Hidden Folk

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In December or even November, this is a very welcome scene – but today, a week and a half from May, it’s feeling rather dismal.

Grey and snowy Friday afternoon.  I’m having a “not quite sure what to do with myself” kind of day.  I have a dinner to go to this evening and work tomorrow, but my energy has just drifted off with this snow.  Yesterday, a friend of mine and I went hiking by the ocean.  When I got home, I gardened, placing a rock with a hole in it upright and sticking clippings of lavender among some rocks.  Maybe I spent the energy of 2 days in one?

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Some of my Collection

With tea and a fire going.  With 0 energy but music playing and a sense of security and comfort, I wanted to just share with you a piece of writing that really helped me when I was younger.  It spoke so true to me, even if just in a metaphorical way (but maybe not so…).   I thought perhaps you would like to read it as well, so I’m leaving you with a couple of pictures of some pretty rad books that I’ve collected over the years (we need more fairy tales in our lives) and the writing by a mysterious person named Buck Young.  Whoever you are Buck, thank you!

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Arthur Rackham opened a whole world for me, I love his art!
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Lore and Tradition ❤ A couple more books from my collection

 

Originally published in FireHeart No. 5, 1991, Taken from Southern Cross Review C. 2004

AHISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE WHEREABOUTS OF GNOMES AND ELVES, FAUNS AND FAERIES, GOBLINS, OGRES, TROLLS AND BOGIES, NYMPHS, SPRITES AND DRYADS, PAST AND PRESENT

 

by Buck Young

A long, long time ago, the Earth belonged to the creatures of the wood. By creatures of the wood I mean gnomes, elves, faeries, etc. They tended it and took care of it, played in it, danced and sang in it, cared for wounded animals, worked out disputes between species, sat on mushrooms discussing matters of importance and drinking Labrador tea, rode down streams on leaves and bark, parachuted from trees on dandelion seeds. This was the world into which mankind was born. These early days, when man was but a newly arrived dinner guest who hadn’t yet taken over the house, are fairly well documented in the literature and folklore of the world, so there’s no need to go into it here. What I am interested in, and what I am asking you to be interested in, is the question, “Where did all the gnomes, elves, faeries, etc. go?”

The friction between man and the wood creatures began with the discovery of agriculture. With this discovery civilization arose and spread. The forests were cleared to provide wood for shelters and fields for pastures and crops. Mankind had set up camp. No longer just a visitor in someone else’s world, he pushed the wild back from his newly built doorstep. At first, this wasn’t a problem. There weren’t that many people and everyone else felt that it was only fair to allot them their own half-acre to do with as they wished. Some of them even decided to help out. Gnomes moved into the barn houses and helped with the gardening chores. The devic spirits of the vegetables helped humans better organize their crops and plan rotation; taught them the correlation between planetary and lunar cycles and the agricultural year. They taught them to plant radishes when the moon is in Cancer, harvest when the moon is in Taurus. Many trolls felt that the heaping piles of manure were a change for the better, and decided to stick around too.

The rest of the wood creatures just backed off into the wood, occasionally playing tricks on the new settlers, like turning the milk sour, rearranging furniture, tipping cows, tickling people’s faces in their sleep and once in a while stealing babies and leaving bundles of wood in their place.

But man’s dominion spread (and spread and spread and spread) and the forests got smaller and smaller and smaller. Things got real crowded in the woods, and things were getting worse in civilization. Most farmers weren’t listening to the devic spirits anymore. People found they could increase their output by disregarding the needs of the earth. They were raising productivity and killing the soil. Petrochemicals were just a step away. Most of the devic spirits and gnomes fled. The trolls stayed. Today, they live mostly under bridges and in the shallow mucky ditches beneath the metal grating on farm roads that cows are afraid to cross. Be sure to honk your horn before driving over one of these. A troll may be hanging from the grate, swinging over its living room, as they are apt to do after rolling in muck and manure. If you don’t give a warning honk, you may run over its fingers, and it’s not a great idea to get either your name or your license plate number on a troll’s shite list.

Now, there is little wild land left at all, and even that is shrinking at an unprecedented rate. There is simply not enough wild space for all the gnomes and elves, fauns and faeries, goblins, ogres, trolls and bogies, nymphs, sprites, and dryads.

So where are they?

Are they dead?

No.

So, where did they go?

The answer is a bit surprising. They didn’t go anywhere. We did. Early humans had an intuitive knowledge of their role in nature, just as bears and raccoons and mice and every other critter does. They understood, from the ways of the wild around them, that nothing ever comes from nowhere and nothing ever just disappears. Things change form. Death is necessary for life to continue. They offered up their kills as sacrifices to the gods of nature. They offered praise, prayer, sacrifice and song to the spirits of the wild, to brother buffalo, brother deer, and brother tree.

Now we know that everything that ever existed continues to exist, in one form or another, and as far as we can tell, they were more aware of that back then than we are now. So, the sacrifice, song and prayer did not ensure the immortality of the slaughtered, either in body or spirit. That was already taken care of. What it did ensure was the continuance of the connection between the spirit of the slaughterer and the spirit of the slaughtered. Killing is risky business. The membrane separating the internal from the external is not necessarily as thick or as clearly defined as we have come to believe. Every time we kill, we risk killing the reality of that thing inside ourselves as well as outside. We risk breaking the connections that lead in and out of the membrane. Taking a life to feed life requires a keen understanding of the natural law of give and take. When we lost that understanding, gave up the songs, the sacrifice, the prayers, we lost the connection. Saying grace is not enough.

