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Photo of kids foraging for raspberries

It’s been a quiet month for us, hoping to gather strength before the coming storm of Hettie starting P1 and back to nursery for Eddie’s preschool year. We have been enjoying foraging for the seasonal berries fruiting in the countryside around us. The children have got into the habit of thanking plants they take fruit from which I thought was lovely and they make sure they leave enough for wildlife. I love the ethos they instil in the children at their Outdoor Nursery. As usual, we tried to gather enough to bring back to bake some muffins, but they all got eaten before we got home. Edward is particularly good at staining his face, hands and clothes purple from all the juice! We have also been enjoying the beautiful path in Gauldry where local residents plant wild flowers. Each year it is stunning and this year is no exception. It’s a lovely walk up to the woods and beautiful painted stones are often placed along the way.

During our foraging walks we have been litter picking as it’s something we do everywhere we go. Littering makes the children so angry and confused although we are lucky that there is very little where we live. Hettie has even asked for a litter picker for Christmas. We were heartened to see an increase in groups popping up online to help organise regular beach cleans and other litter picking (although so sad there is the need). We have been out with the Marine Conservation Society at Tentsmuir before and now the children are old enough to help, we will register for the next one. Or maybe we will check out one of the monthly Tayport Beach Cleans.

I’m planning a bit of a shift around in the garden as we have allowed Geraniums and Alchemilla Mollis to take over a little. They have provided such good soil coverage as our garden matures but now I’d like to remove some of these and replace with plants that can attract more pollinators at different times of the year where we are short of flowers. I have been working with friends and the Cupar Plant Share group to plan for next year. Alongside getting these cuttings, we also have some seeds that the children are really keen to sow. Some can be sown now and kept under cover over winter including Echinops ritro, Baptisa australis, Welsh Poppies, and Sea Holly. Verbena bonariensis and Achillea millefolium will need to wait until Spring.

Another part of the move will be to create a second bed for berries and Hettie enjoyed planting some new loganberries and blackberries alongside our front wall which will give the plants a nice warm sheltered spot. When the current tayberries and raspberries finish fruiting, they will join them and we’ll build a good supporting structure for them. The moves will free up space for some new gooseberries alongside our existing blueberries. Hopefully by next year the children will allow the berries to ripen fully – right now, as soon as there is a bit of colour on a blueberry it gets popped in a mouth. We try to grow things to suit the conditions in our garden but also focus on the things that we eat a lot of that come in a lot of plastic, short dates or that have high food miles. This leaves us with a huge focus on salads, leafy veg and berries.

As we move into late Summer, my mind is moving towards storage for the cooler, wetter months. We have two very old sheds, pretty much held together by paint. We will replace these in a couple of years when funds allow but for now I’m looking forward to re-organising them to help welcome a new addition to our bike family. I have decided to reorganise the sheds so that all the bikes are in the bigger shed rather than overflowing from the small bike shed into the larger gardening shed and am strangely excited about having my own dedicated gardening storage in the smaller shed. I’ll spend some time sharpening and oiling the tools as I move them so they are ready for the quieter and damper seasons to come. The new addition will be an electric bike so my Wife can cycle to work in Dundee. She did this for years on a normal road bike before we had children but it’s 16 miles each way and we just haven’t had the capacity for her to do this with us both working around the wee ones. With the Bike to Work scheme it makes it easier for such a big purchase. With the one child at school (and our youngest starts next year) and being fortunate to have a school minibus to take them, we are needing our second (diesel) car less and less. The electric car we bought last year was second hand and older so can only do 80 miles in it. This means we aren’t quite ready to make the move to one car but are getting closer and closer.

As I’m finishing off writing this I am half watching some house martens that are using our garden as a play space and keep swooping into the house and back out again through our open front door. Best go and check none are trapped as we really don’t need any more pets!

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