Tuesday, 13 March 2012

from Scotland with Love

love Scotland?

this is an advert by VisitScotland.com and every time I play it I get goosebumps!

the music is so evocative and yes, the countryside really is this beautiful! I really, really do love living here

yeah, yeah! heard it all before
just don't block the sun okay - it's rare to see the sun in Scotland and spring is only just sprouting
so, like I said missus - watch your shadow!!

well, there is a little truth in what Wesley says, though I have to admit, I have seen the sun nearly every day in February and March. Not necessarily all day, or even all hour, or even all of 10minutes,
but, yes - the sun has been shining

though my heart really sings when I see cold grey skies and the bare, bleak land!

and it's not just me who likes a bit of damp and wet and dour ....

Mother Hare Everlasting

Everlasting was one of the smallest babies in the meadow and not only small for her age of a few days old, but small for a hare in general. Her mama wasn’t worried because once she started to eat her greens she would shoot up in no time at all. But the other babies weren’t giving her much leeway in the playgroup though Everlasting wasn’t put out by this, and she persisted until they let her join in the games and fun. She wasn’t the best at leapfrog and the others soon tired of not getting a good enough spring over her back, but in hide and seek it was nearly impossible to find her because she managed to squirrel herself away into the smallest of nooks and crannies! That always made her smile. And it was good also that she wasn’t a shy baby, she was inquisitive and brave and would venture where the others daren’t go.

Particularly down by the mire. Infact all the babies had been warned about the mire and the boggy ground and not to go playing there because all it takes is a few straggly reeds, some thick mud and before you know it, your long thin legs will be caught for sure! Well, well, the leverets did keep away - but not Everlasting. Her legs were small and stocky, like well fed rabbit’s and she was able to splay her feet as she paddled about in the thick mud and any loose snaky reeds about to tie themselves to her appendages were snipped immediately by her incisors. Ofcourse she made sure to wash the mud off her feet before she headed home lest her mama find out and disapprove.

But infact her mama did find out and indeed she did disapprove! Everlasting was given a day’s stay-in at home and not allowed out to play. Mama said that if her baby was going to be wayward then she had better learn to be smart and make sure that she attends to the small details. Everlasting peered up at mama, waiting for the nugget of advice but all mama did was point to her daughter’s hard crisped-up brown tail! Gulp! Everlasting realized that she had forgotten to wash the mud off her tail! Though she was grateful to mama because she was allowed to play down there, but had to be smart about her actions and that made her think even more of her surroundings and to be aware and take care. Her boring, boring day-at-home-lesson was not in vain!

Now that Everlasting is a mama herself she makes sure that all her babies get the same lesson she received from her mama. Infact she takes them down to the mire and points out the mud and reeds and the real boggy bits and the slippery patches and the sharp edged grasses and she tells them to be aware and use their brains before their paws. All her leverets have been good babies and they love to play down there getting covered from paw to tail in thick brown mud. And none of them mind the wash down at the end either, not even under their chins or the backs of their ears! Plus they all attend diligently to their fluffy white tails. Well, er, white after their bath that is!

Everlasting is looking forward to dozing comfortably on your armchair, but would like the French doors left open a bit please as she will be out every morning with her babies as they go exploring thru the mire and reeds and marsh. There is always so much to see and do, it’s an amazing world in there. You are most welcome to come along if you like. But no complaining if you lose a shoe in the mud or get cut from the sharp razor grass, - it’s not as if you can snip the stalks with your incisors now is it? And no lagging behind because there is a lot to investigate and no-one likes anyone hanging back to admire that single yellow flower or the baby Northern diver or the fluffy coot chicks. You have to keep up with the pace set and hares travel at a considerable speed, even thru mires! Though there will be rest at the play spot, we all just have to get there, together. There will be plenty time later to admire the bird babies and all that. And last of all, when it comes to wash time just make sure to do behind your ears too otherwise you might get tut tuts from your mama when you leave mud all over the bathroom towels. And we needn’t worry about your tail eh? or need we?!

and after a day out exploring in the cold it's always nice to get a warm hug from your heart's desire

and even hares need to be kept warm!
Really love the cover of this book The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna. It's just as touching as the embrace above!

and it's a darn good read! I have this book in a couple of covers infact. Here in the UK is it printed by publisher Peter Owen. They are an excellent publisher of new, challenging and exciting writing from all over the world! Every bookworm's dream.

