped, stony pieces of land.

In the morning I lubricated and repaired the bearings. In the afternoon dad and I began to place a new four-pinions shaft that has been designed to improve the machine performance. A local company manufactured it following the harvester particular requirements. At home we adjust the frame to fit the new component: metal cutting, screwing and welding.
Subject: potatoes - Published 05-07-2010 23:55
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The turtle dove

The sun shines over the potato cultivar that dad, mum and I planted the 10th of March. The plants have grown, leaves and branch stems have fully developed.

A prospection reveals that tubers have begun to grow above the ground too. This is the first crop of the year. The last potatoes of the season were planted two weeks ago.

I have been abroad for a month. Before I left I visited the old willow. So many years together and I realize now that it is a different hybrid from its neighbours: even if a little bit later than the rest, catkins have sprout too.

I came back on Saturday and I found the first foxgloves shining and dancing as if bells. I heard the turtle dove.


Here it announces the season for crops other than potatoes has arrived.
Subject: potatoes - Published 31-05-2010 00:05
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Ploughing again

The willows have shown their catkins. Almost all them. An old one dwelling by the river I visited yesterday has shown none yet. We met many years ago when I was a young boy. I shall come back to the same place to see what is going on.

Meanwhile the first piece of a plot was ploughed today.

Instead of maneuvering the same way I did last year, this time more area is left unploughed towards the perimeter so turns are quicker and easier to be made.

I keep the line!
Subject: potatoes - Published 08-03-2010 20:49
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