4th A few families braved a biting wind to take part in the Mask-making event. Dave and Amanda had persuaded Liz, Diana, Joanne and me to help out. We all struggled with cold fingers and even the strategic positioning of two vans did little to take off the chill. Eventually Dave decided it was warmer in the sunshine behind the cabin, so he and Amanda moved tables and equipment to a more comfortable position. The children went for a run around whilst the paint dried and to get warm. By mid-day nine children were thrilled with colourful 3-D masks of mice, deer and donkeys to take home.
Everyone went with Dave to Anderton in the afternoon for a grand litter-pick. There must have been at least ten of us. Charlotte accompanied me to the top of the hill, where we battled with the wind billowing and emptying the bin sacks. We left a sackful back on the trailer and set off again making for Carden’s Ferry Bridge. Further from the car park we didn’t find so much rubbish, but it was still irritating to be coming across so many bags of dog foul. A few primroses near the steps up to Haydn’s Pool brightened things up before Dave picked us up again.

seeding Horse Field11th There was a load on the burning site, so Elna and I quickly got ourselves organised. It wasn’t quite raining but it was damp – ideal conditions for sowing wildflower seed on the adjacent Horse Field. Chris set up the tractor to put the harrow over it. He and six volunteers lined up with buckets on the edge of the field ready to broadcast the seed. The sowers made their way across the field eking out their share. The tractor did a final round with the harrow. Elna and I shifted loads of brash onto the bonfire. Joanne and I returned to it in the afternoon and left a tidy pile of embers with a warning notice close by.

Sowing Dairy House Meadow18th Diana, Ians B and C and I went with Chris to sow seed for bird food at Dairy House. We lined up with our buckets and broadcast the seed down and up the field. Chris put the harrow behind the tractor and then Ian B followed afterwards with the roller. We walked back to the big field to do a wildflower survey, or, to put it another way, to look for the first signs of ragwort. There didn’t seem to be much, so perhaps we won’t have to pull the stuff from that field later in the year.
Charles and I took a roll of chicken wire to make a tree guard for the grand fir planted by the Carriage Drive a couple of weeks ago. Rabbits have found the young shoots very tasty, so it needs some protection. We walked to Forge Brook to join the group repairing a hole in the stream bed. They put at least three barrow loads of stone into a hole a metre deep. How the hole formed remains a mystery.

25th Chris asked Elna and me to clean off graffiti in the bird hide. We geared up with buckets of water, detergent, graffiti remover, sand paper and cloths. We walked down to the Mere Hide, but then we couldn’t see the offending writing. The buckets of water were heavy, so we took them back to the car and drove to the top of the slipway. We carried our equipment to the Woodland Hide, but still no graffiti. A call on the mobile to Chris confirmed that we should be looking for a 3” drawing of an obscene nature in the Mere Hide. We drove back to the top of the terrace steps and thankfully little water had spilled into the boot of the car in spite of the bumpy ride. We didn’t need the graffiti remover as some vigorous sanding removed the offending artwork. We walked on alongside the mere to a bench with some writing on it. That too came off fairly easily and we returned to the cabin with empty buckets.Charles raking
Juan gave me a lift to Anderton where work has been ongoing to remove the low growth under the trees and open up the view along the approach to the car park. My job was to load piles of material that Billy and Charles were raking up into a wheelbarrow ready for transfer to the trailer. I also sowed a raked area with grass seed and then raked it over. It rained a little, great for newly sown seed, but it turned bitterly cold.

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