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      April 20th 2014    The  Easter Blessings that are Hayley's lambs .....
   ( The ruling  Ogham wood for any magical requirements is now Willow - Saille   from April 15th - May 12th.)

Easter Lamb at Headcorn, Kent ©vcsinden2014

Easter Lambs at Headcorn, Kent ©vcsinden2014
Easter Lambs at Headcorn, Kent ©vcsinden2014
"Did someone mention Easter Tea?   Hey Hayley!!  Oi Mum!! Wait for us then!"
Easter tea at Muddypond Greens, with Romanian patterned eggs ©vcsinden2014
My beautiful easter eggs came home with me from the Transylvanian mountains of Romania several years ago.
Easter Lamb & Mum at Headcorn, Kent ©vcsinden2014 Easter Lamb at Headcorn, Kent ©vcsinden2014
"We're ready then ....... hmmm, think I'll just see what's in this bag while I'm waiting ....Can't find the simnel cake"
Rare Quadruplets - Easter Lambs at Headcorn, Kent ©vcsinden2014Easter Lamb one of quadruplets at Headcorn, Kent ©vcsinden2014  
"We are rare - we are QUADS - and 'Friendly Sheep Mum' loves us all.  Need a bit of a top up though now and again!       
Hurry up there with that bottle -- there are FOUR of us you know, and mum seems to be busy!"

A big thank you to faery-friend Bridget and daughter Hayley for a magical Easter afternoon at your farm !

Naughty bullock on Bridget's farm  ©vcsinden2014



    April 16th 2014
      Kentish Blues  &  Turkish Yellows - an April mixture for Easter-time ....  

Mimosa – April in Southern Turkey ©vcsinden2014
Mrs MeadowMouse's 'Yellow Song' by Johnny Rae

        In artist Johnny Rae's book   'Grasshoppers and Meadow Mice', published by Volland 1922,  Mrs MeadowMouse sings cheerfully that 'Yellow is the colour of Corn and Cheese'.  She doesn't know perhaps that it's also the colour of beautifully scented, fluffy Mimosa on warm April days in southern Turkey! I rather think she'd love mimosa too!

Bluebells at Hole Park, Rolvenden, Kent©vcsinden2014 Mimosa – April in Southern Turkey ©vcsinden2014

    A contrast now amongst England's damp and shaded woodland - and a little earlier than expected this year - the intense blue of the bluebell carpet. Another wonderful perfume stirs in a ripple of breeze, wood pigeons coo and all is at its restful best. My pictures were taken at Hole Park near the pretty village of Rolvenden in Kent. The park opens its gates at Easter time to show off its crowning glory - the bluebell wood.

Bluebells at Hole Park, Rolvenden, Kent©vcsinden2014
A couple stroll amongst the bluebells at Hole Park, Rolvenden, Kent.
Bluebell Elf by Brucero
Muddypond Green, wood guardian faery, among the bluebells at Hole Park, Rolvenden, Kent©vcsinden2014
A bluebell elf by fabulous French illustrator Bruno Bruçero looks on as Muddypond luxuriates amongst a sea of bluebells and apple blossom.

Wattle or Minosa Babies by Mae Gibbs c1929
Wattle or Minosa Babies by Mae Gibbs c1929
Born in Kent, but leaving with her family for Australia at the age of four, May Gibbs wrote and illustrated a series of much loved children's stories about 'Wattle Babies'  in the 1920s.  Wattle - the Antipodean name for Mimosa.
Mimosa – April in Southern Turkey ©vcsinden2014 Mimosa – April in Southern Turkey ©vcsinden2014
Mimosa trees, giving welcome shade to a peaceful last resting place and a little girl on her rope swing.
Bluebells at Hole Park, Rolvenden, Kent©vcsinden2014




April 8th 2014       Seeking the legendary Turkish 'Faery Chimneys'   ...

Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014

Fairy Chimney in Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014      


Yesterday I found this letter from Canada on my Drax machine   -

   " I think you must be on a faery tour because you haven't been writing your diary blog!
If your wings can carry you to the Bow Valley I can take you high up our mountains and you can see all the beautiful snow we have.  It is so beautiful although at the moment we don't have spring flowers.

  The bears are starting to come out of hibernation and the birds are returning from the South and are singing every day. 
                                                   Lots of love, Spray "


  Thank you so much Spray - how I would love to see your Canadian bears - and the snow. We seem to have missed snow altogether this year in my English woods.     How right you are - I have been on a 'faery tour' - to see the Faery Chimneys !


Uchisar from Pidgeon Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014
                                                               The old village of Uçhisar was built into the rock.

