30 Days Wild: Day 23-Bird feast

Today for 30 days wild I thought we’d help the birds. A lot of the focus this year has been led by Alice which has led to a lot of time on butterflies and ladybirds but I fancied a change today.

We set up some log cuts on the lawn as plates and then Alice pretended to make meals for them. So we’ve got a plate of ‘sausages and chips’ and a plate of ‘cakes’ for pudding.

She didn’t have the patience to wait today and see what was going to visit. So off she went to dance around.

I had saved some of the Bishop’s Children tubers I grew from seed last year and these have been the first of the larger dahlias to flower. She was happy it had come out in her favourite colour.

The seagull chick has been looking pretty sorry for itself. The parents haven’t been feeding it. Local rescue centres aren’t equipped to deal with it. As one wing looked to be broken I was advised to get it to the vets to have it put down. The RPSCA took details to ring me back. It’s been attacked by some of the gulls and has a few patchy areas now that the flies are attracted to.

While I was waiting, the seagulls came to attack it again, so armed with gauntlets I moved it to safety. The RPSCA came along to collect it to take to the vets. I don’t hold out high hopes but at least they might be able to stop it suffering for longer.

And we got a few visitors after the chick drama for Alice’s feast.

Then taking a few plants round to the front garden later we spotted another seagull chick out of the nest in our neighbours front garden. This one looks in a better state so hopefully, the parents will look after it. So, it all starts again.

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30 Days Wild: Day 22-The Great Yorkshire Creature Count day 2

Today was the second part of the Yorkshire creature count. It continued until dinner time and we managed a few more sightings. As it had been very wet overnight the insect life was low but still a few birds.

And the seagull enjoying a morning drink.

It was also Father’s Day. Alice had made me a card with a rainbow flower and butterflies on she had drawn. She said she thought I’d like them. Then for a present, I was bought some Bluetooth headphones. We sat and watched Disney’s, Christopher Robin. This came out a few years ago. It tells the story of Christopher Robin growing up and forgetting his old friends. Winnie arrives back in his life and reminds him of the importance of family. It’s a nice gentle watch with different bits for different ages.

Then I got out for a run with my new headphones. I’ve started on couch to 5K. This gradually builds up how much you run. I ran before Alice was born but haven’t done any since so it seems like a good time to get started again. I headed out of town along one of the bridleways. This took me along the edge of the bean fields with lots of small tortoiseshells flying up in my wake. A nice run through the greenery.

Back at home, I was treated with a good cooked breakfast. Then I was able to get on with a few garden jobs. The planters by the front door have been attacked by slugs, so I’ve removed the Hosta blue mouse ears to go in plant hospital for a bit. The patio has got a bit cluttered with seedlings over lockdown so I’m gradually getting things potted on and in the ground. The mix of sun and rain has really brought on the garden. We had the first of the Dutch irises out. A pleasure to see.

Then in the evening, the skies opened with hailstones and thunder and lightning. It was only brief but gave everything a good drenching. So it seemed a good time to get some Nemaslug down to control the growing slug population. Nematodes act as a biological control only affecting the slugs rather than pellets killing animals up the food chain.

A fairly relaxed 30 days wild day, but don’t like heading out at the weekend as it ends up much busier around us. But nice to have a quiet day.

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30 Days Wild: Day 20-Broomsticks

Following on from our magic days earlier in the week Alice had requested a broom for her beat baby cuddly toy to go with her wand. I did most of the construction today but once she’s been shown how to do something she’ll usually give it a go later in the week. So between downpours we managed a quick craft job in the garden. These are easy to make and you can make them on the go if you carry a bit string.

I collected up one thicker stick and a pile of thinner sticks and cut to the same length. I then wrapped it in florist wire to keep it secure.

Then to neaten it up and keep the look of a broom I wrapped it with twine.

Then the two of them went flying back and forth around the garden. She did lots of ‘flights’ jumping off the slide.

Then she helped out as the feeders were looking empty.

Though we moved off fast as we were looking to be swarmed.

I hope you enjoyed our simple craft for today. A good little bit of stick play for the imagination.

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Six on Saturday: 20.6.20

It’s been a week of on and off rain. We’ve got through a few jobs. There has been lots of thinning to do. The forget-me-nots are going over and the ox-eye daisies are growing a bit thick. We are now into dead-heading time as the first roses are going over. The old roses won’t flower again so they can be left to form rose buds but the others can repeat flower. The marigolds are all over after I let Alice scatter seed, so plenty to deadhead. Alice is joining in, though whether they actually need deadheading varies

1. Dahlia potting on

The Bishop’s Children dahlias have been in need of potting on for a few weeks but not got round to it. I’ve moved them from the tray into pots. They are a bit behind the others as a result but I’ve got two big Bishop’s children nice and bushy from the tubers saved last year. The cactus from seed are a bit further ahead and my other tubers are set to flower soon. The aphids are all over several this year but I’ve found a few ladybird and larvae on them so that should help.

