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
February 14th - St. Valentine's Day = Love
~ Save your scraps ~
Set aside a shoe box or large envelope and collect scraps throughout the year. Cut out beautiful pictures from magazines, cards, advertisements, tags, packaging, wrapping paper, stickers from address labels - you get the idea! Save little bits of ribbon from chocolate and nut packages, cut buttons off clothes too worn to donate and anything else you fancy. Once you get going, and truly look at everything in your hand before you drop it in the trash or recycling bin - you will be amazed at what you have available to you - for free!! Keep the scissors in the kitchen and go to it!
~ Making the card ~
There are countless ways to make your card - and absolutely the sky is the limit! Here's one option:
Et voilà! Instant, pretty, unique and free Valentine's Day card! The littlest fairies, of course, love making cards themselves ... and some of the not-so-little do too. And for those who do want to spoil their loved ones with a store-bought gift - you now have more money to spend on that perfect prezzie.....
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017
The first little signs of Spring are showing as the crocuses and snowdrops push through the earth. And as seems customary here in Meadow Sweet Grove, as soon as they poke their little heads through ... another snowfall settles in! The fairies hold strong that maybe a wee show of faith is needed to bring springtime to the Grove again. Hence, their little well is decorated with a few faux flowers to encourage Spring to keep on keeping on!
top of the bread - have a little bit of leftover parmesan? Grate (ha ha)! And for an extra-special touch - definitely sprinkle on a little bit of Hungarian Paprika! (It has to be Hungarian). So nice. Cook at 325° for about 1/2 hour - maybe longer - and there you have a "Pull-It-All-Together Macaroni & Cheese" - different every time you make it!
But what if you truly do have to throw out food? Here's some options for continuing the life cycle of your food:
Feed the Birds - Not even "Tuppence a Bag"!
The little woodland creatures in the Grove appreciate many leftovers. Crows will eat any amount of left-over bread, crackers, chips and the like. Save your bacon fat in a tin beside the stove and spread it on the bread for smaller birds - this makes it almost a suet for them and helps them to store their own fat.
Last but not least - Compost
Finally compost anything left over that you can such as: spoiled fruit, vegetable peelings, old Jack o'Lanterns, and even a limited amount of teabags, egg and nut shells, etc. There are very small composters available now that fit into tiny spaces. In the Spring, you will save money once again by reducing the amount of costly dirt and fertilizers that you would ordinarily buy. Composting is very worthwhile and is seriously like "rocket fuel" for your plants!
© Meadow Sweet Grove, 2017