Sunday, 14 July 2019

Welcoming Summer

The end of the school year is almost upon us and, as usual, I am fighting a constant struggle between structured days and winding down for the summer break. It really didn't help that Lily returned home last Friday with her P.E. bag, school report and wellies. My brain has already begun switching to holiday mode and yet we still have three more days of school to go!
As you can imagine, we've had a busy couple of weeks here with so much going on, but with the arrival of warmer weather and anticipation of the holidays, life has taken on a definite summer vibe.

In the garden the cabbages, kale and cauliflowers are growing at an alarming rate - they're huge! I didn't realise just how much growing room they required and I may need to remove one or two. The strawberries are all gone now, the last remaining few were used to make strawberry jam, but they were absolutely delicious while they lasted and the best crop I've managed to produce so far. The sunflowers are enjoying the warmer weather and I keep needing to fasten them higher up the canes to keep them steady and every time I step out of the back door I am greeted with the delightful sweet scent of the sweet peas.

Last week Lily took part in her school's summer show. She played the part of a bee and danced brilliantly. All the children put on an amazing performance, remembering all the songs and actions and, most importantly, appeared to really enjoy themselves.

Out and about our short walks are taking longer than usual. With raspberries beginning to ripen to the sides of the paths, Lily cannot resist helping herself to the small but deliciously sweet fruits. I'm sure she managed at least one of her five a day as we walked through the woods yesterday. The track through the wildflowers was home to so many butterflies and although she tried really hard, Lily didn't manage to catch one. As she runs off ahead of me it's clear to see she is getting so tall. Growing up fast, she now even has her first wobbly tooth!

J. X

Monday, 1 July 2019

30 Days Wild

Throughout June we've been taking part in the month long nature challenge with the Wildlife Trust - 30 Days Wild.  As the name suggests,  the idea is to do a random act of wildness each day for thirty days, in order to feel healthier, happier and better connected with the natural world around us.

As far as challenges go, this one sounded rather appealing. We already spend a lot of our time outdoors, but I thought we could use this month as an opportunity to really take notice of our surroundings and, hopefully, learn a little along the way.

We've been hiking, bird-watching, planting wildflower seeds and sunflowers, tree hugging (and climbing), playing Poohsticks, identifying flowers and examining a whole host of insects and other minibeasts. In the middle of the month we even took part in a wildflower survey with our local Wildlife Trust. Each morning on our way to school Lily has been looking for froghoppers and has been enjoying reading her book on garden bugs, learning all their names and delighting in telling me what they are. We've really enjoyed ourselves and, although we haven't always managed to fit something in to every single day, I think we made up for it at other times.

Here I'm sharing some of the photographs I have taken during the challenge. 


J. X

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Summer Solstice

For me, the first day of summer was one of quiet contentment. One of those days when life just feels good, that if I could I would re-live it all over again.

The day began as usual, but once work and chores were out of the way I spent much of the afternoon in the garden. The morning's cloud cover had disappeared, giving way to a gloriously clear blue sky and once I had planted out Lily's birthday sunflowers, I sat for a while and enjoyed some elderflower cordial in the bright sunshine. I wasn't alone for long, however, as I suddenly felt a familiar nudge against my leg - Mog had crept out of the house to join me following her long morning sleep, quickly jumping up onto the table expecting a fuss. She can be incredibly gentle and affectionate when she chooses to be. You would never think that recently she generously gifted us ten mice in just over three days. Ten!!!

Our strawberries have begun to ripen now and they looked so very tempting to me but, at her insistence, I left them for Lily to pick when she arrived home from school. And they were definitely worth the wait, so very sweet and delicious. 

In the evening I went for a run along the canal towpath,  through the fields and out past the village. The air was still incredibly warm at this time. The track, bordered with an abundance of wildflowers, welcomed bees and butterflies, with the sound of crickets in the long grass breaking the quiet.

Even later that evening, my friend and I went for a walk up Gummer's How, overlooking Windermere. We chatted, drank coffee and laughed a lot as the air turned chilly, the light began to fade and we watched the sun set on the longest day of the year.

J. X