Art / Eat / Gift / Grow / Make / nature

30 Days Wild: Day 26 – Go Wild With Nature’s Gifts

The sky was on good form on Monday morning. The dawn saw rolling pink clouds, with dramatic lighting, as if to announce, “Monday is here, and it’s going to be a good one!”

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It’s odd how the dawn casts its light over the day. Milky dawns suggest it’s going to be a relaxed day, to me, while landscapes of rolling clouds with coloured light filtering through one make me expect a bright day.

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I checked on my bug garden and topped it up, I couldn’t see any new residents on top but they’re thriving underneath it so I guess they prefer the basement. I’ll give it some more time and change the habitat if it remains unoccupied.

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I also spotted new life in one of my plant pots. It appears to be a small tree. After I ID it, I may attempt to bonsai it, should it be possible. I really want to bonsai an oak, ever since I saw a photo of one with adorable tiny leaves. It may be a challenge but it’s worth it to have a fairy sized tree.

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I also noticed that there was new life making friends with my tomato. I left it where it was. I like fungi (ever since finding out about the wood wide web, they’ve held growing fascination) and if it wants to chat to my tomato, that’s fine by me.

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The rest of my plants are thriving. The orange flowers I planted a while back are now budding (I don’t have the pack so need to wait for them to flower to remind myself what they are – possibly calendula, perhaps marigolds: something pollinator-friendly).

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It’s amazing how much time even a few containers can take to appreciate, if you really look. But after a bit of deadheading (which makes flowers bloom and bloom again – or at least did last year, for me) I had to get to work.

For the rest of the day, the weather wasn’t as bright as the dawn – but I didn’t mind as I was working.

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I made sure to check on my drinks on a regular basis, releasing the gas. The fizz is calming, the older it gets (a bit like many people.) However, it still needs defizzing several times a day.

I also shake the fruit and flower spirits every time I relieve the pressure on the fizz bottles. This helps the fruit and spirits meld together beautifully, to create a smooth texture (after several passings through old tights that have been boil washed in clean water).

I had a couple of peaches that needed using up so I also made a rumtopf, by filling a jam jar with the fruit and covering it with vodka (which admittedly, means it’s really a vodkatopf. I had no rum), then adding roughly half the sugar to fruit, and shaking. I used a jar as I’ve run out of bottles – time to go litter picking again – but I’ll decant it into a bottle before use, once all the fruit has broken down.

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A Rumtopf is a great way to use lots of different fruit. Cherries, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants, pears, plums, grapes and gooseberries all work well – particularly with floral accompaniments.

I’ve got a gooseberry and elderflower gin on the go at the moment, and am hoping to do a strawberry and mallow vodka, along with pear and vanilla brandy when pears come into season.

The joy of using a jar is it’s much easier than chopping fruit small enough to fit through the stem of a bottle, and also means you can easily access the fruit (in the case of hard fruits such as pear) if you want an emergency dessert (add brandy-saturated pears to pancakes for a taste of joy. particularly with honey or maple syrup).

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After work, it was time to play. I checked on the elderflower stems I pressed after making elderflower cordial (the stems were too pretty to waste.) I was pleased to see they had dried, and looked exactly like miniature trees – and so I made a forest.

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I used a hot glue gun to loosely attach them (it sets hard almost instantly, so the elderflowers were tightly attached to the card but from a single point so they can still move slightly. Better yet, the glue gun can leave fine strings of glue which look wonderful covered in glitter – like cobwebs.

The glue gun was a present from a friend who thoughtfully bought me one that melts the glue at a non-skin-melting temperature, though I’d recommend that small children are helped with using glue guns regardless as it does sting a bit (and can get messy if you don’t concentrate – which is how I discovered the glue string trick in the first place.)

My basic principle at the time was, ‘If you make a mistake, cover it in glitter and the sparkle will make everything better.’ I have now toned this down to, ‘If you make a mistake, work with it and evolve what you’re doing’ – glitter is not always the answer, and there can be such a thing as too much.

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I was quite pleased with the way the elderflower forest turned out (the only image manipulation was changing the brightness levels. Other than that, the above images were just pressed elderflower, card and a sprinkling of glitter. It took under 3 minutes to make.)

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Then it was time to cook. My wine experiments had made me fascinated by yeast, and I had a craving to make bread. It was too cold for the dough to rise properly though, despite me putting it in the washing machine after I’d used it to take advantage of the warmth. It had risen a bit but I decided to turn it into a pizza instead, as that would be more forgiving.

 

I sprinkled it with rosemary and chives I’d grown, added some chopped tomatoes that needed using up, along with half a pepper, then sprinkled it with cheese.

The end result was tasty, though it rose more than I’d expected so was more of a cheese, pepper and tomato topped herb bread than a pizza. But there’s nothing wrong with that at all…

