Saturday, March 4, 2017

Across the River Severn to Wales for a Day.

It's been a mixed bag of weather this past week. Last Saturday felt like the warmest day so far this year. We walked along the canal and it was the first time that I took my coat off as the sun felt warm. It was hard to believe it was February but the masses of catkins reminded us.
Sunlight shone across the glassy water and there were shoals of little fishes with red fins. I think they may have been young Roach?
I spotted a wonderful Fungi growing on an old tree stump . 

Hoping the weather would stay fine, on Sunday we crossed over the Severn bridge into Wales to Cardiff. Only an hour away from here. A day of ticking off one of my 'to visit' places off my list.  Not Cardiff itself but St Fagan's National History Museum
It's similar to the Weald and Downland Museum in Chichester that I visited last year. Cottages and farm buildings that were threatened with demolition or falling into disrepair have been moved here and preserved.
The weather sadly didn't match the day before and instead it was grey and drizzly. That didn't matter  though, as it was cosy inside the cottages.
I love that feeling of stepping back in time, the smells so familiar seem etched in my memory from my ancestors?
There was lots to photograph, but the simple compositions caught my interest the most. An old sewing machine, an iron, shells in a window sill and the simplicity of the lime washed plaster and wall paper.
A wonderful old white washed church, enclosed within a white washed wall looked as if it belonged in a fairytale.
Before being moved to St Fagan's, St Teilo's church was originally from Landeilo Tal-y- Bont beside the river Loughor. It is believed to date back to the 12th century and is said that as recently as the 20th century, that some worshippers still reached the church by coracle on the river. It's a little sad that it had to be moved, but if it means preserving it then that's a good thing. Plus it did look so at home surrounded by the trees.
Inside was a beautiful space,  warm and filled with angels.
It has been been rebuilt and redecorated how it would have looked in around the year 1530. The original paintings that were uncovered have been preserved and kept by The National Museum of Wales.
It was a calm and very peaceful place to be.
In the gardens of St Fagan's I met some rather interesting folk made of stone. 
 I wonder if they wake up at night and wander the lawns by moonlight? 
I love the crouching young maiden and the young boy, with the look of sheer wonder on his face.
As it was February when we visited  unfortunately the main house was closed for winter work and cleaning, so I think I may have to return again one of these days. I love this house and seeing it and some of the other ones at the museum has inspired me to add some to future new paintings.
Thank you all for your kind comments left on my last post. It's still very quiet in the garden with out Robin Goodfellow. I've named the new little Robin 'Puck' and had a good chat with him today.
Have a good weekend whatever you are up to.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fly Free with the Stars Little Shining One

The day is warm and bright. It's only February but feels like April today. The trees are filled with Robin song. There are four in the garden now, swift, full of energy and zest for life, darting from tree to tree, chasing one another beginning the Spring dance. I stand at the sink washing up the breakfast cups and plates and glance out of the window. High up in next doors pear tree sits a little red breasted soul serenading me with morning beauty.
After finishing the washing up, I wander into the garden hoping for a glimpse of my special Robin friend, but sadly my little tame Robin Goodfellow has disappeared... It's been almost a month now since I last saw him and now fear that the winter queen may have fallen in love with him and her icicle hands have gently stolen him away. Did she release him to fly up into the silver light of the January sun. Did she whisper to him to fly higher and higher, up to where the rainbows are born, so that when the red of dawn rises and golden sun sets, my red breasted feathered friend will shine his light   forever, for all to see.
Although my heart hurts that I may not see my little friend again, I am also filled with a deep joy at having been so blessed to have shared so many days with him  and to have earned his trust and friendship. I have shed tears for him before. I buried him, or one that I thought was him. A tiny feathered body laid down to rest in a grave filled with primrose petals last Spring. I remember sitting sadly on the wood stump later that afternoon, only to look up and see my friend gazing down at me from a branch. What's wrong, his intelligent bead like eyes questioned, here I am... 
They had looked so much alike, I kept a feather. Now I will wear it. A feather from a brother or sister, in a silver locket beside a picture of my sweet friend. 
Of course I'm secretly hoping that he may have taken wing to find new territory, or paired up already with a mate? But as I mentioned before Christmas, sadly he was losing feathers around his head and neck which probably made him vulnerable to the cold? Only time will tell... 
And so the garden life goes on, filled with chatter of a new season, but it feels lonely without my friend to greet me each day and follow me around for snippets of cheese and mealworms. I miss the way he would sometimes try to stop me leaving the garden, by sitting on the gate while I opened it on my way to the post office, as if to say... hey, feed me first before you go. :-) 
                                          Robin Goodfellow when I first met him September 2014
That first week when he disappeared, was it really just my imagination that the birds were singing more loudly as I walked from tree to tree looking for a sign of him. It felt as if they knew and were somehow telling me? The blackbird whom my Robin was often seen with, was perching near to another much younger looking Robin, with looks so similar to a young Robin Goodfellow. Could it be a son that his ebony friend is now keeping a fatherly eye on? I like to think so. 
And do you know, within a few days this new young robin had already come up to me and taken food from my hand. Now surely that must mean he has watched his father do it? 

