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!**

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

 

 

Gardening, Plants & Herbalism APRIL Pt. 2

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Crocuses!

Hi dearest Fae readers!

How are you all!   I am currently sitting at my kitchen counter, taking a break from making pizzas to finally post my last experience with plants, gardening and herbalism of April 2017.  It has been a beautiful past week, the sun is shining right into the window before me, bathing the plants and warming my soul.  The wind has lost her bite and is back to being a good, powerful ally.  One of my favourite friends.

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A kitchen workspace, sitting on a stool and very happy indeed!
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True love ❤ Petey and Pangur sitting in a tree – this is usually the case somewhere in the house!

This week has been extremely busy and I am happy to finally sit down and not have a million things going on in my head at once (Although, I might still be buzzing – still need to finish those taxes… sigh).   We have been graced with the most refreshing rain (that Henry and I got caught in yesterday, drenched to the bone!), such pleasant warm temperatures and just a general blissful attitude in the midst of a little bit of chaos.

WHY have we been so busy?  Well, I am knee deep in garden working – sowing already potatoes, onions, kale, spinach and wildflowers, collecting natural fertilizer from the sea, planting trees, working with the indoor seedlings as well as just other general things.  Aside from that, which obviously is only limited to certain times of the day – our washing machine broke.  Yes, it  is a 12 year old machine that came with the house when we bought it. I felt rather stressed since we absolutely need a washing machine and the price to replace one is not cheap.  Moreover, the room in which our washer and dryer are hooked up is reached to by going through our upstairs bathroom (probably once a hallway to the room).  Well, the previous owners must have had the washer installed and afterwards, installed a corner shower in the bathroom because the shower blocks about 5 inches of the old door (I’m sorry if this is confusing!  It’s an old house and some things just negate common sense since these houses were not built for showers and washing machines!).   Our solution?  We tore out the shower with the intention of redoing the whole bathroom (it needed to be done at some point, why not now?).  So, our first renovation job for our house is coming a little bit earlier than anticipated! Thankfully, our new washing machine arrived yesterday, so I can finally, finally, finally wash our clothes at home (it has been broken 2 months – yes, we procrastinate and used a laundromat), including sheets and quilts and arg I am so excited!  I really never thought I would see the day that a washing machine would excite me SO much (Have you watched Tales from the Green Valley?  The old way of doing laundry was SO so so much work, I’m very grateful for these machines).  Next step is to build a clothesline and then I will be feeling very grateful indeed.

Anyhow, that was a little overwhelming and maybe a little too much about washing machines.  I wanted to share a couple of pictures from the week about some of the things we have been up to.  The crocuses and siberian squill are blooming – the tulips rising.  Dandelions are popping up all over the place and I have been digging up, scrubbing and cutting up the roots for roasted tea (the plants that have crept up in garden spaces).  The robins have been flying to and fro and I even saw 3 Cedar Waxwings the other day! The tide has been so incredibly low on our evening walks to the river and we are only spotting gulls and ducks – no longer the Canadian Geese.

On the New Moon,  I planted a bed of red and yellow onions, russet potatoes, kale and spinach.  I also began to dig a new garden by our driveway because the earth is amazing.  We think that some time in the past, someone must have had a fire in this spot.  I have dug up small glass bottles with twisted tops, forged nails, and animal bones. The soil is nearly black which is such a contrast to our regular red soil!  I look forward to planting flowers and am hopeful to perhaps start a rose plant for rosehips.  I’ve collected all of the dandelion roots in this area to roast for tea but first they are drying on a screen!  I am SO excited that collecting and working with plants again has begun 🙂  I do believe that we are about a week ahead of last year.

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The guest room is now home to many small plants
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The studio
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My work room – most of my energy is going into working with plants, soil and outdoor things so I am not in great need of this table (or that’s what I tell myself to not feel bad about my drop in productivity..)
Sea Lettuce
We live by a salt water river – a river that stems off of the Hillsborough River that runs through Prince Edward Island into the Charlottetown Harbour and eventually to the Northumberland Strait. Our river abounds with all kinds of seaweed, muscles, clams and even oysters. We have been taking bags down on our walks and filling them with seaweed to place on our garden beds. This kind I believe is sea lettuce (although i’m not completely sure) and is the most brilliant green as well as excellent compost!
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Some sea lettuce for a garden bed, I mixed this into the soil along with some of our compost and planted onions in this bed

 

Dandelion Root
I very politely asked these roots to let go while I was trying to pull them up and miraculously, they did! These are the only roots I’ve had such luck with – I’v been back to using an old fashioned shovel 😉
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Delphinium!
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Siberian Squill in the front yard, flowers for the fairies

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Lichen on our walk!