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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.
  121. See fledglings fly the nest.
  122. Look through the leaves.
  123. Find a ladybird baby.
  124. See a seed you sowed grow wild.
  125. Pay attention to a warning sign in nature.
  126. Find ferns.
  127. Find a flower fairy.
  128. ID a wildflower.
  129. Find nature art.
  130. Made floral cocktail ingredients.
  131. (Try to) rescue a wildflower.
  132. Make a daisy ring.
  133. Make a bottle garden and get back to your roots.
  134. Follow an ant.
  135. Check for evidence of wildlife, in the absence of any obvious creatures.
  136. Collect a feather to ID.
  137. Find wildlife in the clouds.
  138. Find a plant that looks like an alien.
  139. Find a solution for a waste problem that annoys you.
  140. Research nature-based citizen science.
  141. Look at nature through a window.
  142. Make something that you need instead of going to the shops.
  143. Learn a new nature word.
  144. Share a happy nature memory online.
  145. Make a natural face mask.
  146. Make a herbal remedy (check for any side effects, particularly if you’re on any medications. Medications don’t always mix well with herbal remedies and many people forget to check this. Read up about all the ingredients you’re using to be on the safe side,)
  147. Share nature-themed style that you love.
  148. Buy a nature-related book (I’m donating all June profits from my book, Go Wild: Over 200 Ways to Connect With Nature to the Wildlife Trusts.)
  149. Trade links with another nature blogger.
  150. Listen to the dawn chorus.
  151. Make an indoor night garden.
  152. Made dinner for a hedgehog.
  153. Use solar powered lights to reduce the amount of electricity you use.
  154. Give nature a libation (pour a bit of drink on the ground and thank nature for all it provides).
  155. Go on a mini-beast hunt at night.
  156. Photograph a snail.
  157. Look into the shadows.
  158. Take a different view.
  159. Find the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
  160. Drink elderberry port outdoors.
  161. Get involved with Britain in Bloom.
  162. Find out more about Transition Towns.
  163. Eat food that would otherwise have been wasted.
  164. Admire a blue sky.
  165. Make your business greener.
  166. Watch the sun through the trees and see how it changes as you move (or move your camera.)
  167. Photograph a blackbird.
  168. Have a 30 Days Wild fail – and learn from it.
  169. Make a bug (boutique) hotel.
  170. Craft a natural scene from your #30DaysWild finds.
  171. Forage for edible wildflowers.
  172. Set off down an unknown path.
  173. Hug a sapling. Baby trees need love too.
  174. Find a tree with a face.
  175. Admire a tree stump.
  176. Forage a friend’s garden.
  177. Grow the amount of nature you have indoors.
  178. Make a herbal hair tonic.
  179. Look for bats.
  180. Make a herb vinegar.
  181. Put water out for wildlife on a hot day.
  182. Make rose cordial (and experiment with other edible flowers.)
  183. Make a herbal oil.
  184. Make leaf paper.
  185. Get food from a community allotment.
  186. Have a barbecue.
  187. Watch a stream flow.
  188. Look into a fire.
  189. Create an outdoor air freshener by throwing woody herbs on the fire.
  190. Watch the stars emerge at dusk.
  191. Create your own nature magazine, booklet or scrap book.
  192. Light a candle in the dark.
  193. Go outside wearing your pyjamas.
  194. Celebrate Summer Solstice.
  195. Think about the impact you have on nature.
  196. Collect herbs by moonlight.
  197. Listen to the wind in the trees.
  198. Study a slug.
  199. Burn natural incense.
  200. Make herb salt.
  201. Watch a daisy open up.
  202. Make herb ice cubes.
  203. Get involved with a gardening community.
  204. Share food or drink with other people.
  205. Weed the garden.
  206. Make blackcurrant or redcurrant cordial.
  207. Make borage gin.
  208. ID a ladybird.
  209. Make your own Summer Punch (vodka, fruit, edible flowers and herbs)/
  210. Start a herb garden.
  211. Cook using a wild ingredient you’ve never tried before.
  212. Share your wild recipes.
  213. Re-use a Lucozade bottle..
  214. Press elderflower stalks left over from cordial making to make tiny trees.
  215. Love lemon balm.
  216. Read the science behind a herbal remedy and see if it stacks up for you (tips on research can be found here. If you’re after something more in-depth, read The Research Companion by the brilliant Petra Boynton).
  217. Opt for eco cleaning.
  218. Make a dinosaur garden.
  219. Go meat free.
  220. Watch a nature TV show.
  221. Look at nature photos when you’re stressed.
  222. Relieve the pressure.
  223. Learn about yeast.
  224. Make a recycled funnel from an old plastic bottle.
  225. Dissuade unwanted wildlife from your home.
  226. Befriend a bug.
  227. Get surprised by wildlife.
  228. Burn herbal incense.
  229. Sniff Mycobacterium vaccae.
  230. Track your growth.
  231. Listen to nature-inspired music.
  232. Share your favourite nature bloggers with other people.
  233. Watch the slipstream.
  234. Be inspired by someone’s recycling idea.
  235. Notice the light through the trees.
  236. Look at the way the wind affects things around you.
  237. Talk to your local restaurant about recycling flowers (and other waste).
  238. Have a drink in a pub garden.
  239. Compare man-made magic with natural magic.
  240. Notice the shadows at night.
  241. Have an explosive nature experience.
  242. Clean up the mess you’ve made.
  243. Upcycle a found item, rather than buying something new.
  244. Chop an onion the ‘minimum waste’ way.
  245. Save onion skins to make dye.
  246. Start a compost bin.
  247. Make Fridgetata.
  248. Take a new approach to a familiar experience.
  249. Collect egg shells for egg shell mosaics.
  250. Learn about a local farm shop.
  251. Photograph pink clouds.
  252. Check on your bug habitat, and top up the water.
  253. Plant a tree.
  254. Investigate bonsai.
  255. Let your garden run wild.
  256. Deadhead flowers.
  257. Make a Rumtompf (or ‘Joyful Jamjar).
  258. Make an ‘elderflower trees’ collage.
  259. Make her bread.
  260. Eat a meal you’ve grown.

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