The air is thick with the scent of hawthorn blossoms and as I move towards the tree it buzzes with the energy of a hiveful of bees. We’re casting off Winter cloaks and unveiling new plans and ideas to a bright new day; planting seeds, bare feet on grass and much time amongst green and growing things.
Here are some ideas to herald this time of growth and life:
- Make butter. With tummies filled on vivid green grass, Spring cow’s milk is luxurious and rich. Shake its cream in a jar with gusto and much belly laughing and it soon becomes a yellow glob that when rinsed of the buttermilk and lightly salted, will lift your sourdough breakfast toast to a whole new level.
- The natural world’s abundant growth is indicative of what a vegetable patch can do come Spring. If you’ve never grown your own food before, Spring is certainly the time to open a packet of seeds and get sowing. Creating a bean teepee from foraged branches and string will evoke fairy stories all whimsical and enchanting. A tumble of cottage flowers will see the bees come a-callin’ and herbs will flourish with ample sunshine and rain; iced mint tea come Summer will be a welcome salve to the heat.
- Forage wild greens. Dandelion leaves and petals for salads, stinging nettles in tarts and risottos (don rubber gloves to harvest and disarm their sting by a plunge in boiling water), and purslane for a lemony kick. The Weed Forager’s Handbook is a very insightful read.
- Go birdwatching. Follow your ears and hone in on all things feathery. Start a list and a real “twitch’ you’ll be.
- Create a nature journal kit. Invest in a simple watercolour palette, a small art journal, a pencil and a few brushes. Take quiet moments in the natural world to zoom in on the minutiae and be it with detailed drawings, haphazard sketches or purely impressions of colour, record the earth’s seasonal stories.
- Become entomologists. A garden all a whir with growth beckons insects of every size and hue. Hunt them out and watch respectfully as they go about their ways.
- Imbue your home with fresh scents and cradle more carefully the health of your family by overhauling your cleaning supplies. Make the most of the end of season oranges by making a citrus cleaner and hunt out a handful of rags to replace disposable wipes and cleaning cloths. Be seduced by the simplicity that is vinegar and bicarb soda in your cleaning arsenal and make room sprays with nought but water and essential oils.
- Use the abundance of roses at this time to begin a home apothecary. Rose petals can be distilled into fragrant water or dried in afternoon sun; Winter bath soaks will be enlivened by Spring time scent.
- Climb trees. Now that Winter’s bare limbs have been veiled in green, encourage your little people (and yourself) to hoist yourself up into the cool canopy. Stay a while a listen hard. If you’re still enough you might even hear the leaves exhale.
- Explore flowers. Get up close and personal: look through a magnifying glass, feel the velvet petals, note the anatomy and dissect it’s parts. Small children need not be burdened by the scientific jargon and will sop up all that is fascinating through exploration alone. Press some fallen blooms in a flower press, steep camellias to make a pink dye, make a wildflower crown and breathe out gratitude for the colour and bounty they bring to our world.