Art / Eat / Grow / Make / nature

30 Days Wild: Day 12 – Go Wild at Dusk

20170612_232455.jpgToday, work meant I didn’t manage to get outdoors until late. However, when I eventually made it out, I was rewarded with a lovely sunset – sadly rendered unphotographable due to the street lights.

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I had considered the risks of putting out a bird feeder after Charlie cat’s interest in the bird box yesterday. However, there are lots of birds nesting in nearby trees, and they sound hungry, so I found a branch that was strong enough for the bird feeder but too thin for a cat to walk along (I hope) and hung it out as the sun set. I will check in on it tomorrow to make sure the birds are safe.

20170613_021227.jpgI took photos of the flowers in the dark. I love the difference in the way they look. By day, their beauty is revealed by getting close and admiring the intricate detail of their form. At night, they become simplified to bright shapes in the night: an impressionist’s version of a flower (with a hint of Gothic).

I walked along the canal, which was absent of bird life but looked beautifully smooth and reflective.

It feels different walking along the canal at dusk than it does by day: quieter, with nothing other than the occasional cry of a bird, fox or cat, compared to the regular boat passage of day, and flocks of noisy wildfowl being fed by people passing by. At night, the canal is a great place to think.

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It was still light enough to see the flowers, so I collected all the edibles I could see (that were suitably protected from the risk of dog pee). I hadn’t got any vegetables, aside from tomatoes, so I wanted to get some greens to eat.

I found plenty of white dead nettle, clover and mallow. While these looked pretty bunched with grasses, I had other plans for my bouquet.

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When I returned home, I made floral tea with the blossoms (after leaving the flowers on the side for a while so any bugs could escape, then soaking them in water. I was pleased that no insects floated to the surface).

I took the blooms and steeped them in boiling water, adding honey to enhance the floral flavour. I’m not generally into herb tea unless it’s fresh. Flower tea was more palatable (though never let children make it as there are too many poisonous flowers around and it’s not worth the risk. Pick flowers you know are safe yourself, and discard the green parts as they can be bitter, then let the kids make their own ‘petal blends’.)

I used the dregs of the tea and wilted blossoms as a face wash: there’s no point in wasting a mix of honey and flowers. The wilted blossom mix could also be added to oatmeal to make a soothing face mask.

I stripped the leaves from the dead nettle and mallow, and also stripped away the tough bits of mallow stem. I’ve left the leaves soaking overnight while I work out what to make (soup, frittata and stir fry are all likely contenders). I’m pressing the remaining leaves and will use the stems for crafting so that no part of the plant is wasted.

I topped up my crafting box with my new finds.

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I was reminded of some nature crafting I did last year –  creating fairyland with the help of wild grasses, leaves and a prop or too (you can use toys or ‘found’ items to add ‘magic’). If you don’t use glue, you can photograph the scene then create more scenes, changing your ‘props’ to create a wild story (if you do, please share it in the comments.)

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I also found pine cones in my pockets, along with feather I’d forgotten I’d collected. This is the down side of 30 Days Wild: your pockets will fill with presents from nature. On the plus side, this means a constant flow of surprises.

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I couldn’t resist planting another seed for Grow Wild UK. They have several nature pledges to choose from – and I love the illustrations you’re rewarded with.

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I ended the day reading William Morris poetry. I love the way he writes about nature – Tapestry Trees gives a useful guide to the uses of different trees. News From Nowhere is also well worth reading.

