In previous blogs I’ve written about how I like to rescue little tree saplings with the aim to planting them out and creating a mini woodland next to our house.

Rambo the Oak
June 2023

May was a nice month with lots of sunshine, little wind and not much rain, so everything is flowering in the garden. I’m always awed by how the garden can transform itself from a bare patch in winter to a vibrant green in spring. Just think about it: in winter plants like phlox and cornflowers die off completely and within the space of a few weeks they grow back to beautiful plants. In winter you can easily spot birds in the garden but now that the trees and shrubs have grown back their leaves it seems quieter all of a sudden. Mind you; half the bird population is sitting on nests right now! Nature is racing to make the most of the short period of warm weather and so should we. Now is the time to be outdoors as much as we can; there are numerous health benefits gained by spending time outdoors: stocking up on vitamin D and fresh air and various studies have shown that your mental health improves too by being outside. Besides, your garden or balcony is free and so are parks. I spend a lot of time outdoors just watching the blue tit flying back and forth its nest box, watching the chickens and by gardening of course, but I also to take a couple of deep breath regularly to clear my mind.

In previous blogs I’ve written about how I like to rescue little tree saplings with the aim to planting them out and creating a mini woodland next to our house. I’ve got several growing including two oaks, one which germinated deep down an apple pot and which I rescued, named Rambo the Oak. Also round about my late father’s birthday (which is in June) a rowan germinated in between the vegetable beds and since my dad grew his own vegetables too and rowans are said to offer protection in folklore, I named this little tree Dad’s Rowan Tree. This tree shows me that life goes on and that you can’t rush it and I’m sure that’s the message my dad would like to have given me.

Now that everything has settled down again, we’ve also decided to be WWOOF hosts again. For those of you who are new to the newsletter; WWOOF is an exchange between farms, smallholdings, crofters or people like us who have a large garden. Volunteers come to stay with you to give you a helping hand and enjoy local cultures. So the volunteer, called a wwoofer, works a few hours on your farm of garden and the wwoof host provides a warm bed, food, fun and knowledge. When we first came to Scotland, my husband and I also wwoofed on crofts and smallholdings and had a great time, so much so that we decided to move to Scotland and be self-sufficient as much as we can in fruit and vegetables. We’ll be welcoming wwoofers from Canada, Switzerland and France this year. If you’re thinking about being a wwoofer or a wwoof host here is some more information on what it entails:

General Harvey’s has had a bit of a personality change; he is now very nasty to one of the bottom hens and also nasty to the one above her. When we give them their daily treats, he quickly makes sure that all the hens find the treats and ushers them to it, but the two bottom hens are always being bullied away by Harvey. Maybe he decided that 10 hens simply are too many for him to control (apparently there is a maximum a rooster can handle) and so he chases them off. But of course, me being human and me not liking unfairness, I make sure that the two bottom hens get their treats too. Secretly away from Harvey’s watchful eye and if that doesn’t work I sometimes lock him up. He sure doesn’t like that!

All chickens are now out in the fields again and banned from the ornamental garden because they left the garden looking like a tornado had torn through. It just looked awful and to make things worse, I saw them throwing a party on top of the hedgehog’s house! One can only image what the poor hedgehog was thinking about the party on the top floor...

After complaining for a long time about the ever-broody hen occupying their shared nest box, the chickens had started a petition asking for eviction of this rowdy and aggressive occupant. Their reasoning was that with the nest box occupied they couldn’t lay their eggs and therefore they had to lay their eggs in random places around the wood shed. The petition drew 9 signatures in favour, 1 against, 1 abstained, so the mayor (my husband) listened to the vote and put the ever-broody hen in a separate, purpose build nest box where she stayed for a couple of days to try and get her back to behaving civilised again.

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