Friday, 26 June 2020


Hart's tongue fern in wall. June 16th 2020
Seeing this Hart's tongue fern in someone else's wall (June 16th 2020)
inspired me to find out more about how to look after them.
I've cleared away some clutter from in front of those
in my own wall and have been drip-feeding them plant food.
After today, there will be four days of '30 Days Wild' left - a challenge set by the Wildlife Trusts to do some random act of wildness every day in June. The 'wild' ideas they suggest have not been very 'wild', not in the way of the street parties which have been breaking out around the country as lockdowns are lifted . . . they have been things like going for walks, for picnics, for listening to the birds, watching out for butterflies.

It has coincided with other challenges in all our lives. For my part, in the early days of the month I could not go out at all because I was 'shielded'. More recently, we 'shielded' people have been encouraged to go for walks as long as we keep away from others so I have swung from being totally at home and pretty inert to walking in remote places and scurrying along for the sake of exploration and to re-animate my body before it gets too sluggish and slow.

I've managed quite a few of the 'challenges'. I planted some corncockle flowers for the sake of pollinators. (They didn't come up.) I checked there is water both for the frog at my allotment and for the birds but as I'm allotmenteering by delegation instead of in person I haven't the photos to show you. But it's there.

Wildlife Yoga poster
The Wildlife Trusts sent an email poster with 'Wildlife Yoga' positions. My next door neighbour, with whom I now share a long-distance cup of tea every morning, suggested we should add outside yoga into our routine. 'What, in front of all the people passing?' No! And I haven't taken up the suggestion that I should make a mandala out of leaves and things either. (A sort of circular pattern which I think is supposed to be meditative but . . . )

Sycamore seeds. 13th June 2020
I suppose these sycamore seeds (13th June 2020} could have
been turned into an artistic arrangement but I got carried
away by looking at the inevitable aphid . . . and wondering
whether the two sizes and shapes of seeds came from different trees outside my house.
Then I realised - that despite there having been plenty of blossom
on both, one has masses of these winged 'helicopters'
or 'keys'but the other has none.
Can you spot the aphid? (Clicking the picture will enlarge it.)
So it's been a bit of a mixture. Some things I've done. Some things not. I think perhaps I've been a bit lacking on the artistic front. I included a poem but I've not drawn any drawings. My photos are my 'art' so maybe it's a good moment to introduce you to 'Message in a Milk Bottle'. Until I got leukaemia I used to post a picture there every day. And I have, from time to time, on and off, since. But mostly, recently, Message in a Milk Bottle has been neglected. Unlike on Loose and Leafy there are no words - just the photos. The discipline of (almost) daily posts on Loose and Leafy for June has been gearing me up for going back to posting on Message in a Milk Bottle. Loose and Leafy will gradually drift back now to a post roughly once a week but if you like my work you might enjoy Message in a Milk Bottle on the days in between. I'll aim to start again at the beginning of July. In the meantime you might like to browse what's already there.

It isn't all nature - perhaps about two thirds. It depends what I'm doing and what's around. I like shapes and colours and walls and things dropped on pavements and bits of plastic caught in barbed wire too.

Digger on a Hill. West Yorkshire
Has doing the Wildlife Trusts' Challenge changed me in any way? I think perhaps it has made me more self-aware of what I am looking at. After all, a post a day calls for rather a lot of concentration. And I've become more aware of my place in the landscape. The photo of the digger on the hill is the kind of picture I would usually post on Message in a Milk Bottle but this digger is so prominent it has become a sort of Pole Star on some of my walks.

Cherries fallen from a tree (ornamental?) onto the tarmac pavement. 21st June 2020
21st June 2020
And I've become more aware of some of you. Some who have been reading and commenting on these posts are old internet friends. Some have newly arrived. As I potter around the house, noticing the presence of woodlice in the cellar and the strange absence of spiders, as I've left my vase of flowers to decay on the windowsill so I can watch the petals fall, as I've counted the sycamore seedlings I've pulled out of the pots in front of my house . . . I've been chatting with you in my head. Some of these conversations have turned into posts. Others, you may never know about. For both, thank you. Thank you for accompanying me - in my head as well as on our screens.



bill burke said...

Interesting yoga poster. I don't think I could do all of them but there are some that just would take a little practice. I checked out your other blog and I like your photos. I did spot the aphid, you captured a wonderful photo of it. Have a nice evening and a wonderful weekend!

Phil Slade said...

And now I have a picture in my head. You and your neighbour sharing a cup of tea over that garden wall bedecked with Hart’s Tongue. A little like Les Dawson & Roy Barraclough - Cissy and Ada?

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

I have a kind of love-hate relationship with ferns - I love seeing them but failed abysmally when I tried to grow some in my mother's garden. I'll not be trying the yoga, even though I believe I do momentarily achieve most of them when I try to get up from taking low level photographs. Interesting to see how the digger is doing the "swan position". I look forward to seeing the photos on your other blog.

Rosie said...

You've done some lovely things over the soon to be 30 days. I didn't register to do the challenge, although I have been doing my own thing on the 30 Days blog, I wish now I had have done as there are some great ideas although I used to do Yoga I haven't done for years and I wouldn't want to do it in full view of passers by either!:) You've given me an idea about a mandala which I've seen on the blogs of people who crochet. Our attempt to build a moth trap wasn't very succesful, the light wasn't big enough and there were no moths come morning. Your walk on day 25 looked lovely:)

a rich tapestry said...

We've been learning from you during these days of the challenge. Thank you for your dedication - caring for the environment and nature in general and for sharing. It shows that there's plenty to see all around us and literally near our doorstep if we take the time to stop and look.

Flighty said...

A most enjoyable post. Good to see that you're resuming posting on your Message in a Milk Bottle blog. xx

Sue Garrett said...

You seem to be making the most of being out and about, I do think photography opens your eyes to thr things around you, especially the tiny things.


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