SHEDDING LIGHT ON ABERARGIE - WINTER INTO SPRING 2022
Aberargie seemed to be at the back of the queue as far as catching up with the rest of Perth & Kinross in “greening” its street lights from the old orange sodium lights to the energy efficient LED system. Then one day in July last year (2021) the Council cherry-picker arrived and the lamp heads were changed. Great – this meant that 50% less energy is now used to light our tiny patch of Perthshire. The magnificent sights of Orion and the Ursas, Major and Minor, could be seen more easily hanging in the night sky above the gentle pools of light.
One of those pools of light rather magically illuminates the new Aberagie Square seating area which proved most useful at the Christmas tree light switch-on evening which was a great success in December. There were plenty of volunteers to get the tree up – in the most horrendous stormy weather – and lots of new Aberargie residents out to share in the food and hot punch cup that was contributed on the night. Rugs on the seats allowed people to sit warm and cosy watching the fun. The star on the tree was made possible by very new residents Dave and Marion!
Some studies suggest that LED lights impact negatively on insect populations on roadsides, but I think we have to look no further than us and our cars as the greater culprit in that regard. Twenty years ago in some summers the slaughter across our windscreens sometimes almost impaired our visibility to drive. In recent years, worryingly, this is never the case and no longer a bother to those of us who still wash our own cars. I am sure our lockdown created the opportunity for insect populations to revive slightly but that respite was relatively short-lived.
But while its street lights are now less intrusive on the Council’s energy bill and our eyes, Aberargie now returns a different contribution to lighting the night sky. Since the installation for whisky production rose out of the barley fields and the equestrian centre arose from the ashes of the burned storage sheds, Morrisons Distillery and Netherton Equestrian Centre vie to be seen from space! Their security lights shine across the countryside blinding walkers and low flying geese alike.
I wonder could I ask through this venerable magazine if these businesses could borrow a cherry picker and angle downward or shade their spotlights a little, down onto their respective working areas so that residents are not blinded in their houses or when out walking at dusk and beyond.
For the many dog owners of Aberargie the latest training exercise has been to ensure good control of their dogs around sheep, or more specifically around electric fencing. Morrisons distillery is using the more environmentally friendly way of improving soil condition by sewing a winter cover crop, turnip in this instance, in the autumn and then clearing that by running sheep across it. Their manure improves the soil. Approximately 100 sheep have been brought in for the job. To concentrate the manuring regime electric fencing now encircles the field and the sheep are gradually working their way across the acreage in sectioned areas, so if one’s dog is not well trained or restrained, it will get the sharpest ticking off. As long as the dog associates the zap with sheep that may not be such a bad lesson, if it is just happily sniffing along a scent trail and then gets zapped it will probably just turn the dog off wire fencing for life. The sheep have to learn the hard way and it is only a very tough or silly sheep that will try to reach the stray turnip under the fencing.
I would be very interested to learn more about this system of soil improvement. The huge fields to the north of Aberargie have been hammered with artificial fertiliser, plant food and insect killer for decades now. I wonder how the soil condition is measured? If any farmer can expand on improving crop production through these pages that would be most interesting.