Misty, dew-drenched mornings and long hot afternoons made the weekend feel just like an adventure straight from the pages of Famous Five.
Every time I went out looking for plants and animals, neighbours I've never spoken to before leaned across fences to introduce themselves. "This tree is my favourite" said one neighbour, "but I suppose I can't do anything about it, it'll have to go."
It may sound strange, but we're all experiencing a kind of grief.
It's more than just a fear and mistrust of change. It's a real body-blow of loss.
We might not be able to give the trees latin names, or wax lyrical about complex ecosystems; but I've noticed neighbours paying a quiet respect to the land that's about to be built on.
There's no wringing of hands or drama; more deep sighs, long pauses and a lot of looking.
Humans exist to connect. Humans connect to each other, but we also connect to the world around us. This connection goes deep. Think back to where you played as a child, escaped from parents' rules, or even stole your first kiss from the one you loved!
Your childhood playspaces may well have been built on already and if so, I'm sorry.
This is happening all the time to successive generations.
There's a constant erosion of wild because communities feel powerless in the perceived face of large corporations and the "march of progress".
I'd really like to take an honest look at the nature of progress and its impact on our relationship to wild.
It starts with sharing with you what we already have...
So here we go, a run down of all the wildlife we've found over the last few days,and it really is we, not just me.
(When I popped outside last night to put H's toys away, there were next door's kids, W and O, running around the field collecting leaves, bark and flowers in a plastic pocket. When W saw me he shouted - "I didn't want you to miss anything!" So I've started a scrapbook and nature table, full of all the things we find).
Here's a taster...
Corner Farm Wildlife (21st-25th March 2012)...
Elder, Ash, Sessile Oak, Hazel, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Goat willow, Crack willow, Holly, Ivy, Sycamore, Damson, Brambles, Dandelions, Daisies, Goosegrass, Chickweed, Germander Speedwell, Common Field Speedwell, Red Deadnettle, Stinging Nettle, Yorkshire Fog, Angle Shades Moth, Tortoiseshell Butterfly, Peacock Butterfly, Red Admiral Butterfly, Bee-fly, Buff-tailed Bumblebee, Red-tailed Bumblebee, Garden Bumblebee, Common Carder bee, Honey bee, Wood Mice, Fox, Badger, Nursery Web spider, Crab spider, Seven-spot Ladybird, 22-spot ladybird, Banded snail, Brown-lipped snail, Garden snail, King Alfred's cakes (a fungus), Creeping thistle, Marsh thistle, Spear thistle, Red mason bee, Blackbird, Wren, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bluetit, Great tit, Bullfinch, Song Thrush, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Buzzard, Rook, Crow, Robin, Dunnock, Hedge Sparrow, Coal tit, Boletus mushrooms, Ink cap mushroom, Fumitory, lichens (4+species), mosses (5+ species), Pheasant, Lesser Celandine, Barn Owl, Polecat, Brown Hare, Woodlice (4+ species), Bittercresses, Clover, Garlic mustard, Common Dog Violet, Broad-leaved dock, Mouse Ear Chickweed, Violet Ground Beetle, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, House mouse, Yellow slug, Ground Ivy, Hedge Woundwort, Black Horehound...
...oh, and kids dens, campsites, places to play, risk taking, climbing trees and freedom...
(I don't think I've repeated anything?!)
There's now a flickr stream for photos, and a community recording spreadsheet, available to anyone interested, please comment for access to a copy.
H, G, W, T and O ("The Corner Farm Kids") helped set out and collect humane mammal traps.
We found 4 traps with wood mice in the hedgerows, each was taken by the kids on a victory parade around the houses, before being released in the same area in which it was caught.
We've eaten hawthorn leaves, aka "Bread and Cheese", found buzzard pellets, watched mice, built dens by the campfire and chased a very accommodating (or daft) pheasant across the field.
Experience of freedom is just as important as learning to read and write.
Wouldn't it be great to always have access to wild green space within walking distance of where we live?
|H and a Wood Mouse|
|We need a snail expert! I think this is a brown-lipped snail.|
|An ink cap fungus? I'm still checking with the experts...|
|Can you spot the spider?|
|A well-earned campfire at the end of the day|
|I call these "Alexander Beetles" from stories my mum used to read me..|