The deeper into 30 Days Wild I get, the more hooked on nature I become…

Random Acts of Wildness So Far…

  1. Spread the word.
  2. Start a weather/pain diary.
  3. Look at the clouds.
  4. Photograph wildflowers.
  5. Look for urban nature.
  6. ID a butterfly.
  7. Find a fledgling.
  8. Feed a swan.
  9. Collect feathers.
  10. Stake out a foraging site.
  11. ID birdsong.
  12. Tweet using the #30DaysWild hashtag.
  13. Plant a virtual seed.
  14. See new life growing.
  15. Feed the ducks.
  16. Protect an animal from a predator.
  17. Reflect on nature.
  18. Look closely at your lawn.
  19. Make someone a nature hamper from recycled materials.
  20. Share nature photos using #30DaysWild on Instagram (and help the hashtag trend).
  21. Show your houseplants some love.
  22. Tell friends about #30DaysWild.
  23. Talk to a junior naturalist and encourage their creativity.
  24. Photograph a favourite cuddly toy in nature.
  25. Add a nature event to your diary.
  26. Look closely at a friend’s garden.
  27. Take photos for #Rainbowblooms.
  28. Find a plant that looks like a bug.
  29. Watch a bee.
  30. Read a nature-based research paper.
  31. Get overawed by nature
  32. Watch the dawn.
  33. Walk barefoot in dewy grass.
  34. Try a nature meditation.
  35. Raid and repurpose the recycling.
  36. Go on a wild date.
  37. Go litter picking.
  38. Protect the soil.
  39. Make nature art.
  40. Watch the sunset
  41. Turn your desk wild.
  42. Water your plants.
  43. Celebrate World Environment Day.
  44. Take part in the plastic challenge.
  45. Watch nature videos.
  46. Tell people who run your favourite hashtag hour on Twitter about 30 Days Wild.
  47. Tell a colleague about 30 Days Wild.
  48. Take a closer look at foxgloves.
  49. Share nature-themed recycled crafting ideas.
  50. Have a natural aromatherapy bath.
  51. Dress for the weather.
  52. Connect with a local nature lover.
  53. Look at a puddle closely.
  54. Rescue a plant.
  55. Make a mini meadow in a recycled container.
  56. Photograph wet leaves.
  57. Welcome new wildlife to the area.
  58. Make a bottle garden.
  59. Make a wild bouquet.
  60. Collect flower petals for your nature crafting box.
  61. Tend a garden.
  62. Feel the wind in your hair.
  63. Collect leaves for crafting.
  64. Grow a tomato.
  65. Create a 30 second wildlife habitat.
  66. Admire an insect.
  67. Photograph something blue.
  68. Make a nature video.
  69. Go on a flower pot hunt.
  70. Wear nature-inspired fashion.
  71. Vote for nature.
  72. Plan a windowbox walk.
  73. Celebrate World Oceans Day.
  74. Go wild in a graveyard.
  75. Love lichen.
  76. Be amazed by moss.
  77. Find fungi.
  78. Stock up on wild supplies.
  79. Bag a bargain to bring back to life.
  80. Find something new in nature.
  81. Grow your own food.
  82. Reflect on nature and what it means to you.
  83. Look closely at cuckoo spit.
  84. Plant something pollinator friendly.
  85. Plant a herb garden and share cuttings.
  86. Look for bugs.
  87. Let your garden go wild.
  88. Read the weather.
  89. Brighten a corner of your home with plants.
  90. Use an eco friendly search engine.
  91. Repurpose plastic packaging.
  92. Use biodegradable glitter.
  93. Collect flower petals.
  94. Find the perfect feather to make a quill.
  95. Add fairyland magic to your home with a fairy doll made from recycled materials.
  96. Use feathers as home decor.
  97. Wear nature-inspired jewellery.
  98. Watch the moon.
  99. Go for a dawn walk.
  100. Invite people to a wild cocktail party.
  101. (Try to) put up a bird box.
  102. Make a bug habitat.
  103. Take a bug’s eye view.
  104. Follow an ant.
  105. Take a macro shot of the earth.
  106. Plant strawberries.
  107. Plant a bird seed garden.
  108. Collect rainwater for the garden.
  109. Think about light pollution (and turn off garden lights when not in use).
  110. Create a kitchen herb garden.
  111. Put out a bird feeder.
  112. Photograph flowers in the dark.
  113. Go for a canal walk at dusk.
  114. Forage for your supper.
  115. Make flower tea.
  116. Make a floral face wash.
  117. Press flowers.
  118. Craft a story with wild finds.
  119. Read William Morris’ s nature writing.
  120. Fill your pockets with pine cones.

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