With way too much holiday to use up I spent most of the time after Christmas ferreting but it was a time for a change, I needed a break from Wimpole. So it was off to the local village of Orwell’s clunch pit where my Norfolk Horn sheep help with the conservation of the chalkland SSSI; they eat all the rough grass and scrub which helps the smaller wild flowers to flourish as they get to see the light. If the grass is left to grow tall and rank this would start to eliminate the chalkland’s wild flowers which don’t compete very well.
The reason for the visit was to trim the rabbit population as they are digging bigger warrens every year- time to curtail their activities! It was a very frosty morning that Sunday and relatively firm underfoot; a slow start but, as the day wore on, we managed to break into double figures. However, the sun warmed the frozen ground and the slope became greasy; it wasn’t long after when, as the rabbits bolted into the nets and one of the three of us traversed the slope, we would end up on our backsides at the bottom. At the end of the day we had accounted for… hmmmmmm, let me see if I can remember… maybe twenty rabbits in all.
Continued frosty weather meant I could use my Norco mountain bike to ascertain the quality of Wimpole Estate’s new bike route. With harder ground it was much easier than I thought it might be and the views were excellent. Oh, did I mention the pub? Funny how the bike seems to know the way there!!!!!!
On the way back I went a totally different way with the two dogs running alongside like a pack. Went past the Gloucesters woodland and down through the woods to inspect the ‘Uncarved block’- lovely views from one of the oak thrones here.
Some days later I went the same way to go to the shop. Alas the ground had become unfrozen and the way was difficult to say the least- mud up to your eyeballs and worse was to happen at the top of the hill as the mud stuck to the Knobbly tyres and then piled up behind the front forks and the gears. SNAP! What was that? Oh dear, the gear hanger broke under the huge strain of the additional mud. ( In fact I think the gear hanger might be designed to snap, just like a shear bolt is, so that the gears are saved.) It curtailed the shop visit and I had to walk back!!!!! How much is this part? £20… expensive bike ride! It’s all fixed now and ready for a shop visit 🙂
Don’t think the horse would break down (and John is totally reliable in all conditions) perhaps I should use him when it’s muddy to visit the shop!
During the holidays the Green Woodworking Group visited Jim’s allotment which is also part ‘managed’ by Shane and Jayne. Jim has been heavily involved with plant breeding and he has one of the best allotments I have had the pleasure to come across -food is available all year round and he has also planted quite a lot of willow for weaving. This is what we had come over to help harvest and I have yet to see Jayne’s willow fat balls that she has made for the wild birds from this willow. Ah well, back to work on Monday…