 

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Breaks in the woods
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Jamie ❤
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Walks in the woods

 

A R T & O T H E R  T H I N G S

Not much art has taken place – or anything aside from domestic and gardening stuff but alas, I did a couple of things!  Granted, they are small. But I thought you might enjoy them!

I also finished a hazel heather Pangur Bán sweater!  I will make a post next week, when it has dried and we have some photos for the etsy shop.

I am still reading Outlander, but have also been reading through The Celtic Realms by Nora Chadwick and Myles Dillon because… Jamie and I are going to  I R E L A N D in 2 weeks and I can barely believe this is happening.  Many of the places we are staying do not have internet, so I will probably not be using it much at all but I will be sure to make some posts about it when we get back.  This is a pretty important trip for us, especially since I was a Celtic Studies student and feel a great connection to my Irish Ancestry (which I’m always scoffed at for when I meet people from Ireland!!  Sorry, we don’t have thousands of years of history in Canada that we feel rooted in).  I am ecstatic… and have kept it in for several months since we knew we were definitely going.  But, soon dear fae friends, you will be bombarded by two small Canadians’ adventure on the emerald isle!!

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A tiny painting for a very dear customer who sent me tea when she read that I was feeling depressed last month – she brought me so much joy that I made her this small bookmark
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Very rough sketch of one of the Dandelion roots that I dug up – it looked so much like a fairy creature walking that I felt like drawing him!  Just going for a stroll into my sketchbook.
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Cutting up dandelion roots to dry!  Dandelion root is a overall health tonic

 

Sadly, I must go!  I enjoy writing these posts so much as I feel as though I’m communicating and almost having tea with all of you!  This evening we are having friends over for homemade food and a bonfire, sending off a friend who is going away for the next month and a half.  I am also seeing it as an early Beltaine celebration.   I have so many other things on my mind, that really makes me feel like blogging more despite the death of blogging (I know I am so late to this).

I’ll be back next week! taking another solid break from SM this week for my sanity and clarity of mind!

 

Blessed be, Merry May and make your own magic ❤

Julia

xo

April Gardening Pt. 1 & other ramblings of a fae folk

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gardening and knitting 😀  

PINK MOON IS ON ITS WAY

Well, the pink moon has passed but any opportunity to quote Nick Drake 🙂

The weather is WARM and the sun has been gracing us with his presence!  I am happy, so incredibly happy.  A little sun burnt and exhausted but so full of the cleansing, full happiness that fresh air and manual labour brings.  I’m back to communing with the land, with roots and branches, robins and bluejays.  April is a muddy and plan brown (or red on PEI), drab time of year here, but as soon as you get outside and take a wee closer look at the earth, the trees the colours of life on this green earth are just abounding.

The work on our 1.25 acre is endless.  Especially since our plans include using every inch of space for flower, vegetable and herb gardens, animals and trees.   We have a huge checklist which includes new gardens, a ton of raking, preparing wood for next winter, tending to our forest (really a small wood but the forest just sounds so much more majestic ;)), mulching, digging, burning, felling trees (I’m starting to sound a little destructive but it’s all part of the process!).

This week has been g l o r i o u s.  I completely disconnected from instagram and feel as free as a bird by just removing myself from social media.  The earth is speaking to all of us, if we listen and work with her.

At this time of year, we are not even touching vegetable gardens because the earth is too damp to turn. So, it’s mainly raking, woodland, and clearing up flower gardens.  I even started to plant some chestnuts that have sprouted in our basement.  I hope you enjoy the photos of our work and can not WAIT to show you the contrast of now and a couple of months!

