Blue Flower

Thursday 24/8/23  I took some old wood, my tracksaw and a laminated wildlife sign to make a notice board showing the wildlife seen in the wildflower meadow. Eddie removed old screws and nails from the wood and I cut the pieces to size. Eddie painted the board to weatherproof it, then drilled and assembled the parts to make the stand. We used sealant to stick the notice to the board and to fit the angled edging pieces I made.

It was a hot day so the paint and sealant dried quickly. Eddie took the notice board to the wildflower meadow, cleared some tall weeds to make space for it and positioned it next to one of the paths. We’ll update the sign when we know what species are attracted by the perennial flowers which should appear next season.

We noticed a few weeds growing in the gravel at the bottom of the elevator pit which I pulled up, Eddie weeded the machinery area next to it which had a lot of weeds. A pair of Buzzards were calling and flying above us again while we were working.

Last week Anne Marie cleared nettles from the river bank, today we saw the benefits of that work, as Cyclamen are now in flower there. I put the ladder down the bank so we could pull up weeds around them, I also cleared bindweed from the other end of the bank as Cyclamen were seen there a few years ago.

Anne Marie brought Ajuga, Aquilegia and more Lambs Ears plants and weeded a patch near the small Oak tree for them, some were also planted around the tunnel exit and on top of the river bank. Anne Marie then weeded and watered the rest of the gardens. Eddie filled up the bird feeders.

Sunday 27/8/23  There were four Bat boxes and a Kestrel box left over from our Green Grant as there were not enough tall trees at the mill for them and we can’t safely get them high enough with our ladder. We decided to put them up at The Maltings opposite the Nar Valley Way where they will be seen from the public footpath. 

I brought the forklift and cage over to the Pine trees and lifted Ryan up in the cage to cut some branches off with the chainsaw as they were in the way, then he fitted the Kestrel box facing South East which Kestrels prefer. On our way back from the mill on Thursday a Kestrel flew across the track near The Maltings, so they are nearby.

Ryan went up in the cage again with the pack of Bat boxes and fitted three of them in several trees at the end of the field where the river splits, we faced the boxes in various aspects between South East and South West as Bats like a choice of sunny locations. A Swan was lying on the grass just along the river bank from us.

The last Bat box was fitted in the tunnel under the building above the river, as Bats also like this type of cool, dark location, similar to the tunnels at the mill where Bats roost. Ryan put his wellies on, got into the river and waded to the platform, climbed up onto it and stood on some wood to fit the Bat box to one of the wooden beams. In the river Ryan found a milk bottle with 'Crest' (dairies) written on it, a jar, coach screw and metal strip.

The cut branches will be used for firewood on our stove in the wagon, so we took them to the mill, along with the items found in the river which will be put on display. At the mill I showed Ryan the wildlife sign Eddie and I made on Thursday. We stopped to cut overhanging brambles and eat Blackberries on the way down. 

Graham Bartlett  

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