Early spring musings

The promise of spring is definitely in the air. In fact, the weather forecasts predict up to 20 degrees Celsius this Sunday. Our baby narcissus is flowering in a modest clump in our front garden. The buttercups are in for a great year, if the amount of leaves covering the soil are anything to go by. I’m definitely going to have to take a look around, to see what needs doing out there and in the back garden.

A few drawbacks?

Note: when I say garden, these two bits of land might add up to a small garden. With a car taking up nearly a quarter of the available space. And another quarter I don’t want to plant anything edible in because of the car. And other people’s cars driving past.

Then we want something like a sitting area. After a couple of years of baking in the afternoon sun, we decided to soften the local microclimate by putting in a tree or two. I’m waiting for them to start growing. So far, they’re looking happy – but not quite budding yet. Night temperatures do drop to nearly freezing point, so I’m happy that they’re in no hurry.

I planted some herbs like basil in a sunny spot almost in the hedge. These were annuals, which is just as well, because last summer I learned from our neighbors that they had sprayed the hedge (beech – it’s a monoculture in most new or renewed parts. A feast for specialized insects). If any of our hedge plants give up this year, I’ll put in an entirely different plant. Maybe something edible.

Spring promise

About two square metres of garden are filled with strawberry, blueberry (I added oak leaves for acidity) and herbs. The place is crammed and looked great even in winter. If you don’t mind the leaves. And I don’t. Most of them are gone by now, because we had a typical winter – if a sea climate winter is the kind you like. A sprinkling of snow in half the country, excluding where we live. Not enough ice to go ice skating (if any!), not this year. Rain. The kind of winter you end up calling “but really it wasn’t a winter at all. Not a proper winter.” Except it’s the kind we had a lot, until it started snowing a couple of years ago – in December! This year, people acted as though they’d been cheated out of a white Christmas they were entitled to. It’s quite possible that goldfish have better memories than humans.

So my early spring checklist looks like this:

  1. Watch Gardeners’ World (coming up…)
  2. Check if the stinging nettle is still in its corner by the water.
  3. Check if there are cat droppings among the plants; if so, cut a few leaves from the thistle in the other corner. Cut them into pieces of about 10 centimetres and spread them around.
  4. Empty the bucket of sand and goo that’s been standing around for no purpose at all.
  5. Find out if the sand box is full of water again, and consider getting rid of it. It would help if it’s broken. I can explain broken to a 4-year-old.
  6. Find out if old peas will still grow into plants. If not: go get new ones. There’s nothing like fresh peas. I had no problems explaining them to a 3-year-old last summer :-)

 

Mulberry mix

I was halfway down this week’s bowl of energy food when I remembered to take a photo of it – so here it is, just to show you what I was on about in my earlier post.

Actually, this time I added milk to spare my teeth the ordeal of munching down a bowl of crispy oats with acid from orange juice. Feel free to have a glass of your favorite vitamin C drink instead.

mulberry mix

As you can see, I had white mulberries. From what I’ve read, the black/red mulberries taste best – I’ll have to try those.

Mulberry

Just in case you love that variety of mulberry, I did happen to read you shouldn’t plant a mulberry tree near your driveway unless you don’t mind the stains. So you have been warned :-)

I don’t have the kind of garden where I can stow away a mulberry tree in a corner somewhere (no corners to speak of). Mulberries are slow growers, but they can grow up to 9 metres (27 or so feet). They do have wonderful big leaves from what I saw. It’s definitely worth keeping in mind while I look for a bigger garden ;-)

Read more about mulberries while I await the official arrival of spring – and the return of our esteemed Italian icecream masters.

4 issues surrounding Google Plus

There are a couple of issues surrounding Google Plus and its success or lack thereof. One of them seems to be that it’s hard to survey people because they get confused. Are they talking about their usage of Google Plus, or of any Google service? Offering everything as an integrated, wholistic Google universe can do that. Continue reading

Restoring your energy level in mid-winter

So here’s half of the first month gone. The new year has definitely started. You might have wondered where I was. I was starting to wonder the same thing. Well, life happened, like I mentioned in my previous post. I’ve got a 4-year-old getting used to (pre-)school life plus a new day care to match, and we got a couple of fresh poo-ey trousers to remind us that not having nappies doesn’t mean the (school) toilet is an attractive destination for every type of secretion. Well. It seems to have passed by now ;)

Energy level: December food and January blues Continue reading

Learning: the right challenge at the right time

It’s that time in my life where school is suddenly in the picture, via a certain 4-year-old I know :) One thing I’ve already noticed is how ready a child can be for a new challenge. A challenge that is big, worrying, exciting, almost too much to get your head around – yet, at the same time, exactly what you needed without realizing just how ready you were to take on something completely new.

Ready for a challenge

Cat taking on the challenge | Click to view image by Waponigirl on Flickr

Continue reading

Social business: dead, alive and kicking, or business as usual?

For the past few years, ‘social business’ has gotten a lot of attention from a number of people. Very enthousiastic people. For various reasons, not everyone shared their enthousiasm. Social business has been declared dead a couple of times, probably because the innovators’ initiative didn’t seem to get a lot of tangible results very soon.

social business concept

A few recent articles point out different aspects – and views – of the drive towards social business. Continue reading