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Found while digging in a garden! Folklore tells us that nailing an iron horseshoe above your door/barn door will keep the fairies at bay.  Fairies detest metal and were notorious for interfering with livestock and crops – you still see remnants of this tradition 😀  It also translated over to holding your luck (I think originally because it protected you from fairies) however if you hand it upside down, your luck will dribble away from you : (
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Clearing out the rose bushes and plotting stones for a fairy garden in the front of the house – Not much colour at the moment! I started to mulch the roses with decomposing stumps and lining this garden with mossy logs and branches.
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Flora Helping out!
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Among the rose bushes – offerings from our beach walks to the elemental beings that inhabit the earth
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A friend of mine gave me this really cute, vintage garden gnome!  I’m so excited to finally give him a home in the garden ❤
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I see growth on this rhubarb plant!  My mom brought these over last year from her garden –  I love having a family connection to plants as well as a earthly entity connection (I guess we are all one big family afterall)

 

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One of our raised beds that I wattled last year – Not a lot going on in this part of the garden until late May so I’m leaving the cover of leaves on there
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Rosebuds ❤
Chestnuts
sprouted chestnuts I collected last fall – to be planted in the woods!
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The Forest literally looks like a tornado lingered there for a little bit – weedy like trees are trying to choke out our maple and trees and branches down everywhere!  On a good day, we have a long day of burning down what we can’t salvage (which is still a lot!) – the process of turning the woodland into a shangri-la will take years but it will be SO worth it – benefiting the soil, animals, insects and humble humans
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We have been making baked potatoes in the coals of our bush burns – salt, pepper, butter and a potato from down the road – delicious!

I N S I D E

And on the indoor front – it’s getting a little wild!  The plants are shooting up and need daily care.  The tomatoes are strong and the herbs already fragrant.  The lupin seeds I collected on the side of the road last year have sprouted and I am beyond excited to give back to the insects of our world!

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A little painting of one of my favourite spring time flowers – Siberian Squill – painted for a friend
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Tomatoes growing up and up – we still have a month and a half before they can go outside! I can’t believe how quickly they are shooting up – so different than the past 2 years
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A Vintage Owl Mug with a Tulsi basil plant as well as a few parsley plants
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Little Pine Tree ❤ I collected a few seeds last fall and am so happy one of them has burst into life!
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Two more trays of seeds – displacing my work area and some old drawings I found from Botanical Art class back in 2010 (eep!) – I decided to spruce them up a big and still working on it 🙂
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Little Seedlings – my babies
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WORK SPACE MAGIC – It won’t be long before plants completely displace me 😛

A P R I L  P I C K S

BOOKS

I’m reading OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon and I can already say that it is fantastic.  A friend of mine suggested it when I told her I was watching the show and felt like it was made for us (plants, magic, Highlands of Scotland, yes please!). I stopped watching it immediately and started the book

I’m also reading through some Norwegian Folk Tales as well as our man, Ronald Hutton’s Witches, Druids and King Arthur.

TV / PODCASTS

Other than repeatedly watching Tales from the Green Valley, I’ve been listening to The Higherside Chats with Greg Carlwood – about fringe topics.  He has an episode on PLANTS that I definitely suggest called “Earth Alchemy, Plant Spirits, & Engineered Abundance” with Shamangineer.  My sister suggested it to me and I am hooked.  It’s available both in his website and youtube.

Maybe I’ll reveal a part of myself I don’t tend to share on the internets but, I was thinking of making a compilation of books/videos/documentaries on modern fairy lore.  I’ll start with a really fun documentary that hits very close to home here on the East Coast  ❤  ❤ ❤

THE FAIRY FAITH

KNITS

I’m working on a lopapeysa, of course! Hazel Heather and I’ll show you soon, I promise!

MUSIC

Quilt’s self titled album (on Google Music) and the birds that are singing a consistent tune.  I love slow, droning psychedelic guitars, need to start playing music again !!!

Other than that – I’ve been working outside and then coming in exhausted and ready to sleep zzzz.

B E   W E L L

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Beach Girl ❤  Something I love about living on the East Coast – often the only people at the beach

March Gardening

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Starting a little bit early this year since last year we had many green tomatoes ripening in the spare bedroom!

H I   F R I E N D S

It’s the last day of M A R C H!  You guys, I am so excited.  Right now, it’s blowing snow, minus 10 with that wind chill and just down right unpleasant.  I love winter, but this slow rebirth honestly tears at my soul.  I’m confused and feel like I’ve been swallowed up by some eternal grey and cold void.  But it’s never as bad as all that, since it’s so temporary and it won’t be long before we are outside in the sunshine smelling the damp earth.

I am currently sitting by a drafty window with my big headphones on blasting the band QUILT (self titled album) and drinking caffeinated beverages interspersed with water and trying to figure out how I am going to write about the almost non-existent March gardening season (PHEW long sentence!).  But I can’t stop thinking about how I need to play guitar and mandolin more and just change my life completely?  Throw away my phone, read more books and just work on becoming telepathic with plants and how can I start writing music (sounds reasonable)?