Last year when I had my Baby Hare Tailes exhibition at my local library I printed up some postcards to advertise it. On the front I made a dotted line and wrote a taile for 2 hares - and the card is meant to be cut to make 2 bookmarks! (a canny Scot at work here!)
- just perfect to mark your place in your favourite book!

Infact if you love the book and the front cover so much (like me!) - you can also buy postcards of the cover! They are for sale in the Hare Preservation Trust's online shop which I manage and volunteer for in my spare time. And you can also buy the book direct from Peter Owen too.
Ofcourse I would volunteer for the hares :)

Scotland is a gorgeous place at any time of the year, but to me, Scotland represents grey skies, chill winds and a certain desolation no matter where you are.

though for some - it's always a game ...

Baby Hare Misky

Ever since Misky took her first steps out of the nest she has loved to play with the other babies. And it doesn’t matter what games they are engaged in and whether it is one of the older groups of babies or not, Misky will be there, ready to take part and have fun. And she is such a good sport that she has been unknowingly teaching the other babies how to be good sports too. Because sometimes some of the others don’t play a fair game and try and take advantage of her good nature. Misky knows this, but it has never bothered her as the enjoyment of the game is much more important than whether someone is being fair or not. Everyone gets their comeuppance in the end, the universe sees to that and Misky is wise to this and she is a fast learner.

It only took her one game of tig to realise that using a twig to tig was wrong and tigging had to be done by your paw, so the next time she was being chased she ran thru a thicket and ofcourse, a twig stands no chance in a thicket! Her pursuer soon started to play fair after that. Just as well Misky is a fast runner too! She has even joined in the games of the other non hare babies and has made so many friends. Best of all she likes to play with the fledglings. She’s a little bigger than them so they all line up on her back and grip on tight as she takes them for a dash across the meadow and into one of the gardens that has plenty of bird tables and feeders. She races round the tables like an obstacle course and the baby birds chirp loudly in glee and a little fright! But they all love it so much and after Misky has finished her mad dash they all squawk for another shot please. Ofcourse Misky takes them around again, and again and again. And by this time their tiny toes are so sore from gripping on that they can’t endure another run of fun (thank goodness pants Misky!).

She has also been making new friends down by the beach. Though they are not into piggy back races and when Misky did try some of the tiny crabs on her back, one of them held on so tight – and latched on to her ear by mistake and then was too scared to let go and nearly snipped a piece off! So Misky is a little more careful about the games she plays down there. And she has to watch out for the patches of seaweed as they are really slippy and she’s taken a few falls. Though the crabs always laugh and laugh so much when she does, but she never sees the funny side of it because it’s not a game! Well, not to her anyway!

Misky is looking forward to relaxing on your armchair by the window. Make sure to leave it open a little thanks as she will be going out every day to play with her friends and depending on who stops by first will decide that day’s games. So you may get some sand on your carpet from her days down at the beach, or some twigs and burrs from her days with the baby hares or some old bird seed from under the feeders from when the fledglings stop by. She hopes you’re not too proud about your carpet because the sand and burrs and seeds will eventually hoover out, and she is sure the upholstery marks will wash out too. What’s a few stains and smears for a day spent having fun eh? Plus she will need a small basin to wash her feet in and a brush to pull out those burrs for when she comes in every evening.

You are welcome to come with her for the day, if you have time that is. Games sometimes take a while, especially the hide and seek ones, and as long as no-one falls asleep. Or if they do, it’s helpful if they are a snorer! You do snore don’t you? because that way it will make it easier to find you. Plus she doesn’t need any more bad sports. She hopes you’re not one of them, she’s seen plenty of huffy-puffys that’s for sure and doesn’t need any more to ruin it for everyone.

I suppose when it comes to games - it all comes down to how rough you tumble?

and no-one likes snow down their jumper

and don't forget to send a postcard!

My Bond may have made 'from Russia with Love' famous - but really, it's far nicer to say 'with Love from Scotland'! -- and I made them myself - well, not the printing, but everything else!

and nothing says love more than kissing hares in the snow
(oh, okay then, it's up for debate ...)

so I am truly blessed!
I Love it here - and I Live it, every day!
and it's only half a day's drive up North to the true wilds and beauty - amongst the red deer and mice and hares and .....

