Thursday, 30 June 2016

#30dayswild day 29 - keep trying

Today was all about confidence and to keep trying and learning more. I have discovered over the last month is that perseverance is key whether it be with taking photos, drawing, gardening, trying to become more observant in this massively busy world or whatever else.

I have taken photo after photo; spent hours trying to video bees, birds, insects, etc.; tried sketching, tried sketching again.

My husband has set up his time lapse camera in our woodland so many times with no result but he keeps trying just in case he gets that magical shot.

For example, this photo of the York railway station framed by trees was the 3rd photo I took because I wanted to get the clock visible through the trees but the wind kept blowing!!

I took a landscape of the water on spider's web but it didn't show the water as well as the one above in portrait. As long as you are enjoying yourself or are getting something out of the experience it is worth it. All the 'failures' are worth it because you might get that magical shot or you learn something about yourself. I have discovered that my phone camera and camera have features on them that I wasn't even aware of before this challenge started.

I gave myself permission to experiment.
I gave myself the time to explore what I like about photos.
I gave myself time to find out more about the equipment I use for photos.
I decided to stop comparing myself to others - I don't have a fancy camera and, to be honest, if I did I am not going to take in on walks to work or taking my children to activities: I am just going to use my phone. My phone has limits so I worked with that.
I gave myself permission to take a little more time over observing my surroundings.
I gave myself permission to take a little more time to walk somewhere so I could observe and take photos or videos.
I took the time to explore different routes to places so I could explore more of the wonderful city in which I live.
I pushed beyond my comfort zone to try my hand at sketching.

I am sure there are many other things but these are the ones I can think of right now.

So today when I got home from town I got my lovely Caran d'Ache pencils, a 'how to draw insects' book and headed off to my friend's house to try my hand at drawing in colour.

It seems weird but I was more worried about the colouring than the sketching because whenever I have done any drawing it has usually been sketching in pencil or pen. I always feel I should leave a picture there and not 'ruin' it.

However the #30dayswild community on facebook gave me the boost I needed to give it a go and here is the result!! It's not perfect but it is mine and it has inspired me to keep having a go.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

#30dayswild - days 27-28 - drawing, open door theatre, edible plants and bees again

Well, who would have thought it? Because of the #30dayswild challenge, I decided to have a go at drawing again. I have done some in the past but there has always been that nagging voice in the background: that voice from my art teachers at school: that voice that told me I couldn't draw. I did have one art teacher who told me I was ok because she taught a type of doodly art like this> and I really, really liked doing it but I also really liked the idea of sketching and I was definitely put off that at school.

In later life, I tried my hand at zentangle and again enjoyed that very much but I always wanted to sketch, draw and maybe even do a bit of coloured drawing!!

So thanks again #30dayswild challenge because day 27 I picked up a pen and had a go at sketching. I then posted the pictures to the facebook page to see what people thought and I have been blown away by the response!!

To date, I have 175 likes/loves and loads and loads of fantastic comments. I will be trying my hand at more sketching tomorrow as I am off to an arty friends house for the day and it will be #30dayswild inspired art!!!

Day 29
Today couldn't help but be a nature inspired day because my dd's home education theatre group performed a short version of Midsummer Night's Dream in the York Museum Gardens. The weather didn't hold up which was a shame but luckily we were under trees and nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of the children or all the adults watching. It was fantastic and such a fantastic city center venue in which to perform!!

Another great thing that happened today was that the York Press did a great double-spread piece about home educating in York which featured some of the performers in the play. You can read it here.

One of the reasons I home-educate is because I think children should spend more time in nature. It seemed pertinent to the #30dayswild challenge.

My dh had never been through the relatively new edible wood mentioned in #30daywild blogs here and here so before the performance, we took him there so he could have a look.

I got to take some more photos and try some plants!!

I am hoping to get my hands on some of these types of plants for my garden and I might well be getting an edible daylily from my arty friend tomorrow which I am very excited about.
I love eating daylily nearly as much as nasturtiums.

I also tried to get some pictures and videos of the bees on the lavender but again didn't do too well. I do love the sounds in the background of the video of children in nature and this bee picture didn't turn out to badly.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

#30dayswild - My Bee Movie - day26

Today has been a lot about bees. Having noticed that we had bees under our decking I spent a lot of time trying to get pictures and video of them. It wasn't as easy as I thought as can be seen by my very flaky video!! Enjoy the bees as well as the bird sounds regardless!!

I did manage to get other wild pictures and pictures from a different perspective which was fab. And I got to do with this all with my whole family which is rare!!

