How much rain?

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“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” – Langston Hughes

It’s raining it’s pouring…….

Well I saw the weather this morning as I dropped my son off to school and then drove into work and knew immediately what we would start doing this afternoon. I found some great ideas online for building a weather station, so we are going to make a few instruments needed to start observing the weather over the next few days. Today it is a rain gauge, for this we followed the instructions on the Met Office website (a fantastic informative site for all things weather related).

As the rain had stopped by the time we returned home at 3.45pm we decided to sit outside and make the rain gauge. It was quite breezy and chilly, so my son decided he needed a small blanket to cover his legs as he sat on the patio 🙂

What you will need:

  • An empty plastic bottle (2 litre fizzy drink bottle would be ideal)
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • Ruler
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  1. Cut around the plastic bottle about two thirds of the way up.

2. Turn the top part of the bottle upside down and place it inside the bottom part – fix it in place using the tape.

3.  Make a scale in centimetres on a piece of tape, using a ruler, and fix it to the side of your bottle.

4.  Find a place outside to put your rain gauge. It must be open and away from trees.

We now need to check it every day at the same time, measure the amount of rain collected, and empty then bottle.

Tree hugging fun and games

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Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.             – Albert Einstein

After school we decided to go for a quick walk to Winkworth Arboretum through the glorious woodland scenery. According to the National Trust website Winkworth was “established in the 20th century, this hillside arboretum has now been maintained by the National Trust for 60 years and has built up a collection of more than 1,000 different shrubs and trees, many of them rare”.

As we arrived and showed our National Trust card at the desk, the lady asked our mini me’s (aged 12 and 10) if they would like to do the challenge “50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4“, my daughter promptly told them she was too old! The woman responded quickly and I totally agree with her response, you are never to old to enjoy nature! This spurred them both on so off they ran intending to complete at least one of the challenges on our walk.

We have been very busy as a family over the last few months with house renovations so it is bliss just to forget it all and spend some quality family time outdoors even though the rain was not far behind us! Last year I visited here with my daughter to see the bluebells which were just spectacular.

Alas, this year we were a little late as they were past there best, but it was still a wonderful walk. My kids had a great competition seeing who could see and name the most trees and bugs and running up and down the hills seeing who was the fastest

They even managed two of the 50 things and even “hugged a tree”!

Tree hugging, was often thought of as a hippy generation idea, but it has been shown to have scientific validity after all! Contrary to popular belief, touching a tree does make you healthier. In fact you don’t even have to touch the tree to get better, just being within its vicinity has the same effect. Countless studies have shown that children show significant psychological and physiological effects in terms of their health and well being when they interact with plants. They demonstrate that children function better cognitively and emotionally in green environments and have more creative play in green areas. Well I know for sure my two had beaming smiles as they climbed the tree and then hugged it, such a wonderful thing to see for any parent. While researching about tree hugging I found this site, dedicated to trees which really made me smile. It even gave these tips on how to tree hug:

  1. Find yourself a quiet park, forest, or woodland area
  2. Walk among the trees until you feel comfortable in their presence.
  3. Feel the different bark textures with the palms of your hands.
  4. Smell the scent of the various woods.
  5. Absorb their life’s energies as you look upwards to the sprawling branches overhead.
  6. Find the perfect tree that fits your mood. You will know which one is right for you.
  7. Vertical Tree Hug: Encircle it with your arms while gently pressing your cheek to the trunk being careful not to scratch your face. Squeeze tightly. Sigh deeply. Be one with your tree.
  8. Full Body Tree Hug: Sit upon the ground wrapping your legs around the base of the tree and at the same time embracing it with your arms.
  9. Up in the Air Tree Hug: Climb a tree. Sit upon a strong limb and straddle it with your legs. Bend forward and place your belly against it while wrapping your arms about it.

Why don’t you give it a go today and hug a tree, if nothing else it will make you smile.

No 1 of the 50 things completed, climb a tree

No 28 of the 50 things completed, climb a huge hill

Just a few of the other photos I took during this hour packed with nature filled fun are below, we are all looking forward to day two and beyond 🙂

Broken beauties

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A door to the unknown

The Daily Post photo challenge this week is “Broken” in which we are encouraged to capture something broken: an old window, a vintage sign, a toy never fixed, a contemplative friend. Or go deeper: find beauty in something broken.

I like wondering round taking photos (no surprises there then!), often I find abandoned buildings, like the one below which intrigue me, windows and doors broken or aged by weather, so full of character and each telling there own tales.

The red door above, I found at the bottom of a garden we visted and it just made me think of the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden. No secret garden here unfortunately but it did open up to a fantastic field with a gorgeous view 🙂

The Old Fire Station

Knock, Knock, who’s there?

This rusty of handle on this latch I found on an old shed, needed lots of oil to get it to turn, but inside there was a treasure trove of old tools that looked as though they had not seen the light of day for many many years. The light below no longer shone as the electrics had long been bitten through by the small mice that now lived in the corner and the spiders, well lets just say I was not brave enough to go in fully until some light was restored as the webs were just everywhere and I have an irrational fear of all spiders!

Last legs

I had a wonderful technology free weekend with my family, so much so that I have decided that I will only be posting from now onwards on Monday through to Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be family time only, spending as much of it as we can outside, especially now the summer months are upon us.

The Genius of Photography – Episode 4

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copyrighted by the estate of Garry Winogrand

This episode was entitled “Paper Movies”. The American photographer Garry Winogrand said that he took photographs to “see what the world looked like photographed”.

Photographers have always had this as their mission statement, but the three decades from the late 1950’s onwards was the real golden age of the photographic journey. The Genius of Photography – Paper Movies relives the journeys that produced some of the most acclaimed paper movies. The programme looked at the golden age of street photography from the 1950s and beyond, the age of the photographic roadtrip.

Summer, The Lower East Side, 1937 by Weegee

In this episode it shows the seminal work of Robert Frank in The Americans, William Klein’s one-man assault on the sidewalks of New York, the unblinking reportage of Weegee (Arthur Fellig) the Famous, Joel Meyerowitz stalking Fifth Avenue with his Leica, the enduring wit of Garry Winogrands’ charting of the human comedy in Central Park Zoo , British photographer Tony Ray Jones’ everyday people on the beach in which he dissects the eccentricity at the English seaside. Edward Ruscha’s gas stations and finally, William Eggleston’s guide to Memphis and the American South.

Only in England: Photograph by Tony Ray-Jones

by Edward Ruscha

William Eggleston in Memphis.

It also examines the arrival of colour as a credible medium for serious photographers, as controversial at the time as Bob Dylan going electric.

This is on genre of photography that I would love to look at further as I love the candid shots I see on social networking photo sites such a Flickr, I just do not ‘yet’ have the confidence to take that many shots. I think this is one genre I need to persevere with and get the confidence to try again