Little Exposures and Some Artifacts

We’ve had some more laughs in our household this week. Well, I say we, but what I really mean is I have had some laughs, because I seem to have reverted to behaving like a 6-year-old. Eating well for a bit has not been going well. Onions don’t agree with me at the best of times, but when my brother excitedly announced his favourite Indian were still open for deliveries I couldn’t help asking him to order me a portion of bhajis. Not only have I been torturing my poor mother with my emissions (it’s been oh so hilarious), I’ve also been sending ‘voice notes’ to various friends and family. What’s more, I’ve had plenty of ‘voice notes’ in return, and it never fails to amuse. Weirdly, most people I’ve contacted seem to be entertained/downright impressed and I think I’ve spread some happiness along with my unearthly gasses.

If any of you were under the impression that I am at all mature or ladylike, I hate to break it to you but you are waaaaaay off the mark. Inside I am about 80% the most uncouthest of prepubescent boys, along with 20% elderly old lady.

As such, my love affair with the garden continues to develop. Is it just me who thinks of old people when they think of gardening? Perhaps it’s because my grandparents were into it in a major way. On the one side of the family I have memories of being allowed to pick a bunch of flowers from the garden once in a while. My favourites were marigolds, pansies and snapdragons (who doesn’t love a snapdragon I ask you?) On the other side, my nan would always be growing broad beans, which I loved to help pick and put through the bean stringer. It was a simple little plastic contraption with a number of blades in it that was incredibly satisfying to use, and it was almost as good as eating home grown strawberries straight from the garden with sugar and cream. Ok, maybe not quite as good.

Up until now I’ve found the concept of gardening way too overwhelming, but I’m learning to not overthink it and just go out and try, without worrying about doing stuff wrong. I will do stuff wrong, it’s inevitable. But I will learn more as I go along. I’m also absorbing loads of new information just by exposing myself to gardening and wildflower accounts online. Without realising, I’ve been putting away little nuggets of information which pop up when I least expect it.

The other day I was out digging up an immense thistle when I spotted a little purple flower hidden amongst the grass and weeds. See it?

I actually have no idea how I spotted it. Let’s get in a little closer…

Because of my gradual absorption of flower information, the word ‘speedwell’ popped into my head when I saw it. The pictures I’ve seen of speedwells so far are much, much bigger than this, but I was right. I’m pretty sure this is a wall speedwell, but the other varieties you are more likely to find in woods are indeed a lot bigger.

Yesterday I was out in the front garden, clearing up poop. The neighbour’s cats seem to love to use it as a toilet, and I can hardly complain since our cats use to go out and no doubt pooped all over the place.

Once the poop was removed, I stumbled across a wood sorrell, more tiny hairy bittercress, some sort of pupa plus a load of old rubbish, but I’ll get to that in a moment. Neither my phone or any lenses currently in my possession were suitable for taking pictures of tiny things, so I’ve been on something of a spending spree. This week a rather old, second-hand macro lens arrived. Because it’s old, it’s very noisy, so I won’t be creeping up on any animals with it. But for stuff that’s simply growing, it’s perfect.

As for the rubbish, when our estate was built the housing association started to run out of money by the time they got to our bit. To cut down on costs, instead of paying for the rubble to be taken away, they buried it. As you do.

This is what I’ve found so far this week:

I’ve decided to start making collections of things I find, which I’ll start to separate into plastic, metal, tile etc. One day I might make some sort of mosaic from the tile. I think that would be pretty cool.

This was inspired by one of my favourite Twitter accounts at the moment, @legolostatsea. In 1997, 5 million bits of lego fell into the sea, and it’s still being found to this day. I’m almost desperate to get to a beach and start collecting, well, rubbish, because not only does it sound like fun but it’s also helping clean up beaches. It’s a win-win.

In the meantime, I’ll just collect crap I find at home, which I’m really enjoying anyway. Have I just completely gone mad? That’s up to you to decide. Since I don’t appear to be a danger to myself or others, I’ve decided to just go with it. What’s the worst that can happen?

Because of my fantastic lens purchase, I can now show you my favourite weed. This is what I used to see – a pretty ordinary looking patch of… something.