2. Climbing hydrangea

The climbing hydrangea is one of my favourite climbers in the garden. This one isn’t massively noticeable as it is hidden behind the black cherry and the lilac. But it is flowering happily away. I planted two last year opposite that are working their way up the fence. They are slow to establish but once they do they have lush green foliage and these stunning white florets. I noticed Tesco had a lot for sale this week if you are tempted.

I’ve also added a different variety ‘silver lining’ which has the variegated leaves. Gradually the fence is getting claimed by the different climbers as I’d prefer to have it completely green. This gives the other plants a better background but it’s also better for the wildlife.

3. Seagull chick

The seagull chick is still hanging around. It has been rained on lots. I don’t think the parents are feeding it so I have put out a bit of food. However, I’m not sure it recognises it as food so it may slowly fade.

4. Geranium Rozanne

Geranium Rozanne was added earlier in the year. It’s a very popular choice that I’ve never bothered with. But I fancied adding a different colour into the mix as currently, the hardy geraniums are mainly pink or white.

5. Foxglove

I haven’t got many foxgloves this year but I’ve got lots on the go from seed ready for next year. I’m also trying Digitalis lutea to add a perennial variety to get around the biennial aspect of planning for the next year.

6. Hanging cage

I renovated the front garden’s hanging cage as it was looking a bit tatty. I’ve dug out one of the self-seeded nasturtiums. Initially, it seems to have taken a hit for being dugout. But it is still providing plenty of flowers so that’s fine. I think this variety was self-seeded from milkmaid.

And that wraps it up for this week. The weather looks to be wet tomorrow but then it should just be grey for a week so we’ll hopefully be able to get out and get on with some jobs.

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30 Days Wild: Day 19-Animal rescue

Well, yesterday was National Picnic Day but the weather was horrible so I’m glad we went out the day before. So we’ve had a wet day inside. Alce was kindly gifted a new kids kindle by her granddad. Part of the deal is you get kids unlimited in the first year giving you access to lots of children’s books. We’ve read through lots of the National Geographic kids books. Alice particularly liked the underwater ones while I liked the one on bees. She’s taken some of it in as she was telling me later how some bees are social and some are solitary. Though struggling to say solitary.

Then it seems to have been a day of animal rescue. The bees are very washed out so needing a sugar water boost.

We have had a seagull chick fall out of the nest. This happens pretty much every year. They are not about to win parenting awards. The advice is to put back on a roof if possible and see if the parents are feeding them. I’m not sure this one will be long for this world but we’ll see. Alice is excited to check in on it.

During lockdown, the environment bill is being discussed. It is looking to be pretty weak on any long term commitment to the environment. The RSPB have set up a form to message your local MP. My local MP Graham Stuart has never responded to me in several years of messaging him about various issues. But I figure more and more people are becoming environmentally aware so any pressure placed on MPs will let them now they need to prioritise.


It just takes a minute to complete and the more people who do it the more of a message it sends.

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Six on Saturday: 13.6.20-Soggy week

Well, it’s been a busy week of 30 Days Wild activities and a wet one. It has rained most of the week. So between rain and homeschooling, I’ve only really done a bit of weeding this week. The lilac needs a prune once the last flowers go over as it’s growing beyond its allotted space. I’ve started the process of pulling out the spring self-seeders. The forget-me-nots and aquilegias are coming out by the handful now. But the dahlias and verbena are almost ready to go in to replace them.

1. Purple clematis

This was established in the garden when I moved in but had got very leggy so I pruned it right back the year before last and it is doing much better. However, it is growing through the Clematis montana ‘Marjorie’ which doesn’t need pruning as often so I may face issues here. Just the one flower currently but a few more dotted around.

2. Goldfinches

The goldfinches have been visiting more often currently as they now have their young coming in with them. I want to encourage them so I’ve got some more sunflower seeds from Haith’s bird food. It was nice to see they’d got rid of their plastic packaging and it came delivered within a sturdy card bag. It’s done the job. As soon as I put it out I had several blue tits, the goldfinches, and a chaffinch in. I hadn’t seen the chaffinches in a while so that was a pleasant sight.

3. Lychnis coronaria

My lychnis started as one small plant and has since self-seeded around.  I like the furry silver leaves as it contrasts well against many of my favoured foliage plants and the hardy geraniums. The small flowers are as vibrant as anything in the garden but looking a bit sorry for themselves at the moment. They get a bit leggy and woody after a few years and look better for being pulled out and letting the new ones take over.

