Snap, crackle, pop…

130525 Popcorn maker 3 by J Day

Surprisingly (it surprised me anyway!) despite the strong winds last night, apart from lots of dead branches (admittedly some quite large) the only tree damage that the reserve seems to have suffered is that above – a snapped limb on the willow to the west of Ivy North Hide (SNAP).

Wildlife wise I don’t have a great deal to report other than to comment on the hundreds of swifts over Ibsley Water again this morning. Pretty much a daily occurrence at the moment, one can not get tired of the sight of their aerial stunt manuevers, nor the scream that accompanies their flight. The common tern continue to hold out against the black headed gulls on two of the “tern rafts” on Ivy Lake and large red damselflies were very noticeable mating and egg laying by the centre pond when ever the sun broke through the clouds to take the edge of the chilly bite to the wind.

My highlight of the day? The reed warblers to the left of Ivy South Hide – such a treat to hear and see them so close, almost oblivious of people watching them from within the hide:

130525 Popcorn maker 11 by J Day

I actually spent much of the day offsite providing a support visit to the Testwood Lakes Wildlife Watch group and volunteer leaders, but did spend a very rewarding hour or so this morning making and testing a new piece of equipment for next weeks holiday activities – we’re always looking for new ideas of things we can do with the children, particularly those who do come back holiday after holiday, year after year and I had heard about this as an idea, but never actually seen it done or tried it myself. I was very pleased with the result and I think the kids will be too!

Step-by-step instructions below:

Take one sieve and lash it to a “green” wood pole using wire:

130525 Popcorn maker 4 by J Day

Attach a second sieve to the first via a wire “hinge”:

130525 Popcorn maker 5 by J Day

Fashion a “catch” out of more wire to secure the second sieve to the first:

130525 Popcorn maker 6 by J Day

Light  small campfire fire and allow to burn down to some embers (CRACKLE):

130525 Popcorn maker 8 by J Day

Add popcorn kernels to sieve, secure sieve catch and place over fire:

130525 Popcorn maker 7 by J Day130525 Popcorn maker 12 by J Day 

After a minute or so gently agitate the kernels backwards and forwards as the kernels heat up…

And POP!

130525 Popcorn maker 13 by J Day    

Allow to cool, open popcorn maker and enjoy that smoked popcorn taste – no other flavourings necessary!

 130525 Popcorn maker 14 by J Day

Give it a go next time you have a barbecue or campfire – it tastes great and is worth doing if only to enjoy watching the popcorn explode!