Pathways Progress – 26 May 2017

Spring has sprung – at last

It’s been a long time coming. After the early Easter sunshine when we were lulled into a false sense of ‘winter is over’ we have been through a month or more of thinking ‘this could be the week’, ‘it is warmer – isn’t it?’… At last, it appears that the waiting is over and the sun is not only shining but it has some warmth.

With a dry week forecast we have taken the opportunity to cut the grass for the first time this year and we hope to bale the hay at the end of the week.

Our fields are looking wonderful at the moment, the beautiful lines as the mower cuts through the grass – the lines of vegetable plots anticipating new vegetable growth over the coming months – the polytunnels bursting with blooms all waiting to be planted out. Such an exciting season.

Amos and Asher

Our wonderful baby boys are growing rapidly. They are both now being fed by the bottle as we are weening them away from their mums.

As you can see from this photo, they are as friendly and mischievous as ever and they love attention and their daily brush. They truly are one of the farm’s highlights… and, along with the bird hide, one of the greatest time-wasters you could ever want.

7 swans a swimming

Mummy swan has been patiently sitting on her nest for about seven or eight weeks and we had just about given up hope. We were rather sad thinking that she may have been sitting there in vain hope. But – we were wrong! What joy when we saw the whole family: mum and dad and seven little balls of fluff.

It really is better than tuning in to ‘Springwatch’. In half an hour last week I saw these beauties for the first time, mr Kingfisher fly across the pond with a small fish which he passed to mrs Kingfisher who bashed the catch about a bit before swallowing it and then flying into the nest, presumably to regurgitate the meal for the youngsters (who we hope to see soon). Whilst all this was going on a moorhen was working away on its own nest whilst two baby moorhens swam around on the water nearby… add to this the nine ducklings that slowly made their way across the pond with mum over the last few days… wow! Is there really anywhere else that can beat it? Not in my eyes.

Thank you Bill

Bill Witham has been coming along and helping us for over two years. What he can’t fix doesn’t deserve to be fixed. He is a gentle, caring, humorous, generous and highly talented man.

We knew he could mend broken things but we didn’t know he was also a poet! He came along to our celebration a few weeks ago and kindly presented us with this beautiful poem – a great reminder of what has been going on over the last two and a half years. What a great gift, we are all very grateful.


Puddled clay is clay that has had all the air pockets squeezed out of it to make a solid, immovable, watertight layer. It is a labour intensive process as YOU have to do the puddling (see above) but it is great fun as we found out this week… and no one fell in!

Using puddled clay to make a waterproof lining for a pond is rarely mentioned these days – it’s all butyl, fibreglass and concrete. But before these modern developments, clay was the only suitable material available, and if you’re doubtful of it’s success, you’ve only to look around at our canal system which were originally lined with puddled clay.

This pond was created a few months ago and the clay has been drying slowly. When the heavy rain appeared this week Pete worked out that we had the chance to get stuck in. Stuck being a carefully chosen word! I hope to show you photos of the completed pond in future updates… of course, if it leaks I’ll probably just forget.

and finally…

Work parties continue to be on the first Saturday of the month in order to make it easy to remember. The next one is on Saturday 3 June. If you can get along we would love to see you anytime between 10am and 4pm. Whether you think you are skilled or not there is a lot of things to do and so much to see. If you can help we would really appreciate it, but you are also welcome to simply have a cuppa and look around. Please come along – you might even see the kingfisher!




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