It’s a red dead-nettle, and it’s so common you’d probably be able to find it yourself within ten minutes of leaving the house. But when you look closer…

It’s so beautiful and delicate. How have I never noticed that before? The things I’ve been growing myself are coming along nicely, I’m just waiting for the weather to perk up again before I transplant them into the garden.

Future plans include enticing hedgehogs and a pond, but I’ll write more about that another day. For now, me and my green fingers are done with typing for the day, and the plants demand to be watered.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Invasion

There’s one thing I know for certain – no one, and I mean no one, had an Easter Sunday like mine. There are three adults in our household, and for the most part we all cook our own meals because of our weird tastes and eating habits. Once in a while though, for a special occasion, I get invited to a Sunday roast.

While I was mooching around in my room I got a text from mother requesting that I do a quick sketch of my sister, her boyfriend and the doggo. I’m not talented enough to do a quick sketch of something like that so it would end up taking me all day. I said no, but when mum explained why she wanted them, I went one better.

If there’s one thing I love about my family, it’s that we are all quite bonkers. Mum wanted pictures of our absent family so that we could pretend they were joining us for dinner. Then I got carried away.

I printed out pictures of their faces, but then wondered how awesome it would be if I attached them to sticks and sat them at the table. Mum then encouraged me by suggesting that we give them t-shirts (by this time I’m nearly wetting myself with laughter) then the icing on the cake was when I thought to give them stick arms. I haven’t laughed so much in such a long time.

As I was looking for pictures that would print well, I couldn’t resist this hilarious picture of my sister’s boyfriend doing a pretend grumpy face one Christmas. I looks as if Newton has just let off a really smelly parp, which is exactly what he would have done if he was really there. Just before we ate, I video called my sister and luckily she wasn’t frightened at all and thought it was as funny as me and mum did. My brother said something like ‘save me’, but deep down I bet he was really just impressed at our stroke of genius. That must be it.

We decided to keep stick-Newton until we can have the real one back. Even stick-Newton is better than no Newton.

On Monday I had planned to start eating healthily again, however when I last went shopping I bought a huge bag of granola for ’emergencies’. Well, it kept calling to me and I ended up having granola for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks (with ice cold coconut milk, flipping delicious I tell you) and couldn’t leave it alone till it was all gone. I regret nothing, it was ace.

Yesterday though, I realised I had to get myself sorted. Not because of weight gain or anything like that, but because I believe I had genuinely become a fire hazard. When I eat rubbish, my tummy does not at all approve and what with the vast quantities of broccoli and cauliflower I ate Sunday, there was a critical build-up of noxious gasses. Lives were at steak – a flick of a light switch and we all could have gone up in flames.

After a day of eating sensibly (including some absolutely banging Marmite roast potatoes), all is back to normal and the crisis has been averted.

Last week, after a delivery of compost, I decided to test my green fingers. The last time my sister came to the house, I don’t even remember when, she left me some plant babies. I thought I had compost in the garage but we were all out, so I just got some mud out of the garden and popped them in an old container I found.

So far so good.

As they’re house plants, I had to bring them indoors. I popped them on the windowsill, and happily went about my day.

Next morning, I woke up to find that I was not alone in bed. I was sharing the duvet with several ants. Ah. I tried to live with them for a while, but in the end I was overrun and had to risk leaving the plants outside.

By the time the compost had been delivered, they were not happy. But then I cut away the dead bits and I have new growth. Perhaps I can be a plant lady after all!

I’m not a huge fan of instructions. I’ve had some seeds in the cupboard for years, but when I read the instructions I put off planting them. It all sounds so complicated – acidic soils, alkaline soils, sunlight, shade, indoors, outdoors, not too much watering, not too little… in the end I just decided to stick everything in pots randomly and hope for the best.

Then after a few days of nothing, we have… life! Check out my cool timelapse, taken over a period of about seven hours yesterday.

Considering some of my seeds should have been sown by 2017 at the latest (according to the packets), and the most recent of them should have been sown by April 2019, I’m really pleased that I have anything at all. It’s all surprisingly exciting!

I’m sure you’re all sitting on the edge of your seats at this point. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x