Blue Flower

Thursday 5/10/23  My first job was cutting the wildflower meadow again as there were long fallen uncut stems left, this produced a lot of cuttings so Eddie, Howard and I raked them up and put them in the new compost bins, as the compost bay we made is overflowing. 

Its one year since we sowed the seed in the wildflower meadow. In the early years, re-seeding is needed, so I mixed the seed thoroughly and put it in the seed spreader, this was spread all over the meadow. When I re-seeded the Cornfield flower area I added Poppy seeds from the large purple ones which were cut down, as the cuttings and seed heads were still on the ground.

Anne Marie joined us and weeded the garden areas, including tidying up the garden around the small Oak tree, this garden now looks much better with Lambs Ears, Lavender and Aquilegia growing. I strimmed nettles from this area. Cyclamen are still in flower on the river bank.

Tristan and Sarah visited with their dog Ginger, they are from Royston and were on a motorhome holiday in Norfolk. I explained our grants, showed them around the mill and played the video of the water wheel turning and the meadow in flower. Eddie had put our donation box out on the table, Tristan & Sarah gave a generous donation and watched the model water wheel turn. I gave them biscuits for their walk as we had just opened a new box. Howard gave Ginger some dog treats and a bowl of water, I found a stick for her to play with which she took with her.

I showed Howard how to use the mower as he is new and had not used it before. I went through the guidance notes, we don’t use it near the river walls or between the damaged walls for safety. Howard cut most of the grass around the mill, since we sharpened the blades it makes a good job of mowing the grass.

We tidied the visitor centre as everything had been put back quickly after the open days, so I stacked the information boards under the table and put the chairs and sack barrows back in their place which gives much more space. I then filled our bird feeders on the feeding station and topped up their water.

I crossed the bridge and removed signs about the recent open days from the notice board and gate frame arch, we’ll replace them with signs about the next open days in May. On my way back I noticed blue Nicandra in flower in the Blacksmith’s shop, these must have already been in the soil we put down to cover the area.

The insect hotels were leaning over again so I tightened screws in the legs. Eddie noticed many of the holes have been sealed off with insect larvae inside, we watched a Mayfly going into one of the gaps. We need to modify the insect hotel stands so they don't keep leaning over.

Eddie spent most of the day burning tall weeds in the brazier as they were taking up a lot of space in the compost bay, they are woody and do not rot down, preventing compost forming properly. Howard is a retired Fireman, he poured several buckets of water on the fire to ensure it was out before we left.

Thursday 12/10/2023  When we got to the mill we had a cup of tea outside and transferred our biscuits from the box into tins, in case Mice get into the wagon and try to eat them.

We brought a pallet from the maltings with us today which I took apart with our pallet breaker, Eddie pulled out all the nails from the wood, which is for modifying the insect hotels to stop them falling over.

Eddie brought the insect hotels over and we cut pieces of wood to brace the legs together and fitted them which made the stands much more rigid. Two didn’t need modification as they had different bases and were alright. We took them all back and staked them down on the lawn.

Anne Marie weeded and tidied up the gardens, then cleared weeds and nettles from inside and around the greenhouse. While having lunch we discussed what plants and shrubs to have at the mill, Eddie has a Dogwood bush which he offered to donate and Anne Marie will look for bulbs at the market.

I took the insect habitat off the visitor centre gable end, as birds have pulled the canes out to get the insects inside. This is the right time of year to replace them, as the weeds with hollow centres are now dead, so I pulled some up which Eddie cut to size and we put them in the canes compartment. I cut a piece of 13mm wire mesh and covered the cane section so birds can’t pull them out. I then put the habitat back on the wall. 

Eddie put the left over wood back in the shed loft and I fitted a piece of pallet wood to the sawing horse, as it was a bit flimsy, this has made it much stronger. My last job was strimming the Blacksmith’s shop which was overgrown. When we were having a last cup of tea outside we saw Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long Tailed Tits eating from the feeding station and a Swan in the river.

Graham Bartlett  

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