When we lose those connections, everything becomes dead – fish, rivers, frogs, mice, even each other. There is no way they can reach inside us any more. The five senses we are left with are not enough. We have given up those connections in exchange for the freedom to clear-cut forests with skidders, turn cows into milk machines and chickens into egg factories. We can experiment with animals, club seals, wear fur, and exterminate entire species. Not a twinge of guilt. The lines have been severed.

And we are all under the impression that it is the forests, the creatures, the spirits and the wild lands that are disappearing from the universe and not us. This is not so. Thinking like that is like thinking that if you stand on the end of a limb and saw that limb from the tree, that the tree will fall and you will remain standing. Bugs Bunny might be able to get away with that, but we can’t.

It is we who have fallen away from the real world into a world where we may carry out our twisted sterile dreams without threatening the earth and its inhabitants. Ever wonder why the trees, stones, rivers and streams, birds, bears, frogs and snakes no longer talk to us as they did in the early tales of Native America, the Hindu, the Africans, the bible? It’s because we’re not around to talk to anymore. Every clear-cut, every vivisection, every mechanized slaughter of cow, pig or chicken moves our dream world further and further from the tree, making a reunification, which is still possible, more and more difficult.

Somewhere not so far from here, in the real world, the ancient forests are still standing, the buffalo roams the prairies, the sky is full of condors, the deer and the antelope play, and dodo birds still wander the sandy beaches, bumping into things.

Where there are still wild lands in our dream world, strong connections still exist. Bridges, tunnels, portals. Occasionally a traveler will get lost in the wilderness and find himself in the real world, returning the next day to find that a hundred years have passed, or never returning at all.

There are more ephemeral connections as well – brooks and waterfalls where you can still here voices from the other side, if you listen carefully enough… When they sit by these waters, they hear loud clanking and screams. When they eat magic mushrooms, everything STOPS glowing and condos rise where forests stand. Our children can see their world in their dreams. Their children see our world in the nightmares.

And there is another connection. Sometimes agents from the other side infiltrate our world in an attempt to expedite reunification. Believe it or not, they miss us over there. Sometimes – more often than you might think – they send souls over to our world to be born as human babies. There are quite a lot of them actually – gnomes, elves, faeries, sprites, etc. running around in human bodies, doing crazy things like writing on walls, working in co-ops, running inns in the mountains, talking to themselves in the streets, making pottery, practicing witchcraft. They are planting biodynamic gardens, sitting in the back yard naked, arguing with satan. They are in asylums pumped full of Thorazine, in a classroom on Ritalin and lithium. They live with Indians. They run recycling centers. They are starting revolutions, corrupting the young, inventing paranoid conspiracy theories, making up religions. They’re directing movies, gobbling acid, drinking heavily and writing poetry.

The transition from their world to ours is not an easy one. It’s not easy on the soul and much is lost. They may have no idea who or what they are at first. They may or may not find out. They WILL know they are not like other people. They will know that this world is not theirs. They will faintly remember something better, where things made sense and worked like they ought to, where love and magic had the power to heal.

They will know what makes other people happy does not make them happy, and that what makes them happy makes them happier than anyone else alive.

They will see things others cannot see, hear things others cannot hear, feel things others cannot feel, and know things others do not know.

They will laugh a great deal or cry a great deal or both.

They will love humans individually, but have a hard time with humanity as whole, and that will occasionally approach loathing.

They will have a handful of very close friends, and often be very lonely.

They will be unhappiest when forced to act like a human and do things that humans do, want what humans want, or when they are convinced that they actually are one.

Things will not be easy for them. Because of their memories of the other side, the world will seem to them a wondrous calliope with just a few teeth missing on one of the cogs. Because of this tiny deficiency, the music is off key, the horses are crashing into each other and the children are frightened, bruised and crying.

The solutions will seem obvious, but no one will listen.

They will repeatedly be punished for shouting FIRE! in a crowded theatre, when the buildings really are in flames but no one else can see….They will get slapped on the wrist for pointing to the EXIT signs when everyone else is running around screaming and trampling one another.

They will be zealous, fanatical and didactic in their beliefs. They will feel utterly confused.

They will have ecstatic visions and babble incoherently. They will be extremely articulate.

They are prone to long periods of silence. They have no idea how to say what they really mean.

They spend a lot of time with children and animals.

They will become drunkards and dope fiends, organic gardeners, soap makers, carpenters, madmen, magicians, jugglers and clowns, lunatic physicists, painter and scribblers, travelers and wanderers…

They will dress in bright colors, frumpy sweaters or all black.

They will smoke too much and drink too much. They will eat only macrobiotic foods. They will develop addictions to Mountain Dew.

They will often be accused of living in their own fantasy world.

They will make great lovers. Yeah, even the trolls.

They will spend too much time either making love or thinking about it.

They will speak to inanimate objects. They will have much brighter eyes than everyone else. They will expect their magic to work in this world and their love to heal, and will be crushed by this world, and often won’t expect it.

It will come close to killing them.

They will visit the places where the connections still exist: the waterfalls, the mountains, the oceans, and the forests. They will draw on all the power they have, and sometimes, sometimes, the magic will work. And everything will be wondrously easy. The teeth will grow back on the cog on the calliope, the tune will right itself, the horses will bob gracefully up and down, around and around, and the children will giggle and sing with cotton candy stuck to their cheeks and noses.

They will spend their days trying to reconnect a branch that millions are busy sawing away at. Often it will be more than they can bear.

While the rest of humanity is busy working on new and more efficient ways to lay waste to the Earth with the push of a button, they are saving it. A handful at a time.

They will share a common conviction that they are the only sane individuals in a world gone mad.

They are right.

 

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Living Room Peace – Last September with my Fairy Friend – we read, drink tea and play ouija when we’re together.