4 Pot combination

This pot combination has been together for a while now and is filling out nicely. The fern is Athyrium niponicum var. pictum metallic, the Japanese painted fern. The hosta lakeside is a small variety growing just 15cm or so. Then the black ophiopogon is evergreen and stays all year.

5. Yellow rose

This yellow rose grows up through the Choisya ternata. I’d quite like to take out the Choisya as it suffers too much during winter and spends the rest of the year recovering but I don’t think I can remove one and not the other. Choisya’s little white flowers are popular with bees. The yellow rose came with the garden. It shoots straight up for light out of the Choisya and forms bright orange flame buds. The roses bright yellow and fade to cream. While I probably wouldn’t have picked a yellow rose it is probably my favourite in the garden.

6. Charles DeMills

Charles DeMills was bought with vouchers I won a few years ago. It did a few flowers in its first year, none last year and looks to have a few more this year. It’s an old rose so I will only get the one burst of flowers each year, but they are rather grand. Large ruffles with a strange flat top.

The rain looks set to continue for a few more days over next week so I’m probably not going to get a mass chance to garden over the next week. But I’ve got a couple of garden books to read and try to get out in the few bursts I can. Don’t forget to check the Propagator’s guide to taking part in Six on Saturday if you fancy taking part and check his blog today to see more links on the comments. Enjoy your weekends.

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30 Days Wild: Day 10-Dandelion rainbow, bee buns, lettuce soup, flower crowns

Already a third of the way through and done an awful lot already with more to come. If you want to check back on what we’ve been up to check the contents page. I realised looking at the blog stats that I have been referred by two schools for their homeschooling recommendations during the lockdown. I think that’s one of the nicest compliments the blog has ever received. So if you are one of the parents directed here by your child’s school I’d love to know how you get on with any of the activities if you give them a go.

Today’s idea I’d seen on the 30 Days Wild Facebook page. There are lots of people sharing wonderful activities they’ve done as well as photos and chat. I saw this idea of a fingerprint dandelion. I thought it would be a nice easy one for a canvas as we had one spare.

Alice wanted to go right round the edge of the stem and I didn’t want to stiffle her creativity.

We worked through a few colours with wet-wipes on hand. She wasn’t that keen on this activity as didn’t like the paint on her fingers so if we try another like this might have to try a sponge printer instead.

Not quite what I envisioned but it looks quite pretty and it is her work.

Then I felt we should do a bit of wild baking as I’ve neglected to any with Alice. Amy is good about doing baking with her but I don’t tend to do as much. So settled on as basic bee bun.

Bright yellow icing.

Not the best decoration. No bake off for me yet. But we had fun doing it together The buns were tasty. The icing was disgusting. Cutting the top of them as we eat them.

We carried on with the cooking making use of some of our own veg. I’ve read and seen people, particularly Aaron Bertelsen of Great Dixter praising lettuce soup. Now Alice has been picking off lettuce from the patch as they grow. She tries to sneak them out when she thinks I’m not looking.

And the birds and possibly next doors cat have been nibbling so the lettuce is a bit patchy. I need to net it again. So the lettuce soup seemed like a good plan to use it up as the family wouldn’t see how patchy it was.

I managed to get enough lettuce out of the patch. Then a potato, 3 cups of water, salt, black pepper, onion, garlic and corriander went in the soup maker.

This was apparently popular with the French aristocracy and it may have been suited to a banquet as a starter that leaves you unsatisfied but I don’t think I’d use the recipe I tried today again. Alice ate it but it took a bit of persuasion. Mainly bribery with one of the buns we’d made earlier.

Having had failures at cooking I thought we’d try for an easy craft activity making a flower crown. Having made a mess of tape and wire Amy sorted it out.

I’ll stick to growing the flowers and leave arranging to others. Alice was happy with her crown once Amy had corrected it.

Now she was ready for being a flower fairy we headed to the park. The den we found earlier in the week had been knocked down. We’re not sure if it has been knocked down by other kids or by the council for safety. We propped it back up into a seating area and left the roof off.

I spotted what I think was a treecreeper. They are common enough birds but I’ve never noticed them there before. Since I started in 30 days 4 years ago I do find I notice much more of what is around me to appreciate.

And Alice wanted a bit of time to dance in the park. She is at the age of lots of twirling and dramatic arms for dancing.

A fully packed day. It left her totally zombified after her walk. Maybe a slower pace needed tomorrow.

