Spring – word of the week

When my children were little, I bought a stethoscope for them. One that you could listen to hearts and hear the thump, thump. It wasn’t the reason I bought it, but a lovely added bonus. I wanted a stethoscope so we could listen to the sap rising in the trees that spring. And we did. Some trees were better than others, but we definitely got our moneys worth that year. Testing every tree in the garden and the woods beyond.

The stethoscope (and the one that replaced it) has long since gone, but I still feel very aware of the trees starting to wake up, each year, before the first bud even appears. The feeling of early spring is contagious. It’s the same feeling that gets me outside gardening and running up the hills on our morning walks. I can feel spring.

In the garden

I’ve started to sow seeds (letter to me) and I’ve ordered the last of my seeds. My potatoes arrived this week and are in the conservatory, busy chitting (sprouting), before I plant them. Mr TTC has beaten me to it and prepared the potato beds, so as soon as the earth has warmed up, I’ll plant them.

One advantage to being outside more is that we see more of the local wildlife in the garden. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen this photo and read the story. This is our local sparrowhawk. He is brazen and let me get close enough to take his photo. He really didn’t care that I was there.

We’ve also had a couple of male pheasants chasing each other around our garden, on a daily basis. Prime pheasant territory.  I watched as one shuffled the other under our front gate and down the drive to the road. They were out of sight by then, but I fear a sinister purpose

In the kitchen

Monday was St David’s Day, so we had Welsh cakes over the weekend. A batch of traditional ones and another with chocolate chips.

Also been making lots of fruit crumbles using the strawberry pie fillers I canned back in the autumn. I am a convert. Each time I pop one of the jars, the strawberries are as fresh and sweet smelling as the day I sealed them up. Blows my mind each time.

Bought a new 16kg sack of bread flour and opened it this week. I’ve got into a rhythm of baking sourdough every other day. It barely makes it to the next day, with everyone home. I love the simplicity of the basic ingredients: flour, sourdough starter, salt and water.

I do love getting creative, with meals and snacks, running up to our monthly supermarket shop. I made raspberry and lemon shortbread, using the last of my freeze dried raspberry cake sprinkles. It was delicious.

What we’ve been watching

I haven’t updated this one for a while. We watched Greenland, which was absolutely amazing. I don’t think I have ever watched anything that has kept me on the edge of my chair, with my heart racing, for the whole film. Next day, we were all revising our career choices, so we had a chance of being picked for the bunker. Anyone else watched it?

This week, we’ve been watching Once upon a Time. It’s been a great way to entice the older teens out of their rooms in the evening for family viewing. Youngest thinks it’s cheesy, but you can’t win them all. It is easy watching with enough twists to keep us speculating between each viewing.


Coming to the end of everyone being home. Back to school starts next week. Middle Teen is to have her first Covid Test on Tuesday and back to school on Wednesday. We should find out the school’s strategy for the GCSE exams that day too. Youngest Teen has to wait until Friday for his test and then he’s back on the following Monday. It’s going to be strange without them around. Sometimes I sit up in their rooms working, to keep them company. I’m going to miss it.

Uniforms have been bought, as they have both grown taller. Just need to sort out tracksuit bottoms for Youngest and we should be ready. I swear Youngest has grown taller at a faster rate than his hair has grown longer. He is almost the same height as his oldest sister and me now. Could it be all the sourdough? He desperately needs a haircut too, but that won’t happen.

I’m going to bury my head in gardening and sewing, this weekend. Next week is going to feel very different, with back to school happening. Most of me hopes that this is the last of their disrupted schooling. I have enjoyed our days all together and there is part of me that wishes it would carry on. We’ve made it work. Fixed problems as they’ve surfaced, but I know we are fortunate, and lots of others are struggling, so I will embrace this next stage.

Joining in with lovely Anne’s Word of the Week. My word is spring.

Word of the Week linky

20 thoughts on “Spring – word of the week

  • Friday 5 March, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    I have never heard of listening to trees with a stethoscope. How interesting.
    It felt like spring had arrived here last week but this week has felt more like winter. Hmmf.
    That is an amazing photo of the sparrowhawk. He really was brave.
    It sounds like the pie fillers are working well and the fruit crumbles sound so good.
    Good luck with the return to school. I can’t wait until Monday just to have a little peace. x

    • Saturday 6 March, 2021 at 7:08 pm

      Winter and spring do hop about each other. My tulips started to open and then had second thoughts when the temperature dropped. Hope back to school goes well for you too.

