Blue Flower

Thursday 21/3/24  Eddie switched on the nest cameras and noticed nesting materials in the Barn Owl and Great Tit boxes which were not there last time. We didn’t see any activity in the Owl box, so we don’t know if Jackdaws are using it again, but the Great Tit appeared in the small box and added more nesting material several times.

The garden near the tunnel outlet is coming to life, Lupins are coming up again and the Tulip bulbs Anne Marie planted last year are looking healthy. Daffodils are still in flower around the big Cherry tree and in the grindstones. The Cherry trees now have buds, one bears fruit, the other is an ornamental flowering tree.

Beryl bought us a large sack of bird seed which I emptied into tubs. Eddie filled the feeders but found one of the lantern style seed feeders was broken, so he fitted screws as perches and added a wooden base so seed doesn’t fall out. The Squirrel proof peanut feeders often have wet congealed peanuts at the bottom which are difficult to remove, so Eddie drilled a drain hole in the base which should keep them dry.

We put our bridge across and walked along the opposite bank to view the mill from the footpath and we found several broken Duck’s eggs on the path. There were lots of Chiff Chaffs singing and flitting around the trees. Back at the mill I checked to see if I had identified Chiff Chaffs correctly by looking them up in the book Anne Marie gave us. We also saw Blue Tits, Goldfinches, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail with nesting material in its beak and a Pied Wagtail on the roof.

The display on the nest camera monitor suddenly turned itself upside down, so I got the instructions out, which were not much help, but as soon as we went into the menu everything was in Chinese writing, so we didn’t dare change anything. I decided to take the screen out of the bracket, turn it over and refit it upside down. If it corrects itself we can easily put it back again.

In the afternoon Eddie got Barry’s push mower out to test it, as it had not been used for a while, he cut the grass outside the visitor centre. I split some of the large logs we brought back last time so they fit our stove, then strimmed around the chimney base. Eddie got a bucket of river water and cleaned the glass panel over the brick floor as it was covered in a thick layer of dust.

Eddie also cut some brambles and I stapled pieces of batten to the plastic covers which keep tools dry in the shed door bins, the weight of the battens will hold the covers in place, as the wind was blowing them around.

On our way back along the riverside track Eddie spotted a Kingfisher flying along the river. When we rebuild the fallen river wall we will install a Kingfisher nest tunnel into it which is left over from our Green Grant.

Tuesday 26/3/24  Last month we applied for a grant to celebrate the 80th anniversary of D Day at our open days on 11 & 12 May. Today we were informed by Peter Wilkinson, Breckland Council Chairman, that we have been awarded the grant which will pay for food, soft drinks, decorations, displays and activities. We will start preparing for this event at our work parties soon.

One of our displays will be a model landscape of a D Day beach which we will make from materials already on site. This type of model is called a Diorama.

Thursday 28/3/24  I took the mower and on my way down I saw Lambs in the field on the other side of the river, Swans near the mill and Buzzards flying overhead. Anne Marie joined us for the first time this year and brought a lovely chocolate cake which we all enjoyed with a cup of tea, we had another slice at lunch time too.

There was no bird activity today on either of the nest box cameras, but there are two eggs in the Jackdaw / Barn Owl box, we think they are Jackdaw eggs as they look slightly blue.

Anne Marie walked round and checked all the gardens, everything is still growing well and labelled, although the garden around the small Oak tree is overgrown. Anne Marie weeded the river bank and made room for more bulbs which Eddie is going to bring. A rockery plant which was planted last year is in flower on the tunnel exit.

I brought the small trailer again and used it to bring more wood from the skip. The trailer sits too high at the front when the mower is towing it, so I made a block of wood and drilled it to use as a spacer between the hitch and drawbar. I fitted the spacer using long bolts and took the trailer for a short test drive, it now sits level.

Eddie filled the bird feeders and cut all the grass at the mill in the morning, as rain was forecast in the afternoon, he also strimmed around the insect hotels, which will be put back in the wildflower meadow soon.

I started to make the diorama landscape for the D Day celebrations at our open days. I got my old dining table top and boards from Eddie’s old TV cabinet from the shed, along with a board I got from the skip today, I cut them all to size with my tracksaw. Eddie and I then made a frame from salvaged wood and fitted all the boards to it, we worked in the visitor centre in the afternoon as there was heavy rain. 

The diorama has four sections: A grey board for the sea which we'll paint waves onto; a beach we'll fill with sand; a slope which we'll cover with filler to look like dunes; upper land area with pillbox  where we'll add simulated grass and a road. A landing craft will be in the sea, with tanks, home made tank traps, and model vehicles on the beach to re-create the D Day landings. We'll fit side panels to the diorama soon. A model Spitfire in D Day livery will hang over the diorama. Models can be taken apart and rebuilt as part of the D Day activities.

Graham Bartlett  

Interactive Plan   Activity    Green Grant    Finished Diorama    Wildflower Gallery    Volunteer     Previous   Next

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