A N Y W A Y . . .

If there is one thing that lets me feel a never ending sense of life and excitement during this time of year, it’s SEEDS!  Yes, seeds. This year, I ordered some from the Incredible Seed Company and Hope Seeds (both heritage seed companies in Nova Scotia).  I have a few packets from Heritage Harvest Seed (now 2 years old) and Veseys,  an Island company about half hour drive from our place. I also have quite a few collected from the garden.  My ultimate goal is to become self sufficient and not have to buy seeds, but this is only our 2nd year on our acre, so not quite there.

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Seed Packets – flowers, tomatoes and peppers
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Poppy Pods, collected last year 2016

I started …

Tomatoes (many different types: Bloody Butcher, Alaska Tomatoes, Acadian Cherry Tomatoes, German Johnson, Black Prince, Black Krim, Orange Mennonite Beefsteak, Amish Canning Tomatoes, Early Rouge… Okay I have an addiction to buying seeds), peppers, F L O W E R S & H E R B S (lavender, rosemary, basil, sage, catnip, hollyhock, echinacea, black eyed daisies, bergamot, strawflower, poppies, zinnias and I know I’m forgetting quite a few).

I also planted a giant pumpkin seed which is slow going and a couple of pine tree seeds that I collected in the fall.  Last year, I planted Oak and Horse Chestnut so hopefully this year, I can add some pine to the property.

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Last week, I’ve now added quite a bit more!

S T A R T I N G   E A R L Y

For the past couple of years, I have followed the instructions on seed packets.  6-8 weeks indoors before the last frost in your area.  Last year, many of our flowers bloomed around (or didn’t bloom for that matter) the first frost of the season.  Our tomatoes had to ripen inside and our pumpkins were definitely not orange or big enough to carve.  I don’t know if this is going to be WAY too early to start a lot of our tomatoes and flowers, but my rationale is that when I go to the nurseries in late May and Early June to buy perennials, they are WAY older than 8 weeks and they do swell.

Tomatoes
Tomatoes

E C H I N A C E A

Echinacea is sprouting!  I am so excited, last year I planted a lot of it hoping that we would forever have echinacea in the summer.  Nothing happened at all.  I was disappointed, my visions of an everlasting supply of the cold busting flower destroyed.  I blamed it on the seeds not being viable and bought new seeds from a different company, without actually doing research on growing the flower.  When it came to starting it again… I did the sensible thing and looked it up on the internet.  Apparently, you should stratify the seeds, so I put them in a damp paper towel, sealed in a plastic bag for a week or two and placed it in a cupboard in the kitchen.  Lo and behold, they sprouted! I was SO excited and immediately went to the recycling and found a home for them.

Echinacea
In the plastic container – ECHINACEA!!! And yes a very snowy and grey exterior

H O L L Y H O C K S

I dream of a house being surrounded by the fairy tale flower, and will do my absolute best to grow these.  The past two years, I have failed terribly.  I bought seeds from Heritage Harvest Seed Company (I think out of Manitoba) and I could not start the hollyhock seeds at all.  This year, I ordered from a company much closer to PEI (Hope Seeds in Nova Scotia) and have about 5 little plants growing!  I am going to baby these in the hopes that they will grow and grow and grow and live on for the centuries to come on our little farmstead.

They are black jet Hollyhocks and I dream about them at night. They are growing into beautiful wee plants and this is the reason why I am planning to document plant growth.  I can’t wait to show you in August or September.

Hollyhock
Beautiful little plant, I promise you the sun will shine

W A X I N G  R E P O T T I N G

 And, when the new moon graced the skies, my Mom (visiting for the week <3) and I repotted many of the house companion plants: Aloe Vera, Jade, Hoya Wax Plant, Peperomia, Spider plant, English Ivy, Haworthia.  You have bigger homes now for the summer and I hope you will be happy!

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Pots and plants and plants and pots
Repotting
Mom and I repotting
Haworthia
Roots of a Haworthia – yep just messing up the floor – thankfully I do have a broom 😛
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Plant World ❤

F A C I N G  the C O L D

During my Mom and Merlin’s visit this week  – we still braved the cold, heading out through the fields to visit the hundreds upon hundreds of Canadian Geese on the river.

