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30 Days Wild-Day 4

I recently found a set of watercolour pencils which I bought many moons ago but have hardly used. Feeling very lazy today I decided to use them to complete another page of my colouring book, “Ivy and the Inky Butterfly” by Johanna Basford. I found a page of flowers and leaves to tie in with doing something connected with nature with this result;

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30 Days Wild-Day 3

Hurrah! I never thought I would cheer when it rains but I did today. I love the warm sunshine and being able to sit outside in the wildlife garden and just chill out to the sound of birdsong, scuffling of hedgehogs and the gentle “plop” of the frogs jumping back into the pond but my garden needs water! It started off as a light drizzle this morning but has gradually increased to a steady rain this afternoon. I just hope it doesn’t last long!

At first I was able to sit under my apple tree as now it is in full leaf I am sheltered from most of the wet stuff but I soon found that my glasses were steaming up and splattered with rain so I put Plan B into action.

I have many and varied bird feeding stations in the garden. Different feeders, at different heights and filled with a variety of food. I soon realised that I would be spending most of my day indoors, so I thought I’d shake it up a bit.

I filled a teapot with a pre-prepared mix of “songbird” food but with extra black sunflower seeds and mealworms (dried). I then moved it from its normal position in the open garden, to well inside the canopy of the apple tree. This is very near to my Girl Cave and where I usually sit to watch and learn. Whoever finds it will either be lucky or pretty astute and brave. I then set my trail camera up to watch whilst I was happy and warm indoors….

So look who got there first? No surprise it was a flock of starlings both adults and their young queueing up to take their turn and dip their head into the teapot.

Its easy to dislike these birds. They are noisy (gobby), demanding, hang around in gangs and are happy to chase off other birds if they want to eat. But they are also clever and if you look close, their feathers are almost luminescent in shades of blue and green. I can’t say that they are my favourites; they are too skwarky and opinionated for me but I do respect their intelligence and ability to feed their many juveniles.

 

 

 

30 Days Wild-Day 2

Sadly, walking the dog through the countryside yesterday brought on my hay fever and therefore today I decided to make the most of my Wildlife Garden and stay home. I created my Wildlife Garden in 2016 on a piece of land hidden behind our garage. Hubby spent a lot of time and hard work growing beans in very dry and barren soil, even though we had worked diligently to improve the soil with manure, conditioner etc. I managed to persuade him to give up gracefully so I could take it over for my Wildlife Project.

Luckily it has been very successful and 4 years later I enjoy sightings of many varieties of birds, insects, hedgehogs, frogs and the odd dragonfly. We even have a couple of squirrels which come to scavenge the peanuts.

My favourite bird which visits my garden is the goldfinch but only because of the vivid colours of its feathers. It’s almost tropical. Unlike the cheeky and almost tame blackbirds and robins, the goldfinches are a bit skittish so if I am to get a photo I need to set my camera up well before they arrive with the shutter button within reach of my hand without alerting them to movement. If they spot anything out of kilter they fly off.

I have managed to take some photos over the last couple of days so here’s my Random Act of Wildness contribution for Day 2.

 

 

 

 

 

30 Days Wild-Day 1

It has been too warm to roam far today so, as it was my turn to walk the pooch, I decided to go really wild and turn it into a nature walk. I took my camera and enjoyed the experience so much more being more mindful of our surroundings. I noticed the different smells and colours along the hedgerows. The trees in the churchyard with different shades of green really showed up against the clear blue sky and it made me think how many shades of green I have in my paint box- not that many.

I am lucky to live in a village which prides itself on its dedication to keep the village looking beautiful and well tended all year round and in addition to the usual summer and winter bedding shows, the volunteers for Lubenham in Bloom have created a wildlife garden, incorporating a small insect hotel, and a separate bug hotel in the church yard. A bug hotel is fun to make and can be any shape or size and many of the items will be hanging around home and garden already. I will do a separate post on these later in June.

We have a stream/river running through the “back” of the village which often floods in the winter but after a very dry and warm May is running very low. This means you can see the mud banks better and all the holes excavated by, I assume, water voles. I stand to be corrected as I am no expert on water wild-life. A bit further on we walk along an old railway line which starts off in a lovey shaded area where the path has been taken over on either side by trees. Thick ivy covers the ground so its lovely and cool even in the warmest weather. Heaven for dog walkers. A pile of railway sleepers provide a wonderful home for all sorts of insects and wildlife but as I dont like creepy-crawlies I’m not looking too close.

The shaded path opens out into an open walkway, which should now be part of AdamSmile, taking us into a field where the dog (Jasper) can run off the lead. The field is a mass of buttercups and along the typical British hedgerow we find Cow Parsley, Vetch, Nettles, and a variety of grasses growing waist high. Above these are the blackberry and elderflower bushes, both of which can be used to make wine, as well as blackberry and apple puddings in the autumn! Elderflower cordial is also popular and is really easy to make.

I have a hate-hate relationship with grasses as they are the main contributor to my hay-fever in summer when the pollen count is very high so I try and give them a wide berth if possible.

 

We found a patch of thistles which Eyore would be quite happy to tuck into and a lovely briar rose-typical of an old-fashioned English hedgerow.

Altogether Jasper and I had a lovely walk and it was a real pleasure taking note of all the different wild flowers and trees instead of walking by.

We must do this more often.

 

30 Days Wild starts tomorrow

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Get ready to do something wild every day during June with the 30 Days Wild challenge for 2020 run by the Wildlife Trusts.

  •  Make time for nature
  •  Explore wild places near where you live
  •  Share your love of nature and wildlife

Connecting with nature and spending time in wild spaces and places is scientifically proven to alleviate stress, balance our emotions and even boost our immune system. In the current climate of enforced lockdown, anything which helps to improve  our mental health is welcome and what better way than to find a way to incorporate nature into your daily life.