I hope you have enjoyed it and please share your thoughts! What similarities do you share with the fairy realm?  I relate to so many of them, perhaps I should just fully embrace it?   I am also so interested in the other issues of FireHeart 🙂 ❤

I would love to write more on this topic but it will have to wait until another day ❤

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To the Waters and the Wild … (Yeats, Stolen Child)

 

Brew a cup and cuddle with a blanket for a fun documentary!

 

There are SO many “fairy tunes.”  Traditional Reels and Jigs that folklore points to fairy origins.  There are many stories about Joe being drunk and sleeping on a fairy fort usually near Samhain or Beltaine, was stuck there for 7 years and came back to play these fantastic songs that he learned from the wee folk. I was going to share some of these with you but the youtube videos aren’t great and why not share a Canadian Band that has nothing to do with the traditional tune? it really picks up at around the 4:25 mark.  Enjoy!!

Simple Grey Lopi Sweater

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Preparing the order to be shipped to BC 🙂 Stamped Woodland Cards now available in the shop but the sweater has been sold 🙂

 

Good Morning to you!

The sun has yet to rise and I am on my 3rd cup of tea.  With headphones in and the fairy lights on, I am sending this out to the universe.  I wrote this blog post yesterday, but as I sat down and read it over, I felt totally different and just scraped the whole thing.  Yesterday was rainy and I had coffee (coffee makes me a little crazy, which is why I tend to stay away from it!).  Today, is so full of opportunity! A calmness and herbal tea (okay.. I might be having earl grey at this point, it is not yet 6am!), a fire started from the embers of yesterday (that sounds metaphorical and it can be, but I mean it literally, ha).  And so, finally… this Grey sweater that was sold a couple of weeks ago to a lovely artist in B.C.

 

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Léttlopi Greys and Golds

I Started this sweater in January, with my Lopi Stash.  Greys and Ivory, Black and Gold.  Similar to the landscape and skies of winter here.  Knit in the darker times, helping to illuminate the long nights.  The colours reflecting the ever changing sky in January, February even March.  Between PEI and Nova Scotia.  In the woods, along the river, in a car, over a very long bridge.  In a fire lit basement, listening to the wind and a slow yet quick crackle of birch!   I chose wooden buttons and used a vintage, strong German made thread that accompanied my sewing machine gifted to me by my aunt.

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On a walk in the woods, I brought this sweater to do a little weaving in the moss, weaving in the magic of the woods.  You can really see the texture of Lopi here ❤
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Tea and Knitting with Drift wood and snow
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After a snowfall, some of Henry’s happiest times of the year
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Backyard after one of our few snowfalls
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Two Lopi Sweaters, slowly knit over the course of a busy winter.  Henry sitting on the couch we are now sitting on!
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it fits!  But so much left to do…
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After a snowfall this winter, an adventurous Pangur
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To weave in the ends in the mossy Conifer forest!
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At home, to attach buttons, herbal tea and my latest stamped Chickadee Card
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Winter fire, Tea and snow
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February day in the moss
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Blooming Succulent, I’ve been watching this slowly bloom since January and now look!

 

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Off she goes! – a New forest inspired stamp, if anyone is interested, I can put a little pack of these in the shop!

And Voila!  A Simple Grey Lopi Cardigan! I have a feeling this sweater will find a kindred in Northern BC! I think it may be time for me to order some more Lopi wool, I am almost out!  I am hoping to make myself an Icelandic Cardigan in Rough Seas with metal buttons.  Perhaps my summer project!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!  The sky is growing lighter and the birds are singing!  I have a busy day of working in the library and going to my favourite store… the hardware store!  Gardening things are slowly peaking out and I need more seed trays.  We also get to pick out the tiles for the bathroom (eeee, I can not wait to have a shower again!).  What are you planning to grow this summer?  I’ll post more about that very soon because there is just so so much.

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Smiles and wool 🙂  

 

 

Here is a favourite folk song for you!  Planxty’s version of the Blacksmith.  This song and actually this video really propelled my love for folk music.  Such a vast world of music.  Steeleye Span does a version of this song as well, definitely worth checking out as it is SO different and also, awesome. The song is very tragic, telling the tale of a woman who fell in love with a blacksmith only to learn afterwards that he is married.  I’m not sure the origins but many of these songs are traced back hundreds of years.

Slán !!

Julia

Early April

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Grow my pretties!

Happy Friday and Weekend Otherworldlies!

I hope you have all been well!  I have been having a nice time with family and planting seeds upon seeds in my studio.  It is c o l d here but the long days see us upbeat, light and happy.  Finally! Today, we are off on a small weekend adventure to see family and have some *city* time so I thought I would do a quick update before I busy myself watering everyone and packing.

I have had one solid day this week of working outdoors.  Picking up sticks, separating fire burning wood from just bonfire wood, sawing and pulling out a very large plant that had begun to climb up the walls of our house.  Since, the weather has been really rather unpredictable, I busy myself drawing.  I am hoping to start again doing custom art work and hopefully selling my art work this spring.  So, I started drawing from my own dried flowers and my medieval flower Book.  I just wanted to share a couple photos, hope you enjoy 🙂

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North Shore of PEI in April, beautiful but really cold.  There were already tourists out as well hoping to see the Teacup Rocks but being deterred by the deep and infinite red mud.
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Begin somewhere – Drawing dried strawflower with local Kombucha ❤
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StrawFower – Collected and dried last summer/fall.  I l o v e these flowers and definitely suggest growing them!!  They are really fragile seedlings but grow to be extremely strong plants (the stems are massive).
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The cutest dream cottage on the dunes in Northern PEI.  All of the cottages are boarded up to protect them from the strong winds coming off of the ocean.  The road to these cottages is essentially impassable due to the mud but it won’t be long before they are inhabited again!
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Red Clover drawing in a brown paper sketch book
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Dog Violet – drawing from my Medieval Flower Book ❤
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Yarrow and Sedum!
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Petey ❤ as much as I love you, I’m not sure about you hanging out here, he ate two of my seabuckthorn plants 😦  Life tip – keep Seabuckthorn away from felines.
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Drawn Last year – a collection of my plants pressed in books.
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Another drawing of Straw Flower – can’t suggest it enough!!
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Beautiful Island ❤
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Viola Canina – Dog Violet 🙂  Love Latin botanical names ❤
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Current Works!  This Pachyphytum is blooming as well! (Succulent native to Mexico)

 

Just a couple photos of some recent drawings!  We have so much work to do outdoors as well as indoors (a whole new bathroom).   Knitting is going to really  slow down, however I do have a lot of stock and will begin to update the shop next week! Excited for the future and enjoying having a simple life!

