Volunteering report for 26th June

Seven volunteers gathered on a lovely summer evening.

  1. The fallen willow was cut up and carted to Fraser’s bonfire site.
  2. Long grass and nettles was cleared from around some of the fruit trees.
  3. Encroaching vegetation was cut from around the rubbish bins.
  4. Spreading fruit bushes were tied back to keep the path around the hedge open
  5. Ragwort was removed from in the Orchard and along the Pads footpath
  6. We toured the Orchard noting Andy Lee’s recommendations from trees for winter work. This was to provide information for active volunteers for a more informed discussion at FOG and elsewhere.
  7. We checked the location of orienteering posts and established their positions and accessibility for a coming children’s event.

We did not have the person-power to mow the grass or strim but recent cow feeding means that the paths are in good order.

June Nature Notes

The fine sunny days this month have seen the insects and bees busily visiting flowers collecting pollen and nectar. On a warm evening as dusk approaches have a look at the perfumed honeysuckle. You may spot a moth or two.

Bumble Bees
Bees are not as common as they once where in our gardens and countryside. Fortunately, places such as our nature reserve provide food and a safe habitat for them. It may be just an old wives tale but the word ‘bumble’ is thought to describe their erratic flight as they stagger from flower to flower with their ‘shopping’ baskets full of pollen. Take a little time to watch them, as they sometimes struggle to take flight.


Bees are superbly adapted for collecting pollen. One pair of legs have baskets in which to put the pollen, a second has a comb with which to brush the pollen off their bodies and transfer it to the basket. On the third pair of legs is a hook, presumably used to scrape the pollen out of the basket when they arrive home! There are several species of bumble bee, some social and others solitary. Visit the website of the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust for more information and downloadable identification charts:
Bumblebee Conservation Trust

June Bug
And talking of bumbling, You may have had one of these bump into you as you walk or cycle along on a warm evening! Its flight is very erratic and it often flys into doors and windows!
Also known as a May bug the Common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha) emerges in early May having spent up to three years underground as larva and pupa. This shiny brown beetle is about 4 cm long and easily recognised by its long feathery antennae.

Last week I observed a robin trying without success to get one into its beak. It did of course give up and go off in search of a meal of more manageable size!

Tony Finn

The sick cow

Many people have expressed concern over the health of the cow laid down in the Big Meadow for over a week after having a still birth. Those who have been out and about will know that it is now on its feet and has been moved to the Paddock where Fraser can keep a close eye on it. The cow was tended by Fraser and his family and had veterinary attention but what made the difference to the cow getting up was a visit from a ‘healer’ who used a traditional method of healing often used by Irish farmers alongside the vet! A ‘cow whisperer’ no less. Fraser has never seen anything like it but it did the trick. So, thanks to Fraser for trying everything to save the cow as well as all his patient husbandry.

Volunteering 26th June (evening)

Here is Jonathan’s reminder for this session

Greetings All,

There’ll be a volunteer session in the Fairfield Orchard, FAUNA and Flora fields this Wednesday June 26th, commencing at 6.30pm and finishing… well, who knows? It might well be another perfect summer evening and you might not want to stop working until sunrise. Past experience tells us that we normally have the evening wrapped up around 8.30pm.

Treats in store…

Mowing the grass.
Strimming the grass.
~ where it is longest around the fruit trees
~ around the fruit hedge
~ amongst the new locations for the log slices.
Tying back spreading fruit bushes in the fruit hedge.
Cutting / slashing long grass around the fruit trees and around the rubbish bins, one or two of which are getting a little over grown.
Removing specimens of ragwort from the Orchard and Pads footpath.
Touring the Orchard and noting and marking those trees which we should propose for removal, especially silver birches which are not flourishing and are overcrowded (Andy Lees advice). The advice is also that we are overstocked with willow and sycamore but these are pretty obvious all year round.
Having a go at using our new equipment to repair the barbed wire in Big Meadow.

I personally won’t be able to attend this session but please do feel free to go to the pub afterwards without me if you so wish. You’ll have definitely earned it. Just remember to take your pocket money and proof of ID if you’re fortunate enough to look under the age of forty.

Meanwhile at the “Other Notices” desk…

Somewhere along the line we have mislaid the plastic connectors and the cover for one of our tents, the one with the chrome struts. If anyone can cast any light on this please contact Ian on 07811970595.

And also, Ian has asked me to thank those who responded to the questionnaire about volunteering with the FA. “We are thinking about some of the useful ideas which came out,” he tells me. Watch this space!

And that’s your lot for now,

Best wishes,

Recent FA events – thank you!

Just a note to thank you if you were someone who helped set up and/or dismantle for the recent Open Garden event, served refreshments and/or donated baking, or came along for tea and cake.

The weekend was a huge success, and there will also be a donation from Robin Loxam from the entrance charge, the remainder of which is going to the NGS charity.

Please let me know if you are still missing a cake tin or tea towel!

Thank you also to the team that organised the Goods and Promises Auction and for those of you who attended and dug deep into your pockets – the evening was great fun and more money was raised in 3 hours than has ever been raised at any other Fairfield event over the past 17 years! Awesome.

And not forgetting the lovely concert organised by local choir HumHoller’n’sing, a joyous occasion, the venue was packed resulting in a very generous donation to the Fairfield Association, thanks to all involved.

Sponsored swim
I have recently heard that two of our supporters are doing a 5km (200 lengths) sponsored swim, at Lancaster university, this Saturday (23rd June) to raise money for the Fairfield Association. A big thank you to both of you for this incredible effort and for supporting us this way: http://www.justgiving.com/Jill-Johnson1.

This boost to the Fairfield Association coffer from all these events is much appreciated as there have been some major expenses on playground repairs and still some costs related to the storage shed and there will be costs associated with the Flora fields nature reserve.

Thanks for all your support and wishing you a lovely summer.