We visited the York City Art Gallery as they were doing a deal whereby York residents could get in for free.

As has been a strange theme that seems to have taken hold whilst doing this #30dayswild challenge I took pictures of nature finding a hold on the city walls near the art gallery. I did this whilst standing on the decking getting a fabulous new view on this section of city wall as shown below.


I was also able, whilst standing on the decking, to take pictures of the edible woods mentioned in this blog here after taking photos of these nature-inspired pieces in the art gallery.

I loved the rainbow coloured pieces.

I also loved that as part of the war exhibition my dd wrote that she thought that growing more plants and trees would make the world a better place for everyone.

Whilst sorting out my photos I found these lovely pictures from Newby Hall. I hope I will get more from there next week when I go there again.

I love patterns in nature like in these plants.

#30dayswild extra post - Children's University and Yorkshire Rows encouraging kids to get outdoors

I was at the Children's University Summer Festival last Thursday as I mentioned in my blog post here. I attended with my 2 children who were collecting their latest certificates.

As part of the ceremony, in-between the different groups of kids being congratulated on their achievements, the main talk was from 2 women who were part of the Yorkshire Rows team who rowed across the Atlantic starting in Dec 2015.

It was an inspiring talk and fantastic to see 'older' women supporting each other to achieve such a massive accomplishment: the four of them became the oldest women to cross the Atlantic achieveing a new Atlantic Record and Guinness World Record.

One of the many reasons I home educate is because I want my children to not associate learning with school but have an innate awareness that learning is something that can be done at any age, in any place, on your own, in a team, etc. These women were a great example of that: they decided to learn a new skill together, learnt it and then went on to do something amazing together. They raised money, broke records and one of them even appeared nude on national TV (by mistake.) They were also very humble at the ceremony: taking the time to congratulate the children on their achievements and encouraging them to try new things.

It got me thinking about the great things that people do if they don't limit themselves by ability (these women couldn't row a few years previous), by age (they didn't let their age stop them), by gender, by status (they are all mothers) or by anything. What a great example to everyone and fitting that I attended this whilst also doing the #30dayswild challenge: you can't really get wilder than rowing across the Atlantic encountering sharks, whales, turtles, flying fish, negotiating a hurricane and dealing with 40-foot waves.

I am not going to add doing that to my list of things to do this month or even next year but it has made me think and my children seemed inspired as well. And that is the other thing I wanted to add in this post: the Children's University are a great organisation which has a specific category for outdoors learning as well as having learning partners with Forestry Commission and English Heritage. In other areas of the country, Forest Schools are also a recognised learning destination.  So Children's University is encouraging wilderness activities. Maybe the Wildlife Trusts could become a learning partner with them?

Saturday, 25 June 2016

#30dayswild days 24-25

Day 24

I was working all day so during my lunch break I decided to do a bit of clearing up at the back of  my work. I took all the recyclables home and binned the rest.

Then I did my usual walk but decided to take crazy pictures of nature breaking through pavements, walls and other spaces. I didn't want to do my usual collage so I tested out a new thing for showing pictures. I got it by using this website here and I quite like it.
Unfortunately the website in question deleted my photos when my free trial ran out so you cannot see the photos anymore. Here's a different one!!

Later on I went for a walk with my gorgeous dh and couldn't resist the usual sunset photos on the way to the shops and then again on the way back.

Day 25

Another day at work and I didn't want to do the usual walk at lunch time around the fab York City Walls so I decided to walk down by the river. Having done the plants through pavements photos yesterday I noticed the plants growing through the walls along the riverside. I took some photos and thought I would display these scrolling gallery style (again using the cincopa website.) Again the website in question deleted my photos.

There was a family of geese near where I was so I got photos of them too!! You can scroll through the photos to see them.

I found a feather by the front door of work when I got back as well as 2 on the way back which I created worktop desk art with!!

It was fun working next to feathers for the rest of the afternoon.

I then got this lovely picture from the back of where I work on the way home.

Walking home I really appreciated walking through the Poppy Fields that I blogged about here. And then was really pleased when even though it looked like it was going to rain (see below), it didn't and I got to take this picture of starlings.

Before this #30dayswild challenge I wouldn't have even noticed the birds, let alone have known what type of bird they were!!!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

#30dayswild days 21-23 - walking around York

The last 3 days of the #30dayswild challenge has been mostly about noticing more of the nature around my home city of York. I have found that since starting this challenge I am more aware of the green that we are lucky enough to have around the city which maybe I hadn't really noticed before.

I have been trying to tweet via instagram as I have gone along but I thought I would also get my pictures logged here as well!!

