Here’s a round up of my Random Acts of Wildness for days 21 to 25 of 30 Days Wild 2020.
Day 21: the pooping grasshopper
On day 21 of 30 Day’s Wild I ventured out to the meadow for a very windy afternoon’s wander among the plants and flowers. This grasshopper landed on a leaf right in front of me and I just had to record it clinging on as the wind blew. It wasn’t until I was watching the video back after the grasshopper had bounded off to another perch that I saw it pooping and kicking it away. It actually took me a couple of watches before I worked out exactly what I was seeing!
Here it is in slow motion:
Day 22: foxglove folklore and naming
For day 22 of 30 Days Wild I spent some time looking into the folk names and lore of the Foxglove plant.
The folklore surrounding the common name for Digitalis purpurea varies depending on where you might be in the country. Their most well known name now is, of course, Foxgloves. The name Foxes’ Fingers is also used in some places. They’re said to be used by foxes to either protect their paws from the dew, or to silence their steps as the hunt their prey.
In other places they’re known as Folk’s Glove, a name that connects them with the fae folk. In Welsh their name is Maneg Ellyllyn which translates as ‘The Good People’s Glove’. In some places they’re also known as Fairy Bells, Fairy’s Glove, Fairy Caps, and Fairy Thimbles. Some people say that the fairies hide inside the flowers, others say that they wear them. Some say that the marks on the inside of each flower are actually the footprints of the fairies dancing, others that they’re the fingerprints of the fairies who stole them for the foxes.
Bells and fingers tend to be a common thread through their various names – undoubtedly because of their shape. Even their Latin name, Digitalis, is from the word for fingers. It has been argued, however, that the word ‘glove’ is actually a corruption of either ‘glew’, meaning ‘music’ or ‘gleow’, meaning ‘ring of bells’. This connects with an old Norse legends which tells how foxes wear foxglove blossoms around their necks. The blossoms ring like bells, providing the foxes with a spell of protection against hunters and hounds.
Other names, such as Witches Fingers, Dead Man’s Fingers, Bloody Fingers and Dead Men’s Bells, also reference the fact that they’re poisonous and potentially deadly if ingested. For this reason, do not touch them, and if you have to do so for any reason, make sure you immediately wash your hands.
These poisonous properties, however, are what have led to Digitalis’ vital medicinal use. It effects heart-rate, and in very precise amounts can be used to prevent heart attacks.
There are also a few names that aren’t to do with foxes, fingers, bells or poison. These include Bunny Rabbits, Floppy Dock and Dragon’s Mouth. It’s a plant with an awful lot of names!
Day 23: meadow art
On day 23 of 30 Days Wild I headed out to the meadow in the early morning in order to avoid the heat that was forecasted to build later in the day. I had an enjoyable few hours sitting amongst the flowers with my sketch book and pencil crayons before the sun became unbearable.
Day 24: young Magpie
For day 24 of 30 Days Wild I encountered this young magpie while sitting out in the garden. It wasn’t at all bothered by the fact that I was only a few meters away
Day 25: Musk Mallow
For day 25 of 30 Days Wild I spent some time with the Musk Mallow in the meadow. These flowers are doing well this year. Last year there was just the one plant, or maybe two. This year there are many more. I picked a small selection of the flowers which I placed into my microwaveable flower press.
After that I arranged them and added a few (or maybe 12) hand drawn minibeasts to create a meadow view.