       Cities from the times of the ancients built into soft rock, topped with magical citadels on the hills, cave houses and whole underground townships. The valleys and peaks swooping and undulating their way like frozen dunes in this part of central Turkey give landscapes that are quite literally 'unbelievable'.

Fairy Chimneys, Monks' Valley - Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014
Fairy chimney top - Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014
Looking down at the 'Monks Valley', and a single, precarious 'faery chimney' outlasts the winds and erosion.. Below:  walking amongst the chimneys.

Fairy Chimneys - Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014    

Atmosfer Balloon ground crew prepare Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014

Here's the ground crew preparing the vast balloon for the journey. What a way to see the landscape that I've wanted to visit for so long!

   We chose a flight with 'Atmosfer' balloons - and loved it

      A breathtaking way to ponder those views is to save faery-wing strength and take a balloon ride over the valleys. It would take a lot of wing-power to fly this high. An early evening flight, accompanied by just one sister-balloon gave travel through a silent, astonishing world.

Ballooning, early evening - Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014

Sinasos old town Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014 Camels survey the scene - Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014
                  Parts of the cave dwellings at the old town of Sinasos (now Mustafapasa) are still in use. A small camel stares at the visitors.

      As a wood guardian, I make protective amulets from the Ogham Trees or from hag stones for the safety of the folks of Hurst Wood and the Neighbourhood Bank. These are endowed with all sorts of ancient magic - so I was very curious about the properties of the nazar boncuğu - the dark-blue glass 'Evil Eye Amulets' from the region where I travelled. They were everywhere - hanging from trees (similar to our own 'clouty trees), beams, doorways and window frames to keep buildings safe from harm, and pinned to clothes or worn as pendants to protect the villagers.

Evil Eye Tree or Nazur tree - Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014
Nazur amulets Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014
                                  A Nazur Tree at the Pigeon Valley - full of 'evil eye amulets' to protect against negative spirits.
Hasan Dagi in April -  Cappadocia, Turkey ©vcsinden2014
Following part of the silk road on the way home,  my snow at last, on the summit of Mount Hasan.



     March 26th 2014     Perhaps you'd also like a faery flower note ... on the 'otherblog' ...

Kingcups or Marsh Marigolds feature today on
Muddypond's 'other' blog 'Wolf Moons and Muddypond Green'

Kingcups, Golden Riches in Darkest Mud



    March 21st 2014       Saying thank you for Spring - at Ostara ....
( The ruling  Ogham wood is now Alder - Fearn - March 18th to April 14th.  The day of the Spring Equinox is ruled by Gorse - Onn)

English postcard illustration, c 1920 from 'The Silhouette Series - Elves & Fairies'.

     The vernal equinox, celebrated as the festival of Ostara, heralds the official first day of Spring, and such a lovely day it was here in the south of England.

Sissinghurst Castle Garden in March ©vcsinden2014
Sissinghurst Castle Garden in March ©vcsinden2014
Above, a mist of blue scilla, and on the right, looking back towards to the tower, daffodils and fritilarias crowd the orchard..


      At present I am reading Vita Sackville-West's " Garden Book", which is a collection of notes from several of her works about gardening written in the 1950s. And what better place to spend some time browsing its pages than in Vita's own magical garden.

      So, my thoughts and thanks for this day were realized, not in my wood with incense and candles, but in the March sunshine of the Kentish garden of Sissinghurst Castle, famous at this time of year for the orchard burgeoning with spring flowers and newly woken bees.

Blus scillas in Sissinghurst Castle Garden in March ©vcsinden2014 The Moat at Sissinghurst Castle Garden in March ©vcsinden2014
Cecil beaton's famous portrait of Vita Sackwille-West

Excerpt from 'The Land'

'The country habit has me by the heart,
For he's bewitched for ever who has seen,
Not with his eyes but with his vision, Spring
Flow down the woods and stipple leaves with sun,
As each man knows the life that fits him best,
The shape it makes in his soul, the tune, the tone,
And after ranging on a tentative flight
Stoops like the merlin to the constant lure.

Vita Sackville-West

Image Source - Cecil Beaton, National Portrait Gallery here

Faery Muddypond Green visits Sissinghurst Castle Garden in March ©vcsinden2014
Muddypond celebrates Ostara with the bees in the Sissinghurst orchard




     March 16th 2014       Tonight - ruled by the Ash tree - full moon ....

Full march Moon, March 16th 2014,  Charing, Kent ©vcsinden2014
This photo, just an hour ago, 6.30pm - from the bank beside my wood,
the Ash Moon catches the last rays of a brilliant sunset at the end of a day as warm as summer.


