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

 

 

Entering the Dark time with Company

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Peppermint, ginger and green tea for our late November walk.  We stopped along the streams to sit and drink a hot cup.  Health to you!

The sun has set and it’s not yet 4:30!  The days have been grey, but every evening the horizon hosts a brilliant pink and gold sunset, fading in the west to a gentle dream-like purple.  It only skims the skyline below the grey cloud, but it is beautiful! My window faces the west.

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View from my work window – to the West – that fading dreamlike winter sky.  And overnight, the snow melted! (The only time of day we glimpse a blue sky – The window is obstructing the view of the river, it reflects the sky and is lovely).

 

We are having very happy days, my Mom is visiting and we have been spending time knitting by the fire sipping peppermint tea, re-potting plants, going for long winter walks with the dogs, watching silly Holiday movies and gushing over Collette O’Neill of Bealtaine Cottage.  She brought rose plants for me, hand-sewn bags for our etsy shop and little pieces of porcelain.  Every evening we have been having delicious home cooked meals (last night was a fish chowder – one of my favourite meals of all time… not stereotypical at all for a Maritimer) and I’ve just felt so warm and happy.  Tomorrow, I am working in one of the libraries (and consequently, going to the Spinners & Weavers Guild to do some spinning and dyeing!) so we will say goodbye just for a short while.

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A late afternoon walk on November 28th
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A walk in the woods before the snow
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before the first snowfall of the season
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Beauty of freshly fallen snow! A stream between the trees.
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Red Squirrel Galore, Two best friends very excited

We both love to use our hands – create!  Since she has been here she has made a sweater for a wee one and has already started a pair of baby soakers (She has two grandchildren on the way and I am soon to be an aunt to 3!!!).  I have attached the arms of the grey lopi sweater and put it aside to work on a pair of lopi mittens for the Etsy shop.  I also finally used some calendula and rose infused oil, combined with beeswax and spruce sap that I collected last winter to create a salve.

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Calendula & Rose that have been steeped in oil since August!  I finally drained the herb infused oil for making salve today
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I finally used the spruce resin that I collected last winter during winter walks in Nova Scotia, and with the calendula oil – made a salve.  Perfect for wounds or cracked skin this winter.
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Among the spruce, I did make a grand mistake using my regular pot to make this salve – sap is very tricky to clean :\ I think it’s worth it though!

We also went to a plant shop in Charlottetown this week to bring home a little bit of pure happiness.  Plants are so expensive so I just continually get clippings from other plants, root or start from seeds but occasionally, I buy a new plant >.<  I bought a little cactus and a succulent.  I also received a very sacred package from Incredible Seed Company in Nova Scotia.  I ordered a some seeds that need warm and then cold stratification in order for them to germinate.  I will be busy this weekend 🙂  I have already started dreaming about planting for next year so there is nothing better than getting started early 😀

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Two new plants!  I am so excited about these two!!  I now have 3 cacti plants and a new succulent that is very beautiful.  
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Repotting a couple of plants – the bird terracotta pots are new, as are the plants inside of them!  The rain came and washed away the snow (the rock is a piece of Obsidian that I found at a garage sale many moons ago!)
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A Begonia, Hoya and Moses-in-the-cradle rooting in an old pepsi bottle that I dug up while digging gardens.   Now have a home in my very last plant pot (eep!)
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A couple of plants that require extra love and care for germination (except for the lamb’s ear – I just added those on a whim in the case I forget when I place a larger order in the new year).  We have Witch Hazel, Mulberry, Apple, Cherry, Dogwood and Korean Pine!  SO much you can do on 1.25 acres.
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Two Seabuckthorns I grew from seeds (also I think some poppy seeds fell into these pots!).  hopeful for these two 

And now, I am sitting by the fire listening to the ambient works of Aphex Twin.  My Mom and Jamie are making dinner together and I am going to join them.  I do hope you enjoy this and are finding happiness and solace in the darker part of the year (and happiness to all those in the light half!).

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An absolutely wonderful gift from a reader!  Thank you SO much Holly, I am so excited to read about this fascinating woman.  This book is right up my alley, I love it!! 
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Until next time ❤

 

 

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 ❤
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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

Winter Mornings ☽ 🌕 ☾

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Can you see the cross?  View this morning.

☽ m o r n i n g ☾

The moon is out.  Four beams of light that form a perfect cross (or X)  illuminate the sky.  I often think about the people of the past, how incredibly impressive and important symbols in the sky would have been for them.  Right now, I am warm and safe sitting with mounds of blankets before a window with the full moon and a cross.  I wanted to write about my morning rituals (or attempts at morning rituals) but am honestly in awe of the sight of the moon at the moment.  And while I was distracted by the brightest light in a dim sky, I looked to the East and the horizon is orange, so time to dive right into the ritual!

I wake.  Not always at the same time, although I am working on that.  This morning it was 6 am.  Winter mornings are quite different than the rest of the year.  They are darker and colder for one and require a lot of warmth for a joyous beginning.  Fire starting, thick wool socks, hot teas and oatmeal and warming scents (I basically just told you everything!).

 B U T   F I R S T …..

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Making tea – peppermint combined with a green tea bag
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The Kitchen Window yesterday morning during a storm

 S A D L Y  N O T  C O F F E E

I was once a coffee drinker – I struggled with coffee.  I loved coffee.  I loved the ritual of making it, the smell (most of all) and I had a conflicted relationship with the taste and the way it made me feel.  I finally decided to stop completely and have honestly found a quiet peace in my day that I never had before.  I think I ultimately was experiencing caffeine overdose, from ONE small cup of coffee.  I could not focus, I would be productive in a frenzied kind of way for maybe an hour and then I felt like just a wreck.  I could drink a cup at 9 am and not sleep until 2 or 3 in the morning.  The last time I drank it was Christmas and that was just because it was Christmas.

