Sunday, 28 June 2015

30 Days Wild - Day 24

Every time we set out on our little walk around the village I feel a slight sense of boredom hitting - the same walk, stopping in the same places, seeing the same things, etc.  But that feeling is thankfully always short-lived as in fact things are always different and always changing.  And it's lovely how the company of a 3-year-old helps you to notice this! 

So today, same walk, same places...  but lots of new things to notice and chat about:

Lots of fruit growing at the moment.  Many apple trees around (including in our garden), but also lovely to see these quince.

The difference between nettles and dead-nettles.  It was funny seeing T's amazement at being able to touch a dead-nettle without being stung!

A large tree in the village has been cut down so there was sawdust all over the road - a talking point in itself.  But this was a cobweb covered in sawdust which proved fascinating.

Another chat with the racehorses in the local farmyard.  T gets very excited when he sees them coming across the field to say hello... but then pretty terrified when they get up to the fence.  They are huge beasts, so must seem immense when you are less than a metre tall yourself.

Finally I taught him how to strip grasses of their seeds.  I can't be the only person who spent much of thier childhood doing this?!  I seem to recall a rhyme that went with it (something about a bunch of flowers and 'April showers' upon which you threw the seeds over your unsuspecting friend!).  He really enjoyed this and spent ages working his way along the footpath stripping every grass he could see!

30 Days Wild - Day 23

Wednesdays are busy days for us as T is at Playschool all morning and then I pick him up (by bike if the waether is nice) and we go straight to a playgroup for a couple of hours.  Hence we don't get home until about 4:30pm and he's often exhausted.  He does however spend much of his time at Playschool outside, and this week I spent much of my child-free time sitting in the sunshine writing my birthday thank-you cards, so we both had some nature-time in the morning.

When I picked him up he was hot and needed a drink - perfect time for sampling our newly bottled elderflower cordial!

He loves it, as do we.

After supper he was still remarkably full of energy so we headed out for a walk and discovered this incredible field of poppies only a few minutes from our house.  I don't know how we hadn't noticed it before, but I guess in my defence, we usually walk in the opposite direction!  It's a shame the sky wasn't bluer, but it was still a stunning sight.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

30 Days Wild - Day 22

My 40th Birthday!  Yes, it's a busy birthday month.

We went out for the day to Mottisfont, a National Trust property not too far away which is famed for its stunning rose garden.  The roses were slightly blown, but still gorgeous; the scents were amazing, especially after the morning of rain.

Lots of large trout in the River Test.  A lot larger than the little ones we see in the Ebble (which runs through our village).

30 Days Wild - Day 21

We went for a lovely walk and picnic lunch at one of our local nature reserves, Martinsdown.  The skylarks were in full voice and the wild flowers blooming, it was a lovely day. 

We took the bike of course, we get so much further - and faster - when we bring it along.  Lots of little hills to climb up and hurtle down too.


We spotted this amazing web just full of caterpillars.  I've looked it up and I think it's some kind of moth.  Incredible, but a little creepy too ("Yucky!" exclaimed Ted!).

30 Days Wild - Day 20

Today was my 40th birthday party so we spent the day at home preparing.  Thankfully the weather was dry so we were able to be outside all afternoon. 

Here are some wild flowers (mixed with cultivated ones) that my friend brought along as a birthday present.  I think they are the most beautiful bunch of flowers I have ever received!

Friday, 19 June 2015

30 Days Wild - Day 19

We headed out intending to have another paddle in the river today, but got diverted when we met some friends and went for a cuppa with them instead! 

However, we did manage to make a lovely nature bracelet on our walk.  I rightly predicted that T wouldn't tolerate sellotape being wrapped around his wrist, so I did it on mine instead.  He loved collecting things to stick on it, and it provided a nice opportunity to look closely in the hedgerows and around our feet as we walked. 

I thought the result was actually very attractive! 

Luckily the tiny caterpillar that we found whilst picking a flower managed to escape being stuck onto the sellotape as well! 

Lots of fledging birds at the moment which is exciting to see.  This morning on the way back from playgroup we saw a crow that had clearly just left the nest.  He wasn't terribly good at flying as yet so was hopping along rather erratically, not helped by the fact that he was being followed by an enthusiastic 3 year old!  The crow's mother was flying above, squawking at him, so I removed the small child and let the baby crow hop into a flowerbed under the cover of lots of plants.   This afternoon we spotted some baby partridge hopping around on a footpath.  They disappeared quickly into the undergrowth, but it was lovely to see them.

30 Days Wild - Day 17

Collecting elderflowers to make cordial.

Ted was very keen to do the snipping...  so I had to watch my fingers!

