Whether it's been the three weeks of Springwatch and Unsprung, or the fact that I've been reading Fingers in the Sparkle Jar, today I had an urge. Don't worry, I haven't been eating tadpoles, listening to 80s music or indulging in 70s retro clothing, but whilst mowing our plot this afternoon, I was musing about the relative uses of the habitat in our garden.
There's lots of grass and weeds, in various sizes from XS to XXXL, all trying to cater for different creatures, so that there's a bit for everybody.
Then it dawned on me, what this problem needs is a pie chart.
A quick sketch, some rough calculations, numbers fed into a spreadsheet and voilà!
So, in habitat terms, most of Tense Towers is a longer than average sward, peppered with buttercups and daisies. Then comes the 'lawn', which is the bit at the front, seen from the lounge window and consequently mown to a trim 5cm.
Both of these grassy areas are frequented by House Sparrows, Starlings and Common Gulls, searching for invertebrates.
The hard standing where our cars are parked (and rock and wood are piled up, waiting for some inspiration on my part) is very much the least hard working of our habitats. There may be all sorts tucked away in the rock piles, mind.
The house is home to two humans, a family of House Sparrows (obvs) and about 14 billion Woodlice.
The uncut grass is our wildlife triangle, not as hoped a sea of cornfield annuals, but also containing the usual thugs: docks, nettles and thistles. This is only cut once a year, so will probably attain a height of a metre, even in an Orcadian gale. It does provide plenty of seeds for overwintering finches.
The smallest habitat unit contains our trees, various clumps of species that have not, as yet, grown taller than the uncut grass. Hopefully, their time will come.
Sharing the honour of tiniest habitat is a patch of short sward, 3cm at most, which consistently proves to be an absolute magnet for an Oystercatcher or two. We stand at the window, watching in amazement as those long beaks wreak havoc on the local worm population.