Blue Flower

Thursday 8/6/23  Ryan took the mower and cut the track on the way to the mill. We viewed the nest cameras, Jackdaws and Great Tits have fledged, leaving empty nest boxes. The Duck is still on her eggs at the end of the river wall.

Eddie took away the temporary fence blocking off the fallen walls, Ryan and I removed the boiling house corner bracket, surround and cover because at the weekend we need to get the digger to the riverside wall to start clearing and repairing it. The bracket and cover will be put back when the wall is finished.

The wildflower meadow has even more flowers now, including large purple Poppies, we saved the seeds when they grew at the end of the visitor centre a few years ago and sowed them on the covered brick floor. Ryan and I started pulling tall weeds out as they spoil the view. 

Eddie cut all the grass at the mill, then I cut paths through the wildflower meadow where there was less growth to avoid cutting too many flowers down. Eddie brought all the insect hotels over and we put them in the meadow and staked them down. I mowed a clearing for the picnic bench, then Eddie and I loaded the bench up and took it to the meadow, Ryan had to mow the clearing slightly larger to leave a path beside the table. Ryan strimmed the path edges down the slope into the wildflower meadow and found a historic nail on the ground.

Anne Marie brought a Larkspur and planted it on the river bank and watered it, weeded flower beds, then joined us at the wildflower meadow and dug up tall weeds next to the sloping path, I pulled up weeds at the far end, Ryan collected them all up and tipped them in the compost bay which is now full.

The arm fell off one of the chairs, so Eddie repaired it using wood glue, held together with Geoff’s sash clamps. The glue was set by lunch time and Eddie used the chair to eat lunch outside at our table. Eddie also tightened all the screws in the bench seat using Allen keys from the cycle toolkit, as it was a bit wobbly.

Ryan and I took away the fence at the far end of the wildflower meadow and removed all the signs around the edge of the meadow, as we now want to encourage people to walk in there.

Eddie prepared the railway wagon for painting by removing flaky wood and painting the damaged areas. Fred had the paint specially mixed to match the original colour, Bauxite livery. Ryan fitted a new handle to the rake he found in the stream last week and tested it by raking grass cuttings.

Saturday 10/6/23 Fred and Debra had an early start rubbing down and filling the railway wagon ready for painting. Ryan strimmed the river banks so we could see the edges for safety when using machines to clear the fallen wall. Ryan also noticed the Duck had moved off the nest and was in the river with her Ducklings.

At The Maltings, Fred had filled another trailer load of soil which I took to the mill and tipped onto the Blacksmith’s area, I found a piece of a clay pipe barrel when Ryan and I were shovelling soil into the boiling house foundation which we removed last time. I levelled out the soil with the digger which gave access to the river bank, so Fred took the digger and moved the grindstones out of the way, one has been put on the corner of the wildflower meadow and one where it would have been when in use grinding bones.

Fred then cleared rubble and debris out of the river where the wall fell down and loaded it into the trailer, including some large pieces of masonry. I took several loads back and tipped it in the yard, on the way a Swan, Geese and Goslings were in the river. While I was gone, Fred loaded his truck with fallen soil which David took across and tipped out near the brick stacks for use as infill when we repair the wall. I brought back sledgehammers so David could go in the river to break up the remaining large pieces of masonry.

David ground away rust on the metal ends of the wagon, Eddie and Debra painted it all over including the outer doors. I noticed more purple Poppies are flowering on the wildflower meadow, there was a Pied Wagtail in the tree opposite. I put the updated slideshows I made on the display screens and tested them, one is the meadow in flower, the other is making the wildflower meadow which now includes cutting paths, pulling weeds, putting picnic bench and insect hotels in the area.

Debra and Eddie rubbed down a bench seat and table ready for treating and painting. Debra also carefully strimmed the area by the small Oak tree where Anne Marie had planted flowers, as these were swamped by nettles. I watered the plants we put in on Thursday and the Cherry tree. Debra made us a last cup of tea which we had outside in the shade, we saw lots of Mayflys, one landed on David’s finger. We plan to have another weekend work party to carry out wall repairs.

Graham Bartlett  

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