Blue Flower

Thursday 4/4/24  There were four volunteers today. Anne Marie told us there were fields of Tulips near the farm bridge which she had seen on her walks, so we had a cup of tea with a slice of chocolate cake which Anne Marie made, then we all walked down the riverside track to the bridge. The Tulips looked spectacular so we walked along the farm track next to them, which is part of the circular walk, and took lots of photos.

Back at the mill, Anne Marie planted mixed bulbs which Eddie has donated, they were planted on the river bank and in the gardens around the trees. All were labelled so we will know where everything is to keep them weeded and watered.

I made a model pillbox at home using my mitre saw to cut the slot, this is for the model landscape we are making for the 80th anniversary of D Day which we will be celebrating at our open days on 11 & 12 May, with a Breckland Council grant. Howard painted the inside of the pillbox black and the outside grey, it will be fitted to the model soon.

Eddie and I cut two boards into strips to make side panels to stop model tanks and vehicles falling off the landscape. Howard planed the step level on the model and screwed the sloping surface to the top board, he also drilled and countersunk the side panels, we got them all made today, so I won’t need to bring my saw next time.

I brought a bag of Nyger seed today which Eddie emptied into the container, he then filled all the bird feeders and strimmed in front of the visitor centre and around the railway wagon. Debra and Abbie walked down with Hector the Labrador, we showed them what we were doing with the model and threw sticks for Hector.

Tracey and Rob gave us a sack of Teasel seed heads, so I put some in the tray on the bird feeding station and Howard poured some on top of the wildlife habitat, this should attract finches.

Saturday 6/4/24  At home I modified the power cable of an old TV to run on 12 Volts for the open days and tested it with a car battery donated by S & P Motors, to play a slideshow I created of D Day scenes. I also got boards from my loft for making a display case to show WW2 medals, helmets, de-activated grenades and bullet cases. The display case, slideshow and diorama landscape will be in a gazebo on the lawn at the open days.

I also made a set of six Hedgehog tank traps at home for the diorama, I sliced a thin strip of feather edge fence panel, cut into 50mm lengths and fixed them together using a glue gun. Real tank traps were made from steel rails to prevent tanks from crossing the beaches, Beryl told me there is one near the hump bridge in Narford.

Thursday 11/4/24  Eddie took the mower and I took a trailer full of boards for making a display case for the open days. On the way down we saw two pairs of Swans in different parts of the river.

At the mill, both of our Cherry trees are in blossom and the Tulips Anne Marie planted are flowering for the first time. Anne Marie joined us again and weeded the Lupin garden, then cleared grass and weeds from the small Oak tree garden, revealing plants including Allium, Aquilegia and Lambs Ears.

Eddie mowed the wildflower meadow, there were lots of Dock leaves, cutting helps keep all weeds under control. The last cut of the meadow should be done before the end of April. The meadow should start flowering towards the end of next month. Eddie also cut the large lawn and the rest of the grass on site.

I worked on the diorama model, fitting beams underneath so it can be held in our two workmate benches, this saves having to use a table, as we will need all the tables for food, displays and visitors. I fitted the grey board which represents the sea and side panels to the landscape, so the model tanks and vehicles will not fall off.

Emma walked down and joined us, we discussed various aspects of the open days including signs along the track. Emma is creating a quiz for the open days so she walked around and looked at our information boards to get ideas for questions, the quiz will include bone mill, wildlife and D Day subjects, there will be a £25 prize for the winner donated by Beryl, the site owner.

Eddie filled all the bird feeders. I switched on the nest cameras and we saw Jackdaw eggs in the Barn Owl box and Great Tit eggs in the small nest box, the birds returned to sit on the eggs. It was a warm day so we all had lunch outside, we saw a Pied Wagtail on the water wheel.

A pair of Swans flew over the field next to the mill, then one flew in and landed on our wildflower meadow before walking up to the river bank. A pair of Oyster Catchers also flew over, I heard them calling before I saw them. Eddie used Barry’s push mower to cut the triangle of grass next to the trench.

Our last job was clearing a fallen tree which was blocking the track downstream from the mill, we discovered it when we walked to the Tulips last week and we had to go into the field to get around it. Today Eddie and I went armed with chainsaws, loppers and bowsaw, we cut the fallen tree away so we can get the mower past to cut grass on the footpath for the open days. We brought back the logs which we'll cut up for the fire.

When we got back to the mill we noticed a single Swan in the river next to our wall. We had a last cup of tea with a piece of chocolate fridge cake which Anne Marie gave us before going back.

I've added a new feature, the latest website article will now have a link to what we were doing this time last year. You can still use the Search Box (MM/YYYY date format) or Activity link (below) to see previous activity.

Graham Bartlett  

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