#30DaysWild Day 23 – Natural art

Taking advantage of the nice weather we headed into the back garden to do some art work.  Last time we got the paints out during lockdown the necessary clean up involved washing part of the sofa as well as showering minis number two and three so relocating to the patio area made much more sense today.

Using some of the things we collected on our walk in Greetwell Hollow, we did some leaf rubbing, used leaves to make prints and, adding some sticks into the mix, created more butterflies too.

I got my bonus point for it linking to home learning work set by their school and also took advantage of the time to complete an art task set a week or so ago when I was still refusing to get the paints out again.

Painting with bubbles definitely appealed to Willow, so much she says she wants to do it again soon.  Any ideas where I can hide the paint?

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#30DaysWild Day 22 – Colourful walk

Yesterday was all about daddy’s day (honestly he really did want to spend it clearing out the loft…) but today we managed to get out for a walk around our estate which gave us plenty of opportunity to enjoy the colourful fruits of our neighbours’ labour with all the beautiful flowers in full bloom gracing their front gardens.   

I didn’t have much opprtunity to take photos though as mini number two decided to take one of her favourite mermaid books out with her and needed reminding to look when crossing roads…

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#30DaysWild Day 20 – Greetwell Hollow

Not to be put off by yesterday’s less than successful attempt at discovering somewhere new we headed out today to try somewhere even more local that I’ve been meaning to visit for some time but it’s taken a pandemic lockdown for me to finally get there.

I’d assumed (correctly) that Greetwell Hollow Nature Reserve just outside Lincoln wouldn’t be the best to investigate with a pushchair so it helps that Faith is now walking a bit more although the uneven terrain and heat meant that she was quite happy being carried for a lot of our stroll too.

The “interesting wildlife haven and geological” Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust site is a lot bigger than we first realised (13 hectares – there is a map available on the charity’s website for people who are better at planning than we are) so we only covered a very small area of it leaving plenty of reasons to go back again.

“The limestone grassland in the valley offers a wide range of wildflowers including bee orchid and the scrub offers great homes for wintering and nesting birds. The stream that flows through the centre of the reserve supports wetland plants and attracts wintering snipe, moorhen and heron.  In the rough limestone grassland with hawthorn scrub, traveller’s joy is a scarce plant in the area, and dwarf thistle and field scabious can be found.  Bullfinch is a characteristic bird.”

Mummy thought it would be a good place to collect some natural art supplies for a future project but the minis found out it was actually good for playing what’s the time Mr Wolf and, thanks to an impressive stick find, asking if there’s room on the broom.

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#30DaysWild Day 19 – Fiskerton Fen

Day 19After our new lockdown discoveries of Starmers Pit and Ashing Lane Nature Reserve we were feeling emboldened today and headed out in the car to pastures new once more.

And you can’t beat a personal recommendation can you?  So when my friend Rachel Eldridge suggested Fiskerton Fen is a lovely place to go with lots of wildlife the pin was placed firmly on the map.

Sadly it was only a metaphorical map and we drove, not only through two downpours, but also past the entrance of Fiskerton Fen twice before finding it.  Then we discovered there was a height barrier to the car park which we couldn’t get in with the roof rack on.  Not our most successful journey.

Thankfully Rachel took some photos of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s “wet feland landscape with open water and reedbeds” on her last visit so I can share what a lovely place it looks to be for those who travel without a permanent storage box on the top of their cars.

The Trust highlights that the reed-dependent animals “include some of our rarest species including the bittern and marsh harrier. Greater water parsnip, once common in Lincolnshire but now almost extinct, has also been introduced.”

And it could prove a perfect choice to visit during next week’s National Insect Week (June 22nd – 28th):

“Surrounding the wet fenland is grassland with thickets of blackthorn and hawthorn scrub. The wildflowers of the grassland such as field scabious, knapweed and St. John’s wort provide nectar for butterflies and a host of other insects. The scrub provides shelter and song posts for birds such as yellowhammer, corn bunting, linnet and tree sparrow.”

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Oi! Do you know it’s Independent Bookshop Week? asks Lindum Books

LindumBooksIt’s a special day for city bookshop Lindum Books today as it reopens its doors for the first time since Coronavirus lockdown.

It’s been continuing to make sure Lincoln’s readers haven’t been left with dwindling to read piles throughout its physical shop closure by taking orders for delivery by phone and email – we’ve added titles including Ducktective Quack and the Cake Crimewave by Claire Freedman and Joseph Elliott’s The Good Hawk to our library and also been able to have a couple of presents sent straight to their recipients.

