Springtime at Home: Stream watching, borrowed hats and precious food

We continue adapting to this new, quiet time in our lives. I am noticing little changes. Food, for example, is suddenly becoming very important due to the shortages. We seem to talk about it a lot more than normal. Our autistic sons have very restrictive diets, therefore we are saving all of the plain items we know they will eat just for them. I am also trying to disguise other foods creatively to tempt them into eating more protein, as we cannot buy enough vegetarian substitutes in the shops at the moment. Courgette fritters worked well – gobbled up before they knew they were not potato rosti. Hummus disguised as butter was viewed with suspicion and then handed back to me with knowing looks.

My ten year old son (on the left) is enjoying the peaceful garden and has taken a great interest in the stream lately. He can spend over an hour watching the water flow under the wooden bridge, rearranging the pebbles and floating tiny leaf boats. His autism often causes me to forget that there is only eighteen months in age between him and my next eldest son and it is when they spend companionable time together like this that their similar heights make it very apparent.

Our little daughter is completely unaware of any difference in the pace of life. This is her first spring outside of babyhood, to her this is what the season is – the tranquility of birdsong as the plants she has grown to know so well burst into new life. She is amazed at leaves emerging from shrubs she knew only as twigs, pointing them out to me, hopping up and down. Look, look! Who knew they were magic?

She has taken to wearing a flatcap that belongs to her youngest brother. He in turn picked it from an outdoor shop because it matched his dad’s walking cap. Our youngest son likes to look like other family members, feeling secure in wearing what is familiar. He prefers hand-me-downs to new clothes.

One of my long term aims with the garden is to create a miniature woodland, especially sized for children. The evergreens will be cropped and kept small, to look like old gnarled oaks. My daughter is already enjoying this little area that has “trees” her size. She is starting to play hide and seek with us, and is just about able to stay hidden now without giggling and giving herself away.

There is a slight camber in the path here, which was designed to make the track exciting for the boys’ scooters as they sail around the “roundabout” section. My daughter goes very carefully – although I can barely detect the lean as I walk around the route, it must feel much more so to her, being so small.

I have been working on raised bed number three. I’m trying my luck with beetroots for the first time, and cabbages grown from seed. I usually use plugs for the brassicas, but deliveries are in short supply. The garlic and the strawberries I feel at home with, these always seem to thrive. I’ve also planted some sunflower seeds and nasturtiums, as I love to have an orange hue to the garden as autumn approaches.

I have removed the older, damaged leaves from the strawberry plants, detached any runners and planted them in their own space.

Our neighbour’s apple trees have come into blossom, which gives a lovely screen of privacy again. Hopefully it will not be too long before the bamboo provides this all year round.

In the late evening, when the children are asleep, I spend a contented hour writing up the garden plans and making note of when everything was planted.

Next, before bed, I will go through all of the salad and fresh food, see what is coming close to being overripe and decide what to make with it for the seven of us tomorrow. I always knew that healthy meals were important – but now they feel precious.

Keep safe and well everyone. With heartfelt thanks to all those who are working to keep us safe, especially those on the frontline in the NHS and hospitals around the world.

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  1. Even though there are only two of us—me and my husband—in our household, I, too, have become concerned about not wasting even a morsel of food. And, not to put too fine a point on it, my husband and I are good eaters. 😉 I do love those little bunny sneakers your daughter is wearing. Also, that cap is perfect. Stay safe, be well, all of you. Hope you are soon able to fine food for your sons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Laurie, I have good news on that front – I contacted the online store about our sons and their restricted diet and they have given us a slot each Saturday and removed a restriction on a few items we need. It’s really heartening – and such a relief. With autism, they would go hungry rather than eat something different.

      My daughter loves those new shoes. Thank goodness, because I was worried she would never give up the little furry winter boots that she had grown out of unless I found something really beguiling! 😀 x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if this will change how we eat? We’re so used to just going to the supermarket and expecting to eat whatever we want all year round, especially fresh fruit and veg, regardless of whether it grows in this country or when it’s in season. X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much. I did try using excel spreadsheets for planning the garden, but in the end found a little notebook that I could put in my pocket when out in the garden worked much better for me 🙂 Stay safe and well too xx


  3. Your life must be always busy, but in such a satisfying way. 🙂 🙂 I’m no gardener, and like your small daughter I’m constantly amazed when plants burgeon. The miracle of nature! May she provide well for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much Janet x I was just saying to my husband that planning things such as where trees might go and how they might look in many years’ time really helps me look ahead and past everything that is happening now. Sometimes it’s hard to look past the present and the garden really helps me. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Being single and having all my friend’s children grown up, I envy you the joy your children bring to your day.

