My memories of infant school (as it was back then – infant school, junior school, middle school and senior school – I’ve never got my head round key stages, Y2 and flatly refuse to even try and understand the P2 and S3 stuff here in Scotland!) have that hazy quality of long ago times and are almost flashback style moments, smells, sounds and recalled emotions, just snapshots. I do have a memory of maypole dancing on May 1st. I could have only been 5 and I suspect 30 odd years have messed with the memory a little and there was not 20 odd children dancing, weaving in and out of each other in a coordinated fashion to create a multi coloured pattern around a pole. My experience of small children tells me that you’d have more luck herding cats than organising double figures of little people clutching ribbon in different directions with any other result than fallen children, tangled ribbons and at least three people in tears!

Infact a few years ago the children and I attended a fabulous May day event at a fellow Home Educators house where we made May flower willow crowns and danced around a Maypole.

So 1st of May is here again, the sun is shining and the croft is a carpet of celandines, a soggy carpet it’s true with large patches of mud but pretty nonetheless. Yesterday I spent a happy hour or so in the polytunnel, cooing over my sprouted seedlings – some coriander, thyme, majoram, chives and basil. My herb spiral will happen yet! Plenty of baby salad leaves, lettuces, rocket and spicy salad. Star and I couldn’t resist nipping a tiny corner off a couple of the leaves and nibbling at them, fresh and fragrant and exciting. There are also shoots in the onion box and the potatoes in sacks were ready for a fresh load of compost to cover the shoots. A couple of the tomatoes have sprouted but still no signs in the chillis and peppers. We sowed some more peas (mice seem to have nicked all the first lot!), some carrots, chard and broccoli in boxes and some courgettes in egg boxes. Star planted up a pair of her old wellies with sunflower seeds. She told me that often when people retire they seem to start spending lots of time gardening and growing things and she loved the idea that her wellies have retired and are going to do the same. I love her, and her wonderful way of making inanimate objects come to life makes me smile and wonder just when I lost that childish gift. I’ve put some shelf units up which should curtail mouse activity a little and bring my seedlings that little bit closer to the sky aswell as giving more space in my little plot.

There is loads more to do to the polytunnel – it needs a channel digging around it for drainage and to cover the edges of the polythene. We also need to create a stone path from the croft fence to the polytunnel doors, like every bit of the crofts heavy foot traffic quickly turns it to mud. But it’s a lovely space, regardless of what the weather chooses to do outside it’s a dry place to work and it’s so exciting to be finally growing food.

I’m planning to get back in there this afternoon and sow some more stuff, do some more labelling and maybe try and make up some tables and frames to create more multi-layered space.
The piglets are doing fine, venturing slightly further every day. We gave them their first taste of feed yesterday as when we put in some more bedding in the form of shredded paper the boldest little pink girl tried munching it so we decided they might be ready. Sure enough she was the first to snuffle a few mouthfuls and reminded me so much of Dragon and Star with their first surprised expression after a taste of pureed apple and baby rice. We’ve whiled away hours these last few days just watching them exploring their little world. They are such entertaining company. They all have such different little characters and personalities. Barbara tends to brave the electric fence several times a day to hang out with Tom, returning to the piglets whenever the maternal urge strikes her which seems to be working well. I did wonder what would happen about reintroducing them after a few weeks apart but they seem to be dealing with it perfectly well without our interference – rather like her giving birth!
Ady has strimmed (we call it strum!) a large outline for us to move the whole family over to a different space on the croft which will become their permanent area sometime in the next week or so. We’re thinking about housing and planning it fully before we do it. It’s definitely time to revisit that croft plan and tweak things here and there.

one brave little pig decides mum’s back is the best place to bask in the sun

quickly followed by his sister

4 thoughts on “Maypole”

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