18th October 2016 – Sitting in a tree

An hour in the wild flew by today. I took E down to the little park at Road Green and we pottered around there, studying the bark of trees and the lichen that was growing on them. We threw helicopters into the wind and collected beautiful autumn leaves. I lifted E into the branches of a Lime tree and he sat there happily, pretending to be first a Squirrel and then a Monkey. As we wandered back to the buggy, we came across a dead Shrew and I pointed out its long nose and tail.
IMG_20161018_125325367Total wild time – E – 1 hour 10 mins; Izzy – 0

16th October 2016 – Biking The Byes

Today was pretty momentous, as Izzy decided that she wanted to remove the stabilisers from her bike. So, we went to The Byes in Sidmouth and explored the cycle trail there, which was busy with dog-walkers, cyclists and people in sports kit. The sounds of a rugby game and hockey match carried on the wind. Izzy was frustrated that she could not instantly master bike-riding and blamed me loudly and profusely for her failures. Despite her grumblings, she actually got the hang of it pretty quickly and with E on his balance bike, the kids wheeled along, through tunnels of Hazel trees. We heard a Green Woodpecker, stopped to watch a Grey Squirrel  run along the fence and spotted a Rabbit hiding in a nearby field. By the time we retraced our steps, Izzy was starting to feel proud of herself and more confident in her ability.

Afterwards, I took Izzy pony-riding in the stunning autumn sunshine.IMG_20161016_114258683_HDRIMG_20161016_111935109

Total wild time – E – 1 hour 25 mins, Izzy – 3 hours


15th October 2016 – Geocaching in Axmouth

IMG_20161015_105942527_HDROne of the great things about geocaching is that it takes you to places you would never have reason to visit otherwise. This morning we went for a walk around Axmouth, searching for caches with some experienced geocaching friends. We were grateful for their help, as there is a definite knack to understanding the hints and knowing what to look for. Axmouth proved to be a pretty little village, which we haven’t much explored before. We crossed marshy sheep fields full of fighting Pheasants  and followed footpaths between hedgerows strung with Wild Hops, but a real bonus was passing the Community Orchard, which had a sign saying ‘help yourself to raspberries’ on the gate. We took some time out from cache-hunting to pick a bag-full.

Last thing before bed, Izzy and I watched clouds passing in front of the full moon and when E woke crying in the night, with a nasty cough and growing pains as well, he only settled down when I drew his curtain to show him the moon.

Total wild time – 2 hours 30 mins

14th October 2016 – Welly Walk

I had a lovely time helping at Izzy’s school with the weekly reception class welly walk. The kids donned high-vis jackets, coats and boots and chose a partner to hold hands with. We meandered through Colyton in the drizzle, spotting numbers on doors, signs, lamp-posts and number plates, before arriving at a garden containing an apple tree. We searched for apples on the ground and studied the rotten ones, to see what creatures we could find inside. The kids were keen to touch the slugs, worms and woodlice we discovered. Afterwards, their teacher prompted them to think of ‘why’ questions about what they’d seen and I was fascinated to hear what they came up with: “Why do apples fall to the ground in autumn?”, ” Why are some apples brown and some green?” “Why do apples have stalks?” “Why are some apples bigger than others?” etc. They then took a bag of apples back to school to turn into chutney and sell at the Christmas Fayre.

Total wild time: Izzy – 1 hour, E – 30 mins (walking the dog)

13th October 2016 – Autumn leaf tea light holders

IMG_20161013_175022547Today’s nature craft did not go to plan. We attempted to make tea light holders by pressing colourful autumn leaves between 2 pieces of wax paper using an iron. The kids fought over who could use the iron (closely supervised, of course), but for some reason (possibly because this is the first time I have used the iron since I can’t remember when) only one section of the paper melted and stuck together, whilst the rest resolutely refused to do what it was supposed to do. Abandoning that idea, we instead tried to stick the leaves directly into the jam jars with a glue gun. This did not work as well as I would have liked at all. It was too difficult to get the leaves in the right place without covering my hand in hot glue. I think PVA would have worked much better, but by the time I had worked that out, it was too late. The end result was nowhere near as pretty as I had hoped, yet when we lit the tea lights, they actually didn’t look that bad and glowed quite nicely.

Total wild time – 50 mins

12th October 2016 – A walk with friends

My friend and her little one came to visit today, so we took the dogs for a walk around Colyton. We watched the Mallards and single Black-headed Gull paddling around on the river and E chuckled over them putting their tails in the air as they dabbled for food. A Kingfisher flew past in a flash of electric turquoise and then my friend spotted a Heron in a field ditch on the opposite side of the road.

Total wild time – about 40 mins

9th October 2016 – Stockland

We can see Stockland TV mast from our bedroom window, especially at night, when it shows as a line of red lights. So, this morning, we decided to go for a drive to find it. We stopped in a nearby lay-by to admire it (admittedly not the most exciting local landmark, but the kids were still fascinated), then after driving around rather aimlessly, we parked and took the dog for a random walk along some random footpaths. We did find an abandoned summer Dormouse nest in a recently trimmed hedgerow and some puddles to jump in. I tried to teach Izzy the basics of map-reading and told her not to throw stones iIMG_20161009_134817017n her own eyes (she was testing the protective powers of her sunglasses).

Afterwards, we went to the playground and after lunch, whilst E napped, Izzy and I planted broad beans on the allotment and I weeded, whilst she gave some worms a tour of the veg beds. Later, we took the kids out on their bikes and Izzy practised riding her bike whilst standing on the saddle.

Total wild time – The walk was 45 mins