Canadian Geese
Resting on the river 
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Shell of a nest
Snowy Woods
Heading toward the woods to visit the river and the geese

T H A N K  Y O U

And I just want to thank you for reading and joining me on this absolutely magical journey of starting plants from seeds.  I almost feel like I need to apologize for the total lack of colour from my posts lately, the glimpses of green though – life and more life in this grey and stark winter world.  It won’t be long I hope before our world is bursting with colour.  Before, winter feels like a distant dream and summer a sweet, buggy reality.

P.S.

Planting seeds is E A S Y and honestly so incredibly vital to life on this planet.  Evolution before your eyes.  Vesey Seeds is currently giving away free packets of wildflower seeds in an effort to bring the extremely concerning issue of vanishing bee populations to the public as well as obviously providing more food for the bees.  If you would like your own packet to help out, simply fill out a form by clicking  H E R E

Last of Winter

North Shore
The Beach is no longer mud!

S P R I N G 🌿

Rejoice, rejoice!  It’s cold outside with a north wind.  I’m sitting on a cushion on the floor while the animals sprawl out on the couch.  I felt like just doing a quick post, to share a few pictures of our last weekend of winter.

Despite the cold and the wind, I still feel spring in the air.  This past weekend, we didn’t just hear the crows cawing but all kinds of birds and geese honking overheard. The bluejays have returned to our compost pile and the tips of the maples have buds.  Spring is a late bloomer here and we likely will be in an in between state for another month.  We are all itching to get outside.

The sun was so strong this Saturday and the temperature so pleasant.  Jamie and I had a busy weekend going for walks with Henry, working outside and going on aimless country drives.  It was a really beautiful end to this winter and I wanted to share with you little bits and pieces.

The outdoor work on this little piece of land seems endless!  This weekend, we focused on picking up sticks that have fallen during the winter gales. We had a bonfire and let the chickens and Henry free (Henry is pretty good with the chickens, although she occasionally runs as fast as she can at them to scatter them to the wind :\ ).

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The chickens had free range on Saturday!
Bon Fire
First bonfire of the year, many, many more to come!
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The Garden Shed, so much cleaning up to do!
Dorothy
Henry scared Dorothy and she came running to me for protection ❤
Driving
Driving along the north shore this weekend with Jamie ❤
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My boyfriend and girlfriend ❤ First Beach walk of the year
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It won’t be long before we can use the sun room…
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The morning sunlight and a pair of angora mitts I’m working on
Lighthouse
More Lighthouses, this one is at Wood Islands ❤
South Shore
Beyond the Lighthouse
The Strait
The Sweater, we drove to the strait to get a photo of the sweater and say fare well to winter!
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Brilliant sunset for the last full day of Winter 2017

 

The end of winter!  I can barely believe it!  It does go by so quickly.  I would like to do more posts about gardening and despite the cold, I have started quite a few seeds already indoors.  But the extent of our gardening this month is cleaning up the yard and starting a few seeds.  I am ecstatic for the growing season!

Wishing you all a beautiful new season!

 

 

Homespun and Winter Walks

So much snow fell on us yesterday.  Our windows were covered by 3 pm, our world grey and dark.  We have been having unseasonably cold temperatures, it feels more like we’ve been plunged in the depths of January and early February.  I talk a lot about the weather… my journal since I was a teenage is half discussing the temperature, the rain or snow, the wind or how the trees bowed and danced.  I love Mother Nature and simply observing her moods.  When I write I think I focus on the weather first as though to clear my mind for what exactly it is I want to say, so please bear with me 😉

This morning, I went out to see the chickens (who refused to leave the coop when they spotted the snow), lit a fire and finally sat down to draw.  My studio/work room had been overrun with my Christmas cards and packaging things up for orders.  This morning, I shipped the last of my orders so my mind has cleared for new projects.  I always have some kind of “Ode to…” brewing in my mind and this morning I worked out an Ode to working with the earth and with my hands. An ode to tradition bound up with the animals, insects and herbs that make a comfortable home. A home that goes so far beyond our front doors.

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Preliminary sketch and my magic fox stamp
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Letting the life come through a little more detailed
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Beginning of the end – I used an old drawing I did based on a Grimms Fiary Tale
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Indian Ink, a beautiful pitch black

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Developing my altar art work

The sheep is at the center, providing us with wool that keeps our hands busy, our minds active and our bodies so warm (as well as countless other things – I’m currently contemplating insulating my chicken coop with wool and birch).  The spindle – representative of transformation – spins the rough wool to the versatile material that we love.  The quilt block is a marker of the home, of ancestors and narratives (to me personally, it is a symbol of love and comfort). The plants are dandelion, sage, lavender and Calendula – all magical, useful and healthful entities.  I included oak leaves for wisdom, the boundary between worlds and for the love of the steadfast tree. Everything ties together to allude to traditional folk lives – working with animals and plants.

