My middle boy planted some carrots today – row upon wonky row of tiny little seeds. His fingers are coated with compost, a smear of dirt trails from ear to chin. He has planted these carrots with the intention to make curried carrot soup. A few years ago we grew rainbow carrots: purple, yellow and orange. In his 3 year old excitement he was desperate to find the purple ones and so uprooted the entire raised bed of carrots – which led, of course, to some frantic soup making. It’s been something of a tradition ever since.
My husband has been digging in the back corner of the garden, preparing for a shed base. As he digs, the boys collect slugs to feed to the chickens. The hens know the drill now and they jump over one another as they see the children approach their run. They scrap over juicy beasts, flapping and jostling, and it’s a joy to watch.
For a while now, my son has been collecting old clothes and shoes to make a scarecrow. Today we decided to finally make one, ready to protect our seeds from eager birds.
I sent him outside to hunt for some sticks to make the frame and then we bound them tightly together in a cross shape with string. After stuffing and dressing him, we made a face out of an old pillowcase and some more straw, drawing his features on. A trip to the charity shop provided us with a perfect hat for him.
Perching him in the raised bed alongside the freshly sown seeds, my middle boy is pleased as punch.
‘Can we plant the beetroot seeds too, Mum? And parsnips?’
And I wish we could. But the garden is under construction, and space is limited.