This June, we have been challenged to do something wild every day for a month by the Wildlife Trust. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, just making sure you get outside at least once a day – they even email suggestions.
So what have we been up to?
The weather on Monday was awful with high winds and heavy rain which battered our bug houses, plus the squirrels had wrecked our bird feeders, so we took them all down, repaired the ones that were salvageable and put them back out once the weather had calmed down.
Thankfully the weather picked up by the Tuesday and Abbey, Sena, Sebby and I went mini beast hunting in the park. Wednesday saw us heading to the beach where the kids got to play in the sand before having a very special ice cream treat.
On Thursday Daddy was day off so we headed to the park after school for some “Ninjastic” training where the kids used the equipment for climbing practice. On Friday I mowed the lawn as it had finally dried out and we got all the toys back out the shed that we had packed away when we were on holiday and on Saturday we headed to Hyde Park in search of dinosaur eggs for the launch of Lego Jurassic Park.
Sunday was most definately our “wildest” day as we met up with the charliemoos clan for Open Farm Sunday. There were so many farms open locally that it was a tough choice, but we eventually plumped for Pound Farm on the Cranborne Estate in Dorset.
We explore Dorset regularly but rarely head North as we love the coast, but the drive up country was spectacular, although the kids did moan about the animal smells at one point. Thankfully the farm was easy to find and we were ushered into a field to park park our cars.
The kids were desperate to do the Tractor ride first but we had half an hour to wait so we headed off to look at all the farming equipment first. I was expecting to see farming machinery but what I hadn’t expected was for it to be so easily accessible and we were encouraged to climb on board and have a good look around.
I was especially surprised by the sheer size of the Combine Harvester. Joanne and the kids all lined up in front of the reel but even with 7 of them they only reached half way across. The cab was really high up and Megan had a little wobble about being so high, but thankfully I stayed on below so helped her get back down.
Pound Farm is predominantly an arable farm and grow Barley, Maize, Rape Seed, Oats and linseed to name but a few. In one of the barns as farmer was on hand with buckets full of grain and products that are made of each crop, which was a brilliant way of showing the kids where their food comes from and they were welcomed to touch and feel the crops and grain.
Exploring finished we headed off to find the tractor ride, which was so popular it was already full so we headed across the road to meet their sheep and cattle. Sebastian was in his element by this point and couldn’t tear himself away from the animals.
The older kids came away with lots of information about each animal before finding a hay bale to leap on and off. We then headed back across the road and discovered an empty grain barn which was perfect for running around in and making a noise as it was very echoey.
As we were playing in the barn we heard the rumble of the tractor coming up the road, so made our way to form a queue. I am very glad we did as a huge crowd of people flooded out of the farm house, where they had been serving tea and cake, in the hopes of riding on it too.
The tractor journey took us around some of their fields of rape seed, oats and barley and we stopped at each one for a brief talk about the crop and what it was used for. Did you know rape seed forms 10% of the content of diesel for the car? They also encourage wildlife with large hedge borders around each field and a further few metres which is filled with long grass, poppies and cow parsley to help birds hide from large preditors. They are also participating in a program to re-introduce the grey partridge and have 5 nesting pairs already!
The tractor ride took about 20 minutes and the everyone had a fabulous time. As soon as we got off they headed back into the grain barn for some more fun before we left and headed off to Verwood to get a picnic lunch and play in the park.
Open Farm Sunday is an annual event with sees hundreds of farms across the country open their gates to visitors free of charge. Roll on next year!