Kirton and Falkenham Women’s Institute
Next meeting: Thursday July 12th at 2.00 pm in Kirton and Falkenham Village Hall
Subject: World War One with Ted Payne
Trading stall: miscellaneous
June meeting Report 2018
This month, Mike Powell-Evans from the RSPB gave a talk about garden birds. There was a lot to hear about the many and varied birds that visit our garden. Amongst other facts, this listener learnt that the numbers of house sparrows have declined by 60% since the 1970s; Blue tits can lay up to 11 eggs in a clutch; and that a murmuration of starlings can swell up to 10,000 birds. The most exotic bird mentioned was the ring necked parakeet. Legend has it that this bird escaped from a film set at the Isleworth Studios and it has gradually colonised London. It is leaving the mean streets of London and is moving out to the countryside and is regarded as a pest despite its colourful appearance.
We can provide much for our local birds in our gardens. Many birds feed on moth caterpillars (rarely feeding on butterfly caterpillars) so plants and flowers suitable for moths are recommended. Plants with open flowers are the most suitable and Mike recommended planting the perennial wall flower, wild rose and honeysuckle. Native plants and trees are preferable; 200 species of moth can be found in an oak tree, compared to 30-40 species in a pine tree. Different species of bird feed at different heights, so a variety of plants are best for birds. Birds feed in sequence, feeding on sugary berries in summer then feasting on the fatty Hawthorne and rowan berries in autumn when they need to build up reserves for winter. A well-stocked bird table boosts the diets of our birds and should be kept clean- greenfinches, in particular, are susceptible to diseases spread from dirty feeders. Mike is also a big fan of providing cut fruit for blackbirds and starlings. And finally, some words of wisdom from Mike:
‘A crow in a flock is a rook; a crow on its own is a crow’
A note about the competitions
These are a bit of fun and raise money for the Association of Country Wide Women of the World. Competitions are only run occasionally, and expert skills are not required. Members vote for the winner by placing coins on their favourite and this is donated to A.C.W.W. Please consider entering the next one.
Visit to Suffolk Cheeses 19th April 2018
Kirton and Falkenham W.I met the happiest cows in Suffolk on a farm in Creeting St Mary. These cows are looked after by Jason and Katharine Salisbury who are passionate about their farm and business. The cows (mainly Guernsey) have free access to the pasture, yard (with an automatic back scratcher – more of which later) and barn. When the cow feels inclined it enters the automatic milker. This machine identifies the cow (each cow has an ear tag), dispenses feed; washes the udders and milks the cow. The ear tag tracks how often and when the cow is milked, the amount of milk it produces and where it spends it time. Jason can access the information on his smart phone wherever he is on the farm.
The wonderful back scratcher resembles an enormous yellow bottle brush suspended from the barn wall. An itchy cow stands beneath it and the brush lowers and revolves along the cow’s back; resulting in a blissful expression on the cow’s face.
These happy cows produce creamy milk which is used to make Suffolk brie; Suffolk Blue and Suffolk Gold. All are delicious. The cheeses can be bought from the farm and local stockists include the Suffolk Food Hall.
An outing is planned:
6th September: Huntingfield Church; guided tour followed by a pub lunch
New members are always welcome; contact our secretary: Chris Welling 01473 736255