Poldark came to Wimpole!

Woodcraft folk

Woodcraft Folk

The Woodcraft Folk came for their annual weekend to camp and learn about the countryside. They also had a lesson in tent peg making as they lose about one to two dozen pegs a year. Managed to get them to make twelve so now they will be self-sufficient with regard to wooden tent pegs

Firewood !

Firewood ?

A few holes!

A few holes!

Rubbish day weather-wise on Tuesday so spent the morning clearing out the shed and making some wooden items, one of which used the cast off ‘log to leg’ legs. Nobody wanted them at the Bodger’s Ball so I picked them up just in case they’d come in handy … they did ūüôā Some waste ash and a bit of effort and look what you can make.

Hey presto a table

Hey presto a table!

This will be a bowl making horse as it’ll make carving the inner bowl much easier and safer.

Discussing the way forward

Discussing the way forward

Patching up

Patching up

The weather improved somewhat so it was back to painting the barns at Cobbs Wood Farm. A good rub down made it easier to apply the tar but not before some of the water damaged boards were replaced- that’s the trouble if you don’t maintain buildings in a watertight state. In this case the gutters had fallen apart and the rainwater from the roof dripped down the wood rather than the downpipe.

Tarring the exterior

Tarring the exterior

Jim woz (not) ere

Jim woz (not) ere

We’re getting there with this job – a northerly range of barns so only the westerly range to do plus the corrugated metal barns. Think there may have been some mickey taking- Jim woz (not) ere :-)!

Mowing session at Cobbs wood farm

Mowing session at Cobbs Wood Farm

Mr Poldark himself

Mr Poldark himself

Had another mowing session on Tuesday evening- quite a few different people turned up and that included Mr Poldark himself, aka Matt, (watch this space- Mr Poldark is getting

Green hay for the farm animals

Green hay for the farm animals

better). We mowed quite a bit of grass and that meant we had to move it the next day; instead of drying it (which takes time) it was taken down to the farm and mixed in with last year’s hay thus stretching the limited hay available and giving the farm animals something tastier. They do this in Romania with their milk cows and, if you think about it, it does save a lot of time drying the grass to make hay.

Paul's dark moment

Paul’s dark moment

Oh back to the barn, you haven't finished painting

Oi! Back to the barn, you haven’t finished painting

Finished off the tarring to the northerly barn but, before moving on to the other one, we went and picked the primrose seed in Victoria Avenue. It’s not at all easy to harvest mechanically as the seedheads hide under the basal leaves. Cowslip seeds are much easier to collect and this is reflected in the price. Wild primrose seed can cost as much as ¬£ 2.5 a gramme ¬†compared to cowslip at ¬£1.50 or ¬£260 a kilo so god knows how much a kilo of primrose is as Emorsgate doesn’t have enough to quote a price.

Primrose seed

Primrose seed

I think we picked about a kilo or so of green seedheads in an hour- guess that would be about half a kilo of dry seeds. We then threw the seeds into a new area of Victoria Avenue and being green they should grow this year (without a cold spell).

Ragged Robin

Ragged Robin

Meadow buttercups

Meadow buttercups

While down in the avenue I took the opportunity to see what flowers were out. Plenty of meadow buttercups and red clover of course but there was also ox-eye daisy, plantain, yellow rattle, birdsfoot trefoil and speedwell. I did find a broomrape very close to some red clover so I guess it was Orobanche minor.

Ox eye daisy

Ox eye daisy

Broom rape

Broomrape

Broomrapes have no chlorophyll so they are totally dependent on other plants for nutrients. Broomrape seeds remain dormant in the soil, often for many years, until stimulated to germinate by certain compounds produced by living plant roots. Broomrape seedlings put out a root-like growth which attaches to the roots of nearby hosts. Once attached to a host the broomrape robs its host of water and nutrients. Some species are only able to parasitise a single plant species, such as ivy broomrape Orobanche hederae, which is restricted to parasitising ivy; these species are often named after the plant they parasitise. Others can infect several genera, such as the lesser broomrape O. minor, which lives on clover and other related Fabaceae.

Setting up for the county show

Setting up for the County Show

Time to get ready for the Cambridge County Show. The weather was somewhat fickle and the forecast for Sunday wasn’t looking too hopeful either. This show is on the Wimpole Estate but is run by the young farmers. The estate is allowed a small area to promote our work so the Wympole Green Woodworkers were going to be there as was the portable blacksmith forge.

Fetching some alder for the Wympole Green Woodworkers

Fetching some alder for the Wympole Green Woodworkers

Had to fetch some decent fresh ash wood for turning and some alder we had cut (to have a competition related to alder). I wonder if anyone will make gunpowder as alder charcoal was used for this; there again perhaps some clogs… somehow I doubt it. We’ll find out next month what people have made.

Dark clouds gathering

Dark clouds gathering

We also went to our new woodyard to find some elm for making spoon carving blocks and took a little look en route at the willow bed Shane and Jayne planted. Wow! It is doing exceptionally well- I think there are around five hundred sets- so next year we might have around 2000-4000 binders and rods. A long time ago I cleared up this area as it was full of rubbish; it cost a fortune as I had to get Huntingdon Plant in- they had a 360 digger and most of the contaminated soil was removed. Once that was clear I then sowed some wild flower seeds on the bare soil.

Ragged robin

Ragged robin

Ox eye daisy

Ox eye daisy

Loads of flowers are growing here and I learnt a lot from this first sowing and subsequent ones – namely that some wild flowers like wet soils while chalkland ones like dryer soils. As much of the land has been drained we have lost most of the wet meadows and it’s actually very hard to get them back without re-introducing a higher water table.

Red campion

Red campion

Sowing the flower seed at the folly

Sowing the flower seed at the Folly

The last bit of sowing we were doing at the Folly was aimed at a more general flower meadow (nothing rare, just what would grow in this area). Further up and around the field on the more chalky slopes we sowed some chalk grassland mix a month ago and that appears to be doing quite well.

Barley swaying in the wind

Barley swaying in the wind

Green sea

Green sea

The winter barley on the adjacent farms has just headed up and with a blowy evening on Friday it was wonderful to watch it ripple with the wind- a sea of barley.

f

A little field in Eversden where my sheep graze

Ah ha mr Fox is after the rabbits

Ah ha! Mr Fox is after the rabbits

Well, I got a surprise on Saturday morning… Mr Fox was hunting rabbits in the parterre. No wonder he was spending quite a bit of time bouncing in and out as it forced the rabbits to bolt out and in two of the beds there are small rabbit warrens. With the fox catching rabbits was he friend or foe of the gardener?

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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Poldark came to Wimpole!

  1. Sadeik says:

    Reblogged this on Wympole & Wratsworth and commented:

    More mowing news from Wimpole

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s