Archive for May, 2011

Minutes of FoAM’s 12th AGM and Treasurer’s Report for 2010/11

Click the Minutes of the 12th Annual General Meeting of FoAM to find the Minutes of our AGM  held on 16th May 2011.  The Treasurer’s Report for 2010/11, which was  presented at the Meeting by our Treasurer, Alan Garner,  is attached to the Minutes.

Spring 2011 Newsletter

Get our latest news!   FoAM’s Spring 2011 Newsletter is now available.

Read about the bittern which obliged by showing itself just as visitors attending our Bird Walk reached Marbury Mere!


6th A group of us pushed over the charcoal burner, revealing a pile of charred wood. Jim and I sorted through charcoal and browns. We separated out two sacks of browns. With masks in place we riddled the charcoal filling 17 bags suitable for barbecues and a sack full of smaller grade that we save for Bartington Forge. Steve and Sandra had finished off the bat box kits being prepared for an event on the Wirral coast. They then helped us with stapling, labelling and storing the bags of charcoal. After what most volunteers regard as the worst job, certainly the filthiest, Dave rewarded Jim and me with a bonfire. It kept us busy all afternoon, heaving timber onto a blaze. Most of it was fencing that had been removed, but someone had also tidied up bits and pieces in the yard. The working area in the yard is soon to be filled with a storage container, so it’s only been a month.

7th We emptied it yesterday, so today we filled the charcoal burner again. It seemed to take ages setting it up before we could start putting any wood in. Jim was the one to climb into the naughty can this time whilst Frances and I handed him the kindling. We tossed the browns in and then turned to the logs. Most of them needed splitting, so Jim got out his latest toy that he had brought from home. Frances and I could manage this log splitter, whereas we are unable to swing an axe. We went for a change of activity in the afternoon with another bonfire. We were joined by Joanne, Steph and Elna for a while before Joanne and Frances returned to the yard for a bit more log-splitting. They almost filled the kiln.


13th Dave asked me to take someone with me to cut back dog roses that were blocking the path between the bird hides at Haydn’s Pool. Sandra offered to come and we collected loppers from the container. We left the car in the lane and walked to the Brunner Mond Hide assessing the nature of the task. We wrestled with the briars and tidied the trimmings into the undergrowth. There was a bit of litter to take back to the car.

14th Rachel Kerslake was meeting Dave at 9.30 to look at the caravan with a view to using it to represent Greenspace in CWAC at the Cheshire Show. She left us with lots of ideas, the most pressing that the caravan needed a good clean.  As it is also needed for the Joshua Tree event on Saturday Liz, Elna and I quickly got to work with broom, cloths and buckets of soapy water. Liz reached most of the higher areas with broom. Elna and I followed on with cloths. We tried to avoid using the ladders, but Elna considered it necessary and made the climb herself. Reaching up with wet cloths inevitably meant water soaked our sleeves. We brushed the floor and sloshed soapy water all over it, before giving it a final brush. Job done, lunchtime. The floor had dried and so it was OK for Dave and Ian to shut the caravan up, ready to wash the remaining side. Fi and I turned up with bucket and brushes to find the men eying aluminium strips and rivets that should have been holding the floor panel together. There was little that could be done today by way of a repair, so Fi and I grabbed litter-pickers and sacks and went for a walk. We went down into Hopyards Wood and completed a circuit of Marbury, taking in Big Wood and Forge Brook. As well as collecting a couple of sacks of litter, it gave me a chance to do a reccy for the guided spring flower walks in the next few days. The bluebells will probably be at their peak next week and the wood sorrel and yellow archangel are just starting to appear, so it looks promising.

20th At least a dozen volunteers met up with Chris and Forestry’s Ranger Duncan at the top of Uplands. Duncan’s pick-up was loaded with nearly a thousand assorted wild flower plants. We were going to put them amongst the grass and dandelions to bring some diversity of flora into the field. Frances and I turned down the offer of a second spade. Previous experience had taught us that we needed to change activity frequently to avoid seizing up. We agreed to share the digging. We found spots to plant cowslips, salad burnet and ragged robin. Work continued in the warm sunshine for an hour after lunch. Meadow cranesbill, field scabious, bedstraw and black knapweed were amongst other plants finding new homes. Back at Marbury Frances and I sorted tree stakes and guards in the yard, whilst Jim worked astride the shave horse. Plans for a cup of tea were thwarted by a shortage of milk, so we got into the car for the two-mile journey to Barnton Co-op. The errand took us over half an hour due to temporary traffic lights and heavy traffic during the school run. By the time we got back most people had given up and gone home.


21st Ian C, Jim M, Jim and I walked down to the Ice Pond wheeling equipment in a barrow and carrying tools. We were sprucing up the dipping station ready for the summer season. Chris already has several groups booked in for pond-dipping. There were nettles, brambles and other weeds to remove from around the benches, which also needed a clean and some oil to help preserve them.  After lunch we returned to finish off the job and repair fencing around the remains of the Ice House, which would be dangerous for adventurous toddlers and small dogs. There was time left for Jim and me to take litter-pickers down the Carriage Drive, over to the out-of-hours car park, onto the main car park and into the Play Area. Within an hour our sacks were beginning to split and our arms aching from the weight. Jim fetched the car to take the rubbish back to the yard. After a couple of thirst quenching cups of tea we headed home, only to spot freshly deposited cans etc on the out-of-hours car park. Swear words don’t help.

27th Jim and I offered to help Vernon, who wanted to make the access to the Mere Hide feeding station less precarious. Jim and Vernon extended the bottom step by banging in a couple of posts and nailing rails to make a revetment. Careful balance was required. I remained towards the top of the bank and passed appropriate tools. Vernon had found large stones and bricks to go in the bottom and then, with Alan G’s help, we fetched three barrow loads of small stones from the car park to level it off. The bird table looked to be in need of attention, so Vernon took that back to the yard for repair. In future we should be at less risk of ending up in the mere when reaching to put food onto the table