It was Izzy’s first full day at school and a mad dash from there to her zumba class, so I knew we wouldn’t be able to fit in wild time today. In fact, I expect there to be a fair few fails over the next few weeks now she has started school full-time, but I’m not giving up!
`Total wild time – 0mins
It was really noisy on the beach today with the waves crashing and dragging pebbles back into the sea. The dog chased bits of kelp that were carried by the wind, whilst E struck bits of driftwood together and Izzy collected ‘singing stones’.
Total wild time – 1 hour (I think, but can’t actually remember what time we arrived!)
The whole family helped out on the allotment this morning and the experience was much better than the last time we tried, thanks to Ethan being that much older and less of a liability. The kids helped to pick out the weeds from the raked soil and enjoyed finding Beetles and other beasties. Izzy made a worm school and was convinced they were eating the leaves she provided and were growing before her eyes. B’s knee was giving him gyp, so he gave up digging fairly quickly, but the plot is very slowly starting to look more like a veg patch and less like a jungle, so I was happy. We picked some rather pathetic sweetcorn, (which were nevertheless delicious) and a mooli, which I have no idea what to do with, scrumped some apples from my parent’s tree and went home for lunch.
Total wild time – 1 hour 30 mins
We had a little river dipping session at Whitford Bridge this afternoon. To be honest, I’m not really sure whether we were trespassing or not, but hey ho, it was easy to reach the river bank from the road. Izzy quickly discovered that her welly had a hole and there was a fair about of whining about who’s turn it was with the net, so it wasn’t entirely relaxing, but we caught half a dozen little fish and some cased Caddisfly larvae, as well as a Lesser Water Boatman and some snails. I had to wring Izzy’s socks out.
Total wild time – 25 mins
Walking to Musbury Castle was the perfect way to spend the afternoon this autumn equinox. We saw a Mistle Thrush and a couple of Wrens amongst the scrub, plus some Red Admirals and Speckled Woods. E enjoyed poking a stick in cow pats and Izzy pretended to be a superhero, with her cardigan tied around her shoulders. The panoramic views from the top were fantastic and unlike the previous time we visited, nobody fell in the nettles, so that was a bonus. We snacked on Blackberries and picked haws, which are now turning slowly into fruit leather in the dehydrator.
Total wild time – 1 hour 55 mins
We slogged up the hill to Hillhead Picnic Site and battled against the wind to do some bark rubbings. We noticed the different patterns on the trunks of Beech, Cherry, Sycamore, White Poplar, Ash, Oak and Whitebeam trees. Izzy wanted to look through her binoculars and E wanted to run circles around the trees, then they both wanted to go into the community woodland for a look around. There, we found a Dark Bush Cricket and loads of apples ripe for picking, so we did a bit of foraging. I also picked some Rowan berries to make Rowan vodka. Back at home, I found a Shield Bug amongst the berries, which we released outdoors. Later, we cut up our bark rubbing patterns to create a collage.
Total wild time – 1 hour 35 mins
We were busy today, with Izzy’s friend visiting after school and I couldn’t convince the kids to come out with me, so they stayed at home with Grandmum, whilst I walked the dog.
Total wild time – 0 mins
We failed today, after a mix up that left the car seats in the car, which B took to work. We missed zumba and sadly our plans went out of the window.
Total wild time – 0
We returned to the River Cottage Festival for more fun and spent most of the time dancing to the music today. We did find time to create monsters out of beach rubbish at the Surfers Against Sewage stand and learnt some shocking facts about plastic that washes up on our shores. One of the things Izzy used to make her monster (called Milly) was a shot gun cartridge, used by Canadian fishermen to scare away gulls, which had been found on a Cornish beach.
Total wild time – 5 hours
The weather was lovely again for Izzy’s morning pony ride. We saw a group of 5 Magpies and I taught her the rhyme. B and E took the dog for a walk whilst we were out.
Dashing home, we wolfed down lunch and headed straight out to the River Cottage Festival, which was held in a stunning location. There, we found loads of fun things to do – drumming workshops, circus skills, giant bubbles (E’s favourite) and on the wilder side, mask colouring at the Devon Wildlife Trust stand, as well as exploring the kitchen garden and watching the Bumblebees enjoying the Globe Artichoke flowers. Izzy and B also took part in a bushcraft session, which involved lighting a fire with a flint and toasting marshmallows over it. We were so busy, we barely watched any music, except the samba band whilst we tucked into delicious curry and pizza. The sunset was absolutely stunning, as we walked back up the steps to wait for the bus.
Total wild time – 8.5 hours