Open 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”.
We 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.
I got excited when we spotted a few web-footed visitors making their way towards the entrance from the car park.
I 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.
The 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.
It 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!
Inspired 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…
When Anna Williams and Tom Roden greeted their Lincoln Drill Hall audience with the first question this afternoon at the start of The Doodle Dance Show and invited everyone to wave their toes at each other you could tell you were in for a playful time.
Leading us through an imaginative narrative intertwined with dance and drawing, we all had our own chance to add to the pictures and move in line with the story as the tale of accidental exploration and homecoming unfolded.
The excitement of the whirling pirate dancing quickly prompted an “again, again” from Luke, they both really enjoyed being drawn around and Willow’s magical smile of wonderment and Luke’s delighted laugh at the snow falling at the close of the show proved how engaged by the performance they were.
Interactive dance theatre definitely seems to be where my love of children’s theatre and Luke’s need to do and move rather than just watch combines and The Doodle Dance Show provided us with a lovely afternoon of imaginative adventure, joy of movement and family fun.
Lincoln is lucky to have the beautiful Lindum Books in the Bailgate and when I read that its bookseller Gill Hart‘s favourite book of the week, “that generates a whole range of emotions and a little lump in the throat”, was a children’s picture book I had to ask her to write a review of it for us!
I will love you anyway by Mick and Chloe Inkpen is published by Hodder Children’s Books, priced £6.99.
“A lovely story for littlies and grown-ups alike about a naughty puppy told from the pup’s perspective, human words just make no sense to this irrepressible character,” writes Gill.
“The story is told in rhyme, which makes it a pleasure to read and listen to aloud through lots of repetitions and takes us through the whole range of emotions including some of the darker ones.
“There is peril and the threat of loss here, but it’s not a big spoiler to say all ends well for this endearing little chap.”
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.
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!
Luke 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.
According 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.
Day 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.
We 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.
And 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.
Both 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…
But 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.