Hips And Haws

 

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I have been quite poorly this week, so I was bursting to get out for a walk this morning.

Unfortunately Rose has now caught my cold, so it was just me and my big girl.

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It was damp & chilly, but not too cold. We enjoyed the colours that are beginning to change.

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The hedgerows are bursting, and we collected hips and haws.

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Once back at home, we settled in for apple cake, knitting, and a spooky tale: The Canterbury Ghost by Oscar Wilde

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Elianna is knitting a hat with her own hand-dyed yarn.

I am working on socks for Elianna

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We crafted winter posies from the hips and haws; jewell-bright reminders of the natural world to brighten our days.

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Happy exploring!

Bits And Pieces

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There are only a couple of days left ’till sign ups for the Nature Pen Friends close, so please do get in touch soon if you would like to participate. Information is here.

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It has been a while since I did a weekly round up, and while this post isn’t exactly that, it gives you a bit of an idea what we have been up to.

We are really excited to be involved with Rocket Science, an ‘out of this world’ educational project, run by The RHS Campaign for School Gardening and The UK Space Agency .

Back in May 2015, Two kilograms of rocket seeds took off from Florida bound for the International Space Station as part of British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s six-month Principia mission.

After several months on board, the seeds were sent back and landed in the Pacific Ocean in the spring of 2016. After they returned to the UK, they were packaged up with identical seeds that had stayed on earth. Schools (and home educators!) were invited to take part, and participants each received two packets of 100 seeds to grow and compare.

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We planted our seeds with friends who are helping us with the project. I shall keep you posted on the developments!

We also had heaps of fun investigating Barn Owl pellets this week!

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Big girl took a break from exam revision to join us as we carefully excavated the pellets to find what the owl had eaten.

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This was utterly fascinating, and we found the remains of several small mammals and birds. Here are just a few of the bones we found.

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This week was also my birthday, so I did some celebratory dyeing and dyed up some sock yarn, inspired by the colours of the bluebells that are beginning to bloom.

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I received some books for my birthday that I am really looking forward to getting stuck into; Creating Textured Landscapes, and Drawing and Painting Trees in the Landscape, both by Claudia Nice. Her art work is beautiful and inspiring, so I am hoping to learn a lot from working through the books at my own pace.

Speaking of books, we have some great ones on the go; Elianna is reading Never Give In, The Extraordinary Character Of Winston Churchill, Rose is reading Woof! by Allen Ahlberg, and together we are reading My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrel, which is hilarious (though, be warned, it does contain swearing.)

Rose has been very busy in the garden, rescuing tired bees and even a wasp, tending and observing the tadpoles, and chasing our cat when he unfortunately caught a baby bird. She is making the most of the burst of fine weather we are having at the moment; getting her schoolwork finished as early as possible, and heading barefoot into the garden. Which is where she would much rather be.

 

 

Off The Needles!

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Last year, my lovely friend Briana sent me some gorgeous soap and beautiful yarn, both made by the talented Genevieve of Dancing Dog Dairy.

I have been admiring this pretty yarn, that is a burst of sunshine for several months and a couple of weeks ago decided the time was right to knit it up.

They are very simple mittens. I just kept trying them on to get the sizing good for me, no special pattern, but the yarn makes them and they make me very happy when I put them on.

Thank you Briana & Genevieve.

A Warm And Cosy Giveaway

Do you remember the socks that I was knitting for Rose? With the yarn she dyed herself? They are finally complete.

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And they are too small 🙂

I knew they would be too small from the beginning, as I had cast on too few stitches. I keep a little scrap of card with everyone’s stitch count and unfortunately, I looked at the number of stitches I used for Rose when she was younger.

But I would like to take the opportunity to offer the socks as a giveaway. A small gesture of thanks to you all for your continued support.

As they are hand-knit, they have a fair bit of stretch, so should fit a range of sizes, but I would suggest Euro size 28-30 / UK 10-11.5 / US 10.5-12.5 This is my approximate guess!

They are made from the softest merino wool, with a very fine silver thread that runs throughout to give a lovely sparkle. They will be best hand washed (I use the hand wash programme on my washing machine.)

If you would like to be entered to win, please comment below & Rose will draw a name on Sunday.

Please share this with friends. I shall also be sharing on the Exploring Nature With Children Facebook group

Rosie’s Socks, Or The Meditative Power Of Knitting

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I am well on the way to getting Rosie’s socks finished. My dad was admitted to hospital on the Tuesday before Christmas with pneumonia, he was extremely poorly, so I sat at his bedside, the gentle clicking of my needles filling the silence. My stitches helped to keep me calm, an unspoken prayer for when words were too difficult.

Often, I was simply too tired to knit. When not at dad’s bedside, I was at home, busy with Christmas preparations, or in the car, driving my mum to the hospital.

As he began to improve, my hands were busy with washing and feeding dad, then bringing newspapers, or helping him speak to mum on the telephone.

I am beyond thankful that dad is back at home now, but I have been reminded of what Christmas really is to me; family, togetherness, warmth, and love. That darkness and despair will not go on forever;

For a child is born to us,

a son is given to us.

The government will rest on his shoulders.

And he will be called:

Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His government and its peace

will never end.

Isaiah 9:6-7

The Winter Solstice ~ Exploring Nature With Children

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Hello friends! Today is the winter solstice and a whole chapter is devoted to this day in Exploring Nature With Children.

The weather here has been mostly extremely wet and windy.

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We found many signs of winter:

• The pale winter sun, low in the sky

• A nibbled evergreen cone

• Birds’ nests visible in the bare trees

• Animal tracks in mud

• Glossy, prickly Holly leaves

• A delicate leaf skeleton

• Leaves still hanging from a tree

• Spiky Pine Needles

• Lichen on fallen wood

• Bright red berries

In other news, I am working steadily on Rosie’s new socks, using her hand-dyed yarn.

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Once they are finished, I would like to get to work on a small shawl for myself using some yarn I finished spinning recently.

Christmas is almost upon us & there is much excitement chez Little Shoots! Only three more sleeps 🙂

How was your nature walk this week?