Blue Flower

Thursday 25/1/24  Howard bought us a heat sensitive fire alarm and fitted it on the wagon ceiling, as we were having false alarms from the old one. Eddie lit the fire, Howard donated kindling and firewood today and brought Chicken and Chorizo which he heated in the oven above the fire for our lunch, which we all enjoyed.

I did more tests on our nest cameras and found one of the power wires was frayed, it broke away from the terminal block while I was testing the voltage, so I stripped the wire and remade the connection, the Voltage is now 12V at the cameras and they worked all day without problems. On the screen we saw Great Tits, Blue Tits and a Coal Tit eating from the feeders. None of the nest boxes are occupied yet.

Eddie took apart the bird feeders and cleaned them with our cleaning kit and I replaced the missing perch from one of the seed feeders with a bolt and filled up the water bowl. Most feeders were left near the fire to dry out after cleaning. The seed feeders had already dried so Eddie refilled them.

A notice board was made by Howard to go on our picnic table to show pictures of the wildflower meadow in bloom, so visitors at open days can see what the meadow looks like in flower. I stapled the laminated sign I made to the board and we put it on the picnic bench to see how it looks, then I put it away with the other information boards in the visitor centre.

Howard removed nails and screws sticking out of the posts we put along the edge of the wildflower meadow, they were put in a tub to avoid any punctured tyres. The posts are to stop the meadow being cut when the track is mown, they were salvaged from my old summer house frame.

I drilled holes in the laminated signs I made, as I forgot to punch holes when I made them, for fixing them to the fence with garden wire. The signs prevent visitors from entering the danger area between the damaged walls. The original signs blew away in the recent storms.

Howard put our footbridge across and cut back brambles with the long lopper as they were making it difficult to swing the bridge round. We all went across the river and brought back fallen branches and cuttings which we pulled out of the ditch, these were from when the authorities cut back the trees last year. We cut the large branches up for firewood and put the brash by the incinerator ready to burn.

Beryl, the site owner asked us to put up a hand carved bird nest box in her garden, so we took metal brackets, screws and tools back ready for this. Howard stood in the back of the Gator truck and fixed the nest box to the tree, Eddie held the torch and I passed Howard tools and things. Eddie and I went back to the mill to get the drill and to cut one of the brackets with the hacksaw, we saw a good sunset across the fields at the mill. The nest box is now up and ready, as birds are about to start nesting.

Thursday 1/2/24 Beryl asked us to cut a few thin branches off the Yew tree so she could see the bird box we put up last week from her window, we took the cuttings to burn at the mill. We also moved Beryl’s tea pot nest box to a tree with Ivy, by standing in the back of the Gator truck. Eddie also put up Beryl’s new bird feeder which looks like eyes and a beard.

Eddie took apart his old TV stand and brought it to the mill, we kept the flat panels to make notice boards. I salvaged some long lengths of scrap wood and put them behind the visitor centre. I bought a few biscuits to keep us going until we get a new box, ground stakes for when we put our insect hotels back in the meadow, and Mouse repellent sachets which we took to the mill. 

We put the mouse repellent under the seat where camera cables run and in our kitchen cupboards, as mice recently chewed camera cables, tea bags and a bag of sugar, which we now keep in plastic storage tubs. We don’t want to kill mice as the wagon is in open countryside, which is their natural habitat and we can’t use humane traps as we only go there once a week.

Eddie lit the fire in the wagon and I put sausage rolls in the oven for lunch. Eddie also lit a fire in the incinerator to burn debris we brought back last time. Eddie tended the fire all day and burnt nearly all the cuttings, he spotted Hares running in the field behind the mill. Debra joined us and pulled Ivy off of the river wall and burnt it in the incinerator, then filled up all the bird feeders.

I sorted out the box of screws which was running low of several sizes, I brought some from home and topped up the box. I then found the sign for the Blacksmith’s area and taped over the part that says the anvil stand is visible, as we have now covered the Blacksmith's area with soil to preserve it.

I went back along the track to get branches which we cut to prepare for moving the container in 2022, I took them back and cut them into logs for our woodburner and Eddie burnt the brash in the incinerator. I saw a Wren flying around the tree near the wagon.

Debra sorted out the bags of logs, splitting large logs with the axe and stacking them on a pallet next to the woodstore to keep them dry. Debra suggested using the small rotten logs for wildlife habitat. Debra also tidied the railway wagon and sorted out the kindling wood and firelighting papers.

Abbie and her Labrador, Hector visited us later, we threw sticks for Hector and he went in the river and stream, he pulled small logs out of the woodstore to play with. On our way back we saw a Muntjac on the other side of the river and a Buzzard in flight.

Graham Bartlett  

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