"I want to plant seeds, but can we do it without learning?"
"Sure!" I said, but I'm still wondering where she got that idea from. We don't actually sit down and do any structured *learning* as such, so maybe it's something she's heard on the TV and assumes must be true. Or maybe I made the mistake of once saying: "See? Learning is fun!" which, admittedly, does give it the kiss of death somewhat, doesn't it? (*Rolls eyes @ self..*)
So. To plant seeds without doing any learning. Nothing educational at all. Sure. No problem.
"Ok. So, which shall we plant."
"Flowers. These." She picks up a packet of cornflower seeds.
"Oh, beautiful. Which pots shall we put them in?"
"The window boxes, so I can see them from my PC."
"Good idea. But how big do they grow? Oh - 75cm. That's very tall. You wouldn't see much else out of your window if we planted those there."
"How do you know they grow so tall?"
"It says so on the packet." I pointed. She agreed that it did say that.
"But," she asked, "How long is 75cm?" We got out a tape measure and looked to see how long it was, and went to the window with the tape measure to see how far up that would be. Lyddie then agreed that cornflowers would be too big for that position.
She checked through our stock of flower seed packets, looking to see which others she liked. "These then," she said, picking out night-scented stocks. "Let me see how tall they grow."
"30cm..." She checked on the tape measure, held it up to the window. "Yes that would be ok. Let's plant these. What does this say?"
"Full... sun. This window gets loads of sun, doesn't it? I have to keep closing the curtains to see my screen."
"Yes, I think it will be fine."
"What about this? Sow... March... Jun..."
"We have to plant them between March and June. The months."
"What month is this?"
"April. And it's ok, because the months go January, Febuary, March, April..." She started saying the months with me.
"Oh yes, April is fine! Right, let's get some soil."
So I filled up the pots with soil while she opened the seeds.
"How do I plant them?"
"It should tell us that on the back of the packet." I pointed at the relevant bit.
"4-6in apart. What does that mean?"
"Oh, those are inches. We're using centimetres. 10-15cm, look, it says that too."
"Why can't we use inches?"
"We can, but we used centimetres before so I thought we'd stick with centimetres. But we can use inches if you like." We got a ruler and saw how 10-15cm is the same as 4-6 inches. I explained, in passing, why we have both centimeters and inches in this country and how our uses of these measures have changed, even in my lifetime. Lyddie was planting the seeds, using the ruler to help with the spacings. She asked why the measurements had changed, so I tried to explain about the EU and how it had started out as a trade partnership and turned into a law-making body, like the government.
"Am I planting these seeds deep enough?"
"Let's check." We read the packet again and found they needed to be 'covered lightly with 0.5cm (quarter inch) of fine soil, firmed gently and kept moist. Seedlings appear in 14-21 days.'
"Oh, let's get the calendar and see when that will be," said Lyddie. We counted the days together from now to then, and wrote a reminder to check for the seedlings.
"Will you remember to water them?" I asked her.
"Of course!" she said. "I'll be able to see them all the time, so I won't forget."
We carried them outside, set them into place and went to get some water.
"I'm so glad we set this rainwater harvesting system up," I said. "I've always wanted an outside tap for watering plants."
She asked how it worked so I lifted her up so that she could see how the water collects in the gutter and runs down the pipe.
"When we build the new house I'm hoping to get all our washing and toilet-flushing water from the rain."
"Of course!" said Lyddie. "Because it falls for free from the sky, doesn't it?"
We had quite a chat then about reservoirs, water companies, rates and meters, while we watered the seeds. Then we went inside.
"Did we do that without learning then?"
Lyddie looked at me as if I was a bit dim. "Of course we did," she said. "It was just planting. No learning at all."
"Oh good," I said.