Mother Hare Compassion

Early one morning, in the middle of the glade among the long grass came a small cry. Mama deer had just come into the clearing and went straight over to the noise. Looking down she discovered a tiny and bedraggled baby hare gazing up at her with big, big wet eyes. The tiny hare immediately stretched up and licked mama deer on her muzzle. Well, well! mama deer was taken aback, but remembered that she had been scratched by some brambles not long ago and the baby must have seen the scratch. She immediately picked the youngster up in her mouth and took her over to a warm patch of grass where she dried the little hare’s tears and smoothed the tufty fur. Ofcourse she was not to going to ask any questions of how and why and what, because that would only cause more tears to flow, so she busied herself with giving the leveret her first meal for rather a very long time.

Before the hungry hare nursed away she scuttled over to inspect mama’s muzzle to make sure it was all better, and being satisfied on inspection only then did she start to nurse away. In no time at all her stomach was full and she happily dozed off. Word soon got around and one by one the deer stopped by to see the new baby, because it was not uncommon, but always exciting, for a deer to be a hare-mama. Those sleek little babies were always getting into strife so there was usually a deer or two in the forest with a long eared baby on her hooves. Mama deer named her new baby Compassion and when she awoke everyone could see how appropriate her name was. She had a gentleness and kindness about her, even for one so small. Ofcourse mama knew exactly how kind and gentle her new charge really was!

Soon Compassion was following mama’s hooves everywhere and whenever the deer had to bound away fast then mama would call Compassion to jump up on her rump and scamper along to her nape to cling on tightly. This was always thrilling for Compassion! because she loved the wind in her ears and wondered if one day she would ever run as fast as mama. Mama sensed this and made sure that every day Compassion practiced her running beside her, and every day she got faster and so mama would add on a few more trees and bushes in length. Her leveret was indeed a quick runner!

Now that Compassion is a mother herself she is passing down the kindness and caring to her own babies that her deer mama shared with her. Though she is a not actually a hare-baby mama, it didn’t quite work out that way, and one day instead, she found herself with a small litter of nearly starved meadow mice babies! So Compassion makes sure not to run as fast with them as she did with her mama. Because even though mice are awfully nifty, they still have the tiniest of legs and with a thousand extra bounds it is still rather hard to keep up with the long legged hares and longer legged deer!

Compassion is looking forward to dozing cosily on your armchair by the French windows, but make sure it is left open please because every day she will be out playing with her litter. They are still small and need her guidance, and besides, her own mama will be stopping by too. Compassion has taught her mice babies well about being kind and considerate to all other beings, even to the feline ones! though she has shown them all what to do lest a careless sharp clawed paw inadvertently trap a long thin tail by mistake (just a quick and unexpected kiss on the muzzle actually, but don’t be telling anyone okay)(and try not to breathe in when you kiss either because most felines dine on fish and small furry creatures and as far as Compassion can recall she has never seen them use a toothbrush). So as long as her babies keep practicing their scampering every day they should be just fine!

You are welcome to come along to the running lessons too if you like. But no holding the classes up thanks, because the lessons are progressive and if you are tardy in your training attitude and miss sessions and don’t give 100% every time then you will fall behind. And no-one will be picking you up and if you find your leg on the receiving end of a furry sharp clawed paw then don’t be looking to Compassion to help you – you already know what to do whether you fed the feline fish or furry creatures for breakfast that day!

and after your day's scampering around I am sure you will be fair exhausted! though there is still plenty to do here in Scotland at night time

I, em, usually settle down with a book!

This is one of the best bestest best books ever on hares!

A Hare about the House is funny and insightful and all True!!

though I am not sure if you will find a hare on your pillow when you retire for the evening?

but in my home - depending on Wesley's mood and how many bribes,I mean treats, I offer - I can indeed retire to a hare on my pillow!
(oh, okay - small cute moody white fluffy rabbit :)

and if you actually saw some wild hares on your excursions then do what all the tourists do (and some of the locals do - 'this local here that is') - send a brown hare postcard!

infact these postcards are very popular in my etsy shop, and the original painting was actually the size of a postage stamp

so have I whetted your appetite by now?

Is Scotland on the (post)cards??

are you googling airfares to Edinburgh?

what more can I say?

- if you come over then send me an etsy convo or email me - I will definitely meet you for tea and cakes!!