Blue Flower

Recent work parties involved our projects and preparing for National Mills Weekend open days on 7 & 8 May when we will be open to the public from 11am to 4pm.

26/4/22 Emma took the latest purchases to the mill including 6kg of wildflower seeds, a seed spreader, thick gloves for pulling up nettles, batteries for use with our solar panels, LED lights for display shelves, recycle bins, metal plates for bird boxes and stakes for holding down the cycle rack.

I took the mower and cut the track on the way there and back, as well as most of the grass at the mill. This was the first cut this year and will need doing again before the open days. Emma watered plants, strimmed, weeded and put wood offcuts from building the shed into the wood store. Emma also cleared mole hills and weeds from under the boiling house foundation cover.

We explored the new shed, Fred and Graeme have fitted a bird box with camera inside the building with a hole through the wall for birds to get straight into it, as its not possible to access the back of the building with a ladder to fit the box outside. Most new grant purchases are now stored in the shed. A pulley from the maltings has been put on display in the visitor centre as well as a section of rack from the Saladin box

28/4/22 Jan and I tidied the visitor centre and put displays on the store room door, cordoned off the bridge over Ketlam Drain and put Lupin plants out. Jan told walkers on the footpath opposite about our open days. We saw a young Grey Wagtail at the mill, Ducklings at The Maltings, a Hare in the field, and a Cormorant on the way down.

30/4/22 David strimmed the whole site, crossed the bridge and cut the footpath. Emma weeded the hammer mill and brick floor areas, using our new compost bay to dispose of all the weeds.

I assembled the seed spreader and roller which will be needed for creating the wildflower area, two shelving racks, one for the new shed and one for the display area which I fitted lights to. I used the battery strimmer in front of the wildlife habitat and finished tidying the visitor centre which is now ready for the open days. I put up signs on our notice board about our open days and volunteer recruitment drive, and put labels on the recycle bins.

Emma spotted a pair of Muntjac deer in the field opposite the mill while we were having our lunch.

Graeme put more support blocks under the shed foundations and put soil back in front so its now level with the entrance. He also strimmed behind the visitor centre and filled the water tank from Ketlam Drain, as the water butt was removed while the shed was built. Graeme also looked at the 12 Volt electrics so we can have a display screen working at the open days showing slideshows of the restoration

Our last job was checking the water wheel could be unlocked ready for open days so we can turn it with our pump, the padlock was out of reach and we couldn’t move the chain, Graeme had to lever the wheel slightly to access the lock, so we were glad we checked it. Turning the water wheel depends on whether birds are nesting in it, which we will check. If so, the new display screen will show a video of the wheel turning instead

I checked the donation box as we will need it for the open days. Inside were the remains of a Mouse nest, they had enlarged the coin slot to get in and chewed through the wires, but the mice had gone. I took it home to clean and repair it.

Graham Bartlett                

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