Had a week off- not really a holiday but a break from work is better than nothing, although I did have to turn up as some lorries were booked to deliver stone and skips. First to come was a lorry full of limestone to make a hard surface at French’s corner- this public footpath, although only 50m or so long, was an absolute mire this winter and so we are going to put some two-inch limestone down to make a harder surface. Oddly, it took me ages to find some limestone, seems all the quarries are closing down.
Left the forestry team clearing up the grass we had mown the week before- time to get this down to the Farm to feed the cattle ( two jobs in one- nice clean area for the scything festival and full stomachs for the cattle).
Just before lunch the 20 yard roll-on roll-off skip turned up- we needed this to get rid of all the old tanalised fencing stakes ( wondered if we would get rid of all that wood?)
Broke the day up a little and painted the farm barns at Cobbs Wood. Shane decided he needed a hood (‘cos he was splashing black paint everywhere) and so used an old poly bag – shame he didn’t look in the PPE cupboard, there were plenty of welding hoods that would have done the job.
By Thursday the forestry team had filled the 20 yard skip- there wasn’t much left to dispose of so had guessed the right skip size (mind you, it did have to be stacked properly). The skip costs about £120 and then £50/ton for wood. Must be a good five ton in that skip.
More painting on Thursday and for the first time we let the silver spangled Hamburgs out. Wow- they liked that! And what a good job they do scratching up the yard, making it a lot cleaner. Wasn’t long before the hens found somewhere else to lay their eggs – I eventually found their secret hidey hole though. The chickens put themselves to bed and all I do is lock the door at dusk.
An evening walk around the Park revealed a few more dead trees, especially those that were planted in the very wet holes this winter, and unfortunately a few I thought would pull through had eventually succumbed.
What’s most enjoyable about this time of year is the lime blossom- the scent is heavenly as it hangs in the evening air as thick as treacle; so much so the bees find it irresistible and the trees hummm with their activity. Honey made from lime blossom nectar has a very distinctive, light flavour- throughly recommended. Also out in profusion were the bramble flowers; most of the bees on these flowers were honey bees.
On the walkabout I passed the Folly- over the next six months it will undergo a thorough renovation which should be completed by December. (Mind you this is a costly exercise.)
Around the Folly were a huge amount of orchids: bee orchids and pyramidal orchids which come into flower much later than the common spotted orchids flowering here a month ago.
With the hot weather came the butterflies and the most beautiful of them all was the marbled white; only recently established at Wimpole it has blossomed and in certain parts of the estate you can find hundreds of them fluttering around the hay meadows.
As the Wimpole Scything Festival approached we spent a few more evenings mowing in front of the Hall.
Even started to mow the quarter acre and eighth of an acre plots for the competition but the weather was a bit unsettled…