So our first immersion into wild nature for this challenge, was a 4 hour yomp with three little children, on countryside footpaths, but well away from the beaten track, and civilisation. They encountered walking through fields of horses and cows, saw wild deer, swallows, and kestrels, and did by far their longest walk yet (8 km and 4 hours!). They had a blast, and we felt not only more connected to the nature around us, but our three children too, with absolutely no other distractions around us.
Our random act of wildness was to design a bug house and then build it. We have built a bug house, ticking off no.11 of the RSPB’s Give Nature a Home. Ok, so it says make a high rise bug hotel, but we are very proud of our little house. There was an old rickety bookcase that was stood empty in the garage, so I thought, if I chopped that with a jigsaw, then the children can hammer it into a shape with nails. Then I had an even crazier thought….if I bought a saw, they can saw it too (I’m not quite in command of a jigsaw when operating it, so I didn’t trust myself to help them use it and leave them with a full set of limbs and digits!!). So off we went on a hunt for a saw…a very bizarre situation buying my first saw with the purpose of my children using it!!
We had a rough plan of what needed to go into it: We needed dead wood, essential for the larvae of wood boring beetles, for example the stag beetle. We needed bamboo canes for the solitary bees (however we swapped these for straws like our bee home, after several unsuccessful attempts at snapping them smaller, and just making bamboo mash). We wanted stones for cool damp conditions for any amphibians that might wander our way (not sure how likely that is but we can try). Cardboard was rolled into the insides of cut off small water bottles to try and create a nice environment for any lacewings that might fancy a home. We also put in dry leaves, dry bark, and fir cones to make lots of cosy crevices for any invertebrates that might fancy visiting.