Day 21

The pictures below are from my walk around York City on the North West side.

Day 22

Walking into town again along the river when we witnessed a huge branch breaking off a tree.

The noise it made as it broke was amazing!!

This picture shows the gap and the hanging branch.

We then spent 2 hours in the fantastic Museum Gardens which I have mentioned before in my #30dayswild blog here watching my dd play in nature with her friends!!

I snapped a picture of this squirrel but mostly just enjoyed the sun and chatting with my friends!!

Day 23

Whilst my kids were at their weekly Parkour class I took the opportunity to explore the natural wonders of my local business park and was surprised to find 2 ponds which I didn't even know were there. I also collected 3 feathers on my walk and made natural art!!

For the 3rd time in 3 days I needed to walk into town to watch my kids collect their certificates at the Children's University Summer Festival. This celebration has been planned for a few months now so I decided to take the #30dayswild challenge into account and parked up at a friends and walked into town from her and her kids.

This meant that my children and I got to experience a different part of York - photographed below - and I got to eat lunch in her garden (top left.) My friend thinks the big blue tube is something to do with gas. Her daughter thinks it is excellent to climb and I thought it made a great urban-meets-nature photo.

We then came home to another fantastic sunset (with added balloon) 

AND I managed to do 14 out of 14 hours of over 250 steps on my fitbit. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

#30dayswild - day 20 - celebrating the Strawberry Moon

It had to be done didn't it? Celebrating the Summer Solstice Strawberry Moon with the virgin fire in our chiminea? I thought so too so that is what we did. I also took some pictures of the lovely sunset as well!!!

Dh, dd and I all wrote the things we wanted to put behind on and burnt them.

We then wrote the dreams we had for the coming year and burnt those too. You can see the paper in one of the photos!!

I then sat and listened to the dusk while the fire went out.

I stayed up to get a photo of the full moon but it was too cloudy. So I stayed up a bit longer and got some very blurry pictures.

So I switched from my camera to my phone and tried out some different modes and managed to get these few photos whilst also remembering I had also taken the sunset ones on my evening walk.

I love the moon reflecting on the skylight on the roof of my house!!

Still don't quite get a clear picture but I think they came out better than on the camera even though the camera is more powerful.

At least I managed to find some different modes on both my camera and phone which meant that these are better than any I have taken before.

I think these were taken in night mode and you have to hold the camera or phone for a few seconds before it starts processing the pictures. Not easy when you are leaning out of a velux window. Good fun though discovering more ways to take photos!!

And great that I remembered my sunset photos!!

I always love taking pictures in this gap in the houses as you get to see the sky.

This sounds strange but in York it isn't easy to see the sunset because York is very flat and there are lots of houses. To see any sunsets I usually have to go into my attic room and lean out of the velux.

So I always try to add this road to my walks to get a good look at the sky. It always pays off.

Monday, 20 June 2016

#30dayswild - day 19 - a day at the woods

Today I invited loads of friends to my woods. It is something that I have been planning for ages but had never managed to get around to it. Until now!!  I am hoping it is going to be something that will happen quite often and was really pleased that 8 families made it along today and we had a great time.

I am hoping that a fellow #30dayswild-er will share some fab photos that see took via her blog here. Jenny's Gecko Wood post is here.

Any way we had a great time at the woods and as part of the #30dayswild. I had decided beforehand that I would do the following:

Today, I chose to lift up a log #30DaysWild — Viv (@vckidd) June 19, 2016

So I learnt the descending whistle of the Willow Warbler and when I lifted a log in the woods discovered woodlice!!

As part of looking for interesting things a casing was found (which I am holding in my hand in the collage above). We thought it may be the outer casing of a stinkhorn mushroom.

There was also an egg (we think pigeon) and a stinkhorn mushroom.

I showed people around the woodland and we ate some wood sorrell and identified wild strawberries. We discovered that the area of the woods in which we want to make a pond is still boggy (top left photo) and therefore definitely does seem like a good area to make a pond in the future.

We saw loads of blackberry bushes (bottom left) which are going to be great fun to pick in Autumn.

My dd and Jenny made a den (hence the fact I will add a link to her blog post because she took loads of great photos of the transformation.) And a carved The Den sign was made (spot the associated photos).

People had a go at archery, on the zip wire, and on the slack line.

We then discovered an actually living stinkhorn (middle.) Dh had some help planting some trees that had been donated to us and harvested some elderflowers (top right.)

As well as all that there were fires, food cooked on fires, fun, and friendship. Who could ask for more?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

#30dayswild - day 18

I thought I would sneak this post in because it is short and I didn't want it getting lost in the post for tomorrow which will be all about my day at the woods.

