Garden Diary - November 2020

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Seasonal Decorations
Friday, 27 November 2020

First up, every year, is the mobile of a little girl and boy riding on a goose
above a flock of geese. Even a puff of breath will make it gently twirl.

The little goose girl and the little goose boy could be a mash-up of two stories. One, a folk tale collected by the Brothers Grimm about a princess ill done by her maid, who becomes a goose girl, tending the castle's flock of geese. But all is well in the end.

The other story is Swedish, by Selma Lagerlöf. It is about Nils Holgersson who is bewitched by a tomte and made so small that he rides off on the farm's white goose when it flies away with a flock of wild geese. This story also ends well.

Next are the five white horses and little red sleigh filled with packages. It goes on the bookcase in the great room near the hallway which, since there is no wall between room, hallway, foyer, makes them very visible. Especially as you come downstairs.

This year Mrs Tiggywinkle et al are in the downstairs bathroom. The wire stand the assemblage sits on would have the dainty legged deer falling through the spaces. I asked Paul for a thin sheet of plywood. He came up with two smallish ones, one of which needed stained to darken it. I'm thinking of maybe covering them with sheet moss. We'll see.

Mrs Tiggywinkle has an entourage to keep her company. There's a deer
I painstakingly covered with individual hemlock scales in the way its hair
would grow. A rabbit, small hedgehog, a raccoon in the shed. However

I really admire the vegetables, delicately made in porcelain. There are
cabbages, leeks, potatoes, onions, beets, and even a Napa cabbage.

There are two garlands on the balcony, one of spruce cones and wooden beads
that I made, and another of artificial greenery that needs its placement adjusted.

Let's go upstairs. This year the tomten and his fox are in our bedroom, rather than on the dining room mantel. For a couple of reasons. First, we don't use the dining room very much, even less in these days of covid-19 when diner parties are basically à deux. Next, I rearranged some bedroom furniture to accomodate an ultrasonic humidifier on a glass top table which is now at the foot of our bed. The sofa is angled out from the wall with the blanket chest behind it, making an excellent stage for the tomten et al.

My father made the tomten for me from a stick of firewood. I made the Dala horse.

Here he is with the fox. A tomten, you see, is a solitary, mischievous Swedish spirit.
He is responsible for the protection and welfare of a farmstead and its buildings.

One winter night a hungry fox comes to the farm, hoping, perhaps, for a hen to eat.
The tomten tells him no. But knowing foxes can be hungry too, shares his porridge.

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