21st June 2016 – Poetic licence

DSC_0380I suddenly realised that it was 5 o’clock and we hadn’t done anything wild, yet. We were all too tired to go out again, so I made a ‘feely bag’ with natural objects in it (feathers, pebbles, shells, a fossil, leaves, ear of wheat, seaweed, pinecones, acorns). E and Izzy took turns putting their hands in the bag and guessing what was inside. They thought it was great fun and when the game was finished, they found things from around the house for me to guess.

Then, I read some ‘nature poetry’ to them (they weren’t particularly impressed), before Izzy had a go at writing some herself, whilst E did drawings. She wrote:

‘O butterfly,

You look so pretty,

How lovely your wings are.’

And then she got bored and wandered off to do something else. Not an entirely successful wild activity!

Total wild time: 30 mins

19th June 2016 – Seagulls in Seaton

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Father’s Day has been a bit of a washout. We went to the Seaton for the bike festival, went to a beer festival in a pub, took the kid’s bikes to the skate ramp in the park, met some friends in the playground, then went back to Seaton for fish and chips to celebrate our 4 month anniversary in our new house, but none of it really went to plan and wild time has had to be snatched between doing these other things.

We noticed how dark the road was in the fog and under a tunnel of trees, we spotted fungi in the grass on the playing field and in our lawn and we noticed a cormorant flying over the skate ramps. We caught raindrops on our hands and tongues as we ran from the car to the fish and chip shop and we watched Herring Gulls fly as we ate our dinner (Izzy thought they were racing each other in the sky, like the men on bikes below them).

Must do better next week.

Total wild time: Who know? 15 mins?

17th June 2016 – Slow-worms in the strawberry patch

IMG_1574We set off for the allotment with a plastic tub and the hope of a delicious summer pudding … after picking a measly 4 strawberries (in the pouring rain), we lifted the weed-suppressing carpet to see what wildlife we could find. A couple of beautiful metallic Slow-worms squirmed away and a nest of Red Ants busily moved their eggs about. There were more than a few big, fat slugs, an earthworm or two and a centipede. We picked an onion and some flowers and returned home, drenched.

(Disclaminer: I can not vouch for the quality of this post, it having been written post-consumption of a raspberry vodka cocktail)

Total Wild Time – 1 hour 15 mins

16th June 2016 – Daisy chains and thunderstorms

DSC_0365We spent a happy few moments making Daisy chains in the garden – a crown for Izzy and a bangle for E, but we were forced indoors when it started to thunder. Izzy was very excited as lightning has been a bit of an obsession of hers for years, despite never having seen it before. So, we watched the storm rage from the comfort of our conservatory/junk room (whilst I mentally re-decorated it). We listened to the rain hammering down (B and I trying to ignore the fact that our guttering is clearly leaking onto the conservatory roof), watched for the flash and then counted the seconds until the thunder rumbled (10 seconds = 2 miles away). Then, when the storm moved on, we googled thunderstorms to learn about the science behind them.

Total wild time: 1 hour (near enough)

15th June 2016 – Puddle jumping

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We did a bit of good ol’ fashioned puddle-jumping today. We went to watch the patterns made on the surface of the river by the rain. Izzy wanted to stomp around in the sticky, stinky mud on the river beach and from there we spotted dozens of fish fry in the water. E freaked out a bit when his boot came off in the mud and his trouser leg got soaked, but Izzy had no qualms about getting muddy.

Total wild time: 45 mins

14th June 2016 – Rain bugs

Izzy wanted to go bug hunting in the garden again today, so I let her and E loose with collecting jars and magnifying glasses. The highlight of the search was a Seven-spot Ladybird. The hunt turned into a rain dance and then descended into fighting over the pink, unicorn-adorned umbrella.

Later, whilst walking the dog, I picked a few elderflowers (not ideal weather for it, but hey ho) and for pudding we had Elderflower Scotch Pancakes (from a recipe in the Forager’s Kitchen), which B, E and I loved, but Izzy didn’t like (but then, she doesn’t really like any food unless it is in ice-cream form).

Total wild time: 1 hour 15 mins

13th June 2016 – Under the microscope

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Izzy and E captured minibeasts from the garden in collecting jars and then we examined them under the digital microscope (a Veho VMS-004 400x USB microscope to be precise). We looked at a Two-spot Ladybird, a Pill Woodlouse, a feather, an ant, a couple of snails and various plants. I think they probably enjoyed the hunt more than seeing things in close-up, but it kept them amused for almost an hour, before E got tired and we had to call it a day.

Total Wild Time: 50 mins

9th June 2016 – Fun on the beach

DSC_0336I had our towels and cozzies at the ready, but sea-swimming had to be shelved due to the unexpected return of winter to East Devon. Instead, we visited the beach at Charmouth, with the new aim of finding some fossils. B picked up a fragment of ammonite almost immediately, but unfortunately that was our sole find for the day. I have memories of tripping over fossils on this beach on a childhood holiday, so I’m not sure why we found it so difficult to find any. Perhaps it is just because I am further from the ground than I was then. The sea was pleasant enough for a paddle and the kids enjoyed jumping over the waves. We found a couple of tiny silver fish washed up on the shore and Izzy threw them back into the sea. Then, we happily lost track of time poking about in the rock pools, where there were loads of crabs smaller than a fingernail (and a couple of biggies), tons of shrimps and even a little flatfish. Before long, the kids were filthy and soaked. We changed them into clean, dry clothes and headed home for dinner.

Total wild time: 1 hour 40 mins

7th June 2016 – Foraging for Elderflowers

IMG_20160608_142556285We didn’t have a particularly successful wild time today – we foraged for Elderflowers with the intention of making sorbet for pudding (from the recipe in The Hedgerow Handbook), but the recipe involved boiling sugar syrup, so the kids couldn’t really get involved in making it. Then the the ice-cream maker didn’t work properly and several hours later, the sorbet is still in liquid form. The kids weren’t happy that they had to go to bed without it. Hopefully, I will be able to provide an update tomorrow and report that it was delicious….

Total Wild Time: 45 minutes

Update! The sorbet did freeze eventually, but the kids didn’t like it anyway. It is a strong flavour and a bit overpowering to be honest – better used diluted with water to make ice-cold cordial!