A song for you, the Massachusetts psychedelic rock band Quilt ❤  Perfect for sowing some seeds on a rainy afternoon 🙂

 

** P.S.  I wanted to just let you all know that living in Rural PEI, we have very bad internet.  I don’t know if there have been changes made but as of late – but it has been next level slow.  I can hardly use instagram (it’s mostly me trying to load when I’m on there) and can rarely see videos or actually anything – I have been having a frustrating morning trying to use it and just felt like sharing that it just hasn’t been working for me lately (I’m wondering if you are seeing my stories? I can’t load videos on there or see anyones and new photos won’t load, blarg!!).  Anywho, for everyone living in rural areas with sad internet, hiya!**

Parcels, Love & Changing Seasons

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Pangur & Petey – brothers

G o o d m o r n i n g!

This morning was so incredibly special – Henry and I went out for a walk as the sun was rising in the hopes of walking on still frozen ground rather than sinking in the mud!  There was a dusting of snow and the sun actually rose, higher and higher still!  I was walking with the sun filtering through the trees, illuminating the fluffy blanket of snow and reflecting off of the ever growing river.  The geese honking, spiralling down to rest on the river.

I wish I brought my phone with me! I was just wishing I could bring you along on that special walk, share how beautiful it was.  I kept telling myself *I’m meant to experience this not through a screen.*  Especially because at present – it’s snowing and there is very little visibility.  Weather is so changeable on islands.

A flock of cedar waxwings greeted us in the Pine by the front door, so beautiful.  When I got inside, I had a missed call from the library to work today.  By the time I called them back, they had found someone else so now I am happy to be sitting with a smoothie, espresso and a full denim outfit with wool socks.  No one judges here 😉

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A surprise package from Rhode Island! Lovely stamp and writing! 

I wanted to share with you some very exciting packages that I received this week.  I am just amazed at the absolute happiness and joy that comes in the form of a brown envelope and full of thoughtful musings  from a distant kindred.  It brightens a day and really just stirs a sense of love and appreciation!  Renewing stagnant energy – thank you, thank you!

A certain Fairy soul named Jen from Rhode Island sent me this very unexpected package.  A definite kindred with a love for the natural world and disconnecting from the sway of the screen.  It was so lovely, I thought I’d share little pieces from it…

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A certain kitty was very interested – as was I!  Look at how beautiful this is and if you can imagine the smell ❤

 

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A Turmeric Milk Mixture – This is so amazingly good – I will probably finish this today and hoping to concoct my own at home.  Often when I make Turmeric milk at home, I make a one off cup simmered on the stove – but this was so easy to make – just add to hot water and froth whatever milk you choose.
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Handmade and handpressed cards!  This is so cute – the mittens are based on the flying geese pattern which is an East Coast Tradition (be it along the north-eastern seaboard of the States and in Canada)
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Turmeric Milk in my favourite cup – and a beeswax herbal candle for Spring Equinox ❤
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SEEDS!!  You can never have enough seeds and funny enough, I was kicking myself for not ordering any Sweet Pea this year and well in my opinion you can never have enough Chamomile – ever.  I have never grown stock before so that will be fun!   

How sweet are all of these things?? I feel very blessed and happy to receive such gifts!  I am so hopeful that over the years I can really build up my gardens so to give seeds as gifts.

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An interlude – my latest stamps and some succulents and some not yet woven fingerless mitts!

From the West of Ireland, the very talented Floriane Blancke sent to me her CD, Kaleidoscope. Floriane is a Celtic Musician who we *met* through Etsy – she has 2 of our original Icelandic sweaters!  I absolutely love traditional inspired Celtic music, so I can’t even really describe how amazing this is for me to receive.   There was a time I would shut myself in my room learning to play guitar because I desperately wanted to play The Butterfly and the Kesh Jig – among so many other tunes.  I’m now adding Floriane’s album to my love for the ever changing world of traditional Celtic Music.

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Floriane Blancke – French / Irish Harpist and overall Celtic Musician Extraordinaire – I wanted to share the stamp too ,>.<
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Beautiful Artwork as well!

I wanted to share a video of her playing the first song off of her album “Trip to Achill/Dooagh Bay” just casually in a pub! Do check out her music, she is on Spotify and she has a website at Floriane Blancke

 

** And the sun is out again – the river is a deep blue and I can actually see the land on the other side!

I have some Etsy work to do and knitting, packages to put together!  I am so inspired right now by these souls that have shared with you above, I hope you are too!

Blessings!!

Julia xo

 

 

A little seal, knits by my mom and the feeling of revival

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Our Corner of the world – to watch the trees and birds and write to you!

Hello!!! How are you all this Winter’s end?

It has been so long and I have so much to share.  I have really missed sharing little snippets with you all so am excited to start again after what really seemed like to me – a short winter.  And so, I am sat in the couch featured in the picture above, a recent Ikea haul during our trip to Halifax – so cozy with Turmeric milk, a candle lit and the pine outside only gently swaying!  We are awaiting a wind storm tonight so of course that will change.

