Blue Flower

Thursday 28/9/23  David and Kim came to our open days, today they came back to the mill so David, who is a retired Civil Engineer could advise us about our bowed, cracked trench wall and fallen river wall. We told David what we planned to do with the walls and he advised us on all aspects of it. This means we can start repairing the walls and restoring the site as soon as possible. We are grateful to David and Kim for taking the time to help us with our project. See the repair plan article for details of wall repairs.

I measured the length of the bowed part of the wall (10m) so we know the extent of the damage, also the height of both walls (1.9 & 2.2m) and width of the riverbank (5m) so we can work out what materials we need for repairs.

We took our towed sweeper, seed spreader and mower, as we planned to sweep the cuttings from the wildflower meadow which we cut last week. The seeds should have dried and fallen after being left for a week.

Eddie carried out maintenance on the sweeper to ensure its working properly, he lubricated the bearings and pulled tangled grass from the spindle, then assembled it. He tested it on the wildflower meadow, it picked up some of the cuttings and soon filled the collector, but it didn’t pick everything up, so Eddie swapped the sweeper for the harrow and went over the area, this freed the wet cuttings which had stuck to the ground.

I went over the area again with the sweeper, it picked most of the cuttings up, but we decided to cut the area again before we sow any more seeds, as it needs to be cut short for seeds to take. I raked up a few cuttings left behind by the sweeper.

Eddie emptied the bag of peanuts I brought into our sealed containers and mowed the riverside grass with Barry’s mower. I filled the peanut, seed and suet ball feeders. Eddie also cut most of the grass at the mill with the ride on mower as it had not been cut for two weeks.

Emma strimmed and cleared weeds and nettles from the far corner of the wildflower meadow as there is a steep slope there so we couldn’t use the mower on this part. We watched Maize being harvested in the surrounding fields while we were working, the harvester made short work of cutting the large field beyond the mill, then started in the field behind the mill.

I put the wooden cover back on the underground cistern hatch after it was removed for the open days for visitors to see inside, the cistern is nearly full of water, we believe its best to leave it full to preserve it. The cover prevents wild animals falling in.

Anne Marie weeded around the Cyclamen which are still in flower on the river bank, weeded the gardens around the trees where Primroses are flowering, then weeded the plants along the wall and around the tunnel exit and finally the garden near the small Oak tree which no longer has any acorns on it. The broken Cosmos I propped up last week seems to have survived, its still flowering.

When I went to get the harrow to put it back in the shed there was a Common Darter Dragon Fly on it. Other wildlife seen today was an Owl which Eddie spotted going into the tree with the Little Owl box, so we hope Owls are using the box, there was also a Red Kite flying over the fields.

Graham Bartlett  

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