Day five #30DaysWild: Open Farm Sunday

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_05Open Farm Sunday – “a great opportunity for farmers to open their gates and welcome visitors onto their farm to discover the world of farming” – took place today and unsurprisingly Lincolnshire had lots of opportunities for people to “find out about the story behind our food and how farming affects our everyday lives”.

OFS_LogWe opted to visit Uncle Henry’s in Grayingham and were rewarded with a tractor ride with commentary, animals to wave to, the chance to sit behind the wheel of several large machines and main ring displays.  We certainly weren’t the only ones to enjoy the day as the glorious weather may well have meant that Uncle Henry’s opened its gates to many more people than predicted.

The emphasis may have been on cultivation but there were plenty of wild highlights too.

FrogI got excited when we spotted a few web-footed visitors making their way towards the entrance from the car park.

BugHotelI was also glad to note that the farm’s mini beast visitors are treated to excellent hotel accommodation should they wish to stay for a while.

And we later learnt how the farm dedicates small patches of its land beside its crops to being patches of wild flowers or areas specifically planted to support bees.

photo 2The event even had a dedicated Nature Zone which included a woodland walk.  Woodlands are definitely my favourite habitat but, as a certain person was protesting the fact we didn’t wait in the pony ride queue at this point, I didn’t have the chance to wander down its paths.  I was therefore pleased when the tractor ride we took near the end of the day included part of the farm’s 30 acres of woodland, which we were told offers shelter to creatures including songbirds, rabbits, foxes, woodpeckers and even a couple of deer every now and then.

WoodlandTrustLogoIt seemed very appropriate as we’d just signed up to a family membership of the Woodland Trust at the charity’s stall.  The membership includes a Nature Detectives welcome pack with passport, stickers, bookmark and activity booklet – hopefully it will arrive in June and will provide us with another #30DaysWild activity!

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Day four #30DaysWild: Feel the grass between your toes

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_04Inspired by our afternoon of doodle dancing with our shoes and socks off we decided to take our bare feet out into the garden when we got home and feel the grass tickle between our toes for day four of #30DaysWild.

Luke and Willow needed very little persuasion to run around bare foot – quite how to encourage them to wear shoes and socks next time we head out I’m not so sure…

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Day Three #30DaysWild: A walk across the city

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_03Third day, third waterway.

It was not intentional to focus on river scenes so much early in the month but it turns out Lincoln has lots of beautiful ones on offer.

Today was an appointment day, the logistics of which left little opportunity for anything else planned but lots of opportunity for serendipitous discoveries as we hiked from one side of the city to another.

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And the natural spaces we were able to walk through on the way certainly made the miles covered a lot more palatable then they would otherwise have been.

From riverside path to park to riverside path and, later on, to another park, they offered a chance for some peace from busy city streets, a lovely backdrop to a bit of alfresco dining and the opportunity for little legs to run off some steam in the fresh air.

We spotted a robin early in the morning, a bushy-tailed resident caused excitement in the park, we were quacking hello to a feathered preener later in the afternoon and discovered fungus fairy houses in the early evening.

As well as keeping my eyes open as we travel, #30DaysWild is also leading me to make new discoveries online through fellow participants’ blogs and social media posts.

Have you ever heard of champing?  A combination of the words church and camping and billed as “the ultimate slow tourism escape”, I came across the concept via What Naomi Did Next’s blog and it’s most definitely on my future to do list.

And, if I start to run low on ideas for activities for this month, I shall take inspiration from this lovely artwork by Play Make Create’s Louise Thompson that captures the essence of the challenge through both its beauty and the simplicity of its fun-filled actions.  Go explore indeed!

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Artwork: Louise Thompson – Play Make Create

 

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Day Two #30DaysWild: On the subject of lions…

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_02LionLuke may have had his turn as the king of the jungle yesterday – Day One #30DaysWild – but today it was Willow’s turn to be the head of the pride by trying on a lion costume in the playroom at The Collection in Lincoln.

It wasn’t a weak attempt at fulfilling a “wild” remit though as today’s planned activity actually happened!  Although Luke and Willow also had antipodean and prehistoric wild creatures covered in their dressing up play just in case.

Before heading to the museum for the afternoon we had taken to the water for a morning’s leisurely cruise departing from the Brayford Pool in the centre of the city.

The belles of the Brayford Belle were very welcoming and incredibly helpful with getting the pushchair on and off the boat which meant a hassle-free start to a very relaxing trip.

We have always had this on our Lincoln to-do list but, whilst we have been on boat trips in other towns and cities, we don’t always get the chance to be tourists at home so I’m grateful to #30DaysWild to giving me the push to do it.

Life definitely seems to take on a different pace when you’re afloat and the calm travelling tempo gave us plenty of time to view the flora and fauna around the riverbank.

GlovesAccording to the commentary, previous passengers have spotted wildlife including kingfishers, dragonflies and foxes at the water’s edge although today’s highlights were swans, ducks, reeds and lily pads, that I learnt that pyewipe is another name for a lapwing and, for Willow, getting to try her Grandmum’s gloves on.

