The end of term draws a close to our experiments in foraging for food, so we decided on going for a walk to collect some Elderflower.
The weather was beautiful and it was lovely spending time by the river on such a glorious afternoon, but we had to head back with our forage.
After carefully shaking the bugs out of our elderflowers, we made up a thin batter using sparkling water and flour.
We gently dipped each flower head into the batter, making sure it was properly coated.
Once completely coated they were placed gently into hot oil, they were then removed and patted on kitchen towel to remove excess oil and dipped in sugar. Yummy!
We were all a bit sceptical, but we have an abundance of dandelions at forest school, so thought we would be brave with our new foraging for food skills.
First job is to collect lots of dandelions, you have to remove all the green parts, these can make the end product bitter and all the little bugs obviously! Once prepared these are added to a pan of hot boiling water, sugar and lemon juice, once this has boiled for 20mins take off the heat and allow to cool you can add pectin at this point, then refrigerate.
The next morning strain off the bits using a muslin cloth and pour into jars. We had a quick taste test and we can now confirm that is takes amazing, just like honey!
This morning we spent time finishing off unfinished tasks, before we break up for half term.
Some students started by painting their lengths of bamboo and adding patterns to complete their windchimes.
Others who had missed out on the Hapa Zome session, had an opportunity to collect their own flora samples and have a go.
This afternoon we had another attempt at making lilac syrup, we trialed a new recipe, using hot water and sugar on a rolling boil, then adding the flowers and letting the mixture simmer for 20mins before straining.
It was a beautiful lilac colour and smelt amazing, although after a quick taste test not quite as sweet as the syrup that has been steeping for a week.
Hapa Zome is the Japanese art of beating up leaves with hammers, pounding natural pigment into cloth. We decided to use the flora on the site, using a mixture of leaves and flowers.
First job was to collect samples from around the site, on return to the classroom a small sample piece of cotton was used to test how easy it was to extract pigment.
Once we had all had a good practice, we moved onto our final pieces.
In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle—and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d
It’s supposed to be bad luck to bring lilac inside, but with a flowering season of only three weeks, we took the chance!
The heady scent filled the room as we carefully stripped the tiny flowers from their stems, making sure to dispose of any green bits and the odd bug!
We made up a sugar syrup solution and poured onto our lilac flowers, this will need to be kept cool, but shaken a couple of times each day for the rest of the week, we will update you with pics of our finished lilac syrup.
Visit To Holway Woods.
What a stunning place! First visit for the students to Holway woods, carpets of bluebells as far as the eye can see, a fantastic time to visit.
Owned by the Dorset Wildlife Trust, it is a mixture of ancient and newly planted woodland.
Massive oaks dominate the ancient part of the woodland, we had some fun trying to measure them with our arms to work out the age, we calculated 160 years old!
There are many twisted old sweet chestnuts, which add some real character to the woodlands.
Students found numerous tree spirits on our walk.
A quick break half way round to get our breathe back after the steep climb.
The hillside is riddled with badger sets.
The students found some amazing trees to climb and hang out in.
The views were stunning, on a clear day you can see across to Bridgewater Bay and Glastonbury.
Such a beautiful woodland, we will definitely be coming back soon.
This morning was bright and warm, perfect for working outside all day. We started by foraging different natural items to make mandala patterns.
Each student worked on their own individual design.
The variety of design and materials was astonishing!
Some decided to break away from concentric patterns and go for straight lines.
Others started with mandala patterns, but then expanded up rather than out.
All the students worked hard and produced something totally unique.
Today we continued with tasks to help us familiarise ourselves with the new site, so the focus today was on the flora, looking at the trees and shrubs.
Students collected a wide variety of leaves from around the site.
They then used paint to make prints of their leaves, identifying each one and writing the name next to the print.
These made wonderful posters that the students can use around the room.
Foraging Nettles Day!
Today was all about the nettles, both morning and afternoon groups were sent off to forage lots of lovely nettles!
Gloves provided, the students soon got to work on collecting the tips.
Back at base all the students took on various tasks to prepare the many ingredients.
Measurements need to be exact so careful planning and execution will hopefully bring great results!
Careful washing to ensure there are no stray bugs!
Looks pretty good!
Nettle soup tasted yummy!
We have moved to a new location temporarily, whilst building work takes place at forest school.
We started the day with a quick forage for natural materials, this gave the students a chance to get their bearings on the new site.
We came up with some classifications for our finds, colour, size and type.
We made our natural ley lines by choosing one classification and stringing them together.
Our natural alignments were then hung from a nearby tree, offering a calming space to sit in.