Blue Jays and Fairy Doorways

Cherry Blossom
Wild Cherries are in blossom, sending petals cascading to the grass leaving a divine scent in the air

Welcome Fae Folk,

The fog is rising in the fields.  We have just had a week or 2 of  unseasonably hot weather.  This morning, it’s a little cooler so I’m wearing an old camping sweater, sipping some tea with a beeswax candle lit.  The mosquitoes are just beginning to emerge from wherever they come from, biting our legs and ankles with a vengeance as we trek around outdoors.  I don’t really mind because here on the island, they are a sure sign of summer.  Summer with it’s ability to weave a spell with all it’s green growth, flowers, herbs, vegetables, is exactly what we need right now.  So, for the mosquitoes (this time), I’m grateful.

This morning, I want to share with you a couple of photographs that I’ve taken over the past couple of days.  I have been devoting a lot of time over the past month to the garden.  Yesterday, I opened my journal to write and noticed that I had not written in an entire month!  I was shocked, how could a whole month go by so quickly and I accomplished so very little and didn’t even notice 4 weeks slipping by?  This seems to be a constant struggle of mine.  The garden is a big job, especially if you work like I do – slowly while contemplating and observing constantly.  It’s not really efficient, but hey, that’s okay!  So grab some tea or whatever, and let me show you a couple of little pieces of our isolated life over here ❤

Turmeric
Turmeric milk – oatmilk, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, honey and coconut oil
Spot
A place to write and draw – I’m sat here now 🙂
Drawing
sketching and carving fae folk for some cards once the shop opens again
stamps
A test card!  I like her very much and will make a another Fae Folk for a card set
Painting
Dandelion water colour / gouache that will be up in the shop in the future

Currently working on and off on creating a few works of art for the shop once it reopens.  The Dandelions are covering our yard making some bees extremely happy.  I have been occasionally digging up the roots to dry out for a detox tea.  With everything happening lately, my priorities have really shifted to gardening and gaining more skills with food preservation.  Dandelion greens have regularly been finding their way into our meals and they are even beginning to grow on me – they are good with a homemade salad dressing!  There is a woman, her name is Clara, she was a child in the depression and she has a number of youtube videos about cooking during the depression.  Really fascinating and practical recipes, one of which is dandelion salad 🙂

Anyway, I digress!  I was writing about making art… hmmm… haha. Well, I haven’t actually made that much despite my intentions.  Above you can see my recent botanical drawing honouring the beautiful dandelion as well as a small fae folk stamp.  I really enjoyed carving her and hope you like her 🙂

As for knitting, I’m wrapping up all of these projects that have been taunting me for awhile now.  My wrist still doesn’t love when I knit for extended periods of time, so it’s generally a much slower process.  I do have a full tote of knits that I’ve completed for the shop.  My next entry will be showing you a few pieces – however the mail system still has me on the fence about opening up the shop again.  Due to the nature of what I mail out – unique handmade items that took me a great deal of time to create – I really don’t want to risk sending things out with all the delays.  I can’t replace something that I’ve made without a great deal of effort – simply said, it would be a great loss for me and we have had packages go missing in the mail before the global pandemic.  It’s pretty heartbreaking honestly.   I have successfully managed to refrain from buying any wool this year!  This is an exciting challenge for me, I am only working from my stash.  5 months in and I think I will definitely be able to use only what I have. So, I will just keep knitting at my pace and eventually re-open!  But for now…. a look into our woodland walks and garden!

Oh!  But i wanted to share too that everything that I have made, has been using wool from my stash!  I love this challenge and have yet to purchase wool during this calendar year!  It feels so good to actually use what I have rather than build a stash.

wool stash
I’m ALMOST at the point of starting new projects – I honestly can not wait to just finish up all of these lingering projects and start afresh – the yellow, I plan to make make a summer top from (it’s a recycled cotton 🙂
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A PEI red dirt road, I love watching these red ribbons while I’m driving out to the woods

Woodland Running….

