30 Days Wild: Idea 23-Eat outside

Well, the 30 Days app suggested eating outside so let’s examine why eating outside is good for you. It has been suggested that eating outside can make the food taste better, concentration improves, eating in the sunlight can improve vitamin D and increase your immune system. I don’t know how much truth there is any of this but eating outside certainly feels like an event. Whether it’s a BBQ or a picnic these are events that can be remembered for a long time. It creates a chance for bonding as a family or just a break on yourself.

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30 Days Wild: day 12-bug hotel

For day 12 of 30 days wild, I am encouraging you to get out and build a bug hotel. There are loads of ways to do this and it is great fun. It makes for great fun with the kids. Alice helps maintain mine and I’ve made ones in school as well. By building you potentially create a home for hedgehogs, toads, bees, woodlice, beetles and many more.

For an easy option stack pallets. Fill with wood, sticks, leaves and grass cuttings to provide opportunities for many species. Here is one at our local community Floral Hall.

Mine was made with bricks and decking tiles. The bricks were largely free from Facebook. The decking tiles about a tenner for the lot. So, it isn’t a great expense for a solid structure for the garden.

Alternatively, you could buy ones to hang from the fence. Some of the commercial varieties have issues with splinters and tubes too small or too big for local insect life so read advice and try and buy quality. Increasingly, we get gifted bug houses. The most recent was this nice butterfly house. My butterfly houses have only ever attracted spiders but it isn’t doing any harm having them on the fence.

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30 Days Wild: day 11-Save water

Today I’m looking at saving water in the garden. We have recently added two water butts One 300-litre beast in the back garden and one smaller 100-litre butt in the front garden. For the last week, I’ve been watering purely using the butts. Granted it has rained lots but as I’ve got quite a few newly planted trees and shrubs I want to make sure they are staying damp. At the bottom end, you can pay ¬£30 for a cheap butt to make a big difference.

Installing a butt has many advantages both for the environment and practical:

    • If you’re on a water metre it saves money. In the future more of us may be put on metres if droughts continue. Get prepared!
    • Less water is taken out of rivers for drinking water. Up to 70% of the water from our taps is used for gardens at peak times. This means water companies have to drain streams and groundwater reducing valuable habitats for many species.
    • Most plants prefer rainwater to tap water, particularly if you live in an area of hard water like me.
    • It can save time and effort walking to the tap. This has helped me in the front garden where I have to walk a long way around.
    • It’s estimated if everyone in the UK used a butt we could save a reservoir worth of water.
    • It saves energy. Water treatment plants use up lots of energy so butts help save energy.
    • It potentially reduces flood risk. As you are reducing the water going down the drain it helps stop the drains get full.

Hope this inspires you to add one if you don’t already have a butt. We’ve already had one person in the neighbourhood say they’ve ordered one having seen ours at the front which is great news.

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Living Seas Centre Flamborough-Birthday Party

Today we’d been invited to our neighbour’s daughters birthday party. She works for the Wildlife Trust at the Living Seas Centre in Flamborough and the party was held there. This made a nice change from going to pick up a new disease at another soft play party. Pretty much every time we visit soft play Alice returns with a new cold. I hadn’t visited the centre since it was updated. We tend to go to Bempton on the way to Amy’s dads as it is just of the route. So it was good to get out and see the centre. The plan for the day was rock pooling followed by food.

As we walked down the lifeboat was being towed back to the boat Lifehouse. It’s been a bit of a grey day but luckily not too windy as Flamborough can be unforgiving a bad day. Everyone was dressed for the occasion wellies and waterproofs.

The tractor gets a hose down as it comes back to wash the salt off and stop it rusting up.

The group making their way down to the rockpools.

The birthday girl and her dad.

Alice had a good go walking across the seaweed. She needed a bit of carrying to get down to the shore but did pretty well as one of the youngest. Not easy rock pooling when it comes higher up on you than everyone else.

She needed a few snacks on the way to prevent the grumps. She’d had an early morning and we’d tried filling her up before heading out but clearly not enough. Can never keep a two-year-old full for long.