It was never this bad when I drank it everyday, but I slowly started to eliminate it everyday and that’s when it really, really started and that was when I decided the best thing for me would be to simply stop drinking it.  So many benefits, the biggest in my mind was obviously my health and well being but also, the money saved! Jamie is still a big coffee drinker but his work provides it so I still get to smell it on the weekends 😉

E M B R A C I N G  T E A

In the mornings, I drink peppermint tea steeped with a green tea bag for that little caffeine kick and added health benefit.  I love peppermint tea, it’s my absolute favourite tea (peppermint and ginger) and find it very cleansing first thing in the morning.  I often have a smaller cup of Earl Grey later in the morning, but first thing I really enjoy a cleansing large cup of herbal and green tea.  I know we’ve been told for years the benefits of green tea, but peppermint tea is incredibly good for you as well!  I know it sounds like the most basic of teas but it’s a digestive aid, full of antiseptic and antibacterial properties.  It is even known to improve alertness and memory!  It’s awesome and so easy to grow!\

A F F I R M A T I O N S

Something I am trying to do (although I don’t always remember) is ‘bless’ my water or tea.  I essentially pray or send positive affirmations over my drink and then by drinking it, am taking those positive directly in my body.  The affirmations can be anything from having a good day to confidence, to security and protection, to creativity.  I find that it really, really helps.

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Beauty of steeping tea

During this time, I’m with the cats and have the diffuser going (currently ylang ylang for mood and frankincense for focus).  I often take this time to knit a little bit and just collect myself before the sun makes his grand appearance (which now is around 7 30).  Depending on how cold it is, there is usually a pressing matter that needs to be attended to.  Starting a fire.  I am always SO grateful when Jamie does this first thing.

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Mysterious fire starter
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Pangur Ban, waiting for the sun (i.e. for us to put food in his bowl)
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Knitting a little bit

B R E A K F A S T  & C H I C K E N S

Eating breakfast is another struggle of mine that I have only recently begun to conquer all thanks to something a wee bit weird… Our chickens!  I never felt like eating in the morning and waited until lunch ( completely aware of the damage this was doing to my day) or I would just snack on something really small.  But since we have had chickens, especially since November when the temperatures began to dip below 0, I have been making them hot oatmeal. I would make it for them first thing in the morning thinking “wow this is sooo good for them… they are going to have a great day!” and realizing… WHY am I not doing that for myself?  So I essentially started making a batch for me at the same time as the chickens.  The chickens get a little bit of a more rustic version.  I actually gave them the end of our beets the other day with oats and that made them very happy.

I usually eat before I go out to let the chickens out and feed them.  Since it’s been so cold, I have been giving them hot water in the morning too with a little bit of apple cider vinegar.  I hope to make a post about keeping chickens in a very cold climate, probably later this month!

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Oatmeal with cinnamon, a little bit of maple syrup and banana – for humans
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For the chickens ❤
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Too cold to come outside so they enjoyed some breakfast indoors!

K E E P I N G  H Y D R A T E D

Once the chickens have been fed, it’s time to start thinking about what needs to be done for the day.  I usually make a to do list the prior evening.  Today, it is Saturday so I am making a blog post (yay!).  Regardless, after breakfast and tea, I have a large mason jar of water with a little bit of apple cider vinegar to drink throughout the duration of the whole morning.

We made a large batch of apple cider vinegar this past fall so I feel very happy using our own.  It’s also SO easy to make and I highly recommend making it yourself if you are interested (especially if you have access to an apple tree… even a rogue apple tree that you have observed while walking past has many rotting – not used – apples lying about it).  Apple Cider Vinegar is extremely beneficial for your ~g u t~ which is the master of your overall health.

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Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar and Water

L A S T L Y

Henry girl (our dogg) and I go out for a walk.  This is the key really for me to have a good, productive day.  Walking, without headphones, early in the morning.  We often try to get out at around 8 am.  Since it’s the weekend, we will probably drive out to a trail somewhere later in the day but on weekdays when I’m working from home and Jamie is at work in town, we just walk the country roads around our home. I kind of consider the morning over when we get back.  It’s therapeutic even though I often have to force myself to get out, especially lately.  The wind and cold has been biting.

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Morning walk through the fields
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Out in the woods on a morning with with Henry

Rituals!  Simple rituals!  I am a creature of the home – a true cancerian – and need the stability of a solid morning ritual even if it’s just tea and breakfast and scents floating through the house.  This morning, I have some basic house and animal chores to do before I think I work on a drawing I had planned.  I give myself the freedom of not having a schedule on the weekends.

The sun is rising!  Peaking over the barn at the top of the hill by our house. Two cats are with me probably wondering why their food dishes are empty.  Pangur jumps to where my attention is directed, to the window, to the knitting basket.  I can hear Henry moving around upstairs ready to get up on this lazy, cold Saturday.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend! **stay warm if you’re in a cold part of the world!  That is what we will be doing today (for the most part).

Julia

xo

 

**P S . I am thinking of starting a video blog – something very dull to most I am sure, but just to do little videos on what I’m working on etc, it would essentially be me just sitting there talking because I have NO knowledge of editing videos or anything.  Would love any feedback on this idea! **