Many of the restrictions are lifting on this island for islanders.  There are a number of things happening right now that I don’t really feel like discussing on my blog – like the fact that I can’t actually leave the island (this is hard for people with no family here) and that seasonal residents are going to be allowed in starting tomorrow.  Although, I’m trying to be as optimistic as possible about everything, I would honestly like nothing more than to hop on the ferry and go see my family.  So, since this isn’t the case, I’ve been running most days in the Woods by our house.  This helps relieve a lot of anxiety and encourage an optimistic outlook.  I don’t write about running very often, but since I was a wee one, it has been one of my favourite things to do.  It’s incredibly liberating and you hardly need anything to do it!  I am partial to running on earth rather than cement.  I love how it puts you in a meditative state of avoiding roots and engages your body in the constant flux of elevations.  It’s great for your mind, body and spirit ❤  Walking is of course wonderful and provides many of the same benefits 🙂

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One of my favourite trails (and Henry’s too!)
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Every run, I stop for a headstand to feel a little more in tune with the trees.  Jamie came running with me yesterday and took this picture 🙂  I started doing headstands last year every day and after 5 months of a little bit each day – beginning with a wall for support – I can fully just do them anywhere.  Proof to me that if you work at something a tiny bit each day, it’ll become natural to you! 

I’m in the gaarden…. 

 

Mint
Growing mint in pots this year to attempt to control the spread (all while I find it growing everywhere!  I don’t mind since it’s my favourite herbal tea)

Ah!  So, for the month of May, the outdoors has been calling me.  There is so much to do, it feels like it will never end.  Wood to gather from our small forest, weeding, wood splitting, mulching, etc. etc.  Because the global pandemic has re-framed our reality, I’ve pretty convinced more than ever that if you are able to, it’s smart to grow some food and herbs (or alternatively, support your neighbours or small scale farmers that do).  We have cut down a lot so that it’s easier to maintain the gardens.  Our neighbours also grow a garden and collect their wood from their woodland.  They very nicely let us borrow their tiller, so this year we have a tilled garden which I’ve divided into raised beds with wide paths.  The paths I covered with woodchips or bark or straw, all just collected from our acre.

My mom always has an extremely nice garden.  She has it tilled each year and divides it into raised beds with wide paths.  This is initially a lot of work but it makes for a beautiful garden that you will love to just work in!  The past couple of years, our garden paths would be taken over so quickly because I always forget how big plants get and I would hardly feel like I could walk around and work in it!  So finally this year, I am trying the method that my mom always uses.  I love it already and have regularly just been weeding and working away.  We have already planted potatoes, onions, beets, rutubaga, peas, radish and pumpkin.  The forecast says rain for the next week, so I’m going to wait until the folkloric saying, plant after the first full moon in June for transplanting the tomatoes, herbs and peppers as well as direct seeding the beans.

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Our garden this morning – it has a total of 7 rows and to the right, there are some mounds for pumpkins and squash. 
Buddha
The Fairy Garden – the sedum, clover, foxgloves and astilbes are all loving the weather that we have been having.
Garden
The vegetable garden of 2020
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The archway, made using wood found in the vicinity and some twine (fingers crossed it will hold up!)

Jamie and I have lined the north side of the garden with wooden pallets from our wood pile for cucumbers to grow up on.  We’ve never tried this method so we shall see!  We also assembled this cute arch doorway with 3 different pieces of wood.  I call it the Fairy Door and it really does feel magical.  Doorways in may different cultures represent a liminal space – neither here nor there.  In the Celtic tradition, the Gaelic word for door is doras (same root of the English door) which is linked to the word for oak duir and the word druid (at least, we were once told that in a university class and it always stuck with me!).  In ghost lore, apparitions are often spotted in doorways.  Even in old marriage customs, it was tradition for the groom to carry his new bride through the doorway.  These are just a few examples that come to mind.  The idea behind it, is that it’s a liminal space – a space that bridges 2 realities and thus functions as a threshold between worlds. The garden to me has a different feeling than the surrounding area, so I wanted a simple archway to physically represent this idea.   The plan is to plant beans and cucumbers around it as well so that it will be taken over by the garden.

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The view behind the garden – this is our comfrey plant! 
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The doorway to the garden 

The Wind Gives & Takes…

I mentioned that these past few weeks have been hot.  I mean, feels like 30 degrees and it’s not even June (for a comparision, either last year or the year before, it was snowing on June 4th).  But of course, we live in the maritimes and we have been hit with some pretty strong winds.   The other day, the blue jays nest that was built maybe a month ago 20/30 feet high in a pine tree right outside our house was blown out of the tree right beside our front door.  I felt so terrible for them.   If I could have warned them not to build their home in that specific tree, I would have.  It’s right in the path of some wicked winds that whip up from the North.   I was concerned for them immediately when I saw where they had chosen to build and tried to make it up to them by putting out sunflower seeds.  I saw them this morning sitting on the archway in the garden, so the wind hasn’t totally dampened them but I am hoping that they rebuild.  It made me realize how little I know about bird behaviour.  Do you know what birds do when their nest has been blown out of a tree?

