My kids LOVE being outdoors.
We have a very long garden, and they are as happy up the top with the bubble machine on as they are down the bottom on the trampoline.
However, I don't find my garden a particularly nice place:
We have missing fencing that needs replacing and we just can't afford to right now.
The only window that overlooks the garden is our bedroom - and that means I can't always see the kids outside.
Our seating/dining area is covered in rubbish that needs to go to the tip, but won't fit in our car.
The long flower bed that stretches halfway down the garden is full of weeds, that no matter how much I pull out, they are back within a few days, and my beautiful hostas have been well and truly nibbled by snails this year.
Our veg patch has been completely neglected since Dollop was born, and is now a cultivation site for bindweed and dandelions, and a pile of ash from our recent bonfires.
We do have good points about our garden too - It's super long and narrow, and that means there is enough space for an enormous outdoor run for the guinea pigs, a big trampoline for the kids, a reasonable shed, a roundybouty twirly washing line, a sand/water table, a good sized seating/dining area, and a fair size veg patch. Plus, plenty of room still for the kids to run, scoot and ride their bikes.
Almost all our fencing is 4 foot or lower, which means we get to chat with our neighbours in the gardens, and Mini gets to play football with the lad next door.
But the best thing about our garden is the greengage tree at the bottom. And today in fact I've been making jam with it's tender, juicy offerings.
Until this weekend, the greengage tree was neglected, the space beneath it left to go wild in the hope of encouraging wildlife into the garden, two old Christmas trees propped up, hoping to entice ladybirds and little beasties to nest - in truth, we've had a few snails that look pretty, and a whole host of spiders, but not the ladybirds, butterflies and moths that I would have liked, and because of the shade from the overhanging branches, none of the flowering plants that I've put in have survived.
But this weekend, Mini and I have had a brilliant time, cutting back branches, shaking off the ripe fruits, hacking back the long grass, digging down to pull big roots up, watching spiders, woodlice, earwigs and snails scuttling along (well, the snails were s-l-o-w-l-y sliding), and finding hidden treasure (broken pottery) in the soil.
When I first started thinking about a post on nature for Summer Sandpit, I had intended to write about some of the nature-based crafts we've done - the beach themed hanging or the cress and basil terracotta planters (and I might still share those too). But this outdoor time has been a really good time for Mini and I. I might be a little achy from all the digging, picking and cutting, but we've spent really good quality time together, laughed together and worked together at reclaiming a patch of land that we're planning to use together.
I've linked this post up with #SummerSandpit, why not link your own favourite nature activity too....