Bealtaine Gardening : Gardening on PEI in the month of May

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transplanting ferns below the Pine – They seem to be doing very well 🙂  My hope is for the ferns to take over an invasive ground cover species that the previous owners planted

Good Morning on this June 6th!

I am curled up on the couch with Henry, a candle lit, fairy lights on and an espresso, green tea and giant glass jar of water with me (Not a bit excessive).  It’s grey and cold and rainy out there.  I uploaded these pictures of the garden a couple of days ago feeling so happy and optimistic with the growth I was seeing, only to be hit with a solid 5 days of cold and rain.  My basil plants turned black and died as well as countless other things.   I have been feeling depressed and I think it’s linked to my poor plants that I foolishly put out too early (we had 2 days of 30 degree weather!  It was amazing but TRICKERY).

Last night I woke from a deep sleep to quite a shock – what felt like a full on assault to my face.  Petey, jumped on my face cutting right under my eye >.<  This morning I asked Jamie if my eye was swollen to which he said NO!  I thought how strange because I feel like my vision is kind of blurry there but it’s normal?  I wonder now if Jamie knows what I look like because my eye is SO swollen!  So, today I’ll be taking it so very easy with facemasks and bags of frozen peas, pretending that my eye is better and the sun is shining >.<

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Petey and Hugo
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Sun Room Plants – Geraniums and some window box cats

The garden though!  We were late getting our firewood this year (yes, it’s there… all 6 chords of logs now) so during the month of may when I’m usually splitting wood – I was gardening.   I have a small patch this year of kale and spinach – already thinking of planting more because it’s really not a lot!  This is doing really well in the cold.  I also planted peas, carrots, beets, onions, potatoes, countless flowers and herbs as well as rutabaga.  Everything seems to be fine but I am SO worried about the beans that I planted.  Black Beans that I collected from my plants last year as well as an old Acadian variety called “Goose Gullet” Bush Beans – they notoriously do not like to be cold and wet while germinating.  So… at this point, all I can do is wait and see and then possibly find a new source of black turtle beans (maybe I’ll just order some today from Hopeseed….)

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The growth of the Horse Chestnut, just this spring!  Amazing
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Home
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PEI ❤ a beautiful evening at the end of May
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The Cherry Blossoms – I hope the bees could get their fill before they were blown away by the wind
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Enjoying the winds
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Part of the Garden – This section is roughly…. 12 X 20 feet (That is a major Guess, haha I have no idea what it actually is but I can measure it another day!) Growing Garlic, Peas, Beets, Carrots and tomatoes – there are a couple of beds that I haven’t planted yet
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Henry girl on a hot day – behind her is a bed of onions and rutabaga
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Too hot to be out so window sills and drawing the fresh apple blossoms
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Quick drawings on a lazy hot afternoon
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More Drawing – the Black Swallowtails are out and and about – fluttering around around yard

Oh, I know it won’t be long before the weather changes.  It feels like winter in a way here – Last night when I stepped outside, there was such a chill in the air and all you could smell was wood smoke from our chimney and our neighbours – not at all a June evening.  Tonight, I will have to cover the tomato plants that I put outside with pots – I have dog hair and straw all around them and have already had to put pots over each individual plant to protect them from frost (we already have a frost advisory for tonight and actual “wet flurries” in the forecast for the day).

And so, I’m going to go put on some rubber boots with aloe smothered around my eye and see how those plants are doing (good thing I live in the country 🙂 )   Hoping my end of  June Garden update is more upbeat and hopeful, green and exciting for you (I do think I need it for my soul).  But I admit, this is the first June that i have seen “flurries” in the forecast 😛   Tomorrow does mark the upturn in the weather SO PRAISE BE!

Hope you’re experiencing a beautiful beginning to the most lovely of months <3<3<3 And may there be no snow in your summer forecast!

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Knitting and drawing ❤ The swallowtails on a nice day are everywhere around our house! I have a plan for A LOT of dill to be left for the butterflies

 

P.S.