I thought I would start with this small post – Just a general overview of what has been going on – why I have been SO absent and to let you in on a few little things for the future.

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A cable knit cardigan my mom made for the shop – using MacAuslands Wool (A Woollen Mill on Prince Edward Island)

February is such a short month to begin with, so I guess it’s not surprising that it simply slips from our grasp.  I spent some of the month in Nova Scotia – with my Sister and her partner and then in the woods with my family and the dogs.

We walked in the woods – woods for the most part – frozen yet free of snow.  The rivers running!  One morning I walked in a mossy wood – the moss crunching under foot, nervous about damaging the forest floor.  The next day, it was soft and plush as though it was a fresh spring day.  Wearing my parka, I just lay down and stared up at the thin spruce trees with a dog occasionally licking my helpless face.   I don’t really mind.

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Winter Wood – beauty in the small things
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New socks for the shop
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My Mom in the woods – we take walks after dinner to these places

During my visit with my mom – she gave me a little stock of knits she has been compiling for the shop.  She contributes to the shop as well, making some really beautiful things.  I’m so happy she has chosen to do this because others can experience how special it is to receive one of her items!  Before she would knit huge stocks for us all for Christmas – I would receive new mittens, hat, socks pretty well every Christmas.  While I was in university and High School, I regularly (or in knitting world – regularly – maybe once a year) receive a handknit sweater – all of which I still have of course.

I wanted to just share some photographs of these handknit items – and will update the shop later today 🙂  I also have 2 handknit Lopi sweaters to put up and some fingerless mittens.  One still needs buttons so probably within the next two weeks I will update the shop and post blogs about the making process and end result!

 

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A liz Knit – Flower Mittens.  She made me a pair of these for Christmas many moons ago when I still lived in the city – they are my absolute favourite mittens. Now a pair for the shop!
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Ever green
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Back on PEI for a short while – photographing some knits when Jamie and I walked Henry on the North Shore in the National Park – So cold
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Late February wander in the woods – the moss, oh the moss ❤ For the short time being – covered in snow now.
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A fairisle knit – handmade by my mom – photographed in front of the frozen ocean. Can you tell I am absolutely frozen?  It was 10 below and probably more with the wind – BRR!
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Eastern Nova Scotia – a rock decorated by the mustard yellow Lichen – Hiking with these two!
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The Ocean of the North Shore, PEI – Early March

 

The other portion of the month I was covering a leave of absence at the library in town.  She has returned to work now and I am only working casually so have so much free time again.  I am so excited to have time to walk Henry, knit and plan gardens!  My hope for this week is to blog a lot and join you all back on Instagram again.  To start sowing a lot of seeds indoors and start a pretty intense spring cleaning.  We have a long overdue bathroom renovation that must be tackled…. an infinite to do list.

 

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Birthday cake Birch Leaf Socks – knit by my mom!

 

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Spruce Burls
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New Mitts – knit by my mom for the shop

 

There are some changes in Ways of Wood Folk for the time being… Meaghan won’t be able to make as much as she once did and we have to cut custom orders for the most part because there is a new member in our family ❤ ❤ <3…

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Is anything better?
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Moss ❤

 

**I saved the best for last **

We are very excited to let you know, the birth of Ronan Len Wilson, Meaghan and Reg’s newborn son!  He was born on Saturday, March 3rd at 4 14 in the morning, the tail end of the full moon.  I can not wait for the days to come to spend time with my nephew who is also on the East Coast – the first child of one of my sisters.  To share a love of moss, bugs and shrubs 😉

Congratulations Meaghan and Reg, we are so happy for you ❤ ❤

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Ronan Len Wilson – Meaghan and Reg’s newborn son – my nephew and the reason for a recent absence from the world of being absorbed by a screen
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Welcome little one ❤ The whole world awaits

 

And so! I hope you understand why I have taken a break from the social part of the internet – I am back and hoping to contribute a lot more.  The shop will be open again today and I just am overwhelmed actually with so much to share.  I’m also thinking of starting a new instagram – just for plants, moss, trees and bugs ❤

I hope you have all been well – that the lengthening days are giving you sun drenched energy and a sense of revival!

Be well friends, be well 🙂

**

Ronan is an Irish name meaning “Little Seal” – the term used for Selkie’s human children in folklore and just a beautiful name!

Len (Short for Lenton) is the name of my Grandfather who emigrated to Montreal in the 1930s from Dunfermline, Scotland. He is much loved.

**

Snowdrop Fingerless Mitts

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Fingerless Mittens indoor on a very cold day – so much more pleasant to share from the indoor world, free of the wind and cold.

A very happy Imbolc to you!

I am very excited to share this little post with you!  I finally wrote out a wee pattern in my notebook and decided to snap some photographs and share it with you.  If you are interested in attempting to follow my wonky instructions, then please by all means do! I decided to simply photograph my notebook and tried to be as clear as possible but just send me a comment on this post and I’ll see if I can sort anything out or provide any help.

Before I launch into knitting – I wanted to share a little more about what we have been up to.  I have been working part-time in town, starting seeds, thinking about seeds.. watching videos about seeds.  Really, plants have taken up most of my brain power.  I am thinking of starting a new instagram account just to share plants and this beautiful earth rather than making it *me* focused.

This winter weather wise has been bizarre.  There has just been a dance between freeze and thaw.  Yesterday it was above 0, huge puddles formed in the yard, blue jays and starlings everywhere!  Today, it is minus 27 with the wind that whips up from the river.  The yard is a solid sheet of ice, we could probably skate if it was more pleasant outside.  Jamie and I ran to the back to take a couple of photos this morning of these mittens but it was SO difficult because of the wind and cold.   I think I generally look a little uncomfortable and poor Jamie, clicking away!  As you can imagine, we could only stay out for about 5 minutes.