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30 Days of Wild: Day 8-Den discovery

We started the day with another quick craft activity. We used polymer clay to make a few mini-beast.

We ended up with butterflies, a ladybird on a leaf, a snail and a flower.

Then wrapped up in waterproofs we headed out for our walk.

The seasons are visibly moving on with the elderflower out.

The conkers are forming.

In the park, the bees were placid after all the rain. A mass number were resting on the mallow.

And a few in the meadow area.

Alice was excited to be out with her umbrella again although she didn’t need it again.

A few more painted stones left around.

We made the discovery of a new den. Part of the trees have been cleared and they have been stacked into this rather nice den. A few additional routes seem to have been cut through the wood area. I’m not sure whether this was planned before lockdown or they felt this was needed.

Alice was excited with the discovery.

Though not so keen on Amy asking her for photos.

Though she showed no remorse.

Alice did eventually play along.

A good discovery, but I think we might have tears if we find anyone else in it.

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30 Days Wild: Day 6-Wildflower hunting

We’ve had the six on Saturday post for the day, now it’s time for our 30 days wild adventure for the day. We started off yesterday with a little bird watching while having an apple.

And we were treated to 3 goldfinches today.

We have been spotting lots of wildflowers while out on our walks so it seemed a good idea to make them the theme of this blog. I downloaded one of the plant ID guides and laminated it for trips out.

It was looking to be a wet day but we weren’t about to let them stop us get out. Waterproofs on. Alice has been desperate to take her umbrella out but since buying it the weather has been pretty good.

We found a few straight out of the door with herb Robert in the cracks of the walls and clover on the grass verges.

Ivy Leaved toadflax fills the stone walls along the park.

I mentioned the newly planted park trees were struggling in a previous blog. We’ve been watering them. They’ve had a bit of rain now but it’s still very dry. I took my hori-hori so I could clear some of the grass around them. On most young trees the fine water-absorbing tree roots can be found in the top six inches of soil so if they are competing with grassroots sharing the same space it decreases their chances of settling in. Can you spot the tree here?

I’ve given it a little clear to try and help. Even though it’s been raining I still took them some water as it’s drying out so quick it will still help. I just did the one as Alice is happy looking at the giraffe sculpture for a few minutes. I’ll gradually work along them. Some of them are still clearly doing alright so I’ll leave them for now. Advice suggests a ring cleared around a new tree of about 18 inches.

As it was looking like the rain would come down more heavily we had the park almost to ourselves except a few dog walkers. One of the advantages of wearing waterproofs and not minding rain. It also meant more of the birds were out and singing away.

Alice was able to get her umbrella up.

And I had a chance to photograph some soggy bees staying still sheltering on the buttercups.

Alice found a souvenir to bring home.

We enjoyed watching the pied wagtails while we sat and had a snack.

And Alice got a chance to enjoy the all-important activity of jumping in muddy puddles.

We collected a few wildflowers from the back of the garden to put in the flower press back home.

I quite like using tools like the flower press with Alice as they help teach patience. Something which doesn’t give instant gratification. Much like our garden efforts.

If you fancy learning more about the wildflowers around you check out https://www.plantlife.org.uk and Wildflower Hour. We found about half on the list which I think is reassuring for my locality on a fairly short walk.

After the exciting news of featuring on the wildlife trusts website we also found out Alice has won a prize from the HTA competitions during National Children’s Gardening Week. We don’t know what yet but hopefully it won’t be a lawnmower for her.

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30 Days Wild: Day 4-cloud watching

Alice has been absolutely engrossed with clouds recently. She’s asked each time we’ve sat out in the garden if we can lay back and watch the clouds. So Tuesday evening we enjoyed a mindful moment watching the clouds while Alice spotted pictures in the clouds.

There were some lovely wispy clouds on show.

The house martins were enjoying zipping back and forth for food up high.

And a few visitors closer to the ground.

Wednesday, however, brought rain. This brought me lots of happiness as the garden won’t need watering for the day. Not as nice for cloud watching. So, it seemed like a good day to experiment with stamping. With tried cotton wool, brushes and sponges to make cloud pictures.

We’ve got a person, a snake and a dragon. I wonder if you can guess which is which?

Another nice day of 30 Days wild. If you are looking for something over the next few days June the 8th is World Ocean Day. https://worldoceanday.school/ has lots planned for the day. Some of it is already available including a rather cheesy American video about not polluting the oceans. Here in Hornsea locals are having to do several litter picks a day since Johnson told people they could return to the beach. So a nice video to share around currently.

Hope you’re enjoying your weeks. I’ve finished my current RHS assignment so I’ve got a little chance for a break to plan more for Alice before I start on the next one.

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