Big changes and large projects are not necessary and a little effort goes a long way to encourage wildlife into your space. This can be a mini-pond made from a washing-up bowl, giving up part of your garden to a wood pile or uncut grass or feeding the birds all year round and not just in winter.

The Wildlife Trusts have great ideas for introducing wildlife to your garden so take a look at Go Wild!

 

 

 

 

30 days Wild 2020

The Wildlife Trusts are once again asking us to do one wild thing a day throughout the whole month of June for your health, wellbeing and for the planet. That’s 30 Random Acts of Wildness and anything connected with nature counts so if you are stuck indoors, making hedgehog cup cakes might be something to consider.

You can still sign up for 30-days Wild and receive downloadable information about activities to help you complete the challenge.

Personally I will be relying on my Wildlife Garden for inspiration-a barren patch of land which I transformed into a haven for nature 4 years ago and which is now thriving with a variety of creatures seen throughout the year.

Now that lockdown has been eased a little this challenge is very do-able and can be used as an opportunity to start exploring those foreign lands beyond the front door.

I will be posting about my Random Acts of Wildness every day, however small or insignificant they seem, and I’m hoping that lots of people do the same so I can gain some inspiration.

As well as helping nature and teaching people about wildlife, the 30-day challenge has also proved to be a source of relaxation and stress relief so have fun and enjoy 30-days Wild!

 

 

Coronavirus

I can’t believe that it is almost 10 years since I “came out” publicly about my battles with depression and anxiety and started my blog “Poppyposts.”. I have been rather lazy over the last year or so but, as we are in the midst of the Coronavirus onslaught, now seems a good time to resurrect regular postings focussed around fighting depression, anxiety and Coronavirus with positivity.

We are living in troubled times but I believe strongly that when we are over the worst there will be positives that result from the general uncertainty, war-like rationing and tragedy of so many deaths from Covid19. Perhaps this is nature’s way of telling us that unless we change our ways we are heading for environmental, economic and social meltdown. We need to make sure that greed, selfishness, arrogance, material wealth and the sense of entitlement are replaced by more generosity, humility and that focus turns to emotional and bodily wellbeing.

No amount of designer labels will save you from Covid19 and hopefully people will realise that there are far more important things in the world.

Ghandi

Painting rocks

Who would have thought that painting rocks could be such fun and so addictive?

It all started on a very small scale back in early September. I read about the national craze sweeping the country for painting, hiding and hunting for painted rocks and thought what a lovely idea it is. I never thought to join in with this activity until our village Scarecrow festival. With the influx of thousands of visitors it would be fun to paint some stones featuring scarecrows for people to find as they walked around.

 

As well as hiding painted stones it is fascinating to see who finds them and (hopefully) track the stones on their travels.

To facilitate this, there are many rock hunting groups set up on Facebook and/or Instagram where people can photograph their painted stones, give clues as to where they are hidden and post triumphant pictures of the finders when the stones are spotted. So far to my knowledge, the furthest that one of my painted stones has travelled is from Leicestershire in the UK where I had hidden it in the local park to Majorca where the “Finder” was on holiday.

I belong to four rock painting/hunting groups, the two main ones being #Market Harborough Rocks our local group and #Islastones a group created for a little girl with DIPG cancer who sadly died in July this year.

Of course, when hiding a rock you need to provide details of the group to which you belong so that the finder can post a picture online showing that the rock has been found and where it was found. Not everyone wants to “play the game” and may leave the stone in situ, pick it up and keep it or, in some cases, throw it into the bin or hedgerow. I like to think that most people will join in by following the instructions given on the back of each rock and “photo, post on Facebook then re-hide or keep.” Personally, I always give the finder the option of keeping the stone on the basis that it is because they like it and makes them happy but always secretly hope that a picture of the stone will appear at some stage.

There is a lot more I can tell you about my new hobby and I will do in future posts. Meanwhile here are a few of my stones painted, hidden and in some cases, found over the past couple of months.

 

Positivity wins the day

Tut. Tut. SIX months since my last post-that’s a record and not one I care to brag about. The good news is that I am winning my fight against those Black-Dog and extremely anxious days which can creep up gradually when your guard is down or just as likely strike without warning as a reaction to specific circumstances. At 55 years young I consider myself a slow learner but I’m not sure whether I am slowing down as a result of my age or, more hopefully, my experience but either way, a slower and more measured and calm way of life seems to suit me.

My mother always said that if I had been born 30 years later I would have been diagnosed as “hyper-active.” My psychologist initially thought I was bi-polar due to the extreme fluctuations between energy and fatigue and even now I get comments that I do too much and I have more energy than many people much younger. I make sure every second counts in my waking hours and I am always doing and making something but I am learning to do it slower and try to enjoy being in the moment.

Driven by a combination of both nature and nurture I have to make use of every waking moment and, unless I am making quilts, hedgehog houses, cards, or Twinchies, decorating, gardening, blogging, taking photographs or organising my next project, I am wasting my time.  I can’t help it, I have to be doing something but, although I do get tired, I get a lot of satisfaction from my many and varied activities and this helps me keep mental equilibrium (and sleep).

I have decided that much like Tutenkhamun, I will be buried with my most treasured possessions; knitting needles, sewing machine, crochet hook, camera, hammer, nails and electric saw and, maybe IF I get to heaven,there will be a long-arm quilting machine, unlimited Kaffe Fassett fabric, a very patient crochet teacher, a wide-angle lens and pre-cut wood pieces waiting for me!

Here’s just a few of the projects I have been working recently.