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
As we're all inside right now in an effort to slow down the spread of Coronavirus; the timing seems very auspicious for a bit of a Spring Clean. This article won't focus on de-cluttering since it is probably unwise or indeed impossible to donate items to charities right now ... and besides, I'm one of those people that keeps everything! However, with all the extra cleaning products that many bought in order to keep their families and homes safe and free from the virus; a deep cleaning is indeed possible for some ... whether or not I will do one; remains to be seen! The zest for cleaning right now is brought about from the hope of eradicating an invisible foe; any and all traces of this terrible virus, that if missed, can cause sickness. Ironically, there is a likening here to one of the goals of magic - which is to replace bad energy with good energy. Both the virus and magic are invisible, but both exist.
I think this year I will focus instead on a simple, slow, yet thorough Spring Cleaning ... liberally sprinkled with magic intended to remove bad energy and replace it with good energy.
Wash it and make it yours: (Element - Water)
Most of us are spending lots of time disinfecting and cleaning groceries and other packages received at our homes at this time. There is a magical, as well as prosaic, premise to this. The Coronavirus is invisible but it can be likened to the "bad energy" that we are doing our very best to remove with disinfectants and lots of soap and water.
This isn't new for me as I buy lots of used and vintage items. I always take the time to wash, repair and mend my new treasures. If I can lather my purchase up with soap and completely immerse it in water ... or put it through a washing machine, I do. For delicate figurines, I often use an old toothbrush and Q-tips to clean into all the little crevices. Clothing is washed and any tiny repairs made. The magic in this process is that by cleaning, repairing or altering an item; I know I have made the item mine. I feel that I have removed all traces of its prior ownership. The dirt (visible) is removed and the vibes and any germs (invisible) are likewise removed.
Windows, sunlight & prisms: (Element - Air)
A big facet of magic is changing your outlook and improving your circumstances. One quick and easy way to improve your "outlook" is to clean your windows. Give all of your windows a good clean inside and out; at least those that you can safely reach. This provides an immediate positive change to your ability to "look out" on the world, as there is little as depressing as gorgeous sunshine struggling through a dirty window (and revealing all the smudges). Clean them and let the sun shine in - literally. If this is heavy work for you; just clean one window a day - with the amount of time we may have to stay isolated, there should be time enough for all of those windows to sparkle!
If you have some prisms going spare, now is the time to hang them up and lure some good light energy into your home. Don't have a prism and are avoiding the store? Take a look in your jewellery box - many earrings, pendants or crystal bead necklaces reflect the light beautifully. Maybe you have a cut crystal tumbler, wine glass or bowl. Experiment with what you have around the house by holding the item into the sun's rays and see what good vibes you can catch and reflect around your magical home!
Rugs, incense and a magical journey: (Element - Fire)
If you are fortunate enough to have a Persian rug (or any other richly patterned or pretty rug), first start by giving it a good vacuum. Take that wool beauty outside and beat it with a broom or rug beater if you have one. Then take the time to sit down on your newly cleaned carpet, light some incense or a scented candle (in a fire safe holder of course) and go back in time with one of the "Tales from the Arabian Nights". If you have a small child to read aloud stories of magic - that's a very special bonus. Afterwards, close your eyes, let your mind wander and see where your travels take you on your very own magic flying carpet. Since we likely won't be boarding a plane for quite some time, you could also use your carpet whenever you want to visit the lands and places you are missing.
Note: Make sure you inspect your rug for any indication of moths. If you find any damage, and the rug is expensive or dear; it pays to get a professional assessment. If the rug is not valuable, take it outside and give it an extra deep vacuum, top and bottom. When you return it to your home, sprinkle with lavender and/or place cedar wood liberally on the carpet. Continue this process every few days.
Clear the air: (Element - Air & Fire)
Don't forgot to open all those doors and windows! Pick a nice sunny and breezy Spring day if you get one. The air in your home gets stagnant and there you have that heavy, negative energy. Just like magic, you can't see poor air, but you can feel its effects. A good airing out of your home with honest-to-goodness fresh air helps to get rid of indoor air pollutants, stale food odours and moisture. This is especially important in bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms as well as any shut or closed rooms. Let the carbon dioxide out and the oxygen in! Your living room probably smells heavenly now from that excursion on your magic flying carpet so extend that to the rest of your home by burning incense, scented candles or doing a sage smudging. (Note: Always use proper fireproof holders when burning any incense or smudges and do not leave candles or other lit items unattended.)
The goal of a Spring Clean is usually to clean every room - top to bottom. To polish furniture, wash curtains and windows, shake out and turn rugs and mattresses, wash floors, clear clutter ... and well, wash and wipe down everything else! This year, I'm focusing on priority cleaning of items and surfaces - to try and keep us safe from the virus and to remove that "bad energy". At the same time, I'm utilizing some of the magical tricks and tips in this article to infuse as much "good energy" into our home as I can.
Flowers: (Element - Earth)
Last but not least, don't forget to enjoy Mother Nature and bring in some new Spring flowers from your garden or rare walks outside. The beauty of nature and the aroma of flowers are among the top magical additions that are sure to bring good energy into your home.
