There is no bad weather, just the wrong clothes!” Danish Proverb
Today, as I sit writing this, if I look out of the window I see glorious sunshine - glinting off the deep frost on the garden which makes it sparkle like diamonds.
This is such a beautiful sight, but it does remind me that January and February are the coldest months of the year. We seem to think that once Christmas is over, the season changes to spring. But we are truly in mid-winter now, and more cold weather is on its way. Which set me thinking; how can we bring the outdoors inside for the next couple of months. What things do we want our units to do, be aware of and achieve during this inhospitable time?
So my reflection today on the frost and the sun brings me to the thought that the ground is very hard. Food for the wild birds and animals is scarce. Nothing is growing, everything is still dormant as it waits out the winter. Thinking about birds in particular….
As a unit, can you make bird “puddings”? There are lots of ideas and recipes to be found online.
Can you encourage your unit to take part in the Big Garden Bird Watch, held by the RSPB every year? You can join in by signing up on their website at rspb.org.uk They also have really good information on how to make a bird pudding. If you missed it this year, (28-30 January 2022), pencil it in your unit diary for next year.
Could you investigate what plants and flowers would be good in gardens to help wild birds through these lean months? Lots of plants can be left with the seed heads on for winter. When would you have to plant them and what wild birds will they feed?
Don’t forget that birds need to drink too! Encourage your members to make sure any water placed outside is not frozen. Ponds can have a ball floated on them to help stop the water from freezing fully. What else can you do?
This is also a good time to talk about water safety and how unsafe it can be to venture onto ice. Include some chat and role play on how you could help a person or animal, (usually a dog while chasing a ball or stick), that has fallen through the ice. Stress the dangers of venturing onto the ice yourself to try to help or rescue them.
Candlemas falls on 2 February every year. There is a weather saying linked to this day.
"If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, winter will have another fight. If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, winter won't come again" This was an important date in the farming calendar. Ask your unit members to make a note of the weather on this date. Over the next few weeks/months, check out whether the saying is true or false. If the day is “fair and bright”, it means that the cold, frosty and bad weather will continue. Otherwise farmers knew that the weather would improve and they could start preparing the ground for planting.
Wrap up warm!
From the Outdoors team