It barely seems like any time since 30 Days Wild started – though also seems a lifetime ago, While I’ve been embracing living ‘wild’ for a while, it’s safe to say that I upped my game a little for 30 Days Wild.
This means my month has been full of happy memories – and my kitchen has been full of bottles, steeping flower petals and herb leaves all over the floor (it’s near impossible to strip carrier bags full of thyme without getting some on the floor. Lemon balm was considerably more controllable, by comparison. And then there’s the stickiness of enthusiastic fizz…).
I ‘brought the outdoor indoors’ almost every day in June, and a post-#30DaysWild clean is definitely in order. Nature can be messy, though that is half the fun too…
My flat is now full of happy memories. The bottle gardens made from the plastic bottles I litter picked now line every window sill.
The glass bottles I litter picked are now filled with elderflower and rose petal, lemon balm and redcurrant champagne with ingredients picked at my local community allotment.
The egg shell ships and pressed flower pictures made in my efforts to avoid waste during 30 Days Wild are waiting to find a home.
After going wild for 30 days, I need to take a little time to be calm…
That’s not to say I have any regrets. 30 Days Wild added colour to my life. I liked my flat at the end of May, not least because it has an excellent view of the canal.
However, now I love it. It’s full of rainbows wherever you look: a cocktail making collection every colour of the rainbow; a miniature festival full of faerie folk on my living room table; a desk that’s got wilder and more colourful with every passing day and so many crafting projects that I’ve lost count.
I’ll share some recent photographs of the above (it’s all grown…) once I’ve had a chance to get my drinks into decorative bottles, my table festival properly lit and my desk ‘litter picked’. I got so many photos on day 30 that there isn’t the space to include them in this post!
The final day of 30 Days Wild 2017 started with an appointment at the pain clinic. I was in a rush so didn’t get a chance to connect with nature first thing.
However, I made up for it by telling my clinician about 30 Days Wild when he asked about my coping mechanisms. He was impressed by the way I managed my condition – to the extent that he said he’d love it if I could talk to his other patients – so I gave him the citation for the 30 Days Wild research, along with a recommendation that he read it.
On the way home from the hospital, my partner had planned something special. I’d asked him whether there was a Wildlife Trust nature reserve anywhere near the hospital, so we could visit it on our way home.
He’d not only found one – Cossington Meadows – but also suggested we stopped at Watermead Country Park on the way back. I was a little concerned about time as I had work to do, but as it was day 30 of 30 Days Wild, I couldn’t turn down a chance to connect with nature.
I’m glad I didn’t. At Watermead, I met goslings for the first time. I fell in love. They are bolder and more vocal than ducklings, and were clearly used to people.
The geese were adorable too: something that surprised me as I was terrified of them as a child, thanks to passing some mean geese that hissed on my way to school.
After today’s experience, I can only assume those geese had been treated badly or trained to be aggressive.
The geese we fed were sweet, if noisy, and gentle when they surged towards us for food. It seemed as if they were honking a polite, ‘feed me’ – and feed them we did.
After that, we headed across the car park to look at a mammoth. It was at the top of a hill, which was a little too demanding for me to climb, but I managed to get a picture.
It started to rain but we were undeterred. We headed to Cossington Meadow regardless and were gratified when the rain stopped almost as soon as we got out the car.
I took the opportunity to splash in a puddle.
Even on a grey day, Cossington Meadow was idyllic. There was a wonderful ‘tree guardian’ at the entrance (or at least I could see a clear face in it – Can you?)
Once we were in the meadows, there were wildflowers galore, including some with seed pods that I’m sure must have inspired Maleficent’s costume. I’ve never seen monochrome plant life before, and am glad I have now.
I found myself admiring the stamen in the flowers. I’m intrigued by the way they are all such different shapes.
I need to look deeper into it to find out why stamens come in so many shapes and sizes: I suspect it’s for the simple reason that nature is wonderfully diverse (something it would be good for people who label others ‘unnatural’ to remember…)
I also admired the pebbles. There was a real mixture of stones and I couldn’t resist picking up a flint that looked like an arrow head.
It seemed naturally formed rather than shaped, and I want to try turning it into a blade, though I need to investigate the best way to do it (if anyone from the Wildlife Trusts is reading, my apologies for taking something away from the nature reserve, which is technically against the Countryside Code. I think everyone should be taught the Countryside Code as a core part of their schooling and try to respect it. I promise I’ll use it my flint for helping nature.)
