Bird feed

We don't have any pets and are likely to never have a furry member of the family thanks to asthma and allergy concerns so I think encounters with animals are pretty important to share with Brodie and Grier.

I want them to be confident around animals and I would like them to have a sense of responsibility for the world they live in and all the living creatures which inhabit it. Brodie has shown an interest in the birds around the garden so this week we got busy with a task I've been meaning to get around to for ages.

After dropping Brodie at nursery Grier and I went shopping for some supplies. We picked up some lard and some packets of seeds - not bird seed specifically - just mixed seeds and some dried fruit.

Brodie and I got busy with our task when Grier had her nap, melting the lard on the stove in a heavy pot. Leaving it to cool slightly we then added the seeds and fruit and some pinhead oatmeal we had at home. We let the mix cool a little as I wanted to be sure it would set and so it wouldn't be too hot to handle. Brodie spooned it into an old egg box and we had some balls by heaping the mix onto a square of tinfoil then wrapping it into a ball.

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We also used our tiny ornamental pumpkins, scooping out the inside which we added to our mix and filling the shell with the lardy seed mixture.

We've ended up with lots of little portions of food which Brodie will be able to leave out in the garden for the birds and hopefully we'll even see some birds eating our mixture. With the cold weather we're experiencing we're hoping our efforts will help out.

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If you'd like to feed the birds yourself this is useful for what kinds of things are best.

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Remember two weeks ago I was all misty eyed at the promising bounty the garden held? Well that was before the thunderstorms left me with a swamp. All my flowers are mudspattered, the few that haven't been pummelled to the ground that is. Weather is a cruel foe to the happy gardener. Bah.

Brodie and I headed out to take some photos. I snapped these ones whilst teeny, tiny raindrops fell around us and we headed inside just before stormy skies let loose.

I'm still holding out hope for pumpkins, carrots and beetroot. No red tomatoes yet but I'm almost tempted to eat a green one in anticipation of their deliciousness (actual word?) 


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poor muddy sweatpeas

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my resurrected lemon tree. i can take no credit in bringing it back to life. fickle

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hardy hydrangea

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gooseberries, rasps, peas, probably to be eaten with a little dirt still on.

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less muddy sweetpeas

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people were v interested in spikey cucumbers last time. they stay spikey even when big enough to harvest and taste good.  enough said.

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Helvetia Handmade

Garden Peek

The last few weeks have been kind to the garden. Everything takes a bit longer to get going here in Scotland, we are late bloomers so to speak. But thanks to this burst of sunshine and high temperatures there are peeks of what is to come everywhere. I'm so excited for the kids to try some of the peas and the gooseberries are deliciously blush. 


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plumping up nicely

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i have no idea, but pretty no? 

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grow my pretties, grow

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i'm not sure cucumbers are meant to be spiky.... 

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the bees love these little fellas

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blushing gooseberries

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royal wedding rose to welcome the royal baby - anytime you like little one

Little Seedlings

Getting your kids to grow stuff is good fun. That's why we do it. But also it helps develop a sense of environmental responsibility, an understanding of the natural world and also means you can make lots of mess. I also completely buy into the idea that growing their own encourages children to eat and try new kinds of fruit and veg. It doesn't make them enthusiastic about leafy greens overnight but it's a step in the right direction. A tomato (unwashed) straight from the greenhouse - a certain kind of heaven.I try to keep planting activities outside but you know I didn't fancy freezing my bahookey off yet again so we did it in the kitchen. And Grier summed it up when she said 'uh oh, dirty' as she stuffed Cheerio 984132 into her dainty little mouth. She was mostly a cheerleader rather than planter this year. Grier and I had eggs for lunch for about a week in order to collect eggshells to use as planters. You just carefully crack them so you're left with a little container and then wash them out and boil for a minute or two to get rid of any nasties. The best thing about using eggshells means that when it comes time to plant our seedlings out we can crush the shells slightly and then plan the whole thing without disturbing the roots. This means Brodie can do it all and hopefully some should survive to yield! Huzzah. We planted Lorax sunflowers, tomato, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli and spring onions. I'll also try to plant some from seed outside later this month, weather permitting. I gave the boy a container of compost and a teaspoon and I labelled the eggshells as we went so we can keep track of what's growing. There was a little bit of seed mixing up though so who knows what we'll get? seeds 1

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A week or so of watering gets you this? Amazing.

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When we moved in to our house we moved into a building which had been home to the same family since it was built. We have the original plans the house was built from and bits and pieces of furniture and some mercury - but that's a story for a different day. We uncovered historical wallpaper and ripped out fittings which had been in situ for 50 years. We also inherited a host of garden paraphernalia. Nothing valuable, nothing particularly exciting but definitely useful. So for two years I've used the watering can, water-butt, small tools and garden pots that came with the house.The garden of our home was neglected and overgrown (and doesn't look that much different now!) but underneath that you could tell it had been well-loved just like the house it surrounds. The soil seems to be ridiculously fertile as evidenced by the fact that apparently anything I plant grows and flourishes. I've seemed to manage to grow things that I really had no right to being the greenest gardener ever. See what I did there? So I was very excited to uncover these seeds today, which must have belonged to the original owners.

There were lots of italian packets so I couldn't read the instructions, and they must have been there for at least 4 years but I am confident they will grow. I just believe they will. In fact I would bet good money they will.

As I was busy planting and watering and labelling, Brodie was elbow deep in soggy sand. Never a happier boy will you find. He's totally over the whole seeds thing but hopefully when they become seedlings I can pique his interest again.

I feel like by using these seeds and tools from people who loved and cared for this garden for so long like I can't go wrong. And it feels nice to keep it going.