Green fingered musings

My thoughts have been turning to our garden a lot this last week, perhaps because usually in March I should have been able to do a lot more than I have. The weather has been very wet and very cold, not at all conducive to gardening with 2 little people in tow and to sowing seeds that would usually fare well at this time of year but not when it’s this cold!

Sophia and I sowed some carrot seeds a few weeks ago…they’ve yet to appear as shoots but I’m hoping they are just taking their time.

We also sowed some tomato and basil seeds which are on our windowsill soaking up what little sun they can. So imagine my delight to spot half a dozen of the tomato’s appearing this week!

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I’ve taken a risk and bought some seeds on eBay so I shall report on how they do later in the year; I bought some strawberry seeds, (our windowsill space is limited so we haven’t sown them yet, but given how cold it is I think we’ll be ok doing them a bit late), and some sunflower seeds which I hope to plant with Sophia and Seren when Jo et al come to visit this weekend.

The brief snatches of time I have managed to grab in the garden have been spent preparing a bed for the sunflower’s and some other flowers my Ma gave me. Most of what we will grow will be for eating so I thought it’d be nice to have a proper flower bed.

I wish I’d taken pictures of the area before as it was a mess of brambles and various prolific bamboo-esque wild plants, some of the stems of the brambles were a good few inches thick and previous tenants had hacked away but not dug out the roots so it was a mass of dead and live plants. I spent a long time cutting back, digging out roots and thoroughly weeding and turning over the area. I finished by laying the edge with rocks and now it’s ready for the seeds. I got incredibly scratched and muddy in the process and I now have 3 bins full of bramble cuttings that I’m worried about composting (will they take root in compost? Anyone know?) but am pretty happy with the end result.

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It doesn’t look much but it represents a lot of hard work and hopefully will be beautiful once the flowers have grown!

On the flower front, there is a big rose bush in the garden that I’m hoping will bounce back when spring finally arrives as it doesn’t look well and a friend gifted us a mini rose plant when we moved in. The label said they were hardy outdoors in winter so I planted it into a big pot outside but it’s looking a bit sorry for itself with all this cold so am praying it survives!

Some areas of the lawn need reseeding and the rest of the beds need weeding and preparing for more veg so we still have a lot to do but I’m looking forward to the time ahead of us that we’ll hopefully spend out there. Being on the allotment last year was definitely a good experience in gardening in that now even my large and slightly neglected garden seems manageable and easy in comparison to our plot on a chalky steep exposed hillside!

And finally, thinking outside the garden…whilst on our way to forest school today and walking down some country lanes, I realised how good Devon must be for foraging so I’m going to dig out my foraging book and get reading so Sophia and I can hopefully discover some tasty weeds and wild plants!

And even if we can’t find much to eat, it sure is easy on the eye….

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A busy week

We’ve now been here two weeks and it feels like we’ve always been here!

We had a pretty busy week this week, last Saturday my Mum and Dad came over for an early Mother’s Day dinner. Whilst they were here I had a trial shift at a local pub so along with Dan they took the kids to a bike shop to buy Sophia’s first bike.

I was slightly frustrated when I heard that the man helping them assumed she’d only want a pink bike, showing Dan plenty of pink bikes that were out of our price range until Dan wandered off to look at others and he said ‘oh! Are other colours an option?!’ Sophia came home with a shiny red bike complete with bell and box. You couldn’t wipe the smile off her face!

Unfortunately the heavens opened on Sunday so we couldn’t christen the bike at the park but on Monday it had stopped raining enough (though was very cold and windy) to go to the park for a quick cycle. I was impressed with how quickly Sophia got the knack of cycling-felt quite emotional and proud!

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My old school friend came for an impromptu visit and lunch once we were home and it was lovely to see her again and know that we’ll get to see more of her now we’re living close by.

On Tuesday we checked out our local library – a sweet little place – and stumbled upon a small singing group. The best bit of this was that Sophia and another girl clicked and had a lovely time playing together and we even organised a play date off the back of it.

Wednesday we had to stay in for the gas man and plumber but we were blessed with beautiful sunshine and warmth so we spent a good amount of time in the garden. Sophia and I sowed our carrot seeds whilst Isaac slept and then we just enjoyed spending time out there (even if Isaac did eat copious amounts of soil!)

Thursday saw us at play group in the morning and Sophia trialled a local dance class in the afternoon. In between we sowed some tomato and basil seeds and they are now on our windowsill, busily doing their thing beneath the surface.

Then finally, yesterday we went to Exeter to trial the other dance class (think we’re decided on the local one though now) and then came home for an afternoon of playing with Sophia’s new friend.

So now it’s Saturday morning and we’re all feeling quite worn out so a quiet weekend is in order I think (although I am working tonight and a split shift tomorrow)!

Next week we start our forest school group and have been invited to meet a few home ed families in the area so we’re looking forward to that! And then, before we know it, it will be Easter and Jo, Matt and the girls will be with us-awesome!

Sorry for the slightly boring post, just wanted to keep a record of what we’ve been up to.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Isaac whose favourite activity currently is brushing his two teeth…cute! (Though I am biased…)

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We’re here!

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So we’re here, unpacked and adjusting to life ashore in a new area of the country!

To stave off the missing of certain Brightonians, we have jumped in with both feet by exploring the area thoroughly, attending 2 play groups and a dance class…all in a week alongside unpacking! It hasn’t been entirely successful as a certain young lady is fairly regularly reminding me of how much she misses her best best best BEST friend but despite this she seems to be enjoying herself.

Both the kids and Dan and I are really enjoying being on land again. Having a bath, a separate bedroom and a washing machine are things not to be underestimated! The household bills we haven’t had to pay for the last 2 years haven’t been quite as welcome but it’s swings and roundabouts.

But best of all, for the kids and me at least, is the garden! I feel like I’m stepping into an illustration from a Shirley Hughes book whenever I go outside. It’s long and narrow with lawn, beds for growing veg and some fruit trees, all lined by a crumbling protected cob wall. To me it is a quintessentially British garden and we’ve been spending time each day in it, me weeding and preparing for planting, Sophia digging for potatoes and Isaac eating soil. Bliss! I’m looking forward to warmer longer days and spending lots more time in it.

I’m aware it’s late and this post isn’t really going anywhere but just wanted to quickly check in and update.

I’ll concoct a ‘proper’ post soon but for now, we’re in Topsham, feeling satisfied with our choices and blessed but tinged with the melancholy that accompanies leaving precious friends behind.