Regardless of the strange winter weather, the path of the sun and moon remain the same!  The days are growing longer and I feel a definitely revival.  With that little bit of extra light, I made these colourwork mittens.

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From the Stash!  Alpaca from We are Knitters and  Rowan Tweed that I found tucked away many moons ago in my Mom’s closet (she doesn’t miss it..).

My attempt at a pattern – I hope you like it!  If you do try it, please proceed with caution – everyone knits differently and I am not a very technical person in anyway – I think of myself as a very intuitive person in most of what I do.

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My notebook, a sleepy dog and some finished snowdrop fingerless mittens
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The Ribbing and attaching COLOUR B which for me was the alpaca – knitting in the round can be deceiving in the beginning – trust Aslan that they will indeed fit a human hand once a couple more rows have been completed.

 

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After a couple of rows – The Rowan wool I chose to use has varying thicknesses which is why it appears a little bit bumpy – it was really lovely to work with though.

 

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Painting some mittens!  I actually switched this room around today and once it is completely completed (not redundant at all, no sir) I will share a post with you!
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The first pair!  Just using forgotten stash wool
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Placing the thumb on the double pointed needles and attaching the 2 colours without tying any knots

 

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All the weaving left to do

 

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A bath in a chipped bread bowl – using No-Rinse Wool Soap
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Painting ❤
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A little Chichadee – I spotted a couple in the pine trees outside of our house and made sure to greet them, hello!

 

My notes!  I don’t really anticipate anyone trying to make these but in the case that someone is brave and wants to feel that satisfaction of using abandoned, forgotten wool – please take heed of a couple of things!

  1. This is one size, if you would like to make a larger size cast on 44 stitches.  The only issue with this is that the bottom pattern is composed of 8 stitches so it will not be completed properly.  However, if you only make Pattern 1 using one of the 4 stitch designs, you will be good to go!  The size entirely depends on what size of needles and the weight of your wool – so bigger needles will make a larger size, etc.
  2. I didn’t include pattern 2 on the thumb – this is because it was different for each thumb and I trust that you can intuitively look at your knitting and decide where the Colour B stitches can go.  I am not even a slight perfectionist as you can probably guess.  Life is too short! Too many seeds to plant, books to read, cats to pet… 😛
  3. I didn’t post anything about the thumb…. because it’s so easy!  Just divide the 11 stitches on 2 needles, pick up 5 stitches on a 3rd needle at the gusset and attach the 2 colours.  Knit 7 S E V E N 7 rounds in Pat. 2 and cast off with Colour B.

 

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To have a red roof… sigh.
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Brrrrrr….
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Tea outside with below 27 weather?  Let’s just imagine it’s not so cold and ideal for fingerless mittens (hello tomorrow and above 0 temperatures A G A I N!)
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Studio window sill – Completed and now on Etsy!

There you have it ❤

I work today and tomorrow so am a little rushed to get this out to you!  I do hope you enjoy the process and my photographs.  I will have more up tomorrow on the etsy and have a plan to make a blog post about my latest Lopi Sweater (just needs buttons and a button band… so will probably be ready in a couple of weeks!).

Welcome February 😀

As I have enjoyed doing, leaving you with a favourite tune, yes it’s from a children animated movie and yes, the theme is probably one of my favourite tunes.  I actually enjoy the version with the child singing even more but this is just a taste for you 😉

 

 

January Dreams

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Sprouted Oak – this acorn sprouted in the cold room so it will be planted in a cup for now!

J A N U A R Y

January is like the deepest sleep.

“Tending my inner garden went splendidly this winter. Suddenly to be healed again and aware that the very ground of my being — my mind and spirit — was given time and space in which to go on growing; and there came from my heart a radiance I had not felt so strongly for a long time… ”

Rainer Maria Rilke, to Heise, 1922

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Seabuckthorn – planted in early December in this pot – hopeful for it to establish itself outside this spring.

 

The sun definitely begins to restore that “radiance” in January.  The still, bright night sky all a lit with pure silver cast stars!  The sun that lingers in the kitchen while I fix dinner, cats wandering on counter tops.  I feel like we primarily driven by the sun and the moon, so it makes total sense to me that the longer days have me dabbling with seeds, earth and growth!

I have sensed revival and growth – and maybe I express it through a primeval way – working with new life.

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Seeds Collected over 2017

The earth and plants have bewitched me and I feel like I’ve become their faithful, voluntary servant.

And so, early in January I began to take a little bit of action in this realm, despite the seed packet guidelines.   My logic is that I have house plants of all kinds, so why shouldn’t I be able to start some perennials as “houseplants” before transplanting outdoors.  I have done this for the past 2 years since we have had our own acre and never experienced any problems with starting some early plants! It actually really deepens my bond with the particular plant because they receive so much early care (as opposed to my plants in April because there are hundreds!)

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Mostly Holly Hock – collected from one beauty plant in the back!
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Seed Packets for 2018 – collected in 2017!  Among the Foxglove to be packaged up and a pack of poppies filled to the brim – I use old window frames to house the seeds throughout late summer and fall
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The tiniest echinacea beginning to germinate – to plant in the spring – the last seed that I have as well.  Echinacea or coneflower does not flower the first year of planting (like so many others!) and are difficult to germinate so I like to give them a little bit of a head start.
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Milkweed in a David’s Tea tin – I will have to move these quickly – I wasn’t expecting this many to germinate!
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Hollyhock in a yogurt container and a very dirty window – taking these photos makes me realize how badly they need cleaning 😛
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Peperomia – I actually gave this beauty a ‘hair cut’ yesterday
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January Yard – Today it is 5 C and there is no snow – the river is melting – such a strange up and down winter
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A small seed order – I have one more to place for the final veggies, flowers and herbs –

So it begins… I can’t wait for the day in May that we go to the nursery, the greenhouses!  But for now, I really don’t mind just the stirring of life, the rising sun and clear night skies.