30 Days Wild - Day 16

Ooops, this post is a little out of order!  I started writing it then saved it before publishing.  Anyway, I feel like I'm falling down on the job a bit with this project, but I will make an effort to pick it up again properly soon.  We have 2 birthdays this week (mine coming up, with a party on Saturday) so I seem to be spending lots of time planning for these. 

Bad news, my DSLR camera has broken.  I'm gutted, it feels rather like I have lost a limb.  So all photos from now on will be from my phone.  Not such great quality, but handy nonetheless. 

No photos from today,  but lots of time spent outside in the garden as the weather is so warm.

30 Days Wild - Day 18

Off on our usual route around the village, but today we took our water shoes and had a lovely paddle in the river.  There are lots of brown trout around here, but we definitely scared them off.  The river is so beautifully clear, as all chalk streams are, it's a real pleasure to paddle in.

 In other news, the nasturtiums we planted earlier this month are doing incredibly well considering the benign neglect to which we have subjected them!  I have now started watering them every day.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

30 Days Wild - Day 15

A wild birthday party!  I love Summer birthdays, and we are usually very lucky with the weather.

I love how Ted doesn't care if it's socially acceptable to chat to the friends who have so kindly come to your party - diggers win every time!

30 Days Wild - Day 14

Little T's 3rd Birthday!  A relaxed day after the excitements of the fete.  Picnic lunch overlooking our lovely valley, then a cycle ride to the playground in the neighbouring village.  We made daisy chains together for our wild activity.

30 Days Wild - Day 13

Spent all afternoon outside today as it was our village fete.  Not quite sure how 'wild' this is as an activity, but we certainly had a wild time!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

30 Days Wild - Days 8-12

Please pardon the hiatus in the blog, but we have been away.  The forecast looked good, work was finished, so we packed up the tent and headed to the South Hams.  We had 4 nights camping in Slapton, a short walk from the beach, an area that holds so many memories for me as my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles live or lived there for many years. 

Here are a selection of our 'wild' experiences:

Birdwatching on Slapton Lea.

Minibeast hunting all over the place (we liked this mummy and baby snail 'cuddling'!).

Coastal walks and deserted beaches (this is Mattiscombe).

Exploring new paths at Start Point.

Creating art on stony beaches (a la Andy Goldsworthy).

Drawing in the sand.

Splashing in the surf.

 Imaginative play on the beach.

Examining (very carefully!) a dead jellyfish.

Travels by steam train and boat.

Admiring a stunning sunset.

Ted also climbed a tor on Dartmoor when we stopped for lunch there on our drive home, but my camera batteries had died by then.

What a great trip!

Sunday, 7 June 2015

30 Days Wild - Day 7

Sadly I have spent most of this glorious sunny day working at the computer, with only a few short breaks.  Still, work is now finished so I can relax and enjoy the rest of the Summer.

From today, a blue theme:

Helping Daddy do the watering..!

I'm going to be offline for a few days but 30 Days Wild will continue and I'll be back to the blog again soon.

30 Days Wild - Day 6

Not one but two parties!  Al fresco eating at both...  eating 'in the wild' counts for this challenge I think!

Friday, 5 June 2015

30 Days Wild - Day 5

I have found that we often end up doing more wild activities that I had planned when we head out.  However, today I purposely decided on two activities that I had been saving up on my mental 30 Days Wild list.  We'll be out all day tomorrow - 2 parties to go to! - so I don't know how 'wild' we will be, so I thought we'd tick off two activities today in case we don't manage any tomorrow.

We did our usual village wander, but today had rather more of a focus than usual...  Last weekend in a White Stuff shop I picked up their Kids Activity Booklet.  Much of it is for slightly older children than Ted, but my eye was caught by this lovely colour-wheel page.  We took the booklet out along with a roll of sellotape and had great fun trying to find natural items to match each colour.  Here is a before and after shot - I think we did pretty well!

It's a bit hard to see the detail, but we found leaves and grass for green; buttercups and leaves for yellow; a petal and a tiny leaf for orange (this was the trickiest one, we had to take a petal from a wallflower in someone's garden!); honeysuckle, rose petal and herb Robert for the pinks; and speedwell and forget-me-not for blue.  Ted did all the picking while I did the sticking.

Our concurrent activity was picking up litter.  We are fortunate enough to live in a village where people don't seem to drop much rubbish.  I think most of it is accidental - I've seen lots blowing around on the days the binmen come for example, as odds and ends can blow away while the bins, especially the paper-recycling, are being emptied.  Ted has a fabulous 'robot grabber' hand that we love, although he does find it a bit tricky to operate, so we took that, but also my kitchen tongs which he just adores 'nip nipping' things/people with!  He was very enthusiastic about this task, and we did half-fill a carrier bag by the end of our walk.  We sorted the resulting litter into rubbish and recycling and popped it into the correct bins.

I was quite proud of our efforts here; it felt very socially responsible as well as being good fun!