May 30, 2022

Faerie Nice

Watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.
— Roald Dahl, 'The Minpins'.

Faeries, come, take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame!

— William Butler Yeats, "The Land of Heart's Desire," 1894

Fairies are invisible and inaudible like angels but their magic sparkles in nature.
— Lynn Holland.

When I first thought about doing a post about faerie gardens, I intended to use my daughter’s as an example. She has a wonderful side garden with crocus and tulips and grape hyacinths, and has faeries and gnomes and mushroom houses scattered throughout it.

However, I was told the best time to take a picture was a dusk when the solar powered mushrooms lit up. Which would have been a great idea if I could have found the time at dusk, but I didn’t. And meanwhile, the flowers finished blooming and it’s not quite as enchanting as it was. *sigh*

So the granddaughter and I decided to do our own faerie garden in a container on my front porch. And when I say “we” I mean that she told me what things to put where and I did all the work. Which is why there are three glow in dark butterflies in there. LOL

At some point (soon, I hope) I’m going to swap out the stones for the little pathway with smaller ones. The big ones were the only ones I could find in the stores, but I have a gnome habitat in the house that has smaller stones and I think they’d look better.

Then we put the leftover plants in the pond garden, and even without gnomes and faeries I think it looks like a place where you might find them.

And then I took a little closer look in the garden, and discovered a variety of mushrooms growing along the edge of the pond.

You can almost picture the faeries hiding in there, can’t you?

How about you? Have you got a home for the faeries?

May 25, 2022


The flamenca is another Spanish form, although not as complicated as the Ovillejo. This form is written in quatrains (five-line stanzas) with a staccato rhythm reminiscent of the flamenco dance. It can be any number of verses, constructed with a 6–6–5–6–6 syllable count. It does not rhyme, but lines 2 and 5 should share assonance.

Assonance isn’t precisely a rhyme, it is the repetition of the same or similar vowel sounds within words, phrases, or sentences.


x x x x x x
x x x x x x (assonance)
x x x x x
x x x x x x
x x x x x x (assonance)

I’m not sure I mastered the art of assonance, but I think my example works anyway.


arms raised above the head
wrists loose, hands at rest
the music begins
staccato rhythm starts
feet move as though possessed

head held high showing pride
you move with fluid grace
dance the flamenco
desire comes alive
as feet keep up the pace

May 18, 2022


The Ovillejo is a somewhat complicated Spanish form, dating back to the 1600s. It consists of ten lines – three rhyming couplets and a quatrain written as a redondilla. There is also a strict syllable count.

The first line of each couplet is eight syllables long, and presents a question. The second line is three or four syllables, and presents an answer or an echo.

The first three lines of the quatrain have eight syllables, summarizing the couplets, while the final line consists of the repetition of lines two, four, and six. But wait! That’s not all. The first line of the quatrain rhymes with the last couplet, and the next two lines of the quatrain rhyme with each other.

Got it? Maybe this will make it a little easier:

x x x x x x x a
x x x a

x x x x x x x b
x x x b

x x x x x x x c
x x x c

x x x x x x x c
x x x x x x x d
x x x x x x x d
line 2, line 4, line 6

This was actually an interesting form to work in. The question and answer. Once I got my head wrapped around the question/answer thing, I found the long/short lines had an interesting rhythm. And I really liked the way the last line wrapped it all up.

Searching For Answers

Where have all of the answers gone;
conclusions drawn.

How many questions left unasked;
intrigue unmasked.

Who is keeping the answers true;
they have no clue.

I have questions with answers due,
I seek the truth, it eludes me.
The truth is meant to set us free.
Conclusions drawn. Intrigue unmasked. They have no clue.

May 16, 2022

I Felt That!

Crafts make us feel rooted, give us a sense of belonging and connect us with our history. Our ancestors used to create these crafts out of necessity, and now we do them for fun, to make money and to express ourselves.
— Phyllis George

I was being so good at the craft store, I really was…. but then I got out of the car and went in.
— Heartfelt Creations

Teach your kids to love crafting then they will never have money for drugs.
— Queen & Company

As you should know by now, I have a weakness when it comes to crafts. So when the stitchery guild I belong to offered a two-part class in needle felting, I jumped at the chance to take it.

