Thirty Days Wild: Life Intervenes

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

It would appear I can’t count to thirty. My last post for the Wildlife Trusts’ latest campaign was posted on the sixteenth of June, and since then I have completely neglected writing about enjoying nature every day for a month. This is mainly because of a long weekend away, a job interview and the horrendousness that is Brexit, as I spent a few days in mourning, then denial, and then focused all my anger into furious tweets about the state of our country. Somewhere in all that I accidentally abandoned blogging for 30 Days Wild, but rest assured I still took part, got outside and experienced the natural world every day – I made elderflower ice lollies and looked after three rat babies (below), as well as identifying wildflowers and watching a trotting fox at dawn. If you took part I hope you enjoyed it too, and I look forward to going wild again next June!

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Sixteen Days Wild: Strawberries

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

This morning I went for a walk in the rain. It was quite warm and refreshing, and I was on the hunt for wild strawberries. We have a delicious crop growing behind one of our farm buildings by the beehives and they provided me with a tasty eleven o’clock treat. Wild strawberries are tiddly versions of the domesticated crop, and are usually surrounded by tiny white flowers beaming out amidst the grass.

‘There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon’
– Edwin Morgan

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Fifteen Days Wild: Firewood

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

As most probably know, I love drawing and painting wildlife in all sorts of ways. At work we have a pyrography pen for writing signs on pieces of wood – it’s a hot metal stub with interchangeable nibs that burns gently into the surface. I wanted to see if it could be used for more than just writing and was amazed to find an array of ‘pyrography art’ on Pinterest. I’m off to a wedding this weekend so decided to make them something a bit different as a reminder of such a cool celebration. The wood is a piece of English oak that had been chucked on our firewood pile, kindly saved for me by a colleague in case I wanted to use it!

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Fourteen Days Wild: Buzzard Ahoy!

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

The skies above our farm are forever filled with birds of prey, usually buzzards, kestrels, red kites, hobbies and peregrines. There was also a barn owl snacking in our Saxon house for a while! I never tire of seeing these birds floating around in the currents, and today I spent a few quiet minutes watching a pair of buzzards scouring the land for prey. Most mornings you can stand and listen to them mewing to each other across the forest. It always saddens me to read about raptor persecution around agricultural and gamekeeping land; unfortunately, the lives of our birds are so often disregarded in favour of greed, bloodlust and ignorance.

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Thirteen Days Wild: Fuzzy Friend

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

We were walking across the Downs when we found a gaggle of these fuzzy pals making their way across the path. I have very little knowledge of butterflies and moths but I really love seeing caterpillars, especially the fluffball ones. My friend Sean has since informed me that this is the caterpillar of the drinker moth, which Google tells me looks like a beautiful autumn leaf. I’m the first to admit I’m more of a mammal and bird kind of naturalist, but it’s always wonderful to learn new species! My improvement areas are definitely bugs…

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Twelve Days Wild: River Wagtail

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

This morning we went for a wander through the lanes of Lyme Regis, visiting antique shops and bookshops and one amazing farmer place selling delicious garlic samples. After having coffee in a bakery, we decided to explore down one of the twisty alleyways that lead off every street (I think it’s a Saxon design). We found ourselves on the banks of the river that leads through the town, and ahead of us were two grey wagtails hopping along the water looking for grubs. We watched them for a while and stood our feet in the running water; everything was mossy.

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Eleven Days Wild: Jurassic Coast

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

As most Britons know, Lyme Regis is situated on the border of Dorset and Devon and forms one section of a large stretch of shoreline called the Jurassic Coast. The area is often subject to landslides, which in turn reveal thousands of fossils hidden within the depths of the cliffs. A walk along the beach usually results in a few fossilised treasures, and we managed to find one or two to take home while ambling through the pebbles in the morning sun. For anyone who hasn’t been fossiling, I highly recommend it! We also spotted a couple of tiny crabs in the rockpools and lots of salty wildflowers.

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Ten Days Wild: The Sea, the Sea

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

Over the weekend we took a trip to Lyme Regis with Dave’s family, mainly to lollop about, drink prosecco and gaze at the sea. We walked to the end of the Cobb and saw beyond the boulders a trio of cormorants, hanging around in pursuit of fish. Eventually one flew away over the waves in search of something, but from where we stood they looked like dark guardians of the ocean. Afterwards we went crabbing off the harbour wall and naughtily fed bits of bait to the gulls lingering around the bay. I managed to catch one gull in slo-mo as they came in to eat ham from Dave’s hand. Such drama!

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Nine Days Wild: Elderflower

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

As many people now know, I recently signed a contract for my first book with Bloomsbury about foraging and the countryside! This means that I am now more in tune than ever with all things that grow along the hedgerow – particularly those that can be made into alcoholic beverages… June is one of my favourite months of the year purely because the elder blossom starts to appear, and it certainly doesn’t hang around for long. I’ll be including an elderflower recipe in my book when it’s published in Spring 2018 – watch this space!

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Eight Days Wild: Love the Ocean

This post is part of the 30 Days Wild campaign created by the Wildlife Trusts to encourage everyone to do something wild each day in June. 

Today is World Oceans Day, a global celebration of oceans and a day to collaborate for their future. Our oceans provide us with oxygen, food, water and medicines, as well as regulating our climate. These days they are faced with a plethora of problems, from coral bleaching to plastic pollution, oil spills to overfishing. It’s amazing how badly we treat something that we are entirely dependent on for our survival.

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To celebrate this, the Compassion Collective have just released a collection of t-shirts designed to promote our most iconic species of whale! 50% of the profits will go to Whale & Dolphin Conservation and the designs are SO great. I couldn’t resist buying one, so I purchased the Sperm Whale in grey organic cotton. You can still buy these t-shirts until 28th June, after which they will be printed to order in London, which is a really eco-friendly way to produce clothing as there shouldn’t be any excess stock. Hoorah!

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If you would like to get involved with World Oceans Day, here are a few links to some fantastic organisations: The Marine Stewardship Council offers great advice on sustainable fish and overfishing; the Whale & Dolphin Conservation website has a fantastic bank of information on cetaceans and conservation; and if you live in the UK, you can train with ORCA to become a Marine Mammal Surveyor and help provide valuable statistics for research by counting whales and dolphins at sea.