Monday, 17 November 2014

Just changed my header photo.  This is me with my grandchildren taken yesterday when we visited to celebrate Jakobs 11th birthday.  Left to right, me, Safeya, Stuart, Zachariah, Jasmine and Jakob.

This is Safeya looking at the camera.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Halloween at Blaen Bran Community Woodland

We organised our first Halloween event in the woodland yesterday.  The idea was Sue Wheeler's, Lynn Higginson and I were roped in to help. We didn't really mind though and it was a fun day.  The weather was brilliant for the end of October. In fact it was better than some summer days.  A dozen or more children turned up and brought their parents with them.  I think they all had fun.

Lynn and granddaughter Faith spreading their spider webs to decorate  Parsons' wood

A few ghosts made an appearance.

Lynn, Sue and Faith ready and waiting for the first arrivals

and our first victims arriving. 

Some great costumes

We started off with a story from witch Sheila, sitting in the storyteller's chair.  Roald Dahl's Three Little Pigs from his revolting rhymes. 

Then a hunt for monsters in the woods. Well only pictures of them, and then they had to make a halloween themed word out of the initial letters of their names. Well two words actually, Haunted House. This did take quite a while but they had a good run round in the woods.

This is Sue telling them what they had to search for and the first picture is on the tree behind them. 

It wouldn't be Halloween without apples

Then of course they had to be an eyeball search in bowls of brains and guts! Deeper in the woods for this.

 Ever wrapped a mummy?  
Not very easy when using toilet paper but we had some very good ones

and even a grandmummy! 

Then we made broomsticks so we could all fly home.  I think this one would probably only fly round in circles. 

Fun round the campfire as darkness started to fall included sparklers and toasted marshmallows. 

Hopefully we will be able to make this an annual event.  Just enough children for a first attempt. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Blaen Bran Open Day

We held an open day at Blaen Bran Community Woodland on 6th September to celebrate its 10th anniversary. It was a lovely day which started off rather slowly but the visitors eventually started to arrive.  The weather was good for most of the day but sadly it changed halfway through the afternoon.  It didn't dampen the fun though and I think a great day was had by all.

I was helping on the refreshment stall and we were also selling T shirts

Lots of stalls run by local crafters

Stuart resting in the woodland half way through the history walk where we learned about the history of coal mining on the mountain which goes back probably to the mid 18th century

There was a demonstration of horse logging.

And musical entertainment.

Stuart enjoying his lunch of pizza.

The Mayor of Torfaen was there to give his support.

The official opening of the Forest school area by David Parsons.

and the unveiling of the sign for the forest school area which is named Parsons' Wood  after David who is one of the founder members

Here are some of the T shirts we were selling.  Great messages on them. Life is a Beech, Just Larching around and Forest grump. 

Some of the items made in the woodland from wood grown there. 

Lovely garden furniture

People relaxing round the campfire. 

Friends of the Earth advising on helping bees.

Everybody running for shelter as the rain started.

More entertainment, Morris dancing by the Border Urban Morris Side (BUMS)
The rain coming down fast now

Children joined in the dancing and loved it in spite of the rain. 

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Homes for wildlife.

I have posted many times about the wildlife in my garden and providing homes for wildlife.  This month I decided to partly demolish my wildlife stack which Stuart and I built a few years ago. I have never been very sure if anything was using it apart from a few slugs, spiders and woodlice.  

Stuart helped me to move all the wood to the bottom of the garden where we built a hedgehog house.  Stuart painted a sign for it so the hedgehogs will know where to go.  This little hedgehog was in the front garden about a month ago, only the second I have seen here.It was not very big so only hope wherever it is it if finding enough food to fatten itself up before it hibernates.

Poppy was hanging around while we were dismantling the stack but did not offer to help.

Fortunately, with the help of a rusty old wheelbarrow, Stuart moved it all for me.

Here is the new Hog House.  I have since covered it with a waterproof sheet to keep the inside cosy and dry. 

I also have a pile of logs down one side of the garden which makes another potential home for hedgies. 

The rest of the wildlife stack was made up of bricks stone and broken plant pots.  So we have left that there as a frog house.

It is also covered by a waterproof sheet.

                                                                We found one little frog there while we were working on it

While I was clearing the weed from the pond I found a small newt so hopefully that may find its way into the frog house during the cold weather. 

Today when I checked out the frog house I found a small toad.  Maybe I should rename the frog house Toad Hall!