But there’s no doubt, even with extra special measures in place, that owner Sasha Drennan is more than pleased to be sharing the shop’s shelves with her keen customers again (on Wednesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 4pm to begin with).

LindumIndependentAnd it couldn’t be better timed for shops such as hers as they look forward to the annual Independent Bookshop Week celebrations which get underway in just three days.

Running from Saturday, June 20th to Saturday, June 27th, the Bailgate store will have early releases and signed editions on sale to mark the occasion.

Not available elsewhere until July 9th, the shop will have early release copies of the paperback Oi Puppies picture book by Kes Gray and Jim Field (£6.99) alongside signed copies of the children’s author’s new book The Diddle That Dummed (£6.99).

“The Oi! books make us laugh out loud and, as book people, we love the way they play with words.  We’re looking forward to having the cute Oi Puppies! here in paperback,” says Sasha.

Not Now Bernard by David McKeeA video reading of the children’s picture book Not Now Bernard by David McKee by actor, rapper and author Ben Bailey Smith celebrating the book’s 40th anniversary is also being organised – look out for it during the week on the shop’s Facebook page.

If you’d like to add to your own selection as well as your children’s reading list whilst you’re there then Lindum Books will also have signed copies of the Lady in Waiting paperback by Anne Glenconner (£8.99) as well as early release copies of the Faber Poetry Diary 2021 (£12.99) and the Liberty Print Poetry Diary 2021 (£14.99) available.  These two won’t be available elsewhere until September but we’re all ready to move on to next year already aren’t we?

For those of us that aren’t yet able to venture out too much the shop will still be offering additional services including home delivery direct from their supplier, pay and collect/deliver and private appointments.

Call the store on 01522 262374 or visit www.facebook.com/lindumbooks for further information.

#30DaysWild Day 16 – City explorers

Day 16The minis had a trip to Lincoln Arboretum with daddy this morning.

They particularly like to run around the small hedge maze and the bandstand and there are also signs to look out for by particular trees explaining what they are and where they’re from.

It was their third trip to the city park during lockdown but it’s important to pick your time as its central location can mean it can get quite busy.

After attending an appointment, I got to enjoy a walk home on my own taking in the greener side of the city roadside.

And, as we’re all about spirals at the moment, I couldn’t resist taking some photos of some I spotted to share with my five year old when we all returned home.

This evening my husband decided to have a look at whether we have any residets in our insect hotel and at least spotted this one spider.  Maybe Coronavirus has insects on lockdown in their own homes too.

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#30DaysWild Day 15 – Swirl by Swirl

Day 15We’ve been very grateful to post deliverers of all types during these last 12 weeks for adding a bit of unwrapping excitement, home learning opportunities and fun to the minis lockdown experience.

But the best deliveries have to be the new book days, don’t they?  (Well at least for mummy anyway, Willow might opt for when her new LOL watch arrived but let’s not test the theory…)

And when such a beautiful gem as Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes is left stood up on your doorstep, it’s a particularly special day.

SwirlBySwirl

The Newbery Honor (the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children) and Caldecott Medal (most distinguished American picture book for children) winning team combine to provide a deceptively simple but beautifully rich tale, just like the shape itself.

It starts of small and cosy – “A spiral is a snuggling shape.  It fits neatly in small places.  Coiled tight, warm and safe, it waits…” – and uncoils and expands with examples growing in size, both flora and fauna, above ground and under the sea.

From the harvest mouse to merino sheep to the spiny sea horse, the sweet pea to the rose to the sunflower and through to whirlpools, tornadoes and galaxies – “spinning and sparkling, forever expanding” – spirals are shown to be safe and strong, defensive and explorative.

But it’s final pages bring you back to wanting to curl “up neat and small, warm and safe” alongside the eastern gray squirrel and harvest mouse “warm and safe”.

Two additional pages add definition and further details beyond the poem – “Spiral: a shape that curls around a center point” – also briefly mentioning the DNA helix and Fibonacci spiral.

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#30DaysWild Day 14 – Bird feeder

Day 14A simple and quick acitivity for us today saw Willow making a bird feeder for our back garden.

Fortunately bird seed is something you can put on an online shopping order (I’m hoping scrapbooks will soon be added to the list too), we already had peanut butter in and, as this is the time of the Coronavirus, we of course had a toilet roll cardboard tube available.

Spreading the peanut butter over the tube and rolling it through the bird seed to allow it to stick to it and cover it, we then just added string and headed out into the garden to find somewhere appropriate to hang it up.

Hopefully we’ll be welcoming a few more feathered friends to our garden in the next few days, as long as my 5-year-old’s keeness to meet them doesn’t result in them exercising their right to social distance that is.

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