In other parts of my small world – I am working in the library, knitting a sweater that just needs button bands and buttons and preparing to make a little pattern available on here for the last pair of fingerless mitts.  It may be so confusing which is why I am just going to put it up here and state “make at own risk.”

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Mountain Ash

 

In memoriam of Dolores O’Riordan – she helped me through being a teenager and always, always made me think of spring and life and growth and just moving on.  I feel so incredibly sad for her and her family and just wanted to share with you her beautiful voice ❤ May she rest in peace

 

 

Weekend of fairisle, painting, walks

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A tiny arctic fox painting with Pangur and some freshly finished fingerless mittens

Happy Mid January!

We have had quite the juxtaposing weekend!  Yesterday was the most mild Mid-January day of recent memory and today is well below 0 and snowing lightly.  I am so happy today!  This weekend has been lovely, with the starlings and crows at our door. I feel rejuvenated to create and just be one with the earth!  Painting, knitting and ultimately my favourite, being outside with the trees and light snow flakes. In all the quietness and ultimately achieving nothing that our society places importance on – I feel the happiest and most fulfilled. A full fridge, a fire in the stove, snow flakes dancing out my window and a very tired dog from a long hike.  Warm socks, a patient book and unlimited amounts of tea with the possibility of a cat cuddle <3<3<3

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A little Arctic Fox and northern flowers
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Some sweet fairisle fingerless mitts i dreamt up – they are made using random stash wool and an image in my head.
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The Mitts that I have completed over the past month and a half, for our Etsy shop and finally to be posted
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The Rain clouds are drawing closer casting dark shadows in this room ❤
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Early Sunday Morning – Latte, a nearly finished novel and a long abandoned but not forgotten knit
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Jamie, Henry and I ventured out today!  We only met birds and the earth was completely frozen which was a joy to walk on (no sinking in the mud!)
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We captured many of my knits for the little Etsy Shop!  So excited to finally share these small, humble items
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Witches’ Butter?  
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It was a little bit cold – Pine Green Fingerless Mitts for the shop
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Taken with my phone – The mossy path
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Lilac Fingerless Mitts up in the shop!
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SinEater Illustration Hoodie!  In all honesty, I do prefer to wear hoodies at home and absolutely love love love this artist’s work!
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Black Lopi Fingerless with Linden Tea on the forest Bridge
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Sweet Little Pangur Paws

And for this evening, Jamie and I will have a nice dinner to celebrate our 8 years together, sit by the fire and I will more than likely start another little knit for the shop and will finish The Good People by Hannah Kent.  We started to watch Tales from the Green Valley AGAIN (about once a season we watch this series). It is one of my most soothing and therapeutic shows – I love it! All I need is to hear the opening music and I feel whisked to a very safe place. Jamie and I have developed stories between the historians and archaeologists – for instance, we are certain something happened between Alex and Chloe… but anyway, for another time and place !!

I wonder if you can feel the peace I feel this weekend through the photographs?  I forgot to mention that Jamie gifted me with a new camera for Christmas and I am so incredibly excited about the pictures that I have been taking.  I do have A LOT to learn because though I have always enjoyed taking pictures – I have never done more than point and shoot.  There is a bit more too this one and I am in a wee bit over my head at the moment.  All in good time, right?

Love & Light for the last half of January!  I am already looking at seed catalogues as the light ascends!

Hope You’re well and DO let me know if you watch the link I provided 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

A New Year

 

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From my studio window on The Winter Solstice,

Happy New Year!!

Hope you are all well and enjoying the rising of the sun.  I have been feeling very content with a general good feeling about times to come.  2017 was a very big year for ourselves and my family and I am so excited and honestly just motivated this year!

This winter has been strange as anything.  We have been bombarded with frigid temperatures that keep you inside for days.  Breathing is difficult, my lungs grasping for air in the face of arctic winds!  The river was completely frozen.  Just the other day, as I was walking Henry through the fields to the river, I saw snowmobiles in the middle of the river, darting all over the ice like flies on south-facing windows.  We even saw some seals hanging out, lazing on the ice in the sun.

Today – today was 13 degrees Celsius… fog rolling up the river that has completely melted.  My boots sink in the mud and the animals need to be wiped down with a towel when they come inside.  We took advantage of the lack of ice and mild temperatures to bring wood in today.  Tonight we are expecting freezing temperatures again and for the foreseeable future. I would love a good snow storm…

I just wanted to share with you a couple of photographs from the past couple of weeks!  I have been totally absent from social media and strangely excited to get back into the swing of things.  I will have to ‘upgrade’ this website soon and hope to just be more active with getting my art available again.  I have been busy working at the central library branch in town and just other things that I don’t even know really!  I feel like I’ve been saying this for months but I honestly sense a change.

 

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Henry’s Spot ❤ ❤ – watching the sunset on the Winter Solstice
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Working away on little stash mittens
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Before the frigid temperatures – we were going out for wonderful walks – sadly the temperatures have been around -30 C with the wind chill and it’s difficult to breath
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Just around 0 C!
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working by the bridge for an afternoon
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home ❤
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A small island journey
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Up West to this Gem
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Loom Machines when you enter the door!  Not running for the Holidays but the store was still open
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lichen pink
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Home – MacAusland 2 ply for some Maritime inspired folk mittens – time to rearrange my wool!
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All of my wool – slowly getting down there!  I LOVE using up things that I have – part of my frugal spirit
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New Colours to be put away !!!