  • Saturday 6 March, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Spring is such a lovely word for the week. I never knew you could hear sap rising in trees. I’m definitely going to have to take a stethoscope next time we visit Jessica’s forever bed and listen to the trees around there. How amazing to get so close to the sparrowhawk and capture such a beautiful photo. I love that the strawberry pie fillers are still just as fresh and sweet-smelling as when you filled the jars. Hope the return to school goes well. #WotW

    • Saturday 6 March, 2021 at 7:01 pm

      I hope you find a good tree to listen to. Hardwoods are the best. Not sure how active they will sound at the moment, but definitely worth a try. Hope back to school goes well for you.

  • Saturday 6 March, 2021 at 10:39 am

    I’ve never been listened to a tree with a stethoscope but I’m sorely tempted now. Sadly the trees at the bottom of my garden are behind a big fence so if I did it would have to be somewhere public. I saw your story of the sparrowhawk, some birds do seem fearless, we get some in our garden taunting the cats. I’m not looking forward to the return to school for a million reasons. The Little Man is so excited to be going back though, so I will pretend to be excited for him. I have loved having all of them at home all the time.
    I’m so jealous of all your baking, although I did throw some ingredients in the bread machine yesterday and made a fresh loaf of bread. It really wasn’t any effort though.

    • Saturday 6 March, 2021 at 6:59 pm

      The birds are so busy at the moment and they are fearless. I have images of you hugging a tree to cover up listening to the sap. It’s good that Little Man is excited. I hope it goes well for him. Homemade bread from the breadmaker totally counts. Nothing beats the smell of freshly baked bread.

  • Saturday 6 March, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    I too have never listened to trees with a stethoscope, if I had one I’d finish typing this and head out! Love the photo of the sparrowhawk, beautiful looking bird. Your baking looks delicious! I loved Once Upon A Time! watched all seven seasons, some were better than others. My two are looking forward to going back, though I will miss them, my shopping bill will be very relieved! LOL!

    • Saturday 6 March, 2021 at 6:35 pm

      Ha! I might have inadvertently started a new craze. Might have to get another stethoscope myself. Once Upon A Time has been good escapism. It does seem to vary between series. I don’t think I’ll save much when they are properly back at school. They make up with snacks when they get back. 😆

  • Sunday 7 March, 2021 at 7:00 pm

    I love the concept of using a stethoscope to listen to the tree sap rising. I’ve learned something new!
    The photo of the sparrowhawk is amazing, it’s so nice to be able to get up close to nature.
    Loved having a homely catch up with you. Always enjoy popping over here. x

    • Tuesday 9 March, 2021 at 11:58 am

      The sparrowhawk encounter was very special. Previous ones have been far more cautious of me.

  • Monday 8 March, 2021 at 11:54 am

    I’ve never heard of listening to trees to hear sap rising. Sounds amazing – now I need a stethoscpe! #MMBC

    • Tuesday 9 March, 2021 at 12:01 pm

      Just another way to connect to nature. I’m looking forward to finding a rotting log and listening to the insects under the bark, this year.

  • Monday 8 March, 2021 at 2:12 pm

    Your garden sounds delightful. I love the stethoscope story! I hope the kids adjust to being back at school okay. #MMBC

    • Tuesday 9 March, 2021 at 12:21 pm

      It’s going to be strange without them.

  • Tuesday 9 March, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    We had a red tailed hawk that let us get incredibly close one summer’s day! It is so neat when that happens as it so rarely does. My boys are all growing like weeds too and I think any day now I will officially be the shortest one in the family as I am eye to eye with my youngest.. Hope the back to school goes well!

    • Tuesday 9 March, 2021 at 3:16 pm

      It is such a wonderful experience when one of these magnificant wild birds allow you near them.

  • Thursday 11 March, 2021 at 1:19 am

    What an interesting post! You can hear the sap rising in trees with a stethoscope? I am ordering one tonight. I want to do that with my grandchildren. That photo of the sparrowhawk is amazing! I have certainly never been that close to a wild hawk. He is beautiful! I am now reading H is For Hawk, but that is a story about a goshawk. They look like sparrowhawks, only bigger. I make sourdough bread or rolls once or twice a week. So satisfying. I add a little bit of honey to the recipe you use.

    • Sunday 14 March, 2021 at 5:30 pm

      I like the idea of a bit of honey. I might just give that one a go.

  • Saturday 13 March, 2021 at 7:46 am

    I never knew you can hear sap in trees. I feel like this is something we need to experience. Perhaps I should make a bucket list for next year. I’m not sure if I have heard of Greenland. I will have to do a search. I got into Once Upon A Time after the last lockdown. I absolutely loved it full of twists and turns. I felt one group of characters had to be added due to a film being so popular! Also, the last season is more of a miss than a hit #WotW

    • Sunday 14 March, 2021 at 5:40 pm

      Greenland was amazing. Not an award winner, but it really was a good watch.

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