Previous years I’ve walked barefoot on the grass but as Alice doesn’t like going barefoot very much we’ve just looked today at getting closer to the ground. While she might not like going barefoot she is quite happy rolling it and sniffing it.
Grass has many potential benefits. It can improve air quality by capturing carbon and it acts as a pollution filter. Areas of grass stay cooler than many hard surfaces. Then there are the mental benefits of green spaces. Green spaces can lower blood pressure and help mental well-being. Well worth celebrating and getting a bit closer with to connect with.
With the break in the rain, the birds are back out in force. The dusk chorus has been singing away and it was a joy to listen to. Taking a few minutes to sit and listen to birdsong is a simple pleasure but a very enjoyable one. Earlier in the year, the RSPB put birdsong in the chart with let nature sing. If for some reason you are unable to get outside or to a spot you can hear birdsong through this track and it gives a donation to the RSPB.
While it is nice to hear the songs I’ve been working on tuning into the bird’s songs to be able to identify through their sound. The RSPB has a new book and CD set out to help identify birdsong. Earlier in the year, I was gifted this lovely set that gives details of each bird then has tracks it plays through a built-in speaker.
For a free option, the long-running BBC Tweet of the day gives you a way to gradually build your knowledge. There is a massive back catalogue of episodes to listen to all for free. With many people following this blog for my gardening content you may enjoy Monty Don on the return of the swallows.
Today might not be the most glamorous act of wild but it can make a huge difference. Wildlife can suffer very badly with waste humans have left. More an more plastic has made it into our oceans. It is now thought that this may be having an impact on us through the water we drink and the food we eat.
Just picking up one or two pieces of rubbish during the day could save an animal. My local community is aiming for the plastic-free beach. They have set up a beach hut where on weekends you can go pick up a litter picker and a bucket to collect. Across the country, there are many 2-minute beach clean stands. I keep a set of work gloves under the pram for if we find anything on our strolls. It doesn’t take any time out of the day but helps make a difference to the community and wildlife. Our beaches are much cleaner since these initiatives began. On recent strolls, I’ve hardly found anything. The main find being cig butts.
For today’s 30 days wild idea I’ve gone with an easy one I’ve done in previous years. Try to take a photo of something blue. If it’s a nice day you hopefully have the easy option of a quick photo of the sky.
Or how about a cornflower.
Or spend a bit of time chasing damselflies trying for a photo.
Modern new build houses frequently have brick walls or fences impenetrable to many small mammals, particularly hedgehogs. Hedgehogs travel, on average, one mile a night to look for food. If we are putting up solid obstacles we restrict their access to food.
This can easily be solved with hedgehog holes. A few minutes with a saw can cut a hole in the gate or fence to give hedgehogs access. It doesn’t need to big. The size of a CD will do.
Alternatively, you can dig a small hole under the fence. A word of warning, ask neighbours and don’t dig holes through to gardens if they have pets likely to hurt the hedgehogs or get through themselves. If you have fence panels this can be trickier but commercial options are available to make it easier.
It took me a couple of minutes cutting a hole in the gate and since then I’ve had hedgehogs visiting on a regular basis.
For more information check out the wonderful hedgehog street and become a hedgehog champion. Hedgehogs are super for gardeners. They eat a large number of garden pests saving your much-loved plants. Well worth welcoming into our gardens.
As part of 30 days wild, I’ve come to appreciate the nature on my doorstep. But it is always nice to get out for the day to see something different, something you don’t get to see every day. As 30 days is the Wildlife Trusts initiatives I’d recommend getting out to one of their many reserves. They have a whole host of habitats on offer. With reserves covering woodland, meadows, coastal sites, wetlands you are spoilt for choice. Going to a reserve provides opportunities to support the Trust. Visitor numbers are important as well as a chance to support by buying a cuppa or souvenir if there is a visitors centre or just giving a donation. Plus you get the chance to enjoy wildlife you don’t always get the chance to see.
Our recent trip to Flamborough offered us a chance to see crabs and other sea creatures we can’t find on Hornsea beach as easily.
North Cave Wetlands is one of my favourite local spots. The wetlands attract lots of birds but it’s the insect life I love seeing.
The RSPB also offer many reserves up and down the country. We often pop into Bempton Cliffs on the way back from Amy’s dad. It’s just off the route and breaks up the journey. We get to see nesting seabirds we’d be unlikely to come across otherwise. If you have a long journey it is worth checking out the reserve list to see if there is anywhere like this you can stop off to break up the journey and de-stress.
The Forestry Commission has many locations across the UK providing for walkers, bikers and many outdoor pursuits. There’s no telling what you might find.
I haven’t been to the Wetlands in a little while so I’m hoping to make it there again during these 30 days. Have you got any trips planned?
One of the great aspects of taking part in 30 days wild and connecting with nature is that it helps lower stress levels. Meditating outside can only enhance this. Even just taking ten minutes to sit in the garden and practise mindful breathing exercises can help lower stress. The more regularly you can manage this the better but even once a week is better than nothing.
I’ve practised meditation for over a decade and use numerous techniques but I mainly come back to following the breath. If it was good enough for the Buddha it’s good enough for me.
First breath in concentrating on the word in, then breath out concentrating on the word out. I prefer to sit kneeling, but cross-legged or on a straight-backed chair with feet flat on the ground is fine. I tend not to lie down as this encourages sleep rather than meditation.
Your breath will fall into a natural rhythm that feels right to you.
As you go on normally your breathing will become deeper and lower.
If your mind wanders come back to the words in and out.
Continue for as long as you feel comfortable. When finished take your time getting back up.
Alternatively counting the breath creates a focus for many. Breath in counting 1, breath out, breath in 2, all the way to 10. Then start back at 1. If you lose count return to 1.
There are many basic guides on meditation and mindfulness. I still favour Thich Nhat Hanh’s the miracle of mindfulness. I have just picked up love letters to the Earth. While this is a few years old now it seems like a good choice for the challenges currently facing us.