It must have been a good trip because within minutes of it starting another young passenger was asking if they could come again and Willow’s Grandmum commented on the way back how nice it would be to do it again at a different stage in the season to see the changing landscape.

I’m also grateful to #30DaysWild for making me look a little closer at my surroundings as I walk about to spot the small as well as big wild views, such as the pretty flowers making this bridge their home elsewhere in the city.

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Day One of the #30DaysWild challenge

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_01Day one of the challenge and things are already not going to plan.

I was going to head back to the field of our previous misadventure (Planning ahead for #30DaysWild), this time with just one child and no pushchair, but rain stopped play before it even started.

With Luke sporting a Gruffalo top and me putting on a flowery tunic just in case that was as good as it was going to get today, we headed towards the Diddy Disco at the Lincoln Drill Hall instead for some indoor energy-sapping fun.

He immediately made a beeline for the face painting queue and requested a lion.  Lions are wild aren’t they?  This counts, doesn’t it?

It certainly counts in the happy-making stakes because he spent the rest of the day exchanging roars with any other fellow big cat fan.

IMG_20160601_145702000We might have been in the centre of town but Lincoln is a pretty, not gritty, city and we are very lucky to not have to look far at any point to enjoy natural views – and the swans certainly seem to like it here too.

BookDisplayAnd it also meant I had the chance to pop in to Waterstones in the High Street to see what resources they had to offer and I was certainly not disappointed when greeted with this fabulous display of nature themed books and items such as binoculars and bug hunting kits.

IMG_20160601_170244825Both scenes are definitely preferable to the one that was trying to pass for “countryside” in my husband’s office today.  If you have to label it…

 

IMG_20160601_185520491But he was also greeted by the colourful display currently outside our house when we returned home and it was nice to see some bees enjoying it too.

Whilst not to plan already, perhaps we didn’t do too badly for Day One of #30DaysWild after all.

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Is it June yet? My kids are already wild!

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LEGO men like to explore nature too

The #30DaysWild challenge run by The Wildlife Trusts starts tomorrow and I’ve been Planning ahead for it by trying to come up with lots of ideas of what we can do, especially if we get stuck around town or indoors for a day (or 30) for whatever reason.

But what I should probably do is simply watch my children decide for themselves.

From LEGO men exploring the wilds of our back garden to camping in it overnight to the sticks you can find to play with in a Tesco car park, Luke has this urban nature explorer thing under control already.

He was even wearing his “Walk on the wild side” slogan T-shirt for the supermarket trip!  Ideal if I’d only taken the photo two days later…

And Willow was not to be out done taking a keen interest in the feathered residents throughout the beautiful grounds of Rufford Country Park during our Bank Holiday Monday day out – a very good suggestion by some close friends whose daughter joined Luke in revelling in running through the open spaces, woodland and paths around the lake.

And there were even a few sand angels thrown in for fun too.

It was, of course, a May Bank Holiday, not a June one.  I’m hoping we haven’t peaked too early and won’t run out of steam before the challenge has even started but I’m glad it appears my children will be willing participants.

I’m just going to pretend that I haven’t looked at the weather forecast for the next few days…

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Planning ahead for #30DaysWild

Yesterday I signed up to the 30 Days Wild challenge.

Organised by The Wildlife Trusts, the charity is challenging people to do something wild every day during the month of June.

Today I’m thinking I might have been a bit too enthusiastic.

The photo I’m currently using on Twitter and Facebook was taken in a field by the side of a local play park that we have enjoyed visiting a few times.  All four of us together, sans pushchair:

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Today, buoyed by my impulsive internet information field filling, I decided it would be a good idea for Luke, Willow and me to take a stroll there in the afternoon whilst my husband was still at work.  Which meant the double pushchair came too.

When I reached the fenced entrance and discovered it was too narrow to get the pushchair through I should probably have given up then.

But, proving the ultralight credentials of my Joovy Caboose Ultralight, I hoisted the buggy over the barrier determined not to be thwarted by the first obstacle I came up against before the challenge has even started properly.

Light it might be, but an all-terrain vehicle, it turns out, it is not.

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Willow was in for a bumpy ride when she decided she was too tired from climbing up and down the park’s slide to continue walking and I was glad that, despite threatening otherwise, it had remained a fairly dry day otherwise I’m not completely convinced I would have been able to experience the relief of emerging out from the other end of the path back on to pavement.

Our walk definitely fulfilled the remit of getting closer to nature though as Luke delighted in making his way through flower gates, over plant hurdles and in generally being an intrepid explorer for the afternoon.

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We were even treated to an aerobatic display by the Red Arrows as we headed home – a regular but always stunning sight in the vast Lincolnshire skies – and I figured there are some skills that are probably a lot more involved than just pushing a buggy across a field.

So, however ill-advised, I remain undeterred and am looking forward to welcoming June and its challenge to “make room for nature in your life”.

“No matter where you live – from an urban jungle to a windswept mountain – wildlife and wild places are all around, waiting to be discovered by you,” say The Wildlife Trusts.

Added to the promise we’ll “feel happier, healthier and more connected to nature” by taking part, I await the inspirational pack that’s on its way to us in the post with great anticipation.

If nothing else, its wallchart planner might help me plan ahead a little bit better.