Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: garden

Garden grass circles

It seems that most family tourist attractions these days have some sort of maze to get lost in, mazes that range from small box hedged ones right the way up to the ultimate farm adventure – the maize maze. We had great fun running around them with Matilda and Henry while on holiday recently and it got me thinking about trying to create something similar in my own garden. Now while I do have a decent sized garden it’s really not big enough to house a full blown maze so I’ve gone for a slight interpretation on the theme.

I give you the garden grass circle!

Garden grass cicles

Matilda running around grass circle

You really don’t need a big piece of grass to do it on but you will need a little patience for the uncut grass to grow and make the circles more distinct. But we’ve had great fun playing in it, having races from the outside in and then back again. I think it really appeals to children (and the child in me) to be running as fast as you can in an ever smaller circle.

Ours took a couple of weeks to have a nice contrast in length and then when you’re done with it you simply mow it flat again. Such an easy and free thing to do and all you need is a patch of grass to do it on. I might try doing a square instead next time and see how that looks.

What do you do in your garden to create some fun and interaction for your children?

Toddler mini adventures – bug hunting

Picture the scene; the 3 intrepid explorers push through the undergrowth in search of the hidden wildlife. They move enormous rocks and crawl under the branches of towering trees in the hope of discovering new species unknown to mankind. So far on this trip they have found a greater spotted Wiltshire slug, a striped forest worm and seen signs of the elusive cumberland sausage racing snail.veg patch bandits

When you’re a toddler all this excitement and adventure can be had without even leaving the garden, in fact almost every time I am in the garden with the kids now this is exactly what we end up doing – having a toddler mini adventure. I absolutely love sharing the discovery of wildlife like this with my 2 little adventurers, it’s the perfect activity for them. We’re guaranteed to find something, we don’t have to go far and they can get hands on as much as they want.

Henry wants to get right in there and touch and feel everything, Matilda is a little more reserved initially but once she sees that it’s ok she’s more than happy in picking snails and slugs up to look at them. However she does get a little annoyed when the snails aren’t where she left them and we do also have to be careful that Bracken doesn’t eat them!

Searching for slugs

I know we’re blessed with our garden being a good size and we also have a big variety of ecosystems to look at (check me with my Geography GCSE terminology). But you can have a mini adventure in even the smallest of garden, all you have to do is look under a few rocks or stones, the darker and damper the better and you’re guaranteed to find snails, wood lice, slugs , spiders and ants. If all else fails lift up the lid of your compost bin if you have one and you’ll probably find some worms and slugs.

Looking at snails

We’ve now got a regular circuit of the garden we do which can easily keep us busy for 30 minutes as we check out all the nooks and crannies. So far I’ve focused on the bigger things like slugs and snails which they can easily see and of course don’t move very fast, but I think we’ll start looking for centipedes,  ear wigs and grass hoppers.

If anyone knows of any good books or charts for identifying bugs that would suitable for toddlers then please let me know.

Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

It seems that a few days of sunshine was all that mother nature needed to jump start the new growth for the year. Seemingly in the blink of an eye the trees have gone from bare brown to glorious green, bursting with life and colour. The start of having the patio doors wide open and the feeling of grass between your toes.

This is also a time when you’ll find me taking photos of pretty much anything, all that natural light is just irresistible. Which is why I found myself lying flat on the grass yesterday trying to take photos of daisies. A pretty normal activity right? Then later on I had a play around with shutter speeds after reading A party of seven’s blog, trying to capture Matilda’s hair blowing around. Great fun learning how to use your camera more and just take lots of photos.



Matilda with wheelbarrow

Henry standing at chair


The Gallery – The Everyday

The everyday things are what I enjoy the most with Matilda and soon Henry. I love just being at home and hanging out the washing while Matilda ‘helps’. You can get such pleasure from just sitting in the garden with a cup of tea and watching her explore, crawling up and down the path, giving stones to Bracken or trying to eat soil.

This is real quality time, give me this any day rather than a trip out to some attraction. However the challenge with capturing those moments in photos is not so easy, as soon as you pull the camera out Matilda stops whatever she was doing and crawls over. I have lots of really great close ups of her face and hands!

But here’s a couple I did manage to capture and are my entry for this weeks Gallery. These are taken with my new favourite lens that I bought recently.  A 35mm fixed lens which is really great. Interesting having to physically move yourself to adjust the photo rather than zoom in and out. But the quality of the photos is awesome, especially in low light indoors. I stuck the camera on Aperture priority, set it to a mid level of 9 and set the ISO low at 200 as we were outside.