An Extract from
'The Cat and the Moon'

Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet.

W.B Yeats



    March 11th 2014       Woodland seating arrangements to treasure ....

  Should you go wandering in Wood Guardian Muddypond's faery wood, Hurst Wood, (the part which is actually owned and managed by the Heath's Countryside Corridor), Hurst Wood, Charing, Kent - hazel coppicing near the High Speed Rail ©vcsinden2014you may discover a breathtakingly fitting place to sit and contemplate the early signs of Spring..

    If you look hard enough, you'll find it amongst the hazel trees. Sit there to hear the birdsong - I'd let you bring your picnic too, but only of you promise faithfully to leave no trace - none mind you, not even a scent - of your human presence!

   This magic place for resting weary feet is a tribute to the small company of rare Hazel Dormice who live amongst the branches, feasting on the green nuts in summer and hibernating safely when the first frosts bite.   


Hurst Wood, Charing, Kent – seating sculpture by Steve Portchmouth  ©vcsinden2014 

  Isn't that perfect?  A fine dormouse sleeps in his trunk of sweet chestnut tree, surrounded by a faery ring of comfortable toadstools. He is the work of Kentish sculptor Steve Portchmouth, an artist who has enhanced many a rural setting with animals, birds, seats and waymarkers. Such a captivating use for a big tree stump don't you agree?

Hurst Wood, Charing, Kent – seating sculpture by Steve Portchmouth  ©vcsinden2014 Hurst Wood, Charing, Kent – seating sculpture by Steve Portchmouth  ©vcsinden2014
Fine carving by Steve Portchmouth (link above), with faery-guardian Dog Martin to give an idea of the size of the old chestnut stump

      A lot further along the lanes, following the High Speed Rail line and M20, you can find Chilston Pond. Also owned and managed by the volunteers of Heath's Countryside Corridor as a wildlife habitat which is open to all. Once part of the huge Chilston Park estate, the pond was an 'ice pond' for the old 'ice house' belonging to the magnificent country house.

    High on the bank, beneath the Scots Pines, you can see the walls of the ice cellar, which has recently been party restored, and read a little of its history. The pond, now quite wild and with plenty of cover for nesting birds and small creatures, is home to quite a number of Great Crested Newts amongst many other residents.

    There, beside the pond, another fabulous resting place by Steve Portchmouth - a huge crested newt surveys his kingdom from one of a pair of invitingly rounded benches.

Chilston Pond near Lenham, Kent – seating sculpture by Steve Portchmouth  ©vcsinden2013 Chilston Pond near Lenham, Kent – seating sculpture by Steve Portchmouth  ©vcsinden2013
By the Ice House at Chilston Pond, the newt guards his special habitat       . Sculptor: Steve Portchmouth (link above).



     March 4th 2014
      Today is Pancake Day ...may there be a surfeit on your table!

   If you've read any other sections of Muddypond's diaries, you probably know that one of her favourite sets of books, read to her as a very small faery-sprig indeed, is the Little Grey Rabbit series, written by country woman Alison Uttley, and illustrated by Margaret Tempest mostly in the 1950s.    

Today in Britain, it is Pancake Day, otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday. Many a mortal still makes the pancakes which signal the beginning of forty-six days of austerity before Easter.
   Us Magics love the smell of them with fresh lemon juice and sugar and usually take in more than is good for us, even though we're not so good at the austerity part of the bargain these days!


    In 'Little Grey Rabbit's Pancake Day', Hare discovers a rusty old frying pan in a ditch, and Mole cleans it up for him until it gleams. He takes it home just in time for Pancake Day.

   Speckledy Hen brings a basket of eggs, and Grey Rabbit teaches them all how to make and, even better, toss the pancakes.  Young Fuzzypeg's first try lands on his smock and he eats it up from there!

"She beat the eggs and some milk in the flour with a brush made of birch twigs till they frothed. She put the frying-pan over the fire with a little butter in it, and poured in some of the mixture.

She sprinkled a few drops of sorrel juice squeezed from the wild wood-sorrel leaves, to give a sourness to the pancakes.

  The mixture ran all over the pan. bubbling and spreading out. Everybody watched the clever rabbit, who raised the edges of the pancake with a thin little stick. Then with a sudden jerk of her paw, she tossed the pancake up in the air and caught it in the pan the other side up.

'Hurrah!' They cried. 'She's caught it!' "

Quotation from Alison Uttley's 'Little Grey Rabbit's Pancake Day' with illustrations by Margaret Tempest.
First published by Collins in 1967