Got me stumped there!

Where the mushrooms

Where are the mushrooms?

Time to wander down the South Avenue to see what flowers are growing down there since our green haying; plus, I might find some late St Georges mushrooms. I did, loads of them and they are late this year as the soil has been quite cold so far this year- so much so that the spring sown arable crops are struggling to get going.

Plantago

Plantago

Speedwell

Speedwell

Plantago is doing well and so are the creeping buttercups (which makes the avenue look like gold), then there are clumps of speedwell scattered through the fields with delicate pencilled lines adorning the blue flowers.

DSC07611

Buttercups galore

DSC07613

Strewn with gold

Brome

Brome

Mixed among the buttercups are red clover flowers, only a few at the moment but many more to come into bloom. There are the early grasses blooming too like the fox tail and sweet vernal grass (which incidentally is exceedingly nice to chew, so much so I may pick a bit and put it into a glass jar with some vodka to see what flavour it’ll give it).

Red clover

Vetch

Glaucous sedge

Glaucous sedge

Field rush

Field wood rush

In parts of the field the common vetch has taken hold and adds a beautiful, delicate pink hue which breaks up the golden-yellow of the buttercups. Then there are the patches of glaucous blue and brown seed heads of the, well, glaucous sedge- a good chalkland species. The nice surprise for me was the field wood rush, only a few plants but, left to seed, it will slowly increase in population. It has another name, Good Friday grass, as this is about the time it flowers; it’s hated by gardeners for some obscure reason as I like to see it in the lawns (don’t suppose many people take time to look properly at this lovely plant).

The May tree

The May tree

Blowing grass

Blowing grass

The May tree is out in blossom and will provide much valuable pollen and nectar for the late spring insects although, with a cold May, there seem to be fewer insects about. Meanwhile the grass is now really starting to grow and the lawns around the Hall are getting their short back and sides- they look even smarter when the clippings are removed and Kieron has a novel way rounding up the clippings.

What is it!

What is it?

It’s a St Georges mushroom! Sometimes they grow sort of wrong but this one was rather enchanting.

Old timer

Old timer

And another one!

And another one!

The mowers were out in force on Tuesday. We went and mowed the meadow behind Cobbs Wood Farm and we even tackled the jungle of nettles that were growing up on the old dung heap. ( Pretty furious stingers though).

Ian mowing

Ian mowing

Jess mowing

Jess mowing

Ian and Jess from the Hall came out and honed their skills felling great swathes of lush stingers. Once dried they can be fed to the animals as they are very nutritious and they can be eaten by humans! Here’s a bit from Wiki:

Look at all the soup!

Look at all the soup!

“Urtica dioica has a flavour similar to  spinach and cucumber when cooked and is rich in vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Young plants were harvested by  Native Americans and used as a cooked plant in spring when other food plants were scarce. Soaking stinging nettles in water or cooking will remove the stinging chemicals from the plant, which allows them to be handled and eaten without injury. After the stinging nettle enters its flowering and seed setting stages the leaves develop gritty particles called  cystoliths, which can irritate the urinary tract. In its peak season, nettle contains up to 25% protein, dry weight, which is high for a leafy green vegetable. The leaves are also dried and may then be used to make a  herbal tea, as can also be done with the nettle’s flowers.

Mowing the nettles

Mowing the nettles

Nettles can be used in a variety of recipes, such as  polenta, pesto and puree.  Nettle soup is a common use of the plant, particularly in Northern and Eastern Europe. In  Nepal (सिस्नो in Nepali) and the  Kumaon &  Gargwal region of Northern  India, stinging nettle is known as sisnukandeli and bicchū-būṭī ( Hindi: बिच्छू-बूटी) respectively. It is also found in abundance in Kashmir. There it is called soi. It is a very popular vegetable and cooked with Indian spices.

Cobb wood farm meadow

Cobbs Wood Farm meadow

Nettles are sometimes used in cheese making, for example in the production of Cornish Yarg and as a flavouring in varieties of Gouda.

Nettles are used in  Albania as part of the dough filling for the  borek. Its name is byrek me hithra. The top baby leaves are selected and simmered, then mixed with other ingredients like herbs, rice, etc. before being used as a filling between dough layers”.

What are the gardeners nicking this time!

What are the gardeners nicking this time?

And they asked if we could give them a hand !

…and they asked if we could give them a hand !

They’re at it again, nicking our wood! Well, more precisely, the oak stumps. What’s more we even had to help them install their ill-gotten gains. Did a bit of a tally and we reckon they owe us about £8,000- whoopee! Somehow I don’t think the cheque will be in the post. Actually, on a serious note, stumps like these can cost a small fortune in garden centres and, many years ago and in another job, I sold them for shop dressing- they get sand blasted to clean them up.

LOLER testing

LOLER testing

Testing the winch and crane

Testing the winch and crane

Odd week really- had the plant safety man in (Nick); (not to test the green plants silly) to test the lifting equipment, play equipment etc for LOLER see this blog for a simple explanation: rospa. Had all our climbing gear inspected (this has to be done every six months), the lifting strops, the timber crane and the winch (the latter is not strictly for lifting but wire winch ropes can break and cause accidents).

A fail

A fail

This is a fail too

This is a fail too

This time our six ton winch failed, the wire cable had got damaged when we did the last bit of winching work by the lakes plus there were too many broken small wires. Nasty little blighters especially if you don’t use leather gloves, they soon bury themselves deep into your flesh and cause quite a bit of pain. So the wire rope had to be stripped off and we’ll have to get a new one. (Mind you we can make smaller wire ropes for strops with the good sections).

Now we have to replace the cable

Now we have to replace the cable

That was an awkward job (removing the cable), just as well John the Engineer Ranger was around!

The nuts on the crane were loose, that's a fail

The nuts on the crane were loose- that’s a fail

Next to fail  (well, have an adviser note) was the Botex timber crane – there were some loose bolts which Nick kindly marked for us and there was a problem with the spool valve sticks.

Something wrong with the joy sticks

Something wrong with the joy sticks

Ah ha loose bolts

Ah ha! Loose bolts

Tightening the bolts was easy but what on earth was the problem with the spool valve block? Just sometimes one thinks the worst has happened- we thought a return spring had broken but, as it turned out, a load of small bolts had worked loose. Fixed the spool value block in seconds after that.

Need a bit of gas

Need a bit of gas…

That loosened it

… that loosened it

Nothing to do with the LOLER inspections but, as we were engaged with repairing equipment this week, we thought we might as well fix as much of the worn out and broken items in the shed as possible. Some of the high lift wedges needed the wooden pegs replacing. They needed a bit of heat to expand the ali wedge and burn the wood so both could part company. Managed to do quite a bit of repair work, even grinding the metal wedges.

The manual trip hammer

The manual trip hammer

Got stumped with the treadle trip hammer though…even with some heat we couldn’t budge two pins that needed to come out of a spline. We have to remove two bits of the trip hammer so that we can get it into the forge. That job will have to wait till next week. Now it’s time to clear off for the weekend :-)…

About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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1 Response to Got me stumped there!

  1. Sadeik says:

    Reblogged this on Scythe Association and commented:

    A few snippets about flowers and mowing in this blog

    Like

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