Blue Flower

Thursday 30/3/23 Beryl gave us some packets of wildflower seeds, Anne Marie plans to start growing seedlings in the greenhouse soon. I brought the greenhouse toolkit today which includes a small watering can, seed labels and various tools. 

I also brought paving slabs to make new bases for our water butts as they were leaning over. We removed the barrels and added more bricks and soil, then put paving slabs on top and checked they were flat and level. The stands were re-assembled, then both water butts were put on top and pipes reconnected. We part filled them with river water to ensure they were stable.

When we were having tea in the wagon we saw Grey and Pied Wagtails around the water wheel and in the river. I repaired the large seed feeder Beryl gave us by putting in a screw covered with tape to replace a missing perch. I refilled it with seed and we saw Chaffinches, Goldfinches and a Siskin on the various feeders.

We had four visitors today, Ian and Jonathan from Peterborough, and Graham and Moira, Graham is a member of the fishing club and was having a look round before the fishing season starts. I showed them round and played videos of the model mill and water wheel turning, plus a slideshow of us making the wildflower meadow.

Eddie strimmed the triangle of grass next to the trench. We removed CDs on poles from the wildflower area, they were put up to stop birds eating the seeds which are now growing. We moved a few of the CDs to the Oak tree area which has been grass seeded, the grass is starting to grow now.

When we got back to The Maltings, Police had closed the road through the village as the bomb squad were dealing with a grenade in the river, we had to take the long way home. The grenade was detonated in a controlled explosion on Beryl's field later, see the newspaper article.

Saturday 1/4/23 Ryan lit the fire in the railway wagon as it was cold, wet and windy, he brought a Nar Valley Way map left over from the fishing shop which we looked at, we will leave this on display for visitors to view, as many of them walk the Nar Valley Way.

We checked the bowed trench wall by putting a cotton line from end to end and measuring the distance to the middle where it bows out, this is the same as when previously checked, so the bow in the wall is stable and not getting worse. The wall is also cracked and we plan to address this when we sort out the fallen river wall.

Ryan heated up his sausage roll in the oven above the fire and in the afternoon we straightened the insect hotels which were leaning over, two needed the leg screws tightening and we staked them down better so they are all upright. They will be moved to the wildflower meadow when it starts to flower.

Thursday 6/4/23 Eddie switched on the nest camera screen and saw that nesting material has been taken into the Barn Owl box which was recently cleared out, Jackdaws nested there last season so they may have started another nest. There was no activity in there all day, so we don’t know what is happening, we will keep watch.

I brought two compost bins as our compost bay is usually full, and when we cut the wildflower meadow there will be even more cuttings, so the bins will be needed. One has a sliding hatch for getting compost out which I fitted, the other has an opening front lower panel. We put them next to the compost bay.

When assembling the compost bins, a Duck flew up nearby and Ryan noticed it had a nest with 11 eggs in the brick floor, we kept away from there for the rest of the day, but did not see the Duck come back, a pair were nearby most of the day.

There was heavy rain for a while, so Anne Marie looked at the wildflower seeds Beryl gave us and the new greenhouse tools and we had tea by the fire. When the rain eased off it turned into a bright afternoon, Anne Marie weeded the gardens, Oak tree and wildflower areas. There is more growth on the wildflower area now including Wild Carrot leaves which are part of the seed mix. Ryan mowed grass on the river banks, the weeds and grass cuttings were put in the various compost bins. Eddie strimmed around the edges and under benches and tables.

Eddie and I then cleared the far end of the wildflower meadow which had been covered with bundles of sticks used for river works, which have now been completed. I pulled up Thistles and Nettles using the welding gloves and strimmed away grass, Eddie dug over the soil and we seeded the area with wildflower seed mixture and watered it in.

I took the cover off the boiling house foundation bracket and used my garden vacuum which I brought along to remove molehill soil from inside the feature. This removed some soil but I’ll try again when the soil is dry, it should be more effective.

Ryan put the bridge across and checked our supply of cards on the information sign, he noticed the card box was brittle and breaking up, so we got a spare one and fitted it. On our way back we saw that the clamps on our notice on the bridge inviting walkers across had broken, so Ryan cut new pieces of wood and fitted them to the sign and replaced the screws with bigger ones.

In the evening Ryan went back down to the mill to check the Ducks nest, fortunately the female was there on top of the eggs, so we will keep well away from the nest in future.

Graham Bartlett  

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