It is the last day of the merry, merry month of May and the little fairies in the Grove are busy packing up the maypole and ribbons and storing them away for another year. One day this May, a few callous humans happened to spot the fairies at their dance. They informed the fairies that their dance, although old, was now symbolic of conquest and power and an evil group of people. To this the fairies stared at each other in astonishment (although with a certain amount of sage recognition as well) ... and then burst into laughter at the ignorance of the humans' comments. They merrily continued their communal dance around the sacred maypole chanting (in the immortal words of their kin Robin Goodfellow) - "What fools these mortals be!"
Fairies are immortal. And eternally young. They do what they do and disregard the foolish folly of mortals. They have danced since the beginning of time and have seen holidays come and go, wax and wane. They have seen maypoles torn down and burned in small villages; only to be joyously erected in others. They have seen May Day processions outlawed, only to cover their faces in masks and hold their festivities at night. And they celebrate in private, in their sacred groves and await the time when their dancing will once again herald the joyous beginning of summer. It would seem that "so it has been and so it will always be". Long live May Day!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2019
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
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018 / edited 2019 & 2021
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018 / edited 2019 & 2020 & 2023
But the fairies, who live in a separate realm, don't worry about these little things and intuitively know with whom they are sharing their garden space. For this reason, we have let the many folk names for flowers prevail in the Grove.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017/edited 2021 (gif courtesy of animatedimages.org)
What an incredible Summer Solstice we are having here at Meadow Sweet Grove! Bright, beautiful sun, strong warm breezes - perfect for drying laundry and . . . the magical appearance of a fairy ring in the garden! This is a really grand compliment as fairy rings (rings of mushrooms) only appear in places that the fairies themselves have chosen as a desirable place for their evening revels and dancing. In fact, the little toadstools are evidence that a merry dance has already taken place. For wherever the fairies dance; the mushrooms are said to appear.
The fairy ring marks a special, distinct space from the human world. It is often seen as a gateway to fairyland or another dimension where the fairies will keep you for a year and a day. We can't usually see what (or who) is inside the fairy circle ... when we look in from the outside. And if a fey beckons us to join in the dance - do we dare go in?
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2021
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2022
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 new growth and greenery, where he is always the happiest ...
Finally, a gnome atop his new wishing well home (dry as a bone) and a fairy, trapped under ice all winter, has been returned to the Grove.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / 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
Yes, it's still raining in Meadow Sweet Grove (and even hailing!) The fairies are adamant, however, that the old adage will hold true; "April Showers bring May flowers". And there certainly are hopeful signs and sounds of Spring in the Grove. Robins, jays, chickadees, flickers and even hummingbirds have returned, in droves, and are flitting about and singing their sweet spring symphonies. Hurrah for Spring!
Despite the seemingly never-ending rain, there are signs of Spring all around. From the early morning birdsong to the daffodils, crocuses, snowdrops, pansies and grape hyacinth that are all blooming in spite of the rain and cold. Even the fruit trees have taken advantage of the slightest bit of sun and warmth to nurture their desire to bloom! They now have teeny, tiny leaves and hints of small buds or blossoms. Still, this year's late, cold and rainy Spring is much more somber than last year's early and cheerful Spring.
In keeping with tradition, and in an effort to encourage Spring along, the fairies are happy to lend some outdoor space to the Easter Bunny, who knows so well that Spring always comes no matter; "Whether the weather!". He is cheerfully painting as many eggs as he possibly can before the much-anticipated Easter morning.
We can help Spring along too by placing little hopeful reminders throughout the house such as: a vase of flowers, some painted eggs, pretty flowered teacups or lovely little figurines of bunnies, lambs and chicks. Welcome Spring!
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
Last week at Meadow Sweet Grove the fairies shared their penchant for a daily tea break. And what goes better with a tea, a coffee (or a glass of wine or spirits if you prefer) than a good book?
Each fairy in the Grove, no matter the size of home, cherishes their little library. While most true book lovers would love a library to rival the size of The Great Library of Alexandria, most of us have to be content with bookshelves and cases, over the doorway shelves and even piled up books on the floor and staircases if necessary!
Reading is universal because it doesn't matter what you are interested in ... there is sure to be a book (more like thousands) written on your favourite subject! When you're interested in something, you tend to devour everything and anything you can find on the matter. All written word has value, even if you don't agree with the author or if the sources are suspect. Often an author who has been sloppy in their research or draws too many conclusions without supporting facts, will nonetheless touch on a little known event or story that spurs you on a quest for more reliable information.
For example, the fairies have whispered to me that they are often misrepresented in books and that their stories have changed over time. This has encouraged me to seek out older and older sources of fairy tales, nursery rhymes, mythologies and even historical references that echo, essentially, the same story over and over, but quite often with juicier details ...
The more you read, the more you can discern what rings true for you. Your collection of books and articles grow, until you have a wee library, and become a mini authority on your pet subject. When all resources are exhausted, you start to develop your own theories ... and bemoan the loss of all the fantastic scrolls of ancient information that were lost when The Great Library of Alexandria was accidentally (and also more often, systematically) destroyed. C'est la vie ... though I wish 'tweren't so.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017
February - 3 o'clock to 5 o'clock - Time for Tea #aliceinwonderland #teatime #fairy #madhatter #marchhare
The English fairies in Meadow Sweet Grove carry the tradition of taking their tea at 4 o'clock every day. It provides a nice break in their busy days and a chance to catch up with their fellow fairies. It's a very social time and the fairies take turns sipping tea with the other fairies and woodland creatures who live in the Grove. Some take their whole evening meal at this time, some just have a tea or coffee, and still others like to have a small sweet with their tea.
A plate with a pretty, funky or unusual pattern is always fun to set out with some cookies, small pastries, chockies or savouries for guests. Whether you prefer a matching dinnerware set or a simple set with no pattern at all - tea time provides an opportunity to showcase a character plate. It doesn't have to match anything else because it is set out on its own as a single serving dish with goodies whilst sharing a cup of tea or coffee with a friend.
I always remember coming home for tea after school. My Dad would stop work to take a tea break around 4 o'clock - and then continue work for a couple hours before dinner. It wasn't until some years later that I realized that not everyone followed this tradition. But I suppose since my Great-Grandfather was British, it was just too entrenched in my family's routine (and too yummy!) not to continue. Good things tend to last. Just be wary of how long you spend at tea time. Remember the Mad Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse? Forever stuck at tea time ... maybe some things are best in small doses!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017
The dark time of the year is also one of the most festive. The fairies are busy readying their little homes to prepare for all the happy visits from friends and family ... and Santa Claus of course. After all, Jolly Old St. Nick wouldn't miss this chance to party with his kinfolk!
Most of us have some cherished decorations that we lovingly bring out and display for the whole Yuletide season. It's nice to bring in some of Mother Nature's evergreen decorations too such as pine, holly and cedar boughs to brighten our homes and remind us that the trees are only sleeping, and life is an everlasting cycle.
A lot of fairies have small homes and so it may seem silly to have dishes with Christmas motifs that can only be used once a year. While a full set of dishes might cramp their style (or storage spaces!), a single decorative serving plate or tray is a very pretty accent to set out with some cookies, nuts, candies or other Christmas fare.
The fairies in Meadow Sweet Grove have several of these special plates in their homes, stocked with yummy treats, to welcome anyone who might stop by ... especially the biggest elf of all - Santa!
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2016 / edited 2021
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