I couldn’t help but marvel at how incredibly beautiful the nest is… it looks like they first put sticks down and then made the cozy part of the nest using really fine twigs on top of the bigger sticks.  Woven in are pieces of our old tarp that was protecting the woodpile.  Since I couldn’t place it back at the top of the tree… I put it with the small nature altar I have in the garden.  There is a ceramic elf, a stump that I put bird feed on, some crystals and a pot of mint.  I spotted them there this morning, not staring at their old nest but eating the seeds and being curious around the garden.

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The Blue Jay’s nest that landed right outside our front door, my hope is that they can easily rebuild their home and that there were no baby birds (there was 0 sign of any) – but this is just the natural way of things sometimes.  The nest is so incredibly beautiful, I wanted to share with you just the beauty of our bird neighbours.
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You can see closer that they took what looks like some kind of ribbon – it’s actually from the tarp that was covering our wood pile! I read that bluejays always include something white in their nests.
Petey Catnip
Catnip Bed has been a hit.  We often see one of the 3 cats just lounging ontop of the plants  before they zoom around wild eyed 🙂

 

Many Blessings until next time!

Thanks so much for joining me this last Sunday in May!  I truly hope that you are all finding some time for yourself and creating some happiness during these uneasy times.  Soon, I have hope that we will be able to see our families and in the meantime, seek out a semblance of freedom and happiness anyway we can.

Peace ❤

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A little bit of mandolin a day…. keeps blues away

11 thoughts on “Blue Jays and Fairy Doorways

  1. I love the vibe of this post, it’s so calming which I definitely needed right now! ✨ Your artwork looks amazing and I got excited seeing the wool as it looks like some that I’m waiting to arrive so that I can get into loom weaving! 😄 Great post, take care 💕

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    1. Hey Elsie,

      Thank you very much! Do I ever understand about the need for calm – there is so much that can be addressed that is chaotic right now but I just always gravitate toward being a wall flower and just delving into the forest. I’m trying to let myself know that this is okay and not to feel too bad about it (sometimes I do feel guilty!).

      Loom weaving! That’s exciting!! Best of luck with your new endeavour! I am imagining yellow and love this idea!

      Peace, xo!

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  2. As I sip nettle, oat straw, ginger herb tea I wish you a glorious Good Morning Julia! I was just thinking about you last night and wondering how you were doing, especially in the unusual early heat of summer. For what I experience in weather makes its way to you in a day or so. Our temps here reached 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It was hard to believe that just 2 weeks prior we had snowflakes ❄️ falling! But the extreme heat has now passed and I finally planted my herbs 🌿 yesterday in my raised bed. I miss all the beautiful gardens my husband tended so lovingly, The place looks so different as I allow most of these to go back to the wild/lawn. I can only do so much on my own, but what I am doing is looking lovely. It felt so wonderful to finally get my hands in the dirt yesterday. Talking and singing a blessing to my plants and flowers 🌺 did my soul wonders.

    Your gardens are beautiful. I can see the love (and hard work) that you and Jamie put into them. Your photos of them are medicine for my soul too. I love that garden doorway – a threshold, the thin place. It is something that my husband would have considered creating in our yard (he had so many creative ideas which he planned to add over the next years…sigh 😔). I am blessed by the diverse bird life here – so many nesting pairs: mourning doves, bluebirds, robins, cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, goldfinches, red wing blackbirds, etc. The early morning chorus is so joyous!

    I feel for you being so isolated from your family. I miss my brothers and my children/grandchildren all living in other states, but am grateful for my husbands family some who still live in this little community where I am. Remember that everything is energy, including our thoughts and emotions, and that energy attracts same energy. So positive emotions and thoughts will bring positive energies to us. Negative will bring negative. Be Beauty. Be Joy. Be Peace.

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  3. I’ve really been enjoying my runs lately too and especially the anxiety release part of it. There’s nothing quite like it! I love my walks too, but they are different vibes for sure.

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  4. I love reading your writings. You make me feel so at ease and it is as if I am right there on PEI. I would love your recipe for Tumeric Milk.

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  5. We found a blackbird’s nest in one of our sheds, unfortunately it had to be moved as there are things like antifoul for the boat in there which is highly toxic. I still see the blackbirds rooting through the earth in my raised beds (disturbing my newly transplanted sprouting broccoli!) so they’re still doing well it seems.

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