Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Little exciting things

The sun is out and it's warm. There may be snow forecast for Thursday, but right now, spring is in the air. I'm full of ideas for our tiny garden and the song of birds is in my ear. Our attempt at the Big Garden Bird Watch was a bit of a fail, well, actually it wasn't. No, we didn't sit down for an hour to count birds, instead, the 8 kids we had in tow (aged 0-4) went and explored Kelvingrove Park. Fair enough. However, in preparation, Cubling and I had sat down and matched stickers to birds in her RSPB book and translated all bird names into German. I learned new bird names, realised that a coal tit is not a Kohlmeise, and Cubling has since spotted a few birds all by herself. Above all, she's interested in and excited about birds, and we've detected some early signs of spring as well.

We brought home some bulbs that had become undug by dogs and have planted them at home, they are now growing every day and I'm rather excited to find out what they turn out to be. Cubling had also brought her little magnifying container and insisted she wanted to find a bug or an ant. Not an easy task considering how bitter cold it was on Sunday, I was sure every sensible bug would be well tucked away.

Apart from a shield bug.

And they're even meant to hibernate as I've since been told! So we got a shield bug, then, as night fell at 4.30pm (do you hear my scream of despair?) we went into the museum for mummy to warm up her frozen toes. Cubling wanted to see the half tiger (they've got a tiger there with only half his skin on, the rest is not gruesome bones but a metal frame). En route she got distracted and we spotted some stuffed birds too, as well as her favourite RSPB lady whom she showed her favourite woodpecker and her shield bug (which is how I came to know it's a shield bug ;) ) The woman gave her colouring sheets of a blue tit and a robin, and yesterday morning she coloured them in, even remembering that a blue tit has a blue head and a robin has a red breast.

It was all rather successful in its own way. Who am I kidding, I never really thought she'd sit still for an hour to count birds!

Actually, this post was meant to be about food growing, as it's Tuesday and I want to instill some new springy life into Urban Food Growing Tuesday. I guess I got distracted. I'm full of good intention to put out a bit more bird food and to make bird feeders so we get more birds into our garden. At the moment, they're confined to our hedge and our neighbours do much better in the bird feeding department so they never linger in ours. Oops, sorry, distracted again.

As to growing our own - the garlic and onion sets that I'd planted just before the big freeze have survived and have green shoots which is rather impressive. I plan to get some set potatoes tomorrow to start sprouting the first lot. The rocket, basil and coriander is doing great in the conservatory. Once the ground is no longer ice solid, I'll plant out my plum tree  and the soft fruit trees will go into containers. I hope to get the containers through freecycle - having been for once successful in sourcing items on freecycle, I'm rather hopeful.

There's a great initiative and I've just signed up myself - the One Pot Pledge. It's about growing just one pot of vegetables this year. A great way of trying out something new and maybe finding out how satisfying growing your own is. It doesn't have to be much, some herbs, maybe some lettuce - it's easily done and the site has lots of tips how to do it right. I've pledged to grow dwarf beans and to get at least 3 others to sign up - so if you feel inspired to sign up, it would be fab if you let me know in the comments! Ah go on, make my day!



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