Everything changes with spring! For a start we have got our largest room back: our garden. From now we’ll spend many hours and most of our mealtimes outside until we’re forced back indoors by chilly autumn days. Our garden has its own mini wood (OK, 4 small trees!), meadow (little flowery patch of grass with bench) and pond and it’s exciting to find out who we’re sharing our small patch of land with this year.
Some, like the lizards on the wood pile and the cheeky wood mouse that used to run around the decking while we had our dinner didn’t survive the arrival of next door’s cats. But the birds, bees and butterflies are more resilient. Leaf cutter bees have made their home in a proper little bee house, the awesomely-named hairy-footed flower bees are obsessed with the catmint outside our back door, tawny mining-bees are building miniature soil volcanoes in our lawn, and today I saw a queen bumble scouring for a new property in the long grass at the bottom of the garden.
Meanwhile, a comma butterfly fiercely guards a patch of wallflowers in one corner, a beautiful furry puss moth turned up one morning, and there’s definitely a robin’s nest nearby because the parents are busy feeding chicks we can hear squeaking in the hedge.
Back to the woods…
What I’m loving most about Spring is not having to force myself outside any more. At the beginning of the month, we enthusiastically headed back to the wood elf woods (Hitch Wood) for the first time since Christmas.
We went in search of their homes and found them in the gnarled hornbeam trees on the edge of the woods: a couple of rather splendid palaces, a store stump and some more humble residences. A friend commented on my earlier blog that they also found wood elves in Hitch Wood a few years ago – it’s obviously a good place for them!
We’ve also been bluebelling. On one trip with friends to nearby Wain Wood we found a den that was so well built we reckoned it can only have been constructed by a couple of competitive dads! The four year olds were suitably impressed although they quickly moved on to climbing the trees nearby while the 2 year olds busied themselves finding big and little sticks 🙂
I forget now at what stage the stick thing stops but clearly not yet and I’m glad! We ended up in a pub garden drinking craft beer wondering why we don’t make this a feature of more of our weekends.
Gransden and Waresley Woods last Sunday was spectacular – a stunning carpet of bluebells and we were thrilled to find some early purple orchids by the path edge too. “Early purp-kids is like eagles” announced my two year old obscurely.
We’d also promised the boys some paddling in a little stream that cuts through the wood but when we got there it was completely dry.
“I want to splash in water!” complained our youngest.
“Sorry poppet, the river’s empty. It’s all dried up.”
“There’s water up there” an older boy pointed upstream, as he passed us on the bridge. So we picked our way up the dry streambed and it wasn’t long before we triumphantly found puddles and then larger sections of water. Our four year old was delighted and splashed around enthusiastically. “I want to see the empty river!” declared his younger brother loudly.
My husband and I just looked at each other.
So there you are, a few things to share about our spring so far. It’s still only April and spring is my favourite time of the year so I hope there will be more to come although I have a fifth birthday party to organise in mid-May so goodness knows if I’ll manage to actually carve out time to write! We’re having it in the garden and our house is way too small for twenty kids so if you know any good sun dances let me know…