Our toddler daughter has become custodian of the assorted terracotta pots of late winter bulbs. Every day, she carefully lifts them over to the raised beds for inspection.
Each crocus is petted, kissed and whispered to, before being placed back on the wooden ledge. I wonder what she is telling them for it must be working – they have more than outlasted their usual flowering time.
The heavy rains have brought yet more stones to the surface of the beds. It is taking a long time to hand pick them, so I am looking at investing in a garden sieve. I glance up from my work and spot that my daughter thinks my kneeler makes a great trampoline for her ball.
Being March, it is not long before the sun vanishes, and the skies look an ominous, uniform, heavy grey. The air smells like snow.
Sudden changes in the weather acutely affect our two autistic younger sons, who are extremely sensitive to air pressure drops, so this is my cue to tuck them into bed, wrapped in blankets with a chewy treat to munch on, to try and reduce the symptoms of dizziness and headaches.
Time to prepare lunch. I find if I almost par-boil whole, peeled carrots, my daughter’s blunt baby knife will cut through them and she can practise her cooking skills alongside me. We spend some time building giant carrot towers. She sneaks the occasional slice; carrots are so sweet that she thinks they are a special treat.
Then the hail arrives, soon replaced by snow. Not cold enough for it to settle, the little dots of ice quickly melt away. Within ten minutes, there are light blue skies again.
In the afternoon, my second son and I make homemade soap together with the last of the dried lavender we preserved the previous summer. We use small lego moulds to create calming, soapy, building blocks for the youngest three children. The larger soaps will be given to friends and family as gifts.
Here in the kitchen our windowsill seeds are starting to germinate. Looking out, I see the white furry buds on our apple tree and miniature leaves are sprouting on the hardy shrubs. It gives me the inspiration I need to complete any leftover indoor winter tasks, knowing that when spring arrives we will be spending long, happy days in the garden.