I developed it a little further by adding a home, emerging from the quilt.

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A home
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Finished calendula and twisting wool
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A Giver of life and the phases of the moon
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One more thing…
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Homespun – Finished

And there she is!  Homespun – an ode to a working kinship with the earth.  I’m hoping to make some prints on rag paper.  If anyone is interested, please let me know!

To leave you – some pictures from our walk through farmers’ fields today – in a foot of snow.

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Walking along the fields
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To see the remaining Canadian Geese
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The sky changes so quickly
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Interested in the Geese, she is 😉
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To sit and knit with fire and fairy lights during the long evening

Fingerless Mitt Gardening

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This fall has been so busy with preparing future gardens, harvesting and preserving produce and stacking wood.  Even though we only have over an acre of land, the work seems endless.  As I work, my mind does one of two things: zones out completely or thinks constantly about the other work that needs to be done or future projects.

An acre of land definitely doesn’t sound like a lot when you think of homesteading, but believe me you can do SO much on it (we have 1.25 acres).  I’m currently turning over the soil for a new garden, putting the other gardens “to sleep” and stacking wood.

GATHERING AND PREPPING

Fall has brought the most bountiful time in our garden.  The maritime climate is strange in that we have rather miserable springs and summer begins later than the south of Canada (something rings strange about that phrase…) but fall is glorious.  We still have carrots, parsnips, beets, chard, squash, kale and an abundance of fresh herbs growing.  However, this will all come to an end very, very soon.  I have been so busy, picking, drying and preserving our produce and herbs so that we have organic, homegrown food for the winter that we can eat with a sense of peace and satisfaction (I don’t know if anything is more satisfying than eating your own grown or foraged food).

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Butternut squash growing on the twig fence
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Harvesting on a wet day
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Harvest Dinner, Thank you so much Mother Earth ❤
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In our cold room in the basement, pickles, chutney and relish

PREPARING GARDENS FOR WINTER & TURNING OVER SOIL FOR THE NEW

Over the summer, I learnt a lot about our plot of land.  Our raised beds are surrounded by pine trees that block a lot of light. So, I’ve decided to turn the soil over in a different spot for a new garden.  Why am I doing this now?  Well, I wanted to expose the soil to chicken poop, dead leaves and rotten wood before the winter.  All of these are excellent for the soil.   While I  turn over the soil, I let the chickens eat their hearts out.  There are SO many worms and grubs and other insects that I couldn’t name. As soon as the chickens see me with a shovel they come running over to me, knowing there will be a feast (Chickens are very intelligent animals)!  Our yard is covered in dead leaves as well and we have many rotten tree stumps.  I’ve been raking the leaves and mixing in the beautifully rotted wood with the freshly turned soil.  Next spring I’ll add in our compost and hopefully have some nutrient dense soil!

 

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Helping to improve the soil 🙂

PREPARING GARDENS FOR WINTER

Once the above garden is ready, I will cover the beds with decaying leaves, pine needles and place birch bark on top.  This is to protect the soil from our incredibly frigid, snow filled winters.  It will also prevent weeds from growing in the spring before I actually start planting and working with the earth (I turn the soil over again in the spring).  I really enjoy this part of gardening.  I think of it as putting the gardens to sleep.  Keeping them warm and safe.

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It might not look like much… but a covered raised bed 😉 It will thank me next year

PERHAPS NOT GARDENING… BUT FALL WORK ALL THE SAME!

And lastly… the WOOD PILE!  It is never ending. But… I love it.  So much.  I love having the pile of wood outside of our home, waiting to have some meditative hardworking labourer strain their back over it (i.e. me or Jamie). The quintessential northern home.   I have spent the majority of my life living in the country or in very small towns in eastern Canada (I grew up in Eastern Ontario) and there isn’t a spot that doesn’t have wood piles and smoke curling out of chimneys as a common feature.  My favourite human landscape is a small town, covered in snow with a church steeple and smoke curling from the chimneys around it… I digress.

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Making Kindling
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Natural, renewable resources 🙂

The work doesn’t end.  I have a lot more to do before winter starts.  But I wanted to share with you a couple more pictures before I say goodbye!  Happy Samhain weekend 😀

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Only rain above our house
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Dear Daisy
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Gifts from the Earth