We have a relatively bare garden, with a large expanse of neglected mossy lawn, a few bushes (one jasmin, a row of lilacs, and several unidentified bushes) and several cherry trees. The cherry trees totally dominate the garden. There’s a large one at the back and another one at the front, and both are about as tall as the whole building. A third, smaller one has been added to the front side more recently.

In the photos we saw when we were buying the house, the trees were in bloom and looked quite stunning. Now the flowers have become cherries, and quite good ones. Smallish, tart rather than sweet, but with a rich taste. We’ve been sorting through the fallen ones and picking the ones we can reach from a step ladder, but many of the ripest ones, shiny and plump and almost black, remain tantalisingly out of reach.

Ingrid likes cherries, although she hasn’t quite figured out that the best ones are darkest. She takes whichever one is closest to her. She’s generally understood that one spits out the pits, but when she’s in a hurry she sometimes eats the pits, too. Other times, when I remind her to spit it out, she spits out half the cherry. More practice is in order, I think.

Birds like our cherries, too. When I go out into the garden I often scare off a pigeon or two who’ve been eating in the tree. (And then they leave large blue blobs of bird shit behind them.) We also have a lot of magpies around here, but they mostly fly around and make a lot of noise – I’m not sure if they eat any cherries. Blackbirds and sparrows are also frequent visitors, and some woodpeckers, too. One of our bedroom windows has a pigeon-shaped imprint since one of them hit it head on, and a woodpecker hit a veranda window from the inside (having flown in but then gotten confused about the way out).

The garden is home to lots of snails. They come out after rain and congregate on top of the root cellar. I wonder where they hide when it’s dry?

There is also at least one hedgehog in the neighbourhood, as I saw it potter along a hedgerow one afternoon, and deer. The deer are not the least bit shy, and one morning Eric saw one standing in the garden when he got up. They’re generally reviled by garden owners since they eat the leaves off all kinds of plants (including tulips and strawberries) and probably strip the bark off bushes in winter, but since we have nothing but grass, they’re welcome to stay here for now.