Monday, 24 November 2014

The Toadstool Holiday & The Gifts of Imperfection

haven't the days of November flown by!
Our little toad-stools have been seconded by fairy folk
 & been for a little holiday down the road. Frog isn't best pleased but I'm sure he'll recover shortly.
 Last Sunday was the annual Taikura (Rudolph Steiner) school fete.
I am so glad that it's just down the road; an easy little stroll from our house.
This is one of my favourite stalls...decorate your own floral crown.
 It must be so nice for the children to use their little tickets to buy fresh & delicious treats all by themselves.
 It's not often that you see true beauty at a school fair...
 It's a big job to put it all together & the parents are required to contribute quite a great deal.
Aren't these adorable...
 a basket full of cats & a row of expectant dogs.
 The Ice Queen was tucked away in her hideaway in the shade of of rhododendrons.
 And the Fairy Queen was over this way...
 She didn't mind an adult popping in.
 Calm rides on white horses along winding trails.
 A clown or two doing the rounds. The sign on his rear end says "Kick yourself".
 Would you like to come to a puppet show?
 Or have a little kiss from an angel?
These wee double rhodohypoxis (what kind of a flower name is that!!) are called Angel Kisses.
 Do you know about Motherwort?
It's a wonderful herb, also known as Leonurus Cardiaca...lionhearted one!
I found some very useful information just here.
And more over here at The Polishing Stone:

"Motherwort provides strength and comfort. The word itself derives from the Old English words meaning "mother's plant." Another name for motherwort is heartwort. This and its species name, cardiaca, speak to motherwort's usefulness as a gentle tonic that strengthens the heart. So next time you sense your heart sinking and feel you can't possibly make it through the days or weeks ahead, reach for motherwort. I certainly plan to do just that."

This is just the right stage to harvest the herb.
 So on a nice sunny afternoon this week I picked my Motherwort & snipped it with kitchen scissors fairly finely, then to one jar I added organic cider vinegar & to the other vodka. It should be 100% proof but I don't have any that strong so I used what was in my cupboard. Now I have put them in a cool dark place to sit for 6 weeks.
 My little garden angel lost all of her paint (somehow!) so I have given her a little reviving coat of pink. Isn't she sweet....did you catch her kiss?
 I think that she's been secretly painting the pansies in the night.
 This true geranium called Rosanne is the prettiest shade of blue. There are holes in her petals where "someone" had a nibble, but such is life...holes & nibbly bits, bugs & annoyances;
 rust & paint that falls off.
 In the end everything ages & wears & starts to smell a bit funny...
 I have always wanted to paint an old suitcase & this one was either going out to to the op shop or having a revamp & since the outside was the vilest shade of bland brown I decided that I would paint it pink! Well ok, the first coat was white...
 but the next ones were pink. Much better. Now it can stay.
 I found an enticing little recipe recently for making an apple spice mix with fresh spices. I made a batch using almost all whole spices....oh wow, what a wonderful smell!!
 I grated & ground them in my dear little old coffee grinder.
 The only thing that I added already powdered was the ginger.
I have been cooking apple for our breakfast, adding a few sultanas & a spoonful of this heady mix...divine, especially with creamy yoghurt or kefir!
I found the inspiration just here.
The quantities go like this:
4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
 We are all packed up & off to the Waikato for a few days tomorrow morning. We're so looking forward to seeing David. He's been working here at Zealong for a few months now & loving it. He is the only caucasian amidst the Cambodians & Taiwanese workers, luckily his Chinese is very good now & the Taiwanese coming along well. Zealong is New Zealand's only (organic) tea farm. November is a busy month & the first harvest of the season.
David says that he hopes to visit this beautiful tea plantation in Taiwan next year.
Are you a tea drinker?
This is surely true...tea can be such a comforting friendly drink.
Shall I put the kettle on?
Thanks so much for your visit.
I'll catch up when we return.
Have a lovely week.
Much love Catherine x0x0x

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Sweet As, Sweet Betsy & all the Little Fairy Hats

