5th July 2016 – River dipping and paddling

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Finally, the sun shone and it felt like summer, so after pre-school we headed to the river and before I could stop her, Izzy went straight in, wearing her shoes. Before long, E’s trousers were also soaked. Shoeless, sockless and trouserless, they carried on paddling and fishing in the lovely, cool water. Izzy has had plenty of practice and proved a bit of a pro, catching dozens of tiny fish and a Lesser Water Boatman. E was less skillful, but enjoyed splashing about. Occasionally, a loud splash revealed the presence of mysterious, bigger fish in the deeper parts of the river. There were a few fairy-like Mayflies about and we saw one being snatched out of the air by a bird. Izzy would have happily stayed for hours, but E got hungry and we had to head home with the promise that we would be back again soon.

Total wild time: 1 hour

4th July 2016 – The wild finds us

IMG_20160704_153529883 IMG_20160704_153538204I had been ill since last night and accepted that we wouldn’t be having any wild time today. I didn’t expect the wild to find us…

I took E to the toddler’s playground in Seaton, only to find that the strip of uninspiring soil next to the climbing frames had been transformed into a tiny urban meadow, full of Yarrow, Poppies and Corn Marigolds and buzzing with bees, which E rather unwisely tried to catch in his hands. We also checked out the Cactus house and he was fascinated by the huge Koi Carp in the pond there.

Back in the garden, I had a cuppa whilst the kids played on the swing. Then, before I had fully grasped what was happening, a Sparrowhawk crashed down into the hedge and bolted past us in a flurry of feathers, with what I assume was a House Sparrow in its talons. As amazing and dramatic as it was to witness, it is quite likely that the unfortunate prey was one of the parents or fledglings from the nest in our porch, so it was a little too close for comfort.

Total wild time: Probably only 10 mins of really ‘wild time’

3rd July 2016 – Feeding the ducks

IMG_20160703_151927358We were pushed for time, but I managed to get everybody out of the door at least for a little while. We took a bag of lettuce and bird seed down to the river to feed the ducks, watched by a couple of Llamas in the adjacent field. To be honest, the ducks weren’t that impressed with our offerings, but Izzy and E had fun throwing it into the river towards them, anyway. We counted 16 Mallards and I taught Izzy how to tell the difference between a male and female.

Total wild time: 30 mins

1st July 2016 – Flower pressing

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Izzy was engrossed in a CBeebies game on the laptop and took quite some convincing to walk the dog with E, Grandmum and me, but was happy enough once we were out. We were on a mission to gather petals for a wonderful craft I’ve seen on Pinterest (watch this space!), so we were armed with a plastic bag to collect them. All of us, except Izzy, walked straight past an enormous, hairy caterpillar (I thought it looked like an Oak Eggar Moth caterpillar, but the habitat doesn’t seem right so please do comment if you can ID it!) at the edge of the road and we gently nudged it back onto the verge to prevent it being run over. We also spotted a Painted Lady butterfly, a ladybird and some Meadow Brown butterflies, too. Back at home, Izzy went straight back to the computer, E to his trains, whilst I spent 20 minutes arranging petals in a flower press I have had since I was her age.

Total Wild Time: 1 hour