The family of raccoons have officially vacated the property!  I went to check up on them the other day – and it was completely empty!  We were told that they more than likely would move out.  I felt actually blessed in a way that they decided our small backyard was a safe place to raise some wee ones.

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Our resident Family in an old rotting birch

Weekend in the far country

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Early Spring Bouquet of the woods in Nova Scotia – lichen, strawberry and dandelion

Goodmorning!

Home!  Home away from home, the home I share with Jamie, 3 cats and a lively dog.  It is early but the day is light before 6 am.  This morning was so special.  We kept our bedroom window open so waking was a dream – light rainfall and singing birds.   The scent drifting in of damp, living earth and new, fragrant green.  I enjoy mornings most in the spring.

I wanted to write to you to share this past weekend when I was still in the woods in Nova Scotia.  It was really special, my whole visit but I take so many photographs of this lovely earth that I thought I would focus on just one day, Sunday. So from my little work room, with the early grey light, candles lit and sage burning, I am writing to you dear friends

Sunday was my last full day spending time with family in Nova Scotia.  I fill my days when I visit with walking with dogs, sitting by rivers, visiting the sea and just feeling content in such simple things.  I love walking with the dogs (I always bring Henry) because they are so free  – my heart soars with a sense of freedom watching dogs run free! I had done everything i had wanted to do during this visit – visit my sister in the city, hunt for crystals, visit the ocean, the waterfalls, lie down in some moss for a while (very important life giving things 😀 ) and had completely forgotten that I wanted to find a legendary spot that i had only heard tell of – a massive brick chimney standing alone in a wood.

Sunday was pouring rain and I thought that I wouldn’t have a chance, so to be content staying indoors

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Sunday in my Mother’s kitchen – rain for the earth

So, you can imagine it was really raining!  The house is situated near a river, lake and right by the Atlantic ocean so when it rains, it really rains.  After lunch there was a lull and I just decided to trust it and get out on my bike to see if I could find this spot.  With Henry and Merlin we biked to the top of the hill and ventured into an old forest path for the cattle that once lived here and forestry.  My Mom had given me very vague instructions on how to find it, across the lake was about all I had to go on.

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Biking – these roads are very rarely travelled so the dogs run out with me on my bike.
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The path to the other side of the lake
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Finding Treasures along the way
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Another world beneath our feet

I admit, I got lost and almost gave up – when I realized that i had a cell phone and there was miraculously service!  So I called home and got directions based on where I was.  Across a marsh (I wore rainboots!), through a field and to my surprise in someones backyard – a massive free standing crumbling chimney. I felt like I was back in Ireland looking at ruins!  Although, I was a little apprehensive of the window that looked out right at me!

Many moons ago I worked in a small museum during a summer in rural Nova Scotia.  One of my little jobs was to transcribe a diary written by a man who lived in the area in the 18th century – he was prosperous and had grand plans of building mills and lumber yards around the area.  He discussed his home which sounded extremely luxurious (the older homes here are simple wooden farm houses) with more than one fireplace!  I started to imagine that this chimney was part of his phantom house (the historian who would stop in told me they hadn’t a clue where this spot was but suspected it was close to the area where our house is).

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The Chimney, falling to pieces but still really amazing

As I was taking a couple of pictures, the woman in the house came out and stood on her porch yelling at me “THOSE BRICKS FALL, BE CAREFUL!” the dogs shot over to her and before I know it, I’m with Louise talking about the house that once stood there.  She knew a lot about it because it was her husband’s family home from 200 years earlier.  The chimney she told me, became so unstable that a company actually came in to dismantle the old home.  She was on her way to a Ceilidh, so we didn’t chat too long but I did enjoy listening to her talk about it and her life in the brief time!  I miss studying history and folklore and listening to older people talk about a very different time.  It was really for the best that I started my trek back because the rain wasn’t over.

