After the flurry of house moving, and a fortnight of solid hard graft cleaning, plastering, tiling, removing old carpets and emptying boxes, the sunshine this week has prompted us to take the jobs list outside.
This week, In between resuming regular ‘schoolwork’ we have battled brambles, cleared broken glass and removed a couple of bin bags of litter from the gardens.
We’ve got into barbecues in a big way as we don’t yet have the wiring in the kitchen for our electric cooker. If you haven’t come across the American treat of Smores yet, they are the easiest BBQ dessert ever – just toast a big marshmallow and squish it between two biscuits.
The garden is a massive success story for our move already as we are spending far more time in it than in the back yard at our old house.
We have desks set up by the sliding patio door so we can work right next to the open door with the sun streaming in and the birds singing their hearts out, so even when we’re in we can enjoy the outside.
Spike, our bearded dragon, particularly approves of the ready supply of dandelions provided by the wildflower area at the bottom of the garden.
Breakfast is often eaten on the patio watching the birds. I’ve never seen so many different types of birds in a garden – this morning we saw Yellow Hammers for the first time, yesterday 11(!!!) buzzards wheeled overhead. There are goldfinches, sparrows, blackbirds, robins, dunlins, long tailed tits, coal tits, great tits, wood pigeons, jays, jackdaws, but my favourite are the wren who are building a nest in our garage and who sing long and loudly, and shout at us bossily if we dare to go into the garage to fetch a tool or put away the wheelbarrow.
The kids have been epic in their helpfulness, and so it has been nice to treat them with a trip to the newly refurbished Hastings library on Monday, play park trips, their regular sports activities, and a fantastic afternoon at RSPCA Mallydams Wood for their Spring open day today.
We have also played fun games in the garden, such as ‘Smelly potions’. My set up for this is that the Wizard Whiffbutt is having digestive
issues and needs a potion made from all the nicest smelling things in the garden. We then go around the garden smelling everything and identifying all the plants, adding one of two leaves or flowers of the nicest things to the potion. When it’s complete we find the invisible wizard by locating the worst smelling part of the garden and then administer the potion by ‘pouring it over him’. The story, characters, type of potion can change each time to keep things interesting, but it’s a great way to help kids learn to identify plants using all their senses (with usual precautions – only pick plants you can confidently identify, avoiding irritants such as nettles, creeping buttercups, spurge etc…).
After all the hard work Toby even made time for some nice garden snoozing!