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JULY 2018

I can hardly believe we have reached the end of July. I've been so busy this month enjoying the glorious weather. With long spells of sunshine, the temperature at

times has been intense.

Ditches and burns have dried up, streams and rivers are running low. So when we get a downpour or a wee shower, they are very much welcomed.

So long as the rain remembers to stop.

Wildlife has both thrived and suffered with the heat. At times the ground has been so hard, mammals like hedgehogs have struggled to dig up their favourite treats like ground beetles. Some have needed a bit of extra help like this wee one.

Wild flowers have wilted and died with the lack of rain fall, and birds are having to fly further afield to find water to drink and bathe in.

Nocturnal wildlife have been making an appearance during the day , as they too have been hot and thirsty. My family and I live in a house with a natural spring, not connected to the mains water supply. So our children have grown up to understand just how precious water is and just how much we use and need water to survive.

They aren't allowed to play outside with the hose, or run baths when it's low rain fall. The first priority for our water is for us to drink and wash, not to waste it. However this is not a regular issue , as normally we get plenty of rain. I'm sure the next shower or down pour will 'replenish our supplies soon. Last month my WILDLIFE club took on the 30 day wild challenge, in which we had to do something wild every day. This ranged from walking barefoot in long grass, designing bug hotels, identifying species and so much more. . The challenge was set by The Wildlife Trust which is trying to engage people to do something outside, whether it's something creative, educational or simply just enjoying being outdoors.

The members each had a chart to fill in, so they could draw or write what they had done each day. They were encouraged to involve members of the family in the challenges and it was wonderful to have parents and grandparents stopping me in the street, telling me stories of the things they'd been asked to help with, saying 'It's years since I tried to make a daisy chain, what fun we had', and, 'The kids told me to leave a corner in the garden wild, to let nature have a home here'.

So things we can do to help wildlife: ● put out shallow water dishes in garden on hot days ●put out wet cat food for hedgehogs (not fish flavoured) ● leave a corner in your garden to go wild, let wildlife take over ●monitor changes due to weather, for example do you have as many birds in your garden when it's hot? Things to look out for: ● report any sightings of grey squirrel (I'm happy for you to message me) as it's important to help our native reds survive ●Ladybirds, we have found a bumper amount this year

●The tallest foxglove

Also my next art exhibition is at Woodside Garden Centre near Jedburgh for the whole of August and our local Show - known to everyone as The Holm Show - is at the end of August. Yippee.

Something else has been keeping me extra busy this month - my new pony Ronnie. He just arrived a few days ago, but he's already become an important member of the family.

I'll see you all again next month - and till then -


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