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March started out with a another rainy work party up at Mazonwath it seems that the weather up there has its own microclimate, changing so quickly and on this occasion the rain was horizontal with high winds which nearly knocked you off your feet! Due to this, we didn’t get as much done on the wall as we had hoped, we managed to take the wall down and begin the foundations. Hopefully we will be able to return at some point to continue with the wall.

Usually when writing my monthly blog posts, I avoid current events and keep it solely on what I have been working on in the last month. Although some current topics are unavoidable and are at the forefront of most people’s minds at the moment and as a result of the current situation we are all spending more time indoors so I’ve been thinking about how to engage with nature for those who may not be able to go out at the moment.

Bird watching can be done from your garden or even through a window. Most of us have a bird feeder in our garden or somewhere you can put out some crumbs to entice birds. If you sit quietly and watch through a window the birds will flock to the food at this time of year when insects and berries can be a little scarce. If it is the first time you are putting food out for birds, they may take a little time to find the new food source and adjust. It is important that if you start to feed the birds over winter that you continue to put food out during the winter months and early spring as some birds may start to rely on your feeders for a food source. In my garden we have fed the birds for many years and have had some fantastic sightings even several greater spotted woodpeckers bringing their fledglings to the feeder, as well as the more common starlings, dunnocks, sparrows, blue tits and robins.

Introducing plants into your home is a good way of keeping the natural world close house plants are a favourite of mine, I have many, there is nothing quite like seeing your house plant flourish and produce new leaves or even flowers. Turning your house into an indoor jungle is certainly a good, if extreme, way of bringing nature indoors but, house plants can be high maintenance and some are quite fickle about their light and water. An alternative to this is growing some culinary herbs on a windowsill in your home. They can be sown at any time of year and require little maintenance. Herbs such as basil, chives and fennel can be grown easily from seeds, cress is great too as it grows so quickly, and soil isn’t necessary. I’ve had good success with seeds I’ve bought online you can also find small biodegradable pots online which means that you can easily repot them once they outgrow the nursery pot. This is also a good way to keep kids entertained for an hour or so!

Books, documentaries and podcasts are a convenient way of keeping in touch with nature. My favourite book genre is the natural history or nature writing section and I have an extensive reading wish list which I hope to work my way through over the next few months. Some of the titles include ‘Tide: The Science and Lore of the Greatest Force on Earth’ by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, ‘Other Minds’ by Peter Godfrey- Smith and ‘The Book of Barely Imagined Beings’ by Caspar Henderson. These are just a few of the titles on my list!  A great podcast for the nature enthusiast is ‘The Wild Episode’ hosted by Brian Ruckley. This podcast details the bizarre and unusual creatures which inhabit the planet it’s a great listen!

It is proven that spending time in the natural world and happiness are linked so in this uncertain time it is important to keep the nature and the outdoors close.