I’ve probably often mentioned this, but one of the greatest benefits of unschooling is that I get to spend at least two hours in the place I love the most, the mountains. (Well… Hills. But I consider them mountains, not having ever lived in a country where mountains are actually mountains.)
I live in the city, sadly, but I am blessed by the fact that with just a few minutes in the car I can be in the forest.
You’ve probably guessed just by the name of this blog that yes, I am a tree hugging hippie in many respects. You have guessed correctly.
We usually go on the same walk, but the benefit of that is that you begin to see things more clearly, because you know the area so well. I could probably find my way around the valley with my eyes closed at this stage! The trees where we walk are mostly sitka spruce, a beech wood, and a mixed wood where there are beech, sitka spruce and a sprinkling of ash at the edge. There’s an abundance of hawthorn to the north closer to the farmer’s land, a beautiful elder (elderberry) tree in the ash area, one or two budleia along the first path, birch, sweet chestnut, larch near the car park and a ragged mixture of gorse, heather, moss, and reeds in the area where the spruce were felled some time ago. It’s incredible to watch how that entire area sprang back after being cut, from being piles of grey, bare branches to a flourishing habitat filled with birds and deer. For plants, there is a lot of rosebay willowherb, heather and gorse, foxglove, nettles, coltsfoot, rushes, bracken, countless amounts. There’s plenty of fungi but I am sadly not at all familiar with their names, apart from sulfur tuft (There is a LOT of that around) and fly agaric.
The animal life is also alive, with deer constantly around, fox tracks, ravens, woodpigeons, chaffinches, robins, coal tits, jays, etc. Just this morning we were going up into the beech wood when the chaffinches we had spotted for the last few days were even more lively than usual. We sat quietly for a while and watched them feeding on (We think) the beech mast all over the ground. I’d say there were between 20-40 of them. As we reached the top of the beech wood there were two jays flying between the branches overhead.
There are a thousand stories I could tell about those forests, and I don’t think my keyboard would hold up if I tried to recount them all, so for now I’ll head onwards to other, less computer based activities.
By that I mean carving a handle for my (proudly hand smithed) knife. That’s what it will probably mean for the next week or so until I finish it. Or knitting. I’m knitting a lot lately too.