Just what is needle felting? I’m so glad you asked. Basically, needle felting is the process where you jab a needle into a piece of wool to tangle and compact it until it’s matted. The more you jab, the more compact the wool will become. You can create a variety of flat or three-dimensional objects using this method.

You pretty much need just three things to get you started: wool, felting needles, and a pad to work on, all of which we received in our kits:

We also received teeny little pots and decorations to finish off our project, which was a miniature succulent. I finished my project at the beginning of my second class, which left me enough time to get started on a second one that I finished at home.

I came home from that first class overly enthusiastic with the whole needle-felting concept, so I immediately went online to my good friend Amazon Prime, to check out what they had to offer in terms of felting paraphernalia. Turns out they had quite a bit to offer. After a LOT of debating, I finally settled on a basic kit, and an additional set of templates.

And not being able to stop there, I ordered two felting books from Prime, and one from Indigo.

While at this time my main focus will be on little projects, I’ve seen a few large projects that look interesting, as well as some two-dimensional art I wouldn’t mind trying. The possibilities are endless with needle felting. And stabbing that needle through the wool is a great way to relieve aggression. :-D

I’m not going to include links to videos or supplies because there are just too many to choose from. But if you think you might be interested in needle felting, you can’t beat YouTube for videos, nor Amazon Prime for supplies.

Now, pardon me while I shop around for more yarn.

May 11, 2022


For the last couple of weeks, on my other blog, I was posting a sampling of the poems I came up with for the PAD Challenge (poem a day) I did during the month of April. After careful consideration, I decided to continue doing a poetry post each week and figured I might as well post it on both blogs. So here we go with a new form.

The Treochair seems to be a simple form at first, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to write. It can have as few or as many tercets (three-line stanzas) as you wish. There are three syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and seven in the third. The first and third lines rhyme.

Now, if you want to get really traditional about it, you should use as much alliteration as you can manage. It can also contain cywddydd (harmony of sound) and dunadh (where the beginning and ending of the poem have the same word). To be honest, I was so concerned about getting the rhyme and syllable count right that the rest completely slipped my mind.

Not much of a schematic for you, but here it is:



… and so forth

And here’s my example:

My Winter Soul

Shuttered eyes;
I escape into dreamtime
even though it is unwise

to hide from
the world instead of facing
what I fear, what makes me numb

When I wake,
dissatisfaction still there
nothing solved, head and heart ache

for something
I cannot see or touch or feel –
my winter soul, never spring

May 9, 2022

Houston, We Have A Problem

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!
— Sitting Bull

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.
— Alfred Austin

From plants that wake when others sleep, from timid jasmine buds that keep their odour to themselves all day, but when the sunlight dies away let the delicious secret out to every breeze that roams about.
— Thomas Moore

I always see gardening as escape, as peace really. If you are angry or troubled, nothing provides the same solace as nurturing the soil.
— Monty Don

And that problem would be my lack of impulse control. *sigh* A funny thing happened to my vow to not buy any more plants . . .

The daughter and I went to the Vintage Clothing Festival in Toronto on the weekend. Only the foolish, or desperate, drive downtown in Toronto, so we drove to Oshawa and took the GO train in. It got very crowded very quickly – sort of like “fill a bag for a buck” day at the thrift store. We went through it all once and then we were pretty much done.

However, we knew this was probably going to happen, so we had a couple of alternate plans in place, seeing as we were already in the city section of the 401. One of these plans was to go to a garden centre in Ajax where a friend of the daughter’s had bought a miniature orange tree. It seemed harmless enough, and it wasn’t too many miles out of our way.

O. M. G. It was the largest garden centre I have ever seen, and I defy anyone to go there and come away empty handed.

We breezed through the outdoor section, proud of ourselves for only picking up a couple of plants. Then we went inside, where we entered plant nirvana. First up was the most amazing collection of succulents it’s ever been my pleasure to witness:

And trust me, the above pictures were just the tip of the iceberg.

The fuchsias had the largest blooms and the most vibrant colours I’ve seen:

And I didn’t realize that calla lilies came in so many different colours:

There was a section for water plants, but it was a little too early for them. However, they did have huge vats of koi of various sizes:

They even a section for those interested in the art of bonsai:

I bought a couple of dwarf daffodils, a blue and a white grape hyacinth, and something pink to use in a fairy garden, and a morning glory I’m hoping will grow up the light pole in my peony garden. And then we got deeper into the houseplant section where I had to keep reminding myself that I had no more space for plants.

