Blue Flower

24/2/22 February's high winds damaged our cistern fence, so we made new post baseplates and repaired the fence to prevent damage to the cistern top. The rope seal around the woodburner stove door was hanging off so I cleaned the slot with a wire brush and stuck it back using heatproof adhesive, then lit the fire to set the glue. We kept the fire going as it was a cold day. 

The Barn Owl nest box was modified by raising the platform as suggested by Swaffham Men’s Shed who made it, so that any chicks that fall out can crawl back inside. More Lupins donated by Dennis were planted near the wildlife habitat, as they will attract bees. Poles were put beside them to mark their position so they are not damaged. The remaining plants were put in the logstore to stop them blowing around.

The last job of the day was clearing a fallen tree opposite the Upper Lock which was completely blocking the Nar Valley Way footpath.

3/3/22 Roof tiles were added to the wildlife habitat to cover the plastic sheet, they are Essex Duoro tiles made at Swaffham Tileworks where Redlands Park housing estate now stands. Redland Roof Tiles bought the Essex Tile Company, I worked for Redland Engineering in Surrey and visited Swaffham Tile Works in 1986 when it was refurbished.

Grey Wagtails were flying around the water wheel, we hope they don’t nest in it, which would prevent us turning the wheel at Mills Weekend on 7 & 8 May. We will provide nest boxes for them with our Green Community Grant to discourage them from nesting in the wheel.  We already put up an open fronted Pied Wagtail nest box beside the river, as they have nested in the wheel before. We split more logs and put them in the logstore as supplies were running low, we didn’t light the fire this week as it was sunny, so we all had lunch outside.

I installed fixing brackets (made from Redland serial plates) and a nest camera to the Barn Owl box, Eddie added bark and nesting material inside. Andrew and Stuart were planting trees along the mill and river bank, but they also put up the Owl box. Andrew pulled the box up on a rope and supported it, Stuart climbed into the tree and fixed the box to the trunk and clipped the camera cable to the tree, this was a major operation!

Eddie dug a channel in the ground for the cables as the camera monitor will be in the Railway Wagon, he found an iron bar and strip of lead in the ground. I put up the nest box for small birds which I had already installed a camera in. This box was put lower down on another trunk so the cables can run together in the underground channel. All nest boxes are part of our Green Community Grant. Stuart brought Hector along who was happy swimming in the river and watching us all working. The Swans didn’t seem to mind him splashing around, they stayed in the river by the mill all day.

5/3/22 We had another Saturday working on our shed which is part of our wildflower meadow project. Eddie, Graeme, Fred, David and I made the roof trusses outside at The Maltings, it was raining and we got wet, so we made the side panels in the workshop. Beryl made tea and cooked lunch for us again. Next time we will have a trial assembly and make the shed door.

Graham Bartlett                

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