So walking through town I spotted this amazing white pigeon with gorgeous green and blues on it back (although you can't really see that in the photo unfortunately) but click on the link below to go to my instagram photo.
So because I hadn't really done anything 'wild' all day other than the spotting the white pigeon and noticing birdsong whilst in the toilet at the York Explore library I thought I would take the time to read these books I have been meaning to read for a while.
They are by Ffyona Campbell who wrote the Hunter Gatherer Way written about in this Bushcraft Show blog here.

I then made sure I watched the sunset from my attic room window.

Enjoy the photos and see if you can spot the birds!

Friday, 17 June 2016

#30dayswild days15-17 - nettle tea, recycling, rose and alliums

Wednesday 15th June

I was going to York University to attend the One Planet York Launch so I decided I would do an observation experiment with myself by walking to the Ron Cooke Hub from the York University Library one way and walking back a different way.

I discovered very interesting things such as I do actually have to pay attention if I want to notice things. I was talking to my wonderful brother for part of the journey in the morning (hence the longer walk because I went round and round the campus whilst still talking to him.) It meant that I wasn't observant at all. I did however notice that there was way less bird song on the campus and wondered if this was due to lack of trees.

The transition between walking on campus and then onto Field Lane was a noticeable increases in birdsong which surprised me. The gardens on Field Lane were filled with flowers, hedges, trees and this seemed to encourage wildlife way more than the green on campus.

I still love it on both campuses because there is a lot of green and water which is great. However at present I prefer the West Campus just because of the diversity of green with trees, bushes, lawns, wildflowers, etc.

I spotted Jack by the Hedge on the way back so now I have nailed that one I need to move onto another edible plant that I can try and recognise out in the wild!!!

I also discovered this bug in my filofax and managed to get a picture and with the help of facebook and instagram friends discovered it was a ladybird larva so thanks #30dayswild - I learnt a new thing today!!!

I then started my Ecology online course whilst waiting for my dh to finish up at work.

It looks really good and shouldn't take me too long. I have been meaning to learn more about ecology for ages so thanks again #30dayswild for giving the impetus I needed to actually just get on with it.

The link is here in case you are interested yourself.

Thursday 16th June

Today was about learning the plants in my garden which I mentioned at the beginning of this challenge in this blog post. Whilst the kids were busy playing with their friends I took the opportunity to check if I could remember the plants that my Mum had told me about 2 weeks ago and I didn't do too badly!!

I checked under the trampoline and got my photos.

Obviously I know that this plant to the left is Jack by the Hedge and although it is growing ok here some of the plants nearby at struggling without support so I thinking that they should be moved to over by the fence. However I definitely recognise this plant now even in the wild which is great.

The eaten plant to the right is wild garlic or ransoms and I thought it had disappeared last year but it came back this year. It isn't faring too well probably not helped by the wild geranium next to it.

And then we have this other variety of geranium (Geranium phaeum) near by with the purple patches on the leaves. The chickens love eating this. Then there were the yellow and red poppies. Pretty little plants on the edge of the trampoline.

Trying to discover what plants are edible isn't always easy so resources like this or this are really helpful.

It was then time to chop up my dried nettles and store them ready for a cup of tea. Oh and then have a cup of nettle tea in my wonderful see-through glass infuser tea mug from Marks and Spencers here. Well worth the £7.50 I spent on it. See below.

Friday 17th June

A home education trip to meet fellow home educators at Castle Howard resulted in watching kids playing, having a picnic, trying to get fresh water oyster shells out of the lake, photographing peacocks, chatting and generally having a good time.

The weather held even though it had promised rain and the sun even came out once we had left the playground area and gone to admire the walled gardens.

I am not normally a fan of roses but I took the time to smell all the roses as part of #30dayswild.

It was really fun working out the roses that I actually like the smell of - namely The Nun to the right (which smells like a typical rose but not too overwhelming) and the Leander rose which smelt like peaches and is now my favourite rose.

I also learnt about alliums and get some lovely pictures on my phone including the purple one in the middle with a lovely, very yellow bee on it.

When I then started writing this blog I wondered whether ransoms (also being of the onion family) also had an allium name and they do - allium ursinum. I love alliums!!!

They were all so beautiful and the one in the left corner made me laugh by being called allium purple and round - genius!!

I then did my bit for the wild by making sure that I collected and brought home as much recycling from the youth club I volunteer at as I could and putting it in my recycling bin.

And bringing back the tuck shop emptied for my son to store his lego pieces in.

All in all a fab few days of #30dayswild moments and pictures.