Blue Flower

Wednesday 25/1/23  Eddie and I visited Eddie's sister, Sally in Lincolnshire, whose husband Geoff passed away recently. Geoff and Sally visited the mill a few years ago. Geoff had a workshop where he made many things including jigsaw puzzles and fridge magnets. Eddie and I helped Sally sort out Geoff's tools, we chose some to keep for use at the mill so we hope Geoff would be pleased that they'll be used by Eddie and the volunteers.

Thursday 26/1/23  At The Maltings a Muntjac was eating bird food near Beryl’s door. John from Barge Cottages took photos of a Buzzard on the lawn and a Long Tailed Tit along the river. We unloaded Geoff’s tools from my car and took them to the mill.

We put screws in the shed wall to hold sash clamps, the long axe and G clamps, then we put the rest of the tools away on the wall storage board and in tool boxes. We cleared out buckets and tubs and put them in the loft of the visitor centre to make more room in the shed.

I also brought one of my old summerhouse doors, Eddie and I removed the Perspex from it to use in our greenhouse. The wind has torn away the foam sheet we fitted to the greenhouse on Saturday so we need to use stronger materials. I printed and laminated an instruction sheet for showing videos and slideshows on our screens, so other volunteers can show them to visitors when I’m not around, it was left in the visitor centre with the controls.

We checked the fallen river wall, it hasn’t got any worse since the original collapse. We’ll have a meeting soon to discuss the repair options, work will start when we’re able to get a digger to site, but the track is much too slippery at the moment.

When river alterations were carried out they left lots of bundles of sticks on our wildflower meadow, which look unsightly and are in the way. We didn’t expect them to be left there so long, so we cut the straps off one pack and loaded some of the bundles onto our truck and took them along the river bank and left them in a clearing so they can still be used if needed.  We planned to move most of the bundles today but the track became very slippery, so we will have to wait for better weather. While moving the sticks we noticed a Muntjac in the field and when we went back to the railway wagon there was a Robin, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long Tailed Tits eating from the feeders.

Thursday 2/2/23  The Heron flew up from the river on our way to the mill and landed in a field of Sheep. I brought a Squirrel proof Peanut feeder which Eddie filled and Ryan put on the feeding station, Ryan lit the fire in the railway wagon.

We fitted a Kingfisher nest tunnel which was bought with our Green Grant, they need to be in a steep or vertical river bank, free of vegetation. Ryan dug the area out with a pick axe to fit the tunnel, I hammered upright sticks into the soil and put branches against them to retain the soil and make a vertical bank. Eddie and Ryan brought soil and tipped it over the tunnel, this was packed down and I dug away the lower river bank to make it almost vertical. We need to install a stick nearby so Kingfishers can perch on it to fish. While looking along the bank for the best Kingfisher tunnel location, we saw fallen Pine cones which we will use to make another wildlife habitat.

Anne Marie arrived when we were fitting the Kingfisher tunnel, she continued clearing and levelling the area by the small Oak tree which was too frozen to dig last time, this will be covered with grass seed. We noticed Snowdrops are starting to come out on the river bank and Anne Marie spotted Cyclamen leaves in two places, we will keep them weeded so they flower in Autumn.

Eddie started repairing Geoff’s Workmate but it needs new leg clips which he will order. Eddie and Ryan cut some old carport panels which I brought and more Perspex pieces using Geoff’s square and the metre rule which Eddie donated, they fitted the panels to the greenhouse frame. We just need to clean the outside of it and make the door.

Ryan and I repaired two fence posts that had blown down in the recent strong winds, these fence off the area between the damaged walls, we screwed them back to the bases and put bricks around the posts to give more support. Ryan then used Geoff’s long axe to split large logs for the woodburner in the wagon. Ryan was able to join us today as he had the day off school for an interview in the afternoon which we got him back in time for. At The Maltings the Egyptian Geese were on the lawn.

Graham Bartlett  

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