30 days wild: day 18-dawn chorus and planting for wildlife

Today was an early start with Alice waking at half 3 and not going back down. So I heard the dawn chorus. Now the dawn chorus is normally regarded one of natures wonders. But today it was more a cacophony of chaos. Living by the sea the seagulls started as the opening act followed by jackdaws and pigeons.

It wasn’t for an hour or so until I started to hear more melodic tunes from the songbirds. But I did get through the gardeners world 50th anniversary. I’m glad Monty presents now and not Titsmarsh. He’s not my cup of tea. Then managed a few Springwatch unsprung episodes.

I worked on school work through the morning, then got out in the garden late afternoon. It was too hot earlier, but by the time I got out it had cooled off. I did some weeding. Cleared a bit of space around a fuscia and Hebe that were being drowned out by camomile. I’ve reported a few plants on the patio and had a general tidy. Then added a few more pots for wildlife with poached egg plant and night scented stock. Less inviting for wildlife I set up a planter with alpines Amy likes. Alice had her paddling pool out, but wasn’t bothered about going in. But feeling how cold it was I don’t blame her. She did have a dig in the earth though and pretended to water the plants with her watering can.

We both ticked off the wild act of feeling the grass between our toes. It was too hot for shoes and socks most of the day.

The insect life was spectacular today. With the sun out bees and dragonflies were out in abundance. I still don’t seem to have much that appeals to butterflies. So need to work on that.

 

30 days of wild: day 17-rainbow hunt

Today I decided to go with an act I didn’t do last year; the rainbow hunt. I thought it was too much of a hassle, but today through my garden, walking to the Floral Hall, the beach and the park I have kept my eyes peeled for colours.

Richard (red and pink).

Of (orange).

York (yellow)

Gave (green).

Battle (blue).

In vain (indigo and violet).

I hope you like my kaleidoscope of colours. Alice’s had a nice potter in the park along the way. The rainbow hunt was a nice activity. Next year when I’ve got more planted I might try it in school.

 

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30 days wild: day 16-den day

Today has been Save the Children den day. We took part at school as my first stay and play as EYFS coordinator. Before the kids came in we got out the kit. We had lots of tarps and curtains. We got the crates out and tables out.

We have dividers designed for splitting areas inside up. We assemble these into frames for the children to use as a starting point for dens.

 

We covered the picnic table with a tarp and set up a pop up tent for the lazier children.

 

One of the other teachers had come up with the idea of having knot examples.

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We just aimed to provide enough of a starting point for the children to take it and build a den with a degree of independence.

The children and parents were wonderful working nicely together and coming up with lots of different dens.

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Using the room dividers worked well as a frame for the dens. The kids were able to use these and pegs to make decent dens with just a small support.

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The parachute made for a big den for lots of children at once.

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The mud kitchen ended up covered.

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This was a pop up football goal put to better use.

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The most solid award goes to a den built by one of the older brothers who came. He was great with the kids and helped build a whole run of dens.

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Both kids, staff and parents have had a great morning. I think a lot of the parents were a bit disappointed to see their dens dismantled at the end of the day. We had some really positive feedback, which is nice to hear. A lot of prep goes into these days, so it was good to see it appreciated. Many of the parents were talking about carrying on with dens at home. This was lovely to hear and hopefully means moreover more children outside.

30 days of wildlife 2017: day 14-lunch in the wild

Today is just a short update as Alice is ill with a fever, so only managed a few wild acts at work. It has been a baking hot day today, so I decided to take my lunch outside in the outdoor classroom rather than the stuffy staff room.

I did a bit of weeding with the kids in the garden area. The weeds and potatoes have come back strong after the holiday. So we got some dug out and some seeds put down and compost scattered over. We’ve got some night scented stock, poached egg plants and alyssum. The night scented stock and alyssum are good for insects, so hopefully draw in some more life.

We got Alice to sleep despite her fever, but, expecting a bumpy night with her waking up several times.

30 days of wild: day 13: read a wild book

Day 13 has seen me finish my car audiobook and start a new one. On my commute I like audiobooks. With a one year old my reading time is limited, so audiobooks offer me an alternative. I had been listening to the evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson’s book Half Earth. The concept of the book is rapidly gaining ground within conservation. It isn’t enough to just save single species. We need to put aside large sections of the Earth for us and biodiversity to have a future. It was an interesting listen, but I wish more ground was covered on how it could be implemented.

BBC podcast on Half Earth concept

E.O. Wilson on podcast 

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Having finished half Earth I decided to move onto another nature book, but this time fiction. I started Watership Downs. Only an hour in and I’m hooked. The introduction was interesting. Richard Adams discussed how the book started as a story to entertain his kids in the car. It was initially rejected as too complicated for the younger audience and older children wouldn’t want to read about rabbits. Time has shown that to be wrong, so there is a good lesson for aspiring children’s authors. Don’t talk down to children. The descriptions of the animals in the book show Richqrd Adams as someone who was a keen naturalist. I think I will enjoy this audiobook a lot.

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On kindle I’m reading Rob Cowen common ground. The book is covering Rob’s forays into edge lands. I’m enjoying it, but keep finding myself comparing it to other books that have covered the same ground.

I also just got Hattie Garlick’s book born to be wild. Hattie is a journalist who has written for the times, the guardian and independent. The book grew out of a blog free our kids. The idea is activities to do with kids that will be free or using common items in your house. It has some super ideas and I particularly like how it has ideas split by seasons. I first heard about it from the RSPB podcast, but only just got it. But just a quick flick makes me think I’ll use it lots.

