17th November 2016 – After-school beach walk

We went for a family walk on the beach after school. It was misty and atmospheric, as the light faded from the sky. E threw his arms wide and roared at the sea. We lobbed pebbles into the waves and balanced stones on top of each other to make towers. A boy zoomed past on the pavement, pulled along on his skateboard by his dog. We were only out for half an hour, but we all returned to the car energised by our blast on the beach.

Total wild time – 30 mins

4th November 2016 – Autumn beach walk

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We had quite a good day today, with Izzy making a witch’s broom on a rainy school welly walk and E playing sand pits in the rain in a friend’s garden.

Then, after school, we had a lovely dog walk on the beach as the sun was setting. Izzy has the school teddy for the weekend, so Mr Bugby came, too. We walked towards the estuary mouth and were amazed by the hundreds, if not thousands of waterbirds (more than 114 anyway, according to Izzy) flying out to sea. E found a bit of metal, which made him happy and Bramble, the dog, managed to run through a load of Burdocks and came out covered with seeds, which took an age to remove at home.

Total wild time – 55 mins

28th October 2016 – Autumn Celebration at Trill Farm

IMG_20161028_174149213We had a bit of a wobble when we arrived at Trill Farm this evening – had we accidentally crashed a private party? There weren’t many people there, but we soon realised that that helped create the intimate atmosphere of their Autumn Celebration. We decorated Willow Crowns with Spindle, Guelder-rose and Rowan berries, Cherry leaves and conifer twigs, then carved a pumpkin and laughed as the kids tried apple bobbing.

We had game stew and the best veggie curry I’ve ever tasted, washed down with mulled cider and apple juice, in a barn decorated with fairy lights and candles. The kids wolfed down the food and just as we were about to fork out for more, the toffee apples appeared, so we bought them one each and then stood around the bonfire. Izzy managed to stick her apple to her head and I had to remove quite a lot of her hair from the sugar, but that didn’t seem to put her off.

IMG_20161028_173546967After a quick game of table tennis, we called it a night, only managing to part E from his toffee apple at bath time.

Total wild time – 1 hour 40 mins IMG_20161028_184553678

27th October 2016 – Halloween Crafts at Seaton Wetlands

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The car park at Seaton Wetlands was full and a couple of cars had become stuck in the mud using the overflow car park, so we parked in the cemetery, the kids got straight on their bikes and were off towards Reed Base, where we joined a very popular event making halloween crafts. First, we made lanterns using autumn leaves, ironed between wax paper. Unlike our previous attempt to make tea light holders in a similar way, these actually worked and looked great. Next, we made hobgoblins (Izzy made a princess goblin, obviously) using clay on a stick and natural materials. E was kind enough to let me make his! We also made some creatures out of Teasel, Sycamore seeds, pinecones etc. At this point, E started to lose the plot because he was hungry and would not cooperate when I tried to take a photo of him with his creations. He was happy to get back on his bike and head home for lunch.

After his nap, I took E and the dog out for a walk by the river. E was delighted to find a huge stick, which he rode like a horse, used like a crane and then to ‘cut’ the grass like a combine harvester. We had to drag the stick all the way home, of course.IMG_20161027_153017667

Total wild time – about 1 hour 30 mins

23rd October 2016 – Trip to the playground

We started the morning by admiring the sunrise, but between cooking and DIY and everything else, we didn’t manage anything wild today. I did take the kids to the playground with their bikes, so at least they were outdoors for an hour. E was very impressed by the boy on a scooter riding the ramps and Izzy did well for her second time without stabilisers. We found some lovely leaves of different colours and shapes around the swings and slides.IMG_20161023_162405038_HDR

Total wild time – 1 hour

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

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

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

31st August 2016 – Conker fairies

IMG_20160831_135313579_HDRIMG_20160831_163849862_HDR We went to the playground with some friends, then to the adjacent green to pick up conkers from underneath the Horse-chestnuts. We noticed that the cases of conkers from one tree were spiky, whilst the cases from another tree were smooth. We also found some acorns and picked a few blackberries.

Back at home, Izzy made conker fairies with a cool-touch glue-gun.

Total wild time – about 1 hour