Hello there, how lovely to see you!
After a long & strange three months things are beginning to settle here, just a little.
We have resolved layers of irritation & oddity concerning the factory over the wall, but I have still been left with my "annoying noise", albeit in a more subdued form. At least it doesn't terrify me anymore nor keep me awake night after's just well....annoying!!
It seems astonishing that we are hurtling towards Christmas at such speed.
While it's still November I am focussed on the power & the beauty of our full-on spring time. So much to master & appreciate in the gardens; so much asparagus to be eaten!
I really wish that some things wouldn't run away as they do. I would love to have foxgloves in my garden all year round & lily of the valley & lilac.
So many fairy hats on one foxglove stem!
 And they come in the prettiest of colours.
Isn't this the sweetest little cottage (I spied it in Havelock North last week) It has a perfect little cottage garden growing all around it.
 I can never make up my mind which foxgloves I love the I just plant as many as I possibly can.
The secret, I find, is to discover the exact spot that a particular plant really wants to grow.
 Sometimes it's quite surprising who is happy where. That's why I call mine a fairly accidental garden. Through the years...a campanula accidentally just loved to grow right here.
 Now these are very fancy fairy wear.
This larkspur just accidentally sowed itself in the midst of the herbs in the big half wine barrel under the washing line. There's none to be seen actually growing in the garden.
 This daisy is growing in a tiny pot but has also rooted in to the ground & just loves this particular spot. It has been here for years now & flowers & flowers.
This flowering cherry tree is called "Perfection"...
and is indeed a perfect spring canopy for Lucy.
The scent of some of these old roses is just divine.
 They don't last long once picked but it's certainly worth the trouble.
 I have just discovered that the little pink flower at the very front is called Sweet Betsy. Isn't that such a sweet name. It's also called false valerian or centranthus. No wonder it needed a nick name too!
 I have no idea where I came across this pale pink version but I adore it. I think it is probably the most useful annual that I have in my garden. It gently self sows, is easily removed if it turns up in the wrong spot, isn't too bossy or fussy & flowers for months & months...oh & the colour is so sweet. Lovely for tussie mussies.
Down at the bottom of our garden is a block wall. Most necessary to block out you know who! We live on the flat & because of the wall the drainage isn't that great, so...
  we ended up creating a kind of river bed. A place for the water to run off & soak away in it's own time with out drowning everyone down there...the bottom of the garden, the worms & all that.
We went & collected another boot load of stones last week, shuffled everything around & gave them a wash down.
A wee while ago I found this doll's house sitting in the window of the St Vinny's op shop. When you see things in their window that you like you have to rush in & put your name down in a little book & then you can come back & buy it in a week or two if you're first on the list. Usually I'm too late...but not this time!
 It even came with quite a bit of furniture.
 I found the little cats at the Napier market a week or so ago.
 There's all kinds of funny little bits & pieces in it now.
 It was so much fun when Nina & Luca got to come & play one day in the holidays. They were very good & decided on three rooms each.
 I've been meaning to tell you about this wee book that I ordered from The Book Depository a few months ago. Maureen (the author) says that she started telling little stories to her daughter to help her to have peaceful sleep. She says" I started with very simple ideas, like giving her an imaginary companion so that she would feel protected & never alone. I told Eleanor that from the time we are born we each have a protector who watches over us & who loves us. I gave this guardian angel really golden wings to wrap around Eleanor so that she would always feel secure.
At such a young age children need the reassurance of always being cared for, as the night & the dark can be very scary...."
There are 22 various scenarios/visualisations that can be read to children to help relax them at bedtime, strengthen their imagination, develop concentration, awaken creativity & learn to quiet themselves.
The story The Fairies begins like this "In your garden the sky is deep indigo blue with huge ballooning white clouds floating by & a yellow ball for the sun, it is lovely & peaceful. You can see before you a pathway that is winding in & out of the trees. I want you to walk down that path until you come to a small clearing-if you look very, very carefully you can see the fairies. they have been waiting very patiently for you...."
Christmas at Bethlehem is also very sweet. The books are only $14 which I thought very reasonable.
I kept this one. And then I sent for another....for you know who.
When I was little we used to listen to the wireless & there was a little programme for children called Listen With Mother. It was hosted by Kate Harcourt. She's quite an identity here in New Zealand. Funny she is, years later in this clever little movie. I thought you might enjoy it too.

Lovely to catch up with you.
 Thanks so much for visiting me here at An Angel in the Garden.
Sweet dreams.
Much love Catherine x0x0x

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