Hi, I'm Rudi, i'm 8 years old and my favourite book is 'Tarka the Otter' by Henry Williamson. Its about the life of an otter named Tarka and British Wildlife. One night i was reading the book with my dad and i said that i wanted to see all the animals in the book, he said i should do it and call it the Tarka Challenge. My Tarka Challenge started on 1st January 2012. The book contains 89 birds, 54 land based animals, 120 plants and 56 aquatic organisms.

The rules are simple, i must either see each thing myself or photograph it using my trail camera. I will try and see each thing on my local patch (Ogmore River Catchment) but may need to look somewhere else in Britain.

Cosy Fires

At this time of year there is nothing like sitting in front of a cosy log fire. I love my fire because its toasty warm. You can see the soot on the inside of the glass has made a shape like a mushroom!
Not all wood is good to burn though, here is an old poem to teach you what is the best wood to burn on your fire -
Logs to burn! Logs to burn!
Logs to save the coal a turn!
Here's a word to make you wise
When you hear the woodman's cries
Beechwood fires burn bright and clear
Hornbeam blazes too
If the logs are kept a year
To season through and through
Oak logs will warm you well
If they're old and dry
Larch logs of pinewood smell
But the sparks will fly
Pine is good and so is yew
For warmth through wintry days
But poplar and willow too
Take long to dry and blaze
Birch logs will burn too fast
Alder scarce at all
Chestnut logs are good to last
If cut in the fall
Holly logs will burn like wax
You should burn them green
Elm logs like smouldering flax
No flame is seen
Pear logs and apple logs
They will scent a room
Cherry logs across the dogs
Smell like flowers in bloom
But ash logs all smooth and grey
Burn them green or old
Buy up all that come your way
They're worth their weight in gold
Remember this poem if you want to be toasty warm too

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