The weather is warm, the sun is shining, the crocuses are blooming and starting to outshine the snowdrops ... and the birds are singing! All this tells me that it must be Spring. So off comes the winter coat and scarf and on goes a light button-up sweater coat ... worn open. Suddenly, the next day is overcast, cold, drizzly and windy -- and the heavier apparel is required once again. Then the next day is sunny and noticeably warmer! So back and forth it goes until the end of March.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2021
Easter continues at Meadow Sweet Grove! How could it not with lovely fresh eggs, courtesy of our neighbours and their urban backyard chickens? The lovely hues of these eggs are their natural colours - so there was no need to dye these beauties for our Easter display. I think the glass egg cups (a great vintage score scouted out by my mother-in-law); provide the perfect pairing for this little trio.
Having these chickens so near (and occasionally since, the delightful opportunity to care for them) must have stirred something in my blood. I was born on a poultry farm but my parents decided to semi-retire and relocate when I was 3 years old. As such, I only have a few memories of the farm they owned and operated. But it got me to thinking that backyard chickens would be such a wonderful addition to the Grove. A small coop and run space really wouldn't take up too much room for just a few "hobby" chickens. But, unfortunately, our garden area is extremely limited right now and we are looking for a bit more room to add veggies ... not fowls!
Photos: c1970 - BC Poultry Farm, Canada
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018 /edited 2021
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018 / edited 2019 & 2021
Mom and Dad are bringing them here, of course, because it is such a good food source. It's touching how the little ones are now seemingly showing up on their own for breakfast ... but I notice that Mom or Dad, or sometimes both, are always watching from a little distance away (they are good parents). They caw to let the babies know that it is okay to go get the food. The caws sure change dramatically though when my little black and white cat sneaks out the door at the same time! However, I have been advised by a reliable Gnome in the Grove that maybe I shouldn't feed the babies too much.
The young ones do, however, need to learn to find food in other places too. So, I am rationing the food ... it's hard! Because they sit on the wires, and sometimes outside my window, with their little beaks open and waiting. I am finding the strength to do what is right. I only give them just enough at breakfast (and maybe a wee bit at dinnertime) to keep their little bellies hungry ... so that they go and search elsewhere.
Plus, it would seem that this fellow is attracted to any bits and pieces left-over. His stealthy little hands reach up to the "special spot" hoping to grab any forgotten food. And, as you can see, he is here, all hopeful, and it isn't even twilight yet! Okay I'll scale it back ... I promise.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2019
We've had a regular visitor to the Grove for about a year now. The fairies have benevolently bestowed upon him the title of "Crow Man". Since last summer, he comes often for a bit of bread or leftovers and now is very happy to wait, in his usual spot, outside the door nearest the kitchen where I can see him. After a while, he started bringing two friends with him, but by winter, they were gone, and he was just back to his lonely self again.
Pictured here with another resident of the Grove, St. Finnian, a cat with the heart and name of a saint. "Finn Man" gives Crow Man no trouble at all. While he's clearly interested in the visitor, the crow knows that he doesn't have too much to worry about from this one and will even come and fetch his breakfast with Finny close by! Now there is another little trouble-maker in the Grove that Crow Man has no patience for whatsoever. No love is lost between these two ... as you can see how this little feline reacts when he catches sight of anything feathered ... be it crow or any buzzing thing!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017
Meadow Sweet Grove has experienced a record downfall of rain this Spring. Most of the fairies are probably sitting by their little stoves and looking out longingly at their gardens. When they do go out, I imagine they dart for cover, hiding under handy toadstools along the way. Still, May is the perfect month to search for fairies that might be starting to play in the garden after those long winter months.
An absolute abundance of froggies! Well, it has been raining an awful lot ...
And even Robin Goodfellow, or Puck - as some know him - was found amongst the leaves ...
Finally, a gnome atop his new wishing well home (dry as a bone) and a fairy, trapped under ice all winter, returned to the Grove.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017
Lots of dramatic weather is at play in Meadow Sweet Grove this Easter with beautiful sunshine one moment ... and hammering hail the next! Soon the wind will come and scatter away the last of the cherry blossoms that have managed to withstand the hail. But never mind - Spring has sprung!
Like Spring weather, new beginnings aren't always gentle
On a Spring visit to England one year, we were fortunate enough to see a lambing at a farm in Yorkshire. It was an incredible bit of magic to happen upon. Amazing also was watching all the other sheep come over to inspect the two new little arrivals ... and their obvious empathy when one wasn't moving. Fortunately, help was on hand and soon he was happily received by his mama.
A Happy Easter Ending!
Maybe this is why illustrators in days gone by infused such charm and sweetness in their now-vintage renderings. Not the artist's attempt to deny or downplay the harshness of birth or life itself, but rather a celebration that life is very, very good indeed. The incredible uplifting feeling when a new life arrives. I think all those dear images of newborn animals to celebrate Easter, Spring and New Babies, were a way to express this hope and happiness, optimism and joy that they felt when watching new little ones experience the joy of life ... and those around them.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan, 2016 / edited 2019
This is a poem I wrote as an assignment for a writing class I took a few years back. It uses a lot of rhyming and is meant to be in "Shel Silverstein" style. I hope you like it.
The Right Stuff
The big white cat looked
Up from the fence,
At the old oak tree
Leaving leaves less dense.
The white cat said, to the Oak King,
"Halloween's here, hear me sing.
I can hiss and spit,
And flash my eyes,
Arch my back against a full moon sky.
I be as scary as a black cat be,
Now what do you think,
You old oak tree?"
Not a sound rolled around
From that ancient soul,
But between its leaves,
Stretched a cat of coal.
His eyes they glowed
Like yellow flames and
He bared sharp teeth,
With an aim to maim.
"Best leave to me,"
He said with a boast,
"And wait this out
Behind that post.
The children are coming up the path
And I've got the stuff to make them dash.
If they see you, "puss, puss" they'll say
And laugh and carry on their way.
Shamed, the white cat,
Slunk and hid
Behind the post
As he was bid.
But when those posers came quite near,
He thought around the post he'd peer,
Just to see the garb that night,
Of witches, skeletons and the like.
But those kids they screamed!
And fled in fright.
Trick or treat bags
Thrown left and right.
For rounding 'round that post they'd seen
A BIG WHITE GHOST !!
(or so it seemed.)
The taunting black cat,
Added a caterwaul,
Laughed to the white cat,
"You're the scariest of us all !!"
So that's the story of the two old cats
Who learned that night (and it's a fact)
That there's more than one way to skin a cat!
(if you'll pardon the expression)
© Vicki Buchanan, 2014, 2016, 2019
~ SHOP ~
Meadow Sweet Grove