    Small children remind us of the simple pleasures that most adults overlook.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Vicki – I guess in a similar way I love to read people’s travel adventures all over the world, as we are very much UK-based with all of our little ones 🙂 It’s been great having a toddler again, I think almost-2 is a lovely age in children.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Two was my favourite age when working as a live-in children’s Nanny in Sussex, London and back home in Melbourne. I looked after 12 children over about 10 years ranging from newborn to age 12. 2 children had psychological problems and I like to think I made a difference to their lives all those years ago. One 2 year old in Sussex would be about 40 now.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Our little girl turns 2 this summer 🙂

          I’m sure you did – in my experience, anyone who takes the time to know and care about mentally disabled children makes a huge difference to their lives. And it takes an incredibly patient and compassionate person to do so x

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful to read and see Mrs TP… And what an exciting garden of adventure you have created for your children and yourself.. Growing our own food is our passion.. I planted two rows of beetroot the other week and three of parsnips.. beetroot I love not only in salads, but there is a great beetroot site with loads of recipes which include smoothies etc… And its very healthy for you as I am sure you know..
    The oranges should look lovely… Sunflower seeds is something I forgot to get this year… but my daughter included in her Mothers Day gifts some wild flower seeds, of blues… So I may sprinkle around my garden boarders this year and just leave to see what comes up… It includes cornflowers… I already have lots of forgetmenot. 🙂 Love the cap… And your raised beds looks a treat..
    Happy Planting… and I have a feeling we may need our veggies this year more than most.. ❤ Hugs your way

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I shall be avidly watching for photos of how your plot is progressing Sue – because you seem so much of an expert compared to my pottering about and experimenting 😀 It’s all gardening gifts in our family too – I asked my mum, an avid gardener, what she wanted for her upcoming birthday and she said that she had asked my dad to buy her a big bag of soil for her veggies 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well Mrs TP, I wouldn’t call myself an expert lol, but we have been growing our own food now for a number of years and each year is different, trials and tribulations, winning some losing others… Depending on the climate, rain, and pests… 🙂 We don’t use any pesticides or chemicals except to use Lime. And I mix up a spray from garlic which I found works well with aphids.. 🙂
        And smiled at your Mum’s choice of present.. 🙂 Can’t fault her… 🙂 I often ask for gardening things.. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hello Sue 🙂 Hope you are still keeping very well x I’ve been growing for quite a while – but 6 years ago we moved house – within the same county, but with entirely different weather and soil (we used to live in NWLeics and you get the storms blowing down from the Pennine’s there), so I feel like I’ve been learning all over again 🙂 The first year here, almost everything died of thirst as at my old house it rained so much we didn’t need to ever water anything!


          1. Working with different soil and climate can be challenging. We would never know we had those floods in the beginning of the year here. Everything is so dry. We did get some rain yesterday which saved us watering the allotments. Thankfully the water cistern is now mended so we are not walking to carry it so far. 🙂 Hope to visit soon I’m just answering comments at the moment as I take a short blog break. Just too much to do in our gardens at the moment 💙 which I’m so grateful for 🙂
            Take care of yourselves. Much love. 💕🙏


  6. Your backyard plans sound like a great play haven for your children. I garden too, in containers, but I can’t seem to make them grow beyond a month or two. I planted some herbs, which have withered. Looking forward to your garden progress. And your doodles are fantastic!! Wow, very nicely illustrated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much ♥️ I find containers tricky too – they need so much water in the summer! I’ve just planted out lots of baby plants into the borders, so should hopefully have some flower pics to share very soon 🌼🌿

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Container gardening is so finicky!! Every year I tell myself that I’ll never do it again, and when next spring approaches, I can’t wait to start again. My kids remind me of the previous years that we killed our plants. But my short-term memory and hope this will year will be the successful gardening year keeps me going.
        Hope your gardening is successful and you get a great harvest this year. Please share pics when they do bloom!


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