In early September, we welcomed a group of ex-battery hens to our flock. They were leaving behind a life in cages, and needed to adjust to free-range life! Just over a month on, they have put on muscle weight, grown bright new feathers and are filled with confidence. We look forward to introducing them to the rest of our flock in due time, but are thrilled with the girls’ progress so far.
On Monday, October 7th, we put on our waterproofs and waders to get stuck in with Froglife in our Dragon Finder volunteer session. The session was all about tidying up our ponds to help improve these habitats for the amphibians and other wildlife that breed in them.
Rakes were used to remove invasive Canadian waterweed (Elodea canadensis) and carefully separating native Rigid Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum) which is beneficial to native aquatic life. The surface of the pond was thick with Duckweed (Lemna minuta) a problematic plant of many a garden pond. In optimum conditions Duckweed can double in quantity every few days, forming a thick blanket that prevents light getting into the water. This is exactly what had happened in the Mudchute pond. Luckily Froglife had a creative remedy- net stockings stuffed with straw, which were then carefully drawn over the surface of the water (a bit like skimming a winter broth).
The day was a great success thanks to Froglife and Mudchute’s two long term volunteers Tommy and June. The clear out was done ahead of a big restoration project that is due to commence this week, so we’ll be looking for more volunteers to take part in a spring time planting day on the ponds margins.
As we move into October, we’ll be expecting more autumnal weather. While temperatures have remained warm, you can certainly feel the days getting shorter and nights beginning to draw in. Fruit and fungi should be the stars this October. Fruits are already abundant across the farm and we’ve already spotted shaggy inkcap mushrooms emerging. Continue reading