Important Note: Nothing in this article should be construed as advice on protecting yourself from COVID19 (the Coronavirus). Follow the advice of your local health authorities.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2020
May is such a magical month that the appearance of fairies in your garden should come as no surprise! Even the staunchest disbeliever must do a double take when ... apple, pear or cherry blossoms float and swirl though the air, fresh new leaves rustle in the wind or the sun shimmers and gleams in nooks and crannies in the garden. All these subtle happenings can be evidence of fairy activity ...
Here are 3 simple ways to attract fairies to your garden:
This is a biggie because fairies are like songbirds. They love trees as this gives them little branches to cling to, or big branches for swinging and leaves to hide behind. Not to mention that their older cousins, the Dryads, will often tell them stories at night about ancient times and places. Plant lots of perennial flowers that will magically sprout up in the Spring, year after year, without any extra work on your part - bluebells, tulips, daffodils, forget-me-nots, Jack Frost, Lily-of-the-Valley, foxgloves - your garden will be alive with colour and sweet scents that attract the birds, bees, butterflies ... and fairies!
And for some fun, blow some bubbles from a bubble wand! There is something magical about bubbles floating gently on the breeze ... and the fairies will be sure to notice.
Accept the magical world around you and welcome it into your garden. It doesn't matter how big or small it is. Whether you are charmed with a "back 40", a fantastically witch-y cottage garden, a "postage stamp" city plot or even an apartment balcony; you can always add in a little bit of nature - usually more than you think once you get started! Prepare to be amazed at how special life becomes when your home becomes a safe haven for fairies to congregate and play.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018 / edited 2020
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
The beautiful Spring weather has finally arrived in Meadow Sweet Grove. Warm air, beautiful blossoms, chirping birds ... the garden is beckoning! But, looking around, the house is a mess, and really, really needs its annual Spring cleaning. The rain made it so hard for the fairies to take carpets outside to beat and to wash linens and air them on the line ... and now is the time to do these things! But the garden is so enchanting with so much life showing and it needs attention too ... what to do? Time to call in the helpful house fairies!
Brownies and Elves, The Helpful House Fairies
Drowning in clutter? Too many things to clean and scrub and make fresh now that Spring is here? The helpful Brownie or House Elf can come to your rescue. Brownies loves to keep things neat and tidy and they are relatively cheap to employ. A little milk, bread and honey (maybe the odd shiny trinket or coin) and they are happy and content. Remember never, ever to thank them (they don't like that). Just leave your offering in a little wee dish and they will always be by your side.
Here is my quick summary of "the brownie story" from The Brownie Handbook:
"The Wind sighed and the Owl wondered why. Spring had come to Canada so why not be glad? The Wind explained to the Owl that the house below the pines had a Mother, Father, Grandmother and two little girls. Everyone worked hard except the two little girls. The Wind, in consultation with the Owl, decided to blow a breeze in the window; "What a lovely breeze!" Grandmother said as she sat in her rocker sewing. "I smell violets and mayflowers!" "Let's go and pick some Jane," Mary said. "Maybe we can go paddling in the creek, too." Grandmother frowned, "But you haven't made your beds yet, and the breakfast dishes are still on the table." "Oh, Mother will look after those when she comes in from the garden" ... and so it goes on. Grandmother tells the girls about long ago, in her childhood, when she first heard of the Brownies, those friendly little elves who used to come in the night to her Highland home to help with the chores. She remembers hearing them clattering in the kitchen late at night. Mary and Jane are surprised that Grandmother actually heard little fairies and of course want to know if she'd ever actually seen them. Grandmother explained that no, that was part of the magic, they worked quietly, saw what needed to be done and did it without being told.
Mary and Jane aren't sure that these Brownies could exist in Canada as well but Grandmother explains that the Owl outside probably knows those answers.
So Mary goes out in the moonlight and calls into the darkness of the pine branches. To which the Owl answers, "Whoooo?" Mary introduces herself and asks if he has ever seen any Brownies that might help out Mother, Father and Grandmother with all the housework. He instructs her to go and stand by the big toadstool in the moonlight, by the side of the pond, turn around three times (the magic number) and say, "Twist me and turn me and show me the elf, I looked in the water and there saw ..."
And that's the magic - the answer is in ourselves ... but I'm going to leave out a little milk, bread and honey anyway just in case. ;)
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
St. Patrick's Day is on its way in Meadow Sweet Grove and the fairies are celebrating! There's lots of singing, dancing, green mead and shamrock sugar cookies to go around. Of course, the hunt is also on to find those lucky four-leaf clovers before the mortals stumble across them. We have a special incentive to do so - it is said if you find a four-leaf clover, you will be gifted with the power to see fairies ....
Combine dry ingredients. Cream the butter and sugar together in a separate bowl. Beat the egg, milk and vanilla into the wet ingredients. Sift and add dry mixture a bit at a time and mix well. Shape dough into a ball, cover bowl and chill until firm.
Meanwhile, grease or line cookie sheets. Preheat oven to 375°. Roll out chilled dough to about 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with shamrock or clover shaped cookie cutters and place on cookie sheets.
Bake for about 7 minutes until edges are a very light brown.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2020 & 2021 & 2022
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