STILL LIFE…

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Botanical “Knowledge” cards – this being ST JOHN’s WART (and now I’m looking for a St. JOhn’s Wart – Hypericum perforatum – seed supplier in Canada) One step closer to the Harry Potter Universe if I can learn all of the latin names 😉
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Christmas at home this year – my mom made some crochet ornaments for us (hardened with sugar water:)
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The steps down to the basement
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Sent home early due to storm the other week
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Up on my list of happiest moments just the quiet snow, setting sun
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New Sin Eater, one of my favourite contemporary artists hoodie (thankyee, i will try my best to keep it from animal hair)
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Stash Mitts!!  I made this little sweet pair up using two different types of wool that I found in my stash!  ALSO “The Good People” by Hannah Kent, I think she and I are somehow connected, ha.
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Mild Day by the frozen river
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My heart literally melts
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tiny simple paintings just to clear my mind – meditative for me
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One more view ❤

And I apologize for the overload of Photographs!!  Tomorrow I plan to post again so I can keep up with having more trimmed and neat posts that consist of one central topic (like this weekend – oops might be a little broad but less so than pictures from the last 3 weeks).  The Etsy shop will be updated tomorrow along with this little blog here of mine).

Thank you everyone so much for your time and positive thoughts.  I wish you all a very blessed New Year, full of creativity, joy and peace!!  I’m so excited to share more with you and hope you enjoy one of my favourite renditions of favourite medieval song : )

Julia ❤

Snow, Coffee & Living in the Country Side

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Morning!  Our house from the road , we have a long driveway and I have been planting trees and shrubs to hopefully create a tiny woodland – all asleep now.

This morning was so beautiful!  I woke before the sun to light a fire and finish reading my book (Sea Road finished, now on to Galway Bay). The snow that fell last evening enveloped the land and I was giddy to go out for a walk as soon as the sun rose.  Jamie and I had oatmeal and I made a thermos of Coffee to bring out with me.

 

 

Such a cold morning, but crisp and clean without any wind!  Henry and I walked down to the river, marvelling at the freshly fallen snow, the clouds, the low but bright sun.

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Following Fox Tracks, through the field to the river – fox/coyote tracks are usually perfectly straight unlike dogs which go to and fro!
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pathway to the river
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An attempt at Panorama – The Salt water river we live by,  so many bald eagles live in this spot
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Water mimics the sky

Henry and I continued, after visiting the river to walk a small woodland trail that leads us to a tree that I love – a towering white pine.

 

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Coffee with this Pine – The forest before this tree has been decimated – cut for lumber/Firewood (who knows).  If you see the space on satellite google maps – the land looks scarred and damaged.  I am so thankful this tree was left standing although I sometimes wonder how he must feel standing before a decimated forest
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Home to a homemade Yuletide Card

So, I sat here for a little bit with Henry, having a morning coffee and thinking about the trees.  I feel uneasy sometimes here because it is privately owned.  Farmland that is rented and used year after year for the same crop.   Hurting soils.  When I returned home, feeling very much at peace having spent some time by the water, with the pine and watching Henry frolic around, a man knocked on my door.  He told me that he saw my tracks and was wondering if it was me who walks in the fields.  He is a trapper and told me that Henry’s tracks were close to his snares and I should keep her on a leash (I do keep her on a leash along a certain stretch of my walk down there because I was unsure if there were traps – now I know for certain).  She would likely be killed if she was caught in one.  Obviously I am extremely grateful for this knowledge – I feel sick thinking of something happening to her.  He was very apologetic and nice as well and he really needn’t be, I am the one just walking unknowingly on someone’s land.   I just feel sad thinking that this is the reality of living in the country side.  People will continue to hunt, to trap the beautiful red fox and eastern coyote for their furs.  I wish we could buy more land to create safe environments for wildlife.  For soil to flourish.  It is a life goal to buy a plot of land outside our acre in order to create these environments – to allow life to flourish, to humanely harvest firewood through selective cutting – all while planting trees.   To see the fox tracks and not worry about her well being and her kits.

It frustrates me beyond anything else thinking of how we treat the planet.  We clear cut and poison the land for 100’s of acres of mono agriculture – all while pushing wildlife to live on the fringes.  Then we allow hundreds of creatures to be culled every year (Okay much more than hundreds, but I am referring to just the small province where I live).  My sister told me that she saw a Coyote Pelt blanket for sale at Hudson Bay.  It was 4000 Canadian dollars – trappers make 50 CAD dollars for a pelt.  50 Dollars for a life, all while the consumer is fooled into thinking it’s worth much more than that.

I know this is part of our cultural heritage – Prince Edward Island actually was heavily involved in fox farming at the turn of the 20th century.  If you have been to PEI, you certainly would have noticed the red fox methodically trotting along the road.  In Charlottetown, they walk the sidewalks. Just the other day, I saw one sitting by the Tim Horton’s drive through window, cautiously approaching the cars that were stopped to pick up their coffees.  Despite the healthy population, I wish they could live freely in our dwindling woodlands.  I wish I could walk through the vacant winter fields without fear for my dog.  Luckily, we do have many trails so we can do just this, where hunting is prohibited.   Where towering white pines still stand and trout swim upstream.  Basalm Firs stop erosion of hillsides.  Places where I imagine the earth feels like her old self.  I’ll continue to walk these trails rather than the dormant farmland and fringe woods.

I do think that there are so many incredibly small things we can do, like planting a single tree, a plant solely for the bees.   Deciding to pay attention to the natural world in any way, whether it’s noting the cycle of the moon or the changing leaves.  We just need to give a little bit more attention to this beautiful planet, good things will follow ❤

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Early Morning and high clouds