Tag Archives: nature


I’ve been wondering for a while what it would take to make me start blogging again, then I realised it’s been a year today since my last post.  If I don’t do it now maybe I never will.  It’s been a very tough year and something had to give, but I have missed it and I think I might need it as my space to process some things.  Or maybe not, but I’ll only know if I try.  It feels like a positive step.  I’ve been feeling hard pressed on all sides for a very long time but something has lifted this week and I hope I am emerging.

Getting outside in this beautiful weather has helped.  We now have two children happy and settled in school (more on this later perhaps) and I am enjoying the time with the three home educated ones all the more because I’m aware how precious it is, and how school is creeping up on us.  We had a lovely walk to Oaks Park on Monday morning, and a fun afternoon with friends in Carshalton Park this afternoon.  I’m storing up all the happy and hoping that blogging at least some of it will help me to remember to be thankful.

Isaiah 44:2-4

This is what the Lord says—
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.

Haw Berries, Chestnuts and Freedom

On the last two Wednesday afternoons we have been out with our Home Education group.  We have been enjoying the good weather, the fresh air and the freedom to explore and learn outdoors.

haw berry picking

The week before last, we went haw berry picking at the local smallholdings where some of our home educating friends live.  We had a lovely time, and got a small but reasonable harvest of berries.  Owl was particularly keen and he really stuck at it to make sure we collected enough.  We used the berries to make haw sauce, which Owl, Daddy and I liked very much – the younger children weren’t so sure, but really I thought it was rather similar to tomato ketchup!  It lasted a mere two days, so we need to go and pick some more berries before it is too late.

Chestnut picking

This week’s activity was chestnut picking in our local park.  The same friend who took us haw picking taught us how to do it.  For the uninitiated, you hit the chestnuts with a stick to get them down and then stamp on them to remove them from their cases – so all in all, a very child-friendly exercise!

chestnut picking and conker collecting

After a bit of tree-climbing and conker collecting, we returned home with our haul.  We haven’t decided yet whether to roast the chestnuts or make soup with them.  We are finding it difficult to choose so we will just have to go back to collect some more!

I love Autumn, it’s my favourite season, and there is so much fun to be had outdoors.  We always collect leaves and conkers, but this year we are all really enjoying learning more about foraging for food.  I think that the freedom to do this kind of thing together is one of the things I like most about home education.  I am grateful to my friends for sharing their knowledge and skills with us – it seems far more valuable to me than a lot of what goes on in school.  I wish teachers had the freedom to take children out of the classroom and spend time outdoors doing things like this.

The weather has changed now, so it might not be so idyllic but we are planning to carry on making the most of the Autumn bounty for as long as possible.  Closer to home, we have plenty of apples and a few pears in our garden, as well as some pumpkins which we will be picking soon.  This evening I went out in the dark and rain to pick some apples, feeling somewhat heroic, and Suburban Dad is now making chutney at nearly midnight.  It might be a bit crazy, but there’s a great deal of satisfaction to be found in using free sources of food.  The brambles might be over for this year, but we are not done with foraging yet!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall