By: Blonde Two

Mr. B2 and I have been busy in the garden. Once we had both (not at the same time) finished sleeping in our new tiny 6×3 shed, we filled it with shelves, filled the shelves with garden stuff, and set about dismantling the old shed.

Small garden, big heart

There was method in our madness, we have a small, north-facing garden and wanted to reclaim a bit more space for vegetable growing. We were keen though, not to waste the timber from the old shed so hatched a plan to use at least some of it to build a log store.

Garden spider identification

It was during the emptying of the existing shed that I realised very old garden buildings can be home to very large spiders. I generally don’t mind spiders outdoors, am ‘in charge’ of them when B1 and I go camping, and have great conversations with the ones that live (and hopefully eat bugs) in my greenhouse. However these were huge, hirsute and appeared hungry. To show a polite interest I tried a bit of amateur spider identification. I think our shed spiders were European garden spiders but I wasn’t brave enough to mention Brexit to them.

The woodlouse graveyard

As the day continued Mr. B2 made friends with the multi-generational spider shed family, and made a point of rehoming as many of them as possible. The number of woodlouse carcasses on the shed floor indicated a generous and plentiful lifestyle, so we hope the outdoor life hasn’t been too much of a shock for them.

Tigers to the wormery

We also rescued lots of worms from underneath the old log pile. Their new accommodation was slightly easier to find, earthworms to the garden, brandling  or tiger worms (little red ones) to the wormery. Apparently, you need at least 1,000 worms in a wormery. I’ve yet to work out how on earth I’m supposed to count them. Still at least my zoo has a few tigers!

Very slow leopards

Our zoo collection seemed complete after discovering the leopard slugs in the log pile. They joined their brothers and sister workers in the compost heap. I’ve observed leopard slugs before, they might be ugly but they do a great job of compost manufacture and, unlike some of their cousins, don’t seem particularly interested in my cabbages. I’ve since discovered that leopard slugs are great (but very slow) hunters, enjoy munching on other slugs, and have a few frightening copulation habits.

Many types of woodlouse

There was however one more family to add to our garden zoo manifesto. The monkey peas, slaters and chuggy pigs. In other words woodlice. These happily rehoused themselves but not before Mr. B2 had noticed how many different types there appeared to be. We are all used to the common shiny woodlouse but we appear to have several species, some with reddish armour.

From farmer to zoo-keeper

When I was given my second-hand wormery the paperwork suggested I was now a farmer tending my worm flock. What’s been really exciting is over the last week is to realise that we are both now zookeepers as well.

If you want to find out more about how you can encourage the wildlife in your garden I can really recommend Wildlife Kate’s blog. Apart from anything else, it has some fantastic photos of robins!