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A Week on the Estate: Autumnal Vistas, My Days & Green Manure

The estate was a mecca for shutterbugs this week, as misty mornings, a low sun and russet-gold leaves combined to give us some delightful late-autumn vistas.

At the Hall, the last of the stone ball-finials dislodged by an earthquake a few years ago is back in its rightful place. We hope the ground will stay still for another few generations. Elsewhere, the local mice will have to raise their game. Jim has installed one of three new barn-owl boxes. They’ll keep our local owls secure, dry and ready for the hunt.

A misty Lincolnshire landscape at the Estate

Kathleen Brown was born on 28th May 1915 and was a maid at South Ormsby Hall from 1932 to 1941. Kathleen passed away in March 2020. In the early 2000s, Kathleen began to write her life story. We’re delighted to be serialising Kathleen’s memoir on our website in eight instalments, concluding at Christmas. This is her tale in her voice, just as she wrote it. We heartily recommend this moving account of a long life, fully lived.

Last weekend, the Saturday Club moved the lake boat from its summer berth to its winter storage. When we promised the team a relaxing boat-trip, this may not have been what they had in mind. Estate Manager Paul Barnes very kindly gave the enrichment talk. Paul shared his expertise on various aspects of his job, from managing fields and estate properties to keeping tabs on hedges, ditches and underground water.

Owl Box being installed around the Estate

Looking ahead to 2021, we’ve got some exciting plans to enhance our kitchen garden.  We aim to use green manure in the form of a fast-growing crop sown in late summer or autumn. This will generate foliage to smother weeds and reduce soil erosion. It will also soak up nutrients and prevent their being washed away by winter rain, then return the nutrients to the soil when it’s dug over the following spring.

The walled garden crop

We’re looking into an eco-friendly water-harvesting system to reduce our consumption of mains water and make the most of rainwater for irrigation. As we have a walled garden, we can make the most of our available space by implementing vertical gardening. The wall is an excellent upright structure that gives us more space without altering the existing garden layout. Finally, we want to incorporate our Lincolnshire Buff chickens into the garden plan. These handsome birds will consume weeds, pests and waste produce and give us a ready supply of fresh manure.