RSPB podcast

 

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I hope you enjoyed my reading updates. What are you reading? Leave a comment.

30 days of wild: Day 11-open gardens

Today started with catching up on the last Springwatch. Alice was a bit more interested today. She seemed to like the owls, but less interested in kestrels.

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Then after her nap we headed out. Today was open gardens in Hornsea. A handful of generous people opened their garden to the public for a donation to raise money for Marie Curie cancer charity. The first we visited was down by the mere was owned by an ex-teacher who now has a workshop making lovely sculptures. Some willow, some metal. Many were on display in her beautiful garden.

I particularly liked that they had made use of the field behind their house. They’d set up a seating area to look out onto a field of wilderness owned by the mere. I also like the pond adding to the biodiversity.

The second was just near one of Amy’s sisters. The back gardens are small courtyards overshadowed in part by their neighbors houses. To get to the house we went round the back alley. The couple who owned the house had moved up from Peterborough two years ago. In that time they’ve clearly put in a lot of work on the garden. Though a relatively small space they had worked wonders making a lovely hideaway. We stopped for tea and scones, which didn’t do any harm to the enjoyment of the garden either. Alice enjoyed digging in their slate path, picking and dropping the stone.

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The next garden was long and narrow with a slope and a little pond at the bottom. He said he’d just been in a year, so doing pretty well so far. I saw a good variety of bees: carder, white tails, miner and what I think were some solitary I didn’t know.

The next garden of over the memorial gardens. It had a decent sized front garden with a long patch of lavender at the front. There was also some interesting black plants, which I’m seeing around more recently.

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The back garden is on several tiers with a pond lower down and larger trees up the slope. The large size of the garden allowed large blocks of planting, which looks more impressive than what I can manage within my garden.

There was even an air raid shelter built by the French posted in Hornsea.

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The next garden had a lot of Buddhist and Chinese influences with statues and bonsai dotted around.

We didn’t notice on entry, but in the corner was a chicken coop.

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The next garden had lots planting for wildlife, bird feeders and insect homes. Alice enjoyed having a good explore. Lots of planting to my taste honeysuckle, lavender, clematis and foxgloves. Lots to attract in insects.

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It was getting late on, but one more garden owner kindly let us have a look around even though it was the end time. It was a massive expanse, with paths winding around the garden. The kids were very lucky with a tree house hidden away.

I spotted a number of speckled wood butterflies hidden up high and plenty of Bee activity all over.

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We didn’t make it around all the gardens as we had a late start after Alice’s nap. But the ones we did get round were spectacular. I’m grateful to the owners for opening up. Not only as it raised money for a good cause, but we also had a lovely afternoon pottering around. I think within my garden I need to look at larger clumps of the same flower for effect rather than all spread around. Then I need a better height progression in my borders. A very enjoyable afternoon and weekend.

30 days wild 2017: Day 10-Back in time

Today started off with some digital acts of wild. I caught up on springwatch and gardener’s world. Alice was not too bothered for Springwatch, but wanted to sit with me for gardener’s world.

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Then did the wild act to share wild news. BBC earth shared the news that bees are not only at risk from pesticides, but also fungicides that were thought safe for bees. The more people aware of this news the better, so please share.

News source

After Alice’s nap and lunch we headed out for, not one, but two vintage events. First a vintage fair inside at the Floral Hall. Then out to the Hornsea Museum for a vintage tea party.

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Hornsea Museum is in the centre of town. The museum was originally the Burn’s family farm in the 18th century until 1978 when it became a museum of Hornsea life. It has an old school room, relics from the farm, Hornsea pottery and clay industry (clay bricks were once made in the area), model railway and war relics. This may not sound all that exciting, but they put on nice events regularly including craft sessions for children. The courtyard is very pleasant with a nice variety of planting.

Alice wanted to be out using her new walking skills straight away.

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Today was a vintage tea party. Lots of people were dressed up and tea, cake and sandwiches were available. So I ticked off enjoying a cuppa outside with the sound of birds around the courtyard. Sparrows on the roof and blackbirds on the trees.

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They have a miniature beach hut set up currently as an ice cream shop. Alice loved this and spent most of her time going back and forth choosing new ice creams.

The house martins were busy overhead dashing back and forth.

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Interestingly they have local apple trees grown from seed in the courtyard including details about the variety.

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The planting is pretty good for wildlife with cuckoo spit on the fennel and a variety of bees amongst the flowers.

We listened to a few golden oldies from the singers before heading off.

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As Alice had enjoyed the ice cream shop so much we ended up buying her the kitchen toy from the shop. It was a bargain though for a mini wooden kitchen including pans for a tenner. On the way back we stopped in at one of Amy’s sisters. Then went back by the seafront. We were going to have fish and chips but I forgot we’d spent the cash we had on the kitchen set. Alice was getting tired though by the sea, so we went home. Too much longer out before tea and I think she would of got seriously grumpy. A nice day out back immediately time.

I’ll finish with a quick shout out to how good the new 30 days wild school pack is. It has a handful of ideas of activities for teaching linked to key stages. There is a pack of stickers, a wild teacher badge, and a calendar poster with the 30 days on. There is also a large set of the wild acts cards. These are lovely and could easily be marketed to raise more money for the wildlife trust. I’m sure these sets will be very popular.

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