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The Cap Cod home that once stood here – she told me that the chimney was not divided by walls so you could walk around it and that the spring well was right on the main floor!  A well she still gets her water from today.
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Back of the fire place – with old beams of wood as well
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AN Ancient yellow birch along a trickling stream – this tree would take more than two of me to hug completely!  I stopped along the way back to say hello

 

I quickly made my way back to my bike, it seemed a lot quicker on the way home. I wasn’t marvelling at much on the way back, I really sensed the rain.  When we get home, the sky opened right up and the rain fell in torrents.  I can’t help but think that brief time was allotted to us for our wee adventure.  It was very special.

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The sun came out to say goodbye!

As I resigned to stay indoors for the rest of the day – watching TV with my mom after dinner – the sunset broke right through the clouds!  I wonder if you have experienced this?  It is spectacular sight.  Without thinking, we got up and went for a walk!  My Mom said it was the earth’s way of saying goodbye to Henry and I ❤

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Merlin Bear with the Sunset on a rainy but magical day
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By the end of the walk, the sky had properly broken up to share a rainbow with us
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Making veggie pizzas with my mom in her Kitchen, happy days.

Now it is past 7 am, the cats are all outside, Jamie and a dog are still sleeping and I am feeling happy and full with recounting this to you.  Thank you so much for joining me and I do hope you enjoyed seeing the chimney 🙂  Perhaps it is dull to most, but I love this kind of history especially when it is just a bike ride and forest ramble away!

Blessed day to you !!

Julia xo

 

Coal Olwyn Sweater

 

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My Olwyn design

Hallo!

How are you!

It’s a lovely, warm Sunday afternoon here on this island.  The birds are singing after a couple days of cold, grey rain.  The resident red squirrel is running through all the tops of the pine and I am just sitting here with the window wide open, drinking some Kombucha and listening to the chimes!  We have been so busy lately, that I have not had the time to dedicate to sharing this lopi sweater.  Finally, finally the time is here and I can move ahead with a clear idea of my creative world.

And so, in the bleak mid-winter, I cast on a Charcoal Lopi Sweater with the intention of having it completely finished in January, blog finished – etsy listing and all, my how time flies.

This sweater travelled to Nova Scotia with me, where I knit it accompanying my sister in her last trimester of pregnancy.  After spending time with Meaghan, I took the bus to Northern NS.  It was here that I finished it, back in February!  We did not see very much snow this winter, however I did manage to have a slightly snowy fire in the woods in Nova Scotia.   My father built this little setup in the woods with benches and a stone pit.  I love this spot, surrounded by the swaying spruce and the thick, squishy moss.

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To pack my backpack with tea, knitting and a pack of matches – collecting birch bark along the way.
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Something warm and colourwork – it was relatively mild this winter at times
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With my family, after a snow in Nova Scotia
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Chain lake, Halifax – to the left is an overpass and believe it or not, a city.
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Roots of dreams

 

In the warmth of spring, it’s hard to believe winter happened at all.  It’s almost strange looking back at these photographs.  Winter, summer… I find living with seasons so magical and so much like dream recollection.   Despite months of battling arctic winds or basking in summer’s sun, the other feels like a faded dream too strange to truly have happened.

Today, as I post this, the early flowers are blooming and I filled a seashell with sweet water for the bees.   I am genuinely happy and if it doesn’t rain, will go out soon to collect some maples and put some plants together for friends and family.

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May 6th, Crocuses!
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some coffee before photos, not chilled just so perfectly content and trying to get Hugo to show his face, not his behind (failed as you can see!)
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Finished!  Feeling fae like in this sweater and love how you can match these under overall dresses.
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I got a picture of HUGO!
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The bees are busy with these Siberian Squill – every year they spread and I love them!
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Home sweet home, there is nothing I like more than taking more morning tea/coffee and walking around the yard greeting my plant friends, especially these century old Sugar Maples!
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But I am getting side tracked, this is about this Icelandic Sweater that I made and is now available in the shop!

