After a little time outside the farm shop, gathered around fungi, tree and plant guides, tracking guides and of course our beloved bird book; this time working on identifying birds by just their individual calls. Soon after we set off on a stroll past the farm, collected some straight sections of Elder and thanked the tree with a gift, then down into the woods for a day of learning and sharing with nature and the Plaw Hatch woods really did just keep giving!
Having just passed the chickens, one of the children spotted some tracks in the mud. Thinking it was a fox track, we huddled around checking for the clear cross between paw pads, then...out of nowhere we spotted a magnificent Grey Heron!! Leaving us all totally jaw dropped as it swooped gracefully over the fields not too far away.
Down past the pond where the Heron was most likely feeding, we caught sight of more tracks, which through the children's closer inspection turned out to be Badger prints. Down deep into the woods and around our new base camp we decided on as a group last week. After a gentle discussion about respect, sharing and safety, practising our trademark woodpecker coming together call, we moved onto all manner of woodland crafts!
From Elder pipes - decorated with Anna’s acorn ink, to Hedgehog homes sculpted with teasels and moulded clay or even sawing through fallen conifers to make personal logs for base fire circle! Working as a team, sawing 20 seconds a shift, play clapping games and hyping each other through, we managed to saw down 7 stumps together! We counted the rings, and worked out it’s age, see if you can to...clue is in the fingers...)
As the flute sounded on the way in from our crafts gathered wood to start a fire for lunch. Though not just any fire, a fire that started by all bow drill and using only natural materials! Whilst the acorn veggie burgers sizzled on the fire, another story of Rascally Rabbit was told, this time about his cunning dispute with Fox’s peas.
The afternoon was filled with more crafts: miniature clay people homes, drawing on Elder pipes, guided team tree stump sawing, sat around the fire roasting fresh chestnuts and proudly, removing bark, carving, decorating and personalising stumps.
A quick squirrel game to collect some acorns for next week (might just be for making acorn chocolate brownies over our fire...shhh!!). To finish a fun little circle of charades to share what we found most joy in during our Wild Woodpecker Wednesday and a walk back up through the dappled forest sunlight to pick up.
Victoria Mew, Founder of Cultivating Curiosity