I did, however, find a couple that were irresistible:

That’s the morning glory in the bottom left, and you can see just a bit of the strawberry begonia beside it. On the right side is a string of arrows, and above that is a string of marbles (also known as string of pearls or string of beads). In the upper left corner is a pot of turtles on a string.

No, I do not know where they’re going yet, so wish me luck in keeping them alive.

And wouldn’t you know, they were sold out of the miniature orange trees that brought us there, although they did have full sized orange, tangerine, lime, and lemon trees. But they are supposed to get more of the miniatures in June, so I guess we’ll just have to go back for them.

I’m sure it will be worthy of another blog post.

May 2, 2022

Mouse Tale

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
― Willie Nelson

When the mouse laughs at the cat, there's a hole nearby.
― Nigerian Proverb

I can always tell when the mother in law's coming to stay; the mice throw themselves on the traps.
— Les Dawson

A few years ago, we had a mouse problem. They’d gotten into the bank of cupboards along the outer wall of the kitchen where the sink is. Mostly in the cupboards, upper and lower, between the wall and the stove. Between the cat, Dante, and the traps, we pretty much took care of the problem: Dante – 4, traps – 2.

We have since renovated the kitchen, and the cupboards and floors were all replaced. The kitchen was pretty much mouse-proof. So we thought.

A few weeks ago we discovered mouse dirt in the drawer in the bottom of the stove where we kept our pots. I say “kept” because as soon as I saw it I removed the pots, washed them thoroughly, and put them in a plastic bin with a snap down lid. The hubby left a paper plate full of mouse bait in their place.

We waited patiently for the mouse bait to do it’s thing, but there were a couple of times I thought I heard a rustling in a dark corner of the dining room where the bookcases almost butt up to the deck door. There’s a plant stand there as well, with a stack of plastic bins in between.

The hubby thought I was hearing things, until the morning I got up and found this waiting for me on the floor near the coffee station in the kitchen:

Nineteen years old and Dante’s still got the right stuff.

Then a couple of days later I went into the lower corner cupboard in the kitchen (where I keep my baking stuff) to get some flour to make bread – you guessed it, I found mouse dirt on the lower lazy susan. The thing is, I was in that cupboard a couple of days prior and didn’t see anything amiss.

I had one plastic bin with a snap down lid that held things like icing sugar, chocolate chips, coconut, etc. and it, of course, was untouched. And I kept the whole wheat flour, sugar, and oatmeal in air tight containers so I felt confident it wasn’t touched either. Everything else got checked carefully; most of it got thrown out just on principle.

Strangely, the mice didn’t appear to have made it to the upper lazy susan, but then other than spices, that’s where I keep my baking utensils. I have since purchased more tall, narrow plastic bins with snap down lids to hold my baking supplies.

Meanwhile, I’m still hearing a rustling in the evenings in that dark corner of the dining room. And then one night I spy a strange shadow out of the corner of my eye. It seemed to be on the vertical blind near the bookcase. My eyes not being the best, I stared at the blind and sure enough, it was a mouse climbing up and down.

So . . . the hubby dug out the single mouse trap we still owned, and baited it with crunchy peanut butter, placing it behind the stack of bins in the space between the bins and the glass spacer of the deck door.

I’m sure it wasn’t even a hour before we heard a loud snap from that corner. Sure enough, there was a mouse corpse. The hubby took the trap outside and disposed of the corpse, then reset it and put it back behind the bins. Another snap, and another dead mouse.

To date, we have gotten rid of nine mice, counting the one Dante got. The trap hasn’t seen any action for the last couple of days, so we’re cautiously optimistic that we’ve dealt with them all.

But that’s not quite the end of my story. Unbeknownst to me, when the hubby got rid of the mouse corpses, all he did was toss them over the rail of the deck. But here’s the thing. They kept disappearing. So who was cleaning up our mouse pile for us?

A couple of days after the first mouse went over the rail, a young raccoon paid a visit to our deck and was hanging around as though looking for something. Mystery solved.

I guess they don’t call them trash pandas for nothing.