We moved to our ‘Family Home’ a little over a year ago now. We used to live in a chocolate box, 1900’s stone built cottage, wedged along a cobbled street. It was tiny. Beautiful, a perfect starter home but far too small for a family of four. So small in fact, that when people came to view it, we had to hide most of the kids toys in our cars and park them a street away, but shhh!

We’ve done various projects in the new house throughout the first year, but for the past couple of months we’ve been renovating the garden. The ‘before’ consisted mostly of low red brick walls, pebbles, paving slabs at varying levels with steps and corners everywhere. I’d say a toddler nightmare, but they were quite happy – it was me that was in a nightmare. I was following them around franticly saying “Careful”, “steady”, my arms outstretched ready to catch them. All the while envisaging hospital trips where they had chunks missing from their little heads where they’d inevitably fallen and hit a corner.

Our aim in the revamp was to have a level-ish garden, with no deadly corners or serious trip hazards. This has meant a lot of digging, three skips full worth of digging. I have regularly blasted out the Gnomes’ theme from Ben & Holly “Dig, dig, dig, in a garden blah blah blah” (Ok, so I don’t know ALL the words). The point to this whole tale is that with all the time and hard work it’s taken, I’m very proud of the each part of the garden as we finish it. So imagine my horror as I see one of the plants in my new flowerbed has been devoured almost overnight.

I was furious and began my hunt for the horrid little beasts that had been so greedy. Exactly how many slugs and snails was I going to have to get rid of?! My mood changed the minute I spotted them….

Squidge was almost as excited as me. She observed them closely for quite some time. She kept finding more and more and pointing them out to me. We talked about the story ‘The very hungry caterpillar’ and how these caterpillars definitely were very hungry because they’d eaten so many leaves and were still munching!

Eventually Squidge plucked up the courage to gently pick one from the plant. She put him in her palm and watched carefully as he crawled around. She didn’t want him to get hungry so she pulled off a leaf for him to eat. She wanted to go get him a drink from the kitchen, so I explained how they got everything they needed from the plant (I didn’t want a drowning on my hands, or caterpillars in my kitchen to be honest).

Squidge got more and more confident handling the caterpillars and before long she had several in her hands at once. We counted them carefully and this prompted Squidge to sing a new version of one of her favourite number rhymes “Five little caterpillars jumping on the bed….”.

At one point one of the caterpillars did indeed fall off (there are no confirmed reports as to whether he bumped his head). Squidge was very dramatic and exclaimed “The birds will eat him, I can’t watch”. This has sprung from previous conversations as to why worms might like to hide under the soil and why we should put them back in a safe place after we’ve handled them. They really do listen to everything we say – even when we think they’re not paying attention.

Squidge spent the majority of the afternoon playing with the caterpillars. It was wonderful to see her be so gentle and nurturing towards these tiny creatures. Her face in the pictures say it all. Before bed that night she chose to read both copies of ‘The very hungry caterpillar’ by Eric Carle. The original and the finger puppet book.

To follow up from this I’d like to do some fruit printing linked to Eric Carle’s book. I’ll definitely try get some counting out of it, but won’t let it dictate or distract from the fun of printing. If the weather stays nice we’ll go for the big roll of paper in the garden, or the new easel. We’ll also keep observing the caterpillars and see if we can see them making their cocoons. Exciting times at Squidge and Boo!

Thanks for reading,

Love Cat & Squidge xx

We linked up for this blog with #CountryKids and #SharetheBlogLove

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Dear Bear and Beany

  • Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope) (June 25, 2016)

    I think this is the second post in countrykids about moving to a bigger house! I am so jealous! We live in a small house with no garden and this is what I dream of. A garden and the enevr ending list of plants and blooms that you can grow in it. Plus the chance for my son to have discove mini beast like your daughter.

    Shes such a cutie and looks like shes warming up to the caterpillars =) #countrykids

    • Cat (June 25, 2016)

      We’re very lucky. A garden was one of the big things on the list when we were house hunting. We’ve still loads to do inside the house, but having space (indoors and out) has made such a difference to us.
      I hope you get your dream home one day too xxx

  • Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too (June 26, 2016)

    She looks like she had fun, and so brave to hold the caterpillars. My son has just been learning all about caterpillars at school

    • Catherine Varley (June 27, 2016)

      She really did. She got got more and more brave as the day wore on. She’s become a mini mummy to them over the week. She even had them all over her slide this morning – thankfully not pushing them down it! xx

  • Anna (June 27, 2016)

    Such gorgeous photos. I love how much learning and exploring is just waiting to be discovered in the garden. I saw a lovely activity for the hungry caterpillar where you print the body parts using balloons. Our garden was full of injuries waiting to happen when we moved in too. It’s so rewarding when you finish a project out there isn’t it? #CountryKids

