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Moseley Bog Friends' Blog 01/09/15

Posted: Tuesday 8th September 2015 by Joe.P

Moseley Bog volunteersRaking the meadow

These blog posts are sent in by Mary Girvan of the Friends of Moseley Bog & Joy's Wood to give a personal perspective of a day in the life of a volunteer. She also does the twitter feed for @mosbogfriends.

It's the first day of autumn and the wet weather gear is out. We split into 2 groups and while the Boys from The Wildlife Trust take their machinery to cut the small meadow, we volunteers take our pitchforks rakes and those square gravel jumbo bags to finish collecting the mown grass from Pensby meadow.

We choose the high road via the meadows, and lick our lips in anticipation as we pass the blackthorn laden with sloes. By the time we get to Pensby meadow the sun is coming out, and thin plumes of steam are rising from last week's pile of clippings. We prove the old adage that many hands make light work, and have finished collecting the remaining cut grass in about an hour.

A colleague says she's reminded by our work of a film she recently watched - turned out to be the original Far From the Madding Crowd, with Julie Christie and Terence Stamp. Another says she feels like she's on the Edwardian Farm. We leave the steaming pile and the forlorn grasshoppers on the cleared meadow and walk back via the Victorian gardens, to our next hay rake.

When we arrive, the whole meadow is steaming and the wet weather gear has to come off. Someone sees a frog, and one colleague exits stage right. Our fears are quite irrational but we've all got them. She returns to a frog free zone and the work gains a natural pattern with some raking the hay into piles and others pitchforking it into the jumbo bags to drag into the bushes. 

Those jumbo bags also turn into comfy & dry bivouacs over lunch, as the rain starts the minute the sandwich boxes are open. Sadly the performance area has been vandalised again with graffiti by Rosie and her boyfriend telling us how much they love each other - aaah bless. At least they chose autumn colours. 

The sun comes out just as we finish lunch, and the small meadow is hopping with frogs when we return. Just as well our frog fearing friend has left to buy some scuba diving equipment for holidays. There's also a solitary moth, his beauty fading, only one patch of orange left, but he gives us the opportunity to stop and stare for a minute or two. I'm reminded of the ending to a book I've just read "I know of no pleasure deeper than that which comes from contemplating the natural world and trying to understand it. David Attenborough - Life on Air" - so true and a great read. 

Once the meadow is raked, we start clearing the bramble from the edge, taking it back under the tree-line, to preserve the meadow edge and restrict the bramble creep. Some of it is as thick as a small tree trunk, and has to be pulled and tugged from the canopy giving us a shower. But this is nothing compared to the absolute drenching we get next. Visibility is reduced to a couple of metres as the heavens open. We retreat under the trees into the gaps we've just cleared, and wait. We could do with that scuba diving equipment now. It's an exhilerating end to the day.

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