I was saddened to see a cigarette butt on the floor, and picked it up. The rest of the meadows seemed thankfully litter free – aside from a few pieces of ‘litter’ left by thoughtless dog owners.
I have to draw the line somewhere, and cleaning up dog mess without a carrier bag is a step too far, even after all my random acts of wildness. However, I’m hoping the offenders feel ashamed of themselves (the humans, not the dogs: I’m sure the dogs would clean up after themselves if they had opposable thumbs).
My partner and I spent some time chasing butterflies in the hope of photographing them.
He managed to get a few shots but I wasn’t fast enough (aside from one that he is photographing above – can you spot it?) He also managed to get a photo of the greenfly that befriended me.
I mostly learned that butterflies move fast (to be fair, I’m not sure whether they were butterflies or moths – or, of course, fairies. If they were the latter, it’s no wonder most people are rubbish at finding fairies, given the speed at which they move )
We headed home – though we did stop at a supermarket where I bought three plants for £5, to complete the floral rainbow I have growing between my various containers.
On my return home, I looked at the kitchen – with a sink full of litter-picked bottles that I was soaking the labels off, ready to fill with foraged drink.
I looked at the living room, which has natural crafting materials almost everywhere you look (and fairyland on the table).
I looked at my desk, which was piled high with nature books I’d gathered together to inspire my 30 Days Wild activities, only to leave unopened all month because nature was so inspirational.
And I knew that not only was I going to go #365DaysWild, but I was #WildforLife. I’ve planted the seeds of many ideas during 30 Days Wild. I can’t wait to see how they grow by 30 Days Wild 2018….
It’s National Meadows Day on July 1st. I didn’t realise this when I went to Cossington, but am pleased I have meadow pictures I can share that show how important it is that we protect – and invest in – meadows.
With this in mind, I’ve decided to donate all July profits from my book Go Wild: Over 200 Ways to Connect With Nature to the Wildlife Trusts. I’d planned to donate June profits, as I don’t have huge amounts of money.
However, I do have lots of words inspired by 30 Days Wild, and I decided one month’s profits wasn’t a big enough donation to recognise the joy #30DaysWild has brought me. I want to raise lots of money to help the Wildlife Trusts continue to inspire other people – and protect the wonderful world we live in.
I’m also going to be trying to stay in touch with the people that I ‘met’ through 30 Days Wild, whether through blog swaps, trading ideas, collaborating on projects or simply following on social media.
I’m hoping that Transition Loughborough and/or The Crop Club will be interested in the idea of a #MidlandersGoWild gathering of some kind in Loughborough (comment on this if you’d like to be informed of any gathering.) I’ll be looking for other ways to maintain the nature connection with other nature lovers too, so do get in touch if you have any ideas. And if you took part in 30 Days Wild, please do continue to share your wild adventures with me on social media. Together, we can grow the nature love.
Random Acts of Wildness So Far…
- Spread the word.
- Start a weather/pain diary.
- Look at the clouds.
- Photograph wildflowers.
- Look for urban nature.
- ID a butterfly.
- Find a fledgling.
- Feed a swan.
- Collect feathers.
- Stake out a foraging site.
- ID birdsong.
- Tweet using the #30DaysWild hashtag.
- Plant a virtual seed.
- See new life growing.
- Feed the ducks.
- Protect an animal from a predator.
- Reflect on nature.
- Look closely at your lawn.
- Make someone a nature hamper from recycled materials.
- Share nature photos using #30DaysWild on Instagram (and help the hashtag trend).
- Show your houseplants some love.
- Tell friends about #30DaysWild.
- Talk to a junior naturalist and encourage their creativity.
- Photograph a favourite cuddly toy in nature.
- Add a nature event to your diary.
- Look closely at a friend’s garden.
- Take photos for #Rainbowblooms.
- Find a plant that looks like a bug.
- Watch a bee.
- Read a nature-based research paper.
- Get overawed by nature
- Watch the dawn.
- Walk barefoot in dewy grass.
- Try a nature meditation.
- Raid and repurpose the recycling.
- Go on a wild date.
- Go litter picking.
- Protect the soil.
- Make nature art.
- Watch the sunset
- Turn your desk wild.
- Water your plants.
- Celebrate World Environment Day.
- Take part in the plastic challenge.
- Watch nature videos.
- Tell people who run your favourite hashtag hour on Twitter about 30 Days Wild.
- Tell a colleague about 30 Days Wild.
- Take a closer look at foxgloves.
- Share nature-themed recycled crafting ideas.
- Have a natural aromatherapy bath.
- Dress for the weather.
