What an exciting visit to the castle pond today. Amos had called to say it was Toad City up there so we just had to rush up to see what he was talking about. We were thrilled to see so many toads and even an occasional frog. We learned so much about toads : male toads are much smaller than the females, toads come back to mate in the same place every year (dont like to think how many toads will be in the pond next year!!!), toad spawn is fertilised after it is laid and toads are rough and lumpy but frogs are smooth and much more slippery.
We had an important job to do today in the woods, and, for the adults, a significant one. Today, we labelled the trees on our site so they could be points of reference for future work. This was the first proper marking of our site, and although there is a long, long way to go, we now have a visible and obvious mark of our intent. The children chose to label their favourite climbing tree number 1 (technically it is 0001) and then worked with great perseverance and dedication to label other surrounding trees. It was so fitting that our children could not only take part but lead in this big step towards developing our woodland nursery.
We spent this morning in Gillies Hill Community Woodland tapping birch trees and harvesting birch sap with Amos. This was a fantastic opportunity for our children to learn about the changes spring brings to the woods and also to understand more about different types of trees and how to identify birch trees by their distinctive silvery white bark. Amos showed us how he drilled a small hole in the tree to let the sap come out and we watched as it started to drip. The children were so excited that they wanted to try catching the sap on their tongues and told us it tasted amazing!
We learned that birch trees are better at producing sap than most other trees as we tried tapping a willow tree and found that it didnt drip at all. We tied milk cartons to the birch trees to catch the sap and when we checked later it was nearly half full.
Thanks for a great day Amos 😊
We spent the morning exploring the woods today. We walked to the Walled Garden, along to the Curling Ponds (where we found frog spawn!) up to the Swimming Pool and back down through the Dark Woods. It was pouring with rain most of the time and so we enjoyed lots of splashing and stomping in muddy puddles.
We had a wonderful open session today in the woods. It was lovely to see so many people enjoying our fantastic woodland in the lovely autumn sunshine. The soup, bread and pancakes seem to go down a treat though I think they, and we, were all well smoked! Thanks to everyone who contributed to making this such a happy and fun afternoon for all concerned. We’d love to see your photos and hear your comments on the afternoon as well as suggestions for future events!
In the woods today we were building on the interest the children have shown in finding and collecting acorns. Yesterday we learned how to identify an oak tree by looking at the shape of its leaves. Today we walked through the woods and tried to spot more oak trees. We were excited to find a tiny little baby oak (we put sticks around it to protect it because we were worried someone might stand on it) and also an enormous oak tree that took 4 children to stretch their arms around it. We learned that oak trees are known as the King of the Forest and that they grow very slowly but are very strong. Jane, Jordan and Lynda also learned that oak trees produce male and female flowers – the male flowers develop in a group called a catkin. Catkins hang down from twigs and release their pollen into the air where they are blown around to pollinate a nearby female flower. After pollination, the base of the female flower forms a woody cup, and the flower forms a woody fruit called a nut – an acorn!
We put wood cookie labels on some of the oak trees we found. If you are walking in the woods maybe you will spot one!
It was lovely to be back in the woods today! We have a new play site and enjoyed exploring it and seeing what different things we could find there. We had several new children with us today and it is amazing to see how much more confident and independent they became after just a few hours in the woods. We are looking forward to seeing how our sessions develop as we become more familiar with the new site.
We each chose a special tree in our site and gave it a name. The names we chose were Nursery, Bramble, Firework, Violet, Tractor, Baby Teddy, Florence and Lanky Larry. We will be keeping an eye on our trees as we move further into autumn and then winter so see how they change.
We had an amazing visit to the woods this morning. The temperature was -7 when we arrived to set up and still only -1 when we packed up to go home so it was a very challenging environment for our children. Rather than spend all our time in the camp we decided to go on an adventure. It was quite dark at our camp but we could see the sunshine hitting the tops of the trees. We decided to walk higher up the woods to see if we could find the sunshine. It was quite a trek but we found lots of really interesting things along the way. There are so many dens in our woods, we had a wee sit down in just about all of them. The cold weather had made amazing patterns in the woods, we spotted tiny icicles that looked fluffy and others that looked spiky.
We found the sunshine at the very top of the hill. There was a fantastic view so we got the binoculars out to see what we could see.
We walked back down the hill and saw so many different footprints – we spotted lots of different boots as well as some bike tracks and then even some doggy prints too.
Back at our camp site we cuddled up in our tent with some cosy stones, blankets, hot chocolate and a (few) biscuits. We have a request for jam pieces next week, not red jam though.