The guides from the Wildlife Trust were very knowledgeable pointing out different finds as we went.

Alice braved giving the crab a stroke though she wasn’t quite ready to hold it.

We’d been supplied clipboards with ID guides of different things we might find. Between the guides and the group, I think we saw everything on the list.

Alice liked the current artwork outside the centre and enjoyed pointing out all the creatures she could name.

Back at the centre Amy and I warmed up with a cuppa while Alice checked out the tray of finds.

In the centre’s education room, Alice enjoyed crafts colouring and making a plate butterfly model.

Alice enjoyed a jammy dodger.

Alice liked the viewing window watching the birds investigating the bug hotel. Lots of dunnocks and blue tits going in and out of a nest box.

We went outside to gather round to sing happy birthday to the birthday girl.

We had a lovely time and Alice was sorry to go with the usual screams as we drove off telling us she didn’t want to go home. The centre has a good set up and worth visiting. There are regular events for both children and adults if you fancy having the expertise of one of the Trusts guides. With 30 days Wild set to begin it’s a good time to be planning a trip to a reserve. I hope the birthday girl enjoyed herself and we were thankful for the invite. A much more civilised way to spend a kiddies birthday party.

The beauty of life on one tree

Today I came across the news story of spikes being placed on a tree in Oxford. I figured straight away that this was probably done to stop bird poo on cars and after watching it saw I was right. This follows on from the story of Norfolk cliffs and hedges being covered in nets. While the bird poo is a pain, my car gets covered in seagull poo, it seems bizarre to cover the trees natural beauty and prevent wildlife using its natural resource.

Walking through the park today I stopped to admire the life on one tree. The weather was warm today but this tree was literally humming with activity. Blackbirds and sparrow were flying in and out the up story and a few butterflies were hovering around but too high up for photos.

The bees and hoverflies were swarming all over. I couldn’t track the numbers out today.

The ladybirds were out in force.

The understory providing space for more plants to grow.

The shade providing flowers with the conditions they need.

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy this beauty? The amount of life supported on one tree is amazing. Why would we think we can improve on nature? I’ll leave you with a quote from someone smarter than me.

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

Albert Einstein

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RSPB-Let Nature Sing

The RSPB are looking to draw attention to nature. 165 species are critically endangered not to mention those whose numbers have just dropped. They are aiming to get bird song into the music charts to show support for protecting and helping nature. Let Nature Sing is set to be released on the 26th May with purchases up to the 2nd of May counting towards that weeks chart figures.

Available on google play.

Available on Amazon.

Also available on itunes.

As a download it only costs 99p and there isn’t much you can do with 99p these days. For 99p you can show support for nature at a time when it is most needed. You can also show support on social media with the hashtag #LetNatureSing If we don’t protect nature now we may no longer be able to enjoy simple pleasures such as the dawn chorus.

Please support and share your support through your social media of choice.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/campaigning/let-nature-sing/

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Grow Wild: free wildflower seed

It is time for registration with Grow Wild to see if I can get a wildflower kit. Grow Wild is an initiative through Kew Gardens to grow native wildflowers. It brings people together to create community¬†spaces to help the environment and bring cheer to spaces. By growing wildflowers, it offers food sources for pollinators and can help people’s mental wellbeing through planting and maintaining or just through seeing and enjoying.

The previous packs have been excellent. Grow Wild put together different seed mixes depending on your location in the UK. They then have different packs for different situations: woodland wonders, sensational, field flowers, nighttime bloomers and pollinators. This is an excellent project for teachers. Even if you can only provide a small space, a few planters or pots, it all adds up. Teaching children the significance of the individual plants will help prepare a new generation to take better care of our world. Vitally important work.

Previous mixes did well. The cornflowers brought in the bees and the goldfinches. Registration is open and people will find out if they have been successful next month. So if you work as a teacher or have a community space to grow it is well worth checking out.

Registration open here.

Even if you are ineligible it is worth browsing the website for ideas on collecting seeds and how to help pollinators.

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