The clouds have almost all blown away now and the sky is a clear forgetmenot blue. 

I will leave you with a small film clip which was the day before Christmas eve 2016.  A magical moment, when he let me stroke him. I believe it was my Christmas present? :-) 

'Fly free with the stars little shining one'

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hello February

Here we are with the first month of 2017 gone by in the blink of Jack frosts icy lashes.
Two new works that reflect my hibernation mode this January.
Ideas that began before Christmas, a continued theme from the 'natures treasures' smaller gold pieces that I did. These were put aside while the busy Christmas period was in full swing.
                                                                 'Fox Chestnut'
I've taken January to gather my thoughts, plan, reflect and enjoy slow time, as well as do my tax return. The sleepy bear in me has now woken up. Outside there are signs that Spring is on her way and in the garden the snowdrops are out to greet Imbolc.
My new holly mug is still in use though, I was pleased to get this one half price in the sale at the end of December. 
I didn't make any new years resolutions,  instead prefer to make lists of little things to do.  Here is a glimpse of some of the things that are on this years...

  • Paint the wardrobe
  • Plant the yew tree that I have growing in a pot. 
  • Buy a large easel
  • Pick up more litter
  • Upcycle some clothes? (sewing is not a strong point)
  • Put some wallpaper on a wall
  • Visit more art exhibitions
  • Go for more long walks
  • Go on more adventures
  • Find an old pine table for the dining room
  • Embroider something? 
  • Do a lino cut (haven't done one for many years)
  • Organise photos
  • Create new website
  • Plant asparagus
  • Sort out all possessions using Marie Kondo method ( link to the book I read in the side bar)
  • Spend less time on social media.
  • Blog more

What about you? Are you a list maker or resolution kind of person?

This image below, Aurora Hare was a small painting I did over the Christmas period. I've made some cards available in the shop using the image, along with the winter fox picture that was on the last post
Happy February! 
May the ground be covered in snowdrops and sky with flurries of snowflakes. Well, just a few. 
I will leave you with a poem that I wrote during hibernation in January. I'm no poet, but do like to 
have a play with words sometimes and felt brave enough to share. 

Star song

Lay your head down
On a pillow of flowers
Or a cold stone 
A heart beat rises up from core, through rock
Through mineral, animal and vegetable
Pushing up from tiny cracks, to rise up to the light. 
It sings.
Can you hear? Do you feel?
Something Ancient. A pulse. 
Your Mother. Your Father. 
A song rising up through stem of grass and root
The notes are made of leaves and bones and old stars
Its chorus a symphony heard in the bark of fox and the bleat of a lamb.
And it's words are the dreams of the raindrops that fall 
There is no ending
Passing the stardust back and forth forever.
To dance on the wind and swirl in the wild salty seas.
Castor and Pollux make up your laughter 
Orion sparkles in your tears. 

Karen Davis 2017

(Apologies for the tiny font on this post, but Blogger is up to tricks)

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Well Earned Rest Of Plants and Trees

