Late summer is a wonderful time to have fun for free. The weather is generally mild enough to explore outdoors in relative comfort, and nature has provided a glut of free food and crafting supplies. Try one of these this weekend.
Blackberrying is an easy gateway to ore advanced foraging. It’s easy to identify blackberries, you can eat them fresh from the bush (carry water in a reusable bottle if you want to wash them) and there are loads of ways to preserve them so you can enjoy blackberry and apple crumble and pie in the autumn.
Raid the recycling bin for jars and bottles (I have no shame about going through the neighbours’ recycling boxes). With lemon juice and sugar, plus (windfall) apple cores for natural pectin, you can make cordial, jam, fruit leather (great for lunchboxes), pie filling and fruit liqueurs.
Blackberry and elderberry port is particularly delicious and easy – the natural yeast means you just stew, add sugar, bottle and wait for Christmas (ideally Christmas 2019 but you can drink it ‘young’).
Trees do brilliant things. Rather than just collecting conkers to smash against each other (which is another way to have fun for free), plant them.
If you have a big garden, consider planting suitably sized trees. If not, there’s always the option to learn bonsai. I really want to make a mini oak tree having seen how cute they are. Be warned, it takes patience from all I’ve read…
Feed the Birds
There are so many beautiful birds to feed on the canals, rivers and waterways in general. Grab some bird-safe food (seeds or oats not bread) and head to your nearest patch of water. You might get lucky and see a frog too.
Spread Love Not Litter
Nature crafts are a great way to get creative when you’re on a tight budget. I regularly forage for pine cones, feathers, nuts, twigs and other nature finds to make seasonal displays, and use for crafting as the nights draw in.
Windfall apples with too many maggots can become apple dolls (I cut any buggy bits out and put them outside) for Halloween; pine cones can become hedgehogs or Christmas trees; and feathers look lovely teamed with seed pods and dried flowers.
To give something back for all the things I take, I regularly litter pick, leaving the word ‘love’ behind crafted in nature finds to remind people to love the world (it seems less preachy than leaving a Do Not Litter sign). I make sure I don’t block the path to avoid tripping anyone up. Please share photos with me @Groweatgift on Twitter or Instagram if you decide to spread #LoveNotLitter. I’d love to see your art.
Take Flower Photos
Every Sunday, I share photos of flowers in rainbow colours for Rainbowblooms, starting at 11am with red and working through the rest of the colours of the rainbow each hour until 5pm.
#WildflowerHour then runs from 8-9pm, if you miss #Rainbowblooms (or just have lots of flower photos) so you can share your week’s discoveries – and learn loads about flower identification.
I find it relaxing to take my time finding each colour of flower. It helps me focus on the world around me – and enjoy the beauty of bees and other pollinators too.
Nature offers so many ways to have fun for free. Take advantage of what it offers – and return the favour by planting a seed or two…