- Connect with a local nature lover.
- Look at a puddle closely.
- Rescue a plant.
- Make a mini meadow in a recycled container.
- Photograph wet leaves.
- Welcome new wildlife to the area.
- Make a bottle garden.
- Make a wild bouquet.
- Collect flower petals for your nature crafting box.
- Tend a garden.
- Feel the wind in your hair.
- Collect leaves for crafting.
- Grow a tomato.
- Create a 30 second wildlife habitat.
- Admire an insect.
- Photograph something blue.
- Make a nature video.
- Go on a flower pot hunt.
- Wear nature-inspired fashion.
- Vote for nature.
- Plan a windowbox walk.
- Celebrate World Oceans Day.
- Go wild in a graveyard.
- Love lichen.
- Be amazed by moss.
- Find fungi.
- Stock up on wild supplies.
- Bag a bargain to bring back to life.
- Find something new in nature.
- Grow your own food.
- Reflect on nature and what it means to you.
- Look closely at cuckoo spit.
- Plant something pollinator friendly.
- Plant a herb garden and share cuttings.
- Look for bugs.
- Let your garden go wild.
- Read the weather.
- Brighten a corner of your home with plants.
- Use an eco friendly search engine.
- Repurpose plastic packaging.
- Use biodegradable glitter.
- Collect flower petals.
- Find the perfect feather to make a quill.
- Add fairyland magic to your home with a fairy doll made from recycled materials.
- Use feathers as home decor.
- Wear nature-inspired jewellery.
- Watch the moon.
- Go for a dawn walk.
- Invite people to a wild cocktail party.
- (Try to) put up a bird box.
- Make a bug habitat.
- Take a bug’s eye view.
- Follow an ant.
- Take a macro shot of the earth.
- Plant strawberries.
- Plant a bird seed garden.
- Collect rainwater for the garden.
- Think about light pollution (and turn off garden lights when not in use).
- Create a kitchen herb garden.
- Put out a bird feeder.
- Photograph flowers in the dark.
- Go for a canal walk at dusk.
- Forage for your supper.
- Make flower tea.
- Make a floral face wash.
- Press flowers.
- Craft a story with wild finds.
- Read William Morris’s nature writing.
- Fill your pockets with pine cones.
- See fledglings fly the nest.
- Look through the leaves.
- Find a ladybird baby.
- See a seed you sowed grow wild.
- Pay attention to a warning sign in nature.
- Find ferns.
- Find a flower fairy.
- ID a wildflower.
- Find nature art.
- Made floral cocktail ingredients.
- (Try to) rescue a wildflower.
- Make a daisy ring.
- Make a bottle garden and get back to your roots.
- Follow an ant.
- Check for evidence of wildlife, in the absence of any obvious creatures.
- Collect a feather to ID.
- Find wildlife in the clouds.
- Find a plant that looks like an alien.
- Find a solution for a waste problem that annoys you.
- Research nature-based citizen science.
- Look at nature through a window.
- Make something that you need instead of going to the shops.
- Learn a new nature word.
- Share a happy nature memory online.
- Make a natural face mask.
- 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,)
- Share nature-themed style that you love.
- 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.)
- Trade links with another nature blogger.
- Listen to the dawn chorus.
- Make an indoor night garden.
- Made dinner for a hedgehog.
- Use solar powered lights to reduce the amount of electricity you use.
- Give nature a libation (pour a bit of drink on the ground and thank nature for all it provides).
- Go on a mini-beast hunt at night.
- Photograph a snail.
- Look into the shadows.
- Take a different view.
- Find the fairies at the bottom of the garden.
- Drink elderberry port outdoors.
- Get involved with Britain in Bloom.
- Find out more about Transition Towns.
- Eat food that would otherwise have been wasted.
- Admire a blue sky.
- Make your business greener.
- Watch the sun through the trees and see how it changes as you move (or move your camera.)
- Photograph a blackbird.
- Have a 30 Days Wild fail – and learn from it.
- Make a bug (boutique) hotel.
- Craft a natural scene from your #30DaysWild finds.
- Forage for edible wildflowers.
- Set off down an unknown path.
- Hug a sapling. Baby trees need love too.
- Find a tree with a face.
- Admire a tree stump.
- Forage a friend’s garden.
- Grow the amount of nature you have indoors.
- Make a herbal hair tonic.
- Look for bats.
- Make a herb vinegar.
- Put water out for wildlife on a hot day.
- Make rose cordial (and experiment with other edible flowers.)
- Make a herbal oil.
- Make leaf paper.