At the end of the old year, my yogi teabag shared with me some words of wisdom to begin the new one. I like these words. Perfect to begin again, letting go of the old that doesn't serve and opening yourself to the whole and the new. 
I don't really have any nuggets of wisdom from myself, but just hope this new year is filled with beautiful times, wonderful skies, happiness, flowers, good health, peace, lots of magic and creativity for all.
I have read quite a bit recently, of winters desolation. About the cold and loneliness and how everything has disappeared... It's strange as I don't see winter like this at all. I suppose I am one of the lucky ones that doesn't suffer from the lack of daylight hours. I love winter and savour it like every other season. Here, for me nothing has really disappeared. The blackbird is still pecking at the fallen crab apples that are composting and enriching the mossy ground beneath the branches. The wood pigeons still sit in their favourite places everyday. The blue tits, and finches are chasing each other around at the top of the hawthorn.  The jackdaws are as noisy as ever, sat upon the chimney pots and in and out of next doors roof. The rooks glossy indian ink coats, look glorious against the frosty landscape. And there are three robins in the garden now. At night the air is crisp, clean and clear. The sky is filled with stars and the early January moon is a silver sickle for Jack Frost to cut the frozen air. Venus below, sparkles, as if someone is holding a giant diamond and shining it to attract our attention a thousand years away...
In the early darkness the raspy bark of fox calls across the fields and a tawny owl sounds as if it is sat just outside the bathroom window. Inside I have found wasps sleeping in the folds of curtains and ladybirds in the window frame corners. In the shed there is a tortoiseshell butterfly dreaming of stretching it's wings on the first warm days. Everything is alive!
If you lift the old log, the woodlice are still there and so are the slugs and the snails and earthworms.   The trees and plants are enjoying their well earned rest, but if you are out and about each day you will see that not much else has really changed.
 Even the swans leave the pages of fairytales, just for a moment, to brighten the dark winter river. 
Happy New year!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Just stopping by on Christmas Eve

The light is fading now and the fire is lit. The presents are wrapped and ready beneath a twinkling tree. Soon it will be that time that the old tales tell of, when the birds and beasts talk in human language in the magical hours between Christmas eve night and Christmas day in the morning. That special time. Don't forget to listen... ;)
I had meant to do another longer blog post before Christmas arrived but sadly I didn't find the time as things have been so busy here and now I have caught that cold that has been doing the rounds. So for now I will just wish you dear readers a very Merry Christmas. May it be peaceful and filled with joy and goodwill. Thank you for reading

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December Trees and Woodland Decorations

December beauty, away from the tinsel and lights and Christmas tunes that play on a loop in the shops. The apple trees have their own tinsel all year round, silvery bleached greens of lichen, emerald green moss and boozy fermented crab apples that have stayed firm and clung on in the wind. 
I have grown attached to these trees and others in the garden. I have known them now for 18 years. They are friends and I speak to them and tell them they are looking beautiful as the seasons change. I have watched them grow. Some are old and some not so, (the Hazel we grew from a nut) My children have played beneath them, had picnics, camped and climbed the bigger ones and they have grown up with them.  Now they are young adults and the trees are still here watching quietly when they return home, growing their apples, nuts and berries. The wood pigeons have their favourite perch and the blackbird and robin use all. The thrush likes to use the top branches of the cherry tree to sing his evensong. I have told my woody friends about other trees I've met on my travels, about the small twisted oaks in Wistmans Wood with the lichen as long as faerie hair and I'm sure they seemed to have grown their lichen more abundantly since the tale was told?
When I was a child running and playing in woods and jumping streams, we used the language of the field. Our maps were plotted out using the trees, the big beech on the edge of the wood, that my Mum had carved her initials in when she was a child, the huge elm we made a swing on. We knew which nut tree gave the best harvest, whether they were small clusters, fivers, or large cobs, We knew where the walnut tree was and the cherry trees and where the best apples were to scrump and our meeting place was the lightening tree, an old dead tree, bleached like a bone, that had been struck by lightning years before. And a holly tree always held a certain magic to me, a feeling I could never really explain? Now  I am lucky to have three of them in this garden.
December is the only time of year when we bring a tree 'intact' inside our home, to decorate and hang beautiful things on in celebration. It's also the time when trees are revealed again. Their silhouettes return us to the winter landscape once more and their real beauty is uncovered. Winter light and shadows on sleeping trees and icy bare branches. One of my loves of Winter. Everything is framed so perfectly.
Although I love the frost and cold. I'm hoping this year for milder days. Robin Goodfellow my dear feathered friend, I think has mites? He is scratching and losing his feathers which of course is not a good thing to do at this time of year. It is either that or fighting, as I've seen him chasing another Robin off.  Constant replenishing of food will help to keep him warm. I can't help but worry though. He needs a scarf like you see the Robins on Christmas cards wearing... Sadly he doesn't look the picture perfect 'Robin on the card' this year but that's life, I still love him dearly however he looks.  
Inside the house, I have brought the woodland in. Toadstools, birds, fox , squirrel and deer decorate the room.  
Now if only Robin would come in and keep warm like this other one. 
I don't normally have flowers with the Christmas decorations, but it was my Birthday the other day, hence the ones on the table.  :)
The little fir tree sits twinkling in the corner. Just the mistletoe to get now. ..