 

In other parts of my world, my knitting has come to a grinding halt.  I don’t have a  lot of time to dedicate to knitting the way I use to.  The outside world to me is the most important thing and it takes time, time and patience and a lot of love.  I also am doing some custom artwork again, reading books, working part-time in town.  So my knitting is still happening but the way I use to knit – just a little bit, while watching a show or having a cup of tea.  Slow and steady but how can I stay inside when the earth is awakening! My moods ebb and flow so I’m sure I’ll be overcome at some point with an obsessive knitting period 😛

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Front yard, the field is farmed in the summer months and you catch a glimpse of the river!

So friends, the thermometer says 16 Degrees C with the possibility of rain so I am going to get outside before the rain comes 🙂  I hope you enjoy your day!  I am so happy and excited to see what the next couple of months bring 🙂

Green Blessings on you all ❤

A favourite Irish Gaelic Song for you ❤

 

April Garden

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Siberian Squill knows!  The first flower to emerge ❤

A Very Happy Bealtaine to everyone!

Even with the steady grey sky and rain, I feel so full of life and happiness!  The buds on the trees are swelling, the squill and and lungwort blooming!  I even spotted my kale peaking above the soaking earth.  It has been so damp here, so there is a fire on but we have plenty of firewood left over from the winter so it doesn’t bother me so.

The mercury hasn’t dipped below 0 for the past week or two – I have planted our potatoes, kale, onions, rutabaga and all kinds of random flower seeds.  I’ve transplated some chives and rhubarb and echinacea.  I even broke up the root of a comfrey plant and stuck two pieces of it elsewhere – they are already coming up! My hope this year is to make lots of comfrey fertilizer teas for my plants and young trees.

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My work table, transformed by seedlings, can you identify any of these plants?

Oh, there isn’t much to share in way of gardening photographs!  Outside, although the smell of damp earth is intoxicating and there is a little bit of green finding it’s way up, up up – it is still mostly shades of brown and grey. I have a feeling that in the next week all of the buds will burst.  The surrounding landscape will remain muddy until the fields have been planted but at least the trees will soon breath again.

The life that I’ve spotted gleefully includes, lupins planted last summer, echinacea, poppies, sedum, a thousand maple trees (I think I’ll pick 10-20 to come up), some chestnut, rhubarb, catnip and roses. Some of the garlic has also begun to crest the straw.  Inside, I have tomatoes, peppers and flowers galore!  Chamomile, Hollyhocks, Marigolds.  I imagine an old fashioned garden full of fairy tale flowers.  Someday, I hope to have the property completely enclosed by trees and shrubs and inside an oasis of flowers.

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It may look a little gloomy – but there is a bit of green and things are growing!!
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Still a snow mound a few weeks back – but the sky isn’t completely pitch at 9pm
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sowing seeds in trays
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A helper, always
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My beloved Witch Hazel!!  Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana) is native to the Maritime Provinces – I planted this one in November and am so in love with this little plant!
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Tomatoes
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Lavender, each with a crystal companion
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Catnip!  Planted in the potato bed to help ward off the dreaded potato beatle
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Supper Outside the other day – and some very excitable explorers
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Transplanted a couple of tomato plants and put some dog hair around them for warmth in the sun room.  My friend is a dog groomer and brought me a massive bag of hair for my garden! Hair is so rich in all kinds of trace elements really ideal for the soil (also, helps keep pests away!).
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The Lilac was cut back last year, but look at all of this growth and life ❤
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The pond and our little wood – so much to do, our place will likely be pretty wild this summer
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Saying goodbye to April 2018, welcome May ❤

 

Goodbye and Blessed Bealtaine!  The sun is actually here!  I watched a really wonderful movie on Netflix Yesterday called “Dare to be Wild”  (I may have been crying for most of the film) and then continued to listen to Mary Reynolds speak in a podcast.  I highly suggest, she is amazing!

I wish I could leave you with the sound of our chimes!  I’m sitting in the sunroom, windows open wide listening to the birds (I wrote burds and it made me laugh) and the gentle chimes.  It’s cold and there is a fire on, but I don’t really care. Perhaps I’ll try to post it on my instagram stories, I feel a strange sense of completeness hearing them.

Green Blessings!!

 

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The sun decided to come for a visit

 

 

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 😉