- Get food from a community allotment.
- Have a barbecue.
- Watch a stream flow.
- Look into a fire.
- Create an outdoor air freshener by throwing woody herbs on the fire.
- Watch the stars emerge at dusk.
- Create your own nature magazine, booklet or scrap book.
- Light a candle in the dark.
- Go outside wearing your pyjamas.
- Celebrate Summer Solstice.
- Think about the impact you have on nature.
- Collect herbs by moonlight.
- Listen to the wind in the trees.
- Study a slug.
- Burn natural incense.
- Make herb salt.
- Watch a daisy open up.
- Make herb ice cubes.
- Get involved with a gardening community.
- Share food or drink with other people.
- Weed the garden.
- Make blackcurrant or redcurrant cordial.
- Make borage gin.
- ID a ladybird.
- Make your own Summer Punch (vodka, fruit, edible flowers and herbs)/
- Start a herb garden.
- Cook using a wild ingredient you’ve never tried before.
- Share your wild recipes.
- Re-use a Lucozade bottle..
- Press elderflower stalks left over from cordial making to make tiny trees.
- Love lemon balm.
- 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).
- Opt for eco cleaning.
- Make a dinosaur garden.
- Go meat free.
- Watch a nature TV show.
- Look at nature photos when you’re stressed.
- Relieve the pressure.
- Learn about yeast.
- Make a recycled funnel from an old plastic bottle.
- Dissuade unwanted wildlife from your home.
- Befriend a bug.
- Get surprised by wildlife.
- Burn herbal incense.
- Sniff Mycobacterium vaccae.
- Track your growth.
- Listen to nature-inspired music.
- Share your favourite nature bloggers with other people.
- Watch the slipstream.
- Be inspired by someone’s recycling idea.
- Notice the light through the trees.
- Look at the way the wind affects things around you.
- Talk to your local restaurant about recycling flowers (and other waste).
- Have a drink in a pub garden.
- Compare man-made magic with natural magic.
- Notice the shadows at night.
- Have an explosive nature experience.
- Clean up the mess you’ve made.
- Upcycle a found item, rather than buying something new.
- Chop an onion the ‘minimum waste’ way.
- Save onion skins to make dye.
- Start a compost bin.
- Make Fridgetata.
- Take a new approach to a familiar experience.
- Collect egg shells for egg shell mosaics.
- Learn about a local farm shop.
- Photograph pink clouds.
- Check on your bug habitat, and top up the water.
- Plant a tree.
- Investigate bonsai.
- Let your garden run wild.
- Deadhead flowers.
- Make a Rumtompf (or ‘Joyful Jamjar).
- Make an ‘elderflower trees’ collage.
- Make her bread.
- Eat a meal you’ve grown.
- Watch wildlife through a window.
- Watch a duck groom itself (if you can, watch a swan too. They’re amusingly inelegant when grooming, compared to their usual sophisticated selves).
- Look into the light.
- Make a ‘rainy day; nature crafting kit.
- Drink a cup of tea outdoors.
- Organise a nature-themed event.
- Make a nature-themed fancy dress costume.
- Take stock of nature’s bounty.
- Make a foraged rainbow cocktail collection.
- Save seeds.
- Connect with other people taking part in #30DaysWild near you.
- Add a nature film to your ‘must watch’ list.
- Be a lark not an owl – or vice versa.
- Make friends with a snail.
- Grow an orange flower.
- Develop an idea you have for helping nature.
- Try nature-inspired paper-crafts.
- Take a second look at nature.
- Plant a rainbow garden.
- Prepare yourself for future nature adventures.
- Consider the benefits you’ve found in connecting with nature.
- Look at a nature magazine.
- Tell a health professional about 30 Days Wild, and encourage them to get involved next year.
- Turn a found plastic cup or coffee cup into a garden.
- Find a resilient plant.
- Get motivation from nature.
- Follow nature’s story: watch the same wildlife or patch of land over a period of time – and take photos to see how they change.
- Consider more creative recycling.
- Stretch for nature.
- Make eggshell art.
- Tell someone about 30 Days Wild research.
- Visit a local waterway.
- Feed goslings (and geese).
- See a mammoth.
- Visit a Wildlife Trusts nature reserve – and donate to support it if you can. If you don’t have any spare money, think of other ways you can support them, whether through volunteering arranging corporate sponsorship of
- Pay attention to pebbles.
- Find monochrome nature.
- Accept no butts!
- Take a closer look at stamen.
- Fall in love with nature – and go #365DaysWild.