    • Cat (June 27, 2016)

      Thanks Anna! I’ve been Pinning lots of Hungry Caterpillar ideas and I think I’ve seen the one you mean. I love being outdoors, you couldn’t stop them learning, even if you wanted to!
      I’m so happy we’re almost finished in the garden, it’s all finally coming together. Just in time to enjoy it for the summer 🙂

  • Alison (June 27, 2016)

    Caterpillars ate my cabbages last year and I let them as I like them. It is lovely when you can use nature as a teaching experience. Glad you are enjoying the garden

    • Cat (June 27, 2016)

      I wonder where the hierarchy for insects comes from… Caterpillars and ladybirds – Yes, Slugs and snails – No!
      We are loving the new garden, we’ve been out everyday so far 🙂 x

  • Fiona - Coombe Mill (June 27, 2016)

    The new house and flat garden sound like a parenting dream. How wonderful to walk outside and not worry about steps and sharp corners. Reading your post and seeing your lovely photos reminds me that we still haven’t managed a bug hunt yet this year. I’ll have to sort that, they are such fun, and snail races too. I have plenty chomping through my greenhouse to use!

    Thank you for sharing your garden minibeasts on #CountryKids

    • Cat (June 27, 2016)

      My garden is now officially my happy place! No more running after them, they’re free! Snail races… I had completely forgotten about them. We will have to do one, we find so many of them in the garden. We actually found a frog the other day when moving the wendy house. Hubs is not a fan – so it was my job to chase it off the patio. Always loved frogs! Seasoned tadpole rearer 🙂

  • Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One (June 27, 2016)

    How exciting, even if little annoying as a gardener. We’ve just reared butterflies and my son would love to find caterpillars in the garden #CountryKids

    • Cat (June 27, 2016)

      I can forgive caterpillars, I don’t know why! Maybe I should be more sympathetic to slugs and snails?! Hmmmm…. 🙂

  • Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One (June 27, 2016)

    How exciting, even if little annoying as a gardener. We’ve just reared butterflies and my son would love to find caterpillars in the garden #CountryKids

  • Karen (June 28, 2016)

    I like that you got over the fact your plant got eaten pretty quick when tryouts found all the caterpillars! What a great outdoor learning experience! #countrykids

    • Cat (June 28, 2016)

      Thank you! It’s much easier to forgive caterpillars than slugs for some reason! 🙂

  • Mommy's Little Princesses (June 28, 2016)

    Awww what a sweet post, I think it’s fabulous that so much good came out of it in the end. Squidge is just so adorable and ever so brave! Xx #countrykids

    • Cat (June 28, 2016)

      Thank you 🙂 I completely agree with all of the above xxx

  • Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons (June 30, 2016)

    What a lovely way to make the best of a bug infestation! I completely relate to the garden fears – we moved into our house nearly 3 years ago and the top priority last year was to get rid of the pond before my son started walking! I’m so pleased we got it done (although it was a massive job!) as I can now relax and let him potter around the garden without constantly trailing after him. You’ve inspired me to go on a bit of a bug hunt – snails are my garden’s problem, so I’m sure we’ll find a few! Thanks so much for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove – I really hope we’ll see you again next week!

    • Cat (June 30, 2016)

      Thanks for popping by Katy – Blog Royalty 🙂
      Someone reminded me about snail races, if you find lots you’ll have to have a one! xx

  • Jo from Organised Jo (June 30, 2016)

    Love the photos and your little one looking like she really was enjoying her time with the caterpillars. I look forward to hearing more about the work you will be doing in the garden. X #sharingthebloglove

    • Cat (June 30, 2016)

      We’re almost finished Jo! I just wish I’d known when we started that I’d be blogging about it and I’d have taken much better photos! xx

  • Melody (June 30, 2016)

    Aaaah what a lovely post. Garden is out favourite spot too. I am loving your photos, your little girls is ever so brave. xx

    • Cat (June 30, 2016)

      Thank you! She really is, in so many ways 🙂 x

  • Laura - dear bear and beany (July 3, 2016)

    Gorgeous photos of your little one. I worry a lot about my youngest daughter Holly in the garden, she is just fearless and into everything, so very different from Alice. I know that Alice would have loved this too and she is definitely the caring one to nurture creatures. Thank you for linking up to #SharingtheBlogLove x

    • Cat (July 3, 2016)

      Thank you for having a look 🙂
      My two are also completely different! Squidge is getting more and more into creatures. We spent last night at her Grandma’s birthday party and she more or less took half the family out one by one to see a ‘massive’ slug she had found. She was still talking about it before bed. Just hoping I don’t ever find any in her pockets!


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