Thursday, 25 June 2009

A little learning......

Sorry it's been a while since I last updated the blog - why are good habits so hard to get into whilst the bad ones are hard to break? I guess if I knew the answer to that one I'd be a saint.

Whilst walking the dog this morning I stopped to take in the view and it dawned on me that although I was surrounded by plants and animals my knowledge of the plants are around me was pretty limited. I can identfy a broad selection of British birds and small mammels but ask me the difference between a moss and a lichen and wouldn't have a clue - I can tell you that the fungus growing on the tree behind me is a bracket fungus but which one?

When I was a child I relied on my dad to give me the information I needed - he was my walking talking guide book and always had an answer to "what's that bird?" or "what's that flower called?" and even "what animal left that poo there?". I'm not sure if it was his army training that helped him make up an answer on the spot or if he really knew all this stuff but it kept me happy and gave us something to talk about on our walks.

With this in mind I have made a new pledge (another good habit not to get into?) to try and learn a little more about the plants and animals that we encounter on our family walks. Today I had my camera with me and have photographed some of the plants and will endeavour to find out what they are, an interesting fact about each, and try and remember it so that on our next family walk I can impress my kids with my vast knowledge of all stuff natural.

So, my first plant:

Obviously I knew it was a thistle, but now I know that it is a creeping thistle.

As for an interesting fact, how about: the roots and leaves are edible but the roots have a propensity to cause flatulance and the leaves have spikes making them hard to digest. I think the idea of a fart inducing thistle will appeal to my kids, if your kids are a little more civilised than mine they might be interested to know that this plant provides food to over 20 varieties of finch!

Plant number two:

I would go as far as to say it's an iris (I've seen enough Van Gogh paintings to get that far). But so far that's all I know. I haven;t a clue as to whether it is an horticultaral escapee or a native British plant. I will try to find out and report back next week.

As we're in the middle of a heatwave I won't be doing much walking this week. I have had sun stroke before so will be doing all I can to make sure I don't suffer from that again. Hat, suncream and bottle of water will be my best buds for this week.

Don't forget that you can get sunhats and sunglasses for your kids at

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And my last word about the shop, we have just taken delivery of puck 10 backpacks in red... very nice they are too. I will be adding these to the site in the next 24 hours.

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