Winter trip 2020

Lots of work this trip!

Projects

Having started the outhouse build in October last year, our builder failed to finish the outhouse job. Most of the build has been completed. The plumbing and shower, toilet and electrics were all working but the stone walls were incomplete.

When we arrived on Tuesday 15th December, we didn’t realise what a mess it was!

Tony, from A Horrocks and Son, stepped into the breach and came to finish the job. He and Connor, his son, made an excellent job. They also made some kitchen improvements for us and fitted a decking platform to the side of the Mill which has utterly transformed that space, providing us with a Yoga and Massage platform over-looking the river and field which also serves as a wildlife viewing area and outdoor dining area.

Another guy called Chris came to remove the spoil and sort the rocks and stones into different sizes. A lot of spoil was placed on the plateau to enlarge the area and the bigger rocks and stones were tipped over the plateau which will go to make a folly (yes – a folly!) The medium and smaller sized stones will be used to make a (large) rockery.

Our conifer project had a bit of a hiccup last year but the upshot is that we have a large number of 3m logs ready to be planked and used for various projects in the pipeline.

We also tried to log up a large, felled oak. Half way through the chainsaw failed so we decided to leave that to the experts next summer.

It was a white Christmas at the Mill. Even though there was a lot going on and loads of pressure and stress it was a magical time. It didn’t stop raining after that for 2 weeks. Temperatures also plummeted to minus 7C. However, towards the end of the trip we were in short-sleeves with sun cream on. 

Because of the current COVID situation we decided to stay longer through the whole of February. 

Nature

The bird tale didn’t show many results this winter the same as laster winter. It’s all a bit quiet. Robin, chaffinch, blue, great tits, long-tailed tits, willow tit and the occasional GS woodpecker. We saw voles around the new rockery and in the garage and of course the ever-present moles. When stacking logs in the garage we inadvertently disturbed a whiskered bat. We placed him back in the eaves but he was gone a couple of days later. We also discovered a mummified smaller whispered bat under the bedroom steps.

The trail cam by the riverside detected roe deer, boar, badger, fox, otter, pine marten and coypu.

We saw two two deer one evening at 6pm at the top of Mill woods which was a great sighting.

Early spring cyclamen was spotted all over the land at the end of the trip. The sunny and warm days brought out brimstone, peacock, and fritillary. Other plants seen were snow drops, common violet and mouse-ear.