Saturday, July 16, 2011

Faeries in the Woods?

I'm afraid I must beg your forgiveness for being away from my postings for so long. It's been a beautiful summer so far here in Muckmire Marsh but the gardens have needed so much tending and there have been so many other exciting things afoot. I am sorry, but on to new things:

As you may recall, my last post had some photos of lovely things I discovered in a walk about outside and one of them was a simply adorable little toadstool. I had hopes that a ring of them might appear, signaling the spot of a Faerie Circle... but alas the little dear fell victim to Ezmerelda's rather clumsy travelings and was unceremoniously squashed beneath the heel of her boot. To my great disappointment, it never grew back let alone spawning a circle so it could not have been a visit by the Faerie Folk anyway. But this morning I found what I believe is proof that they are near: a beautiful and delicate little circle of graceful pink toadstools.

How exciting!  It is most certainly the work of the Faerie Folk and looks to me from the tall throne-like seat at one end that it could very well be from visiting royalty!  I have been very careful not to disturb it of course. It's never wose to disturb nature in all her glory, but it is very unwise to disturb a Faerie Ring. Have you ever seen a Faerie? I bet you have and didn't even know it. There are Faerie Folk around all the time, but they most always remain hidden to us big brutes. You may have passed one thinking it was a moth or a cobweb. Or maybe you glanced at a pea blossom or a bit of mustard gone to seed waving gently in the breeze. Sometimes they tease by lighting up like a firefly at night, blinking just long enough to get your attention and then disappearing, or brushing against your hand disguised as a bit of milkweed fluff.

Of course Faerie Folk are impossible to photograph, and you would make them quire cross if you even tried, but with great respect I asked aloud if I might take a snap of these beautiful mushrooms and no ill came of it so I chanced a few. I could have sworn I heard a faint giggle in the wind as I crouched down on all fours with my camera in the most undignified of poses, but that might have been my imagination after all. As I stood to leave, I thanked them aloud (just in case any were nearby) and wished them well, inviting them to stop by if they liked. Being very small creatures they need to know they are not overlooked or thought inconsequential and they do enjoy an invitation though they rarely accept.Many an unwary or bad-mannered witch or warlock has woken to a nasty surprise of some sort after failing to keep this in mind and offending the little dears. I myself have always been very cautions about it .Showing respect by being courteous and polite is always the best policy but with the Faerie Folk it is an absolute necessity.

Well, here is the photo my dears - enjoy. I do hope they visit us at Creepstone Cottage one night soon. There is little lovelier than a midsummer night's  frolic with a band of merry little Faeries, though we probably won't remember it, thinking instead it was all just a dream.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A few quick Spring photos from around the cottage

Pretty blossoms!

I just love seeing the vines starting to come out in leaves - all shiny and green with touches of red!

I noticed this adorable little toadstool poking up out of nowhere this morning! Pity there's not a ring of them...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring is in the air!

The Witch Hazel is in bloom and doing a magnificent job. Brava!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Begins in the Marsh

What lazy witches we have been! After gorging ourselves on Valentine's Day chocolates and baked goodies, we settle down into a nice long nap... and slept through March! The good news is, winter seems to be waving goodbye and spring is showing signs of interest again.It's always so reassuring to know that whatever else happens, the slow step of the seasons continues on.

This morning we chanced out of the cottage and took a peak at the still sleeping gardens - grey and dreary. 
A closer look however showed not all of our botanical friends were still dormant. Many trees and bushes have their twigs adorned with suspicious bumps that could very well be buds. There rare a few red and green shoots poking up from the the ground here and there - crocus and snowdrops to be sure. And last but never least - dear old Salix Discoulor has come all out in delightful little furry catkins living up to it's more common name of the Pussy Willow.

What a delightful time of year. We must all get outside and take it all in!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Valentine Blessing for You

 The rose is red, the violet's blue,
The honey's sweet, and so are you.
Thou are my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou'd be you.
You know, I always get a bit sentimental this time in February remembering all the lovely Valentines I have received through the many years that have come to past. Sometimes I even get a bit sad because I no longer have a beau to send me fancy cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, sweet smelling perfume or bouquets of dead roses... but then I remember myself and realize the cads are probably better off as toads and quite happy to be hopping about the marsh instead!
My blessing for you is:
May you have your true hearts desire
And may you all be remembered by your loved one 
On this special day
For those who have nor yet found that magical someone:
May your days be filled with the love of family and friends,
May you find the partner you seek with speed and with care
And may your lover be all the more wonderful when you find them
For you deserve no less than the very best
And by and by you shall find it

Until then, enjoy my picture of a few of my favorite Valentines from over the years as well as the lovely poem above.
 Happy Valentine's Day, my dears! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

RECIPE: Stuffed Green Peppers

Brrr! It’s been an extra a cold winter here in the Marsh! There’s been lot’s of fun in the snow, but lots of work as well keeping the paths shoveled and the walks clear. 

