Merry Summer Solstice

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Crab Apple Blossoms, the smell is heavenly

Goodmorning and a very beautiful Summer Solstice to everyone!

I wanted to take a little bit of time this morning to sit with a candle, freshly cut lilac and share some photos from earlier this morning.

Mid – Summer is one of the most magical times of year.  I have such intense feelings about this time, enhanced by the fragrant air and lush growth.  The pink horizon well past 9 pm.  My birthday is the 23rd of June and coupled with memories of the end of the school year, coming home to bright peonies (albeit, covered with ants) and a hazy eternal summer stretched before me,  mid-summer has always been cast in a magical glow.

I feel the very same as an adult, enamoured by the beauty of this earth in the Northern Hemisphere.  The fairies are definitely about.

 

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The potato bed!  I planted marigolds and catnip and have yet to see a single potato beetle!
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Onions and Rutabaga in a wattled bed
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A witch’s good companion – checking out the kale for tonight’s dinner
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A fairy’s home by the pond

 

So, I hope you find the time in the next couple of days to go out and experience this beautiful planet, to just acknowledge the growth of the buttercups or smell the curling green ferns (they smell amazing >.<!).  I have been making a tea every morning from her, spruce tips, catnip, sage – anything really!  Just to become closer to this earth.  To meditate and free my mind a little bit.  I have so much to share with you as well but I am slow, just like the oak.

 

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire!
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon’s sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green;
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours;
In those freckles live their savours;
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.

William Shakespeare, The Fairy Song.

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One Wild Garden 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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 ❤

 

 

Dyeing Wool with Mushrooms!

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The woods by our house – autumnal glory

Hello and I hope you are well!

It has been awhile.  I am SO inconsistent, especially because I have been drawn into a place and time sans social media or blogging or even e-mail.  Of my own choosing… I didn’t go to an off-grid camp or anything like that (although.. I would love to :))!  Sometimes, I just love to detach and it’s beginning to feel like such a luxury, so wonderful to be “offline.”  It’s funny because I feel as though going back online is returning to “the real world” when in fact, it’s anything but!  But… it’s the reason why I feel like I’m not alone in my musings, my hobbies, the way I see this world!

Alas!  I have SO much to share.  The first is that our dear orange tabby, Petey, is well!  After my last post, we had to bring him back to the vet.  He was put on a catheter and had to stay at overnight : (  I was so worried about him…. but knew that we could not do what the vet could at home. He is much better and is drinking fluids and peeing.  He slept curled up against me the whole night that he came home ❤

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Walks close to home and a haven for red squirrels, fox and mushrooms!

I have been making and gardening quite a bit.  Jamie and I planted garlic this morning.  Our wood is almost completely split and stacked and we had our first frost and consequently fire yesterday.  I love fall so much, it’s so fleeting.  On our walk this morning, most of the bright red sugar maple leaves were already under our feet.  The earth is damp and the north winds strong.  Henry and I have been walking down a beautiful wooded path to the river that we live by every day.  The mossy parts of this wood are replete with beloved mushrooms.

Mushrooms…. the reason why I write to you today.  What amazing specimens they are!  Not only are they adorable and surrounded with fairy lore, they are beyond healthful and practical!  A couple of months ago, I posted on instagram about wanting to dye a pair of socks with lichen.  A user suggested that I use a type of mushroom: Cortinarius Semisanguineas or red-gilled webcap.  On one of our walks, I was looking very closely (okay, on my belly in the moss looking up at the gills…not weird at all) and noticed how beautiful the colours of this mushroom was and it clicked.  It was the very mushroom that the user had suggested! I got so excited and went back to the spot with my knife and a basket to collect and experiment ❤

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Cortinarius Semisanguineas!  How beautiful are these colours?
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Warm Autumn Day in The east of Canada
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Collecting – I sliced the mushroom so not to damage the root of the mushroom in order to grow and thrive next year.

And so!  What did I do?  Welllllll, I first collected mushrooms.  I have read a lot about dyeing wool and nothing intrigues me more than using what grows close to you rather than what you can buy from a grocer.  I am not despairing the use of avocado or yellow onion skins (I plan on trying both!) I just don’t find the process as exciting, rewarding and directly engaging with this eco-region!  Something that naturally finds its home and is nourished by the same rain water that falls on my skin, on the earth that grows our food.  I want so badly to be more entrenched in the land around me. Dyeing is such an ancient way to connect to the land, to even represent the region you live!  I remember as a Celtic Studies student, learning that Scottish tartans began to be associated with certain clans simply due to the plants that were available in their region!

I first boiled some water with Alum and Cream of Tartar.  Once boiled, I added the wool and let it simmer for a short while (This is a mordant.  A mordant is the chemical composition that holds the natural dye to the fibre, otherwise you could end up with very washed out colours after exposure to the elements or a wash). I used pure white wool from MacAuslands here on PEI and an angora wool from We are Knitters.  once this wool was dry, I collected a small basket full of mushrooms (I only like taking a portion of what the earth provides), boiled them on the fire in the backyard and added the wool with the boiled mushroom broth in a mason jar.  Cortinarius Semisanguineas are actually poisonous so be cautious when handling!  They will not harm as a dye but they are not edible and I wasn’t crazy about having them in the house for long, especially with 4 wild ones about.   I repeated this process 3 times, hanging the experimental wool in a crab apple tree to dry.

I have looked at quite a few pictures online.  I believe it was the amount of the mordant that made my end result significantly paler than what I have seen and the amount of mushroom caps that I used.  Other examples are such a deep orange or red!  I really like the salmon shade that these turned out. I did try one strand of wool without a mordant and it was significantly darker.

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A Little mushroom study – The drawing on the right is a result of humidity, it looks a little strange but honestly, this is what they looked like!  This door was closed to critters while I worked with this fungi!  I love to draw plants and fungi that grow close to home.
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Drying outdoors after their first dye bath
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A closer look
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A second dye bath – I started to do most of the process outdoors – partly because red-gilled webcaps are poisonous
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After a second dye bath – in our crab apple tree
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Beauties after the 2nd bath
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Beneath the mother white pine ❤  This tree is wonderful
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A third dye bath never hurt anyone…. with the straw and wood for a couple of nights – a deep red!
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Finished Result, I brought it back to the woods where I found the mushrooms to show them what wonders they do for us ❤
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End Result – My sorry attempts at twisting a skein of yarn and my mushroom study

There you have it!  My first experiment with a close to home fungi!  I am SO excited about this project.  It was a lot of fun and very inspiring.  I hope you enjoyed this, even if you just looked at the photographs!  In our yard is a beautiful horse chestnut tree and I hope to use the husks to actually make a pair of fingerless mitts using the two colours 🙂

Autumnal blessings to you and I hope this post finds you well, inspired and happy ❤ I would love to hear about your own experiments or even desires with natural dyeing!

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!

Horseshoe
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

Tomatoes
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.

Starting
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