After a day out in the crisp, cold air, there’s nothing like coming home to a hot supper. In the winter, we often forgo the table and bring our supper into the living room where we eat snuggled up in our cozy chairs which we pull close to a crackling fie in the big hearth. There’s many good recipes for days like this: roast beef with carrots, potatoes and gravy; chili con carne and cheesy garlic bread; a hearty stew with lots of chunky vegetables; a nice beef barley soup; and perhaps Henrietta's personal favorite - stuffed peppers! For desert a warm apple crisp with a dollop of whipped cream or even a slosh of cold table cream on top. All reasons why we don’t mind winter one bit!

Here is Henrietta's recipe for the stuffed peppers. It's been simplified with items you can get from your local grocery store as many of our little friends don’t have gardens like ours and so may not have items like their own canned tomatoes on hand. Of course Henrietta usually makes several batches of stuffed peppers when the peppers are in season can be picked that day as this recipe freezes quite well to be defrosted and cooked later, but there’s nothing wrong with making them the same day with some lovely peppers flown into your grocers from a warmer climate.

What you 'll need: 
  • Six  medium-sized fresh green peppers
  • Half a cup of chopped Spanish onion
  • Half a cup of uncooked long grain rice
  • One teaspoon of Worchestershire sauce
  • One and a half cups of shredded Cheddar cheese
  • One pound of ground beef
  • Two cups of tomato preserves (a sixteen ounce can of stewed or diced tomatoes works fine)
  • One teaspoon of salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • Half a cup of water
  • Two cups of seasoned croutons

How to make them:
  1. Fill a large stockpot with water and add half of the teaspoon of salt, stirring to dissolve. Set the pot on a hot burner to bring it to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, carefully cut off the stemmed tops of the peppers much like you would a jack-o-lantern. Scoop out any seeds and membrane left in the peppers and wash the insides and out under cold running water.
  3. Drop the peppers carefully into the boiling pot of salted water and cook for no more than five minutes. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, fish the peppers out of the boiling water one by one and let sit upside down on a cooling rack placed over your sink to drain and cool a bit. You won’t need the stockpot of water again so feel free to drain it and set it aside.
  4. In a large, trustworthy skillet brown the ground beef and onions over medium heat. Add the remaining half teaspoon of salt, the dash of pepper, the canned tomatoes (complete with juice), the rice, the water and the Worcestershire sauce. Stir everything together well and then let simmer for fifteen minutes, covered.
  5. Turn off the heat and uncover your mixture. Stir in half a cup of the cheese just until incorporated. Now it’s time to put it all together!
  6. Place your drained peppers bottom side down in a high-walled baking dish (I’ve found soufflĂ© dishes or casseroles are wonderful for this recipe). Stuff each pepper with the beef mixture just until full. Top each pepper with croutons and shredded cheese. At this point you can let the casseroles cool and then take them to your freezer to await a cold day to be used, or you can bake them in a three-hundred-and-fifty degree oven for twenty minutes and serve them right away. 

Sometimes for an extra treat, Henrietta sprinkles a bit more cheese on them just as they come out of the over for a wonderfully stringy and gooey topping!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Footprints in the Snow

This morning as I built the fire in the hearth to make my morning tea, I glanced out the front kitchen window and saw that some had walked by Creepstone Cottage sometime late last night, leaving a trail of footprints in the newly fallen snow. As I sipped my tea and nibbled on a warm buttered scone, I mused about who it might have been and a little poem began to form in my mind. 

It's not very good poetry but I thought I'd share it with you anyway and so here it is:

In the cold winter months
When white blankets the ground
And the Nettlewart vines slumber on
I wonder who's passed
In the quiet dark night
Leaving tracks I discovered at dawn

Who was it that walked
Down the path past my gate
Shuffling along without stopping to rest?
Was it friend? Was it foe?
Was it someone I'd know?
Was it someone I'd want as a guest?

Were it not for the snow
I guess I'd never know
That they came by this way at all
But still I must wonder
Who's footprints are yonder
Where they came from, are going and all

Dear Traveler Who Came
(I do not know your name)
Should your travels return you to me
Give a knock on my door
Stamp your shoes on my floor
And stop in for a cookie and tea