Maritimes in July

Fields and hills of Nova Scotia

Merry Meet!

How long it always feels like it has been and how earnestly I want to just throw myself into making and sharing with you.  Summer to me is the most liminal of times – the cusp of the cold and solid reality.  I feel as though I’m immersed in the most dreamlike of walking states and in a blink of an eye, it is gone.

The most delicate of poppies in the front garden

Sometimes, this frightens me because ultimately, our lives are just as fleeting.  So, we mustn’t feel bad about allowing the long twilights, steady waves and heat consume our time and thoughts.

Lupins on the side of the road in Rural Nova Scotia

This summer has been very pleasant!  We have had both heat and rain.  Lightning and thunder, red skies at night and so much growth despite the cold beginning.  Jamie and I have already travelled to Nova Scotia and home numerous times this month and he is anticipating a trip to the American South for work.  Sadly, my passport won’t be processed by that time so I can keep enjoying the cool Maritime breezes and salty Atlantic.

On a rocky shore with Jamie – knitting and looking for stones to bring home to our garden

This summer, we have crossed the strait, visited Halifax, walked the Harbour with ice cream, sat by the ocean, gardened bare foot, read books, had fresh salads, waded through shallow rivers, collected quartz, watched next to nothing on TV,  avoid social media, ate pints of Strawberries and bobbed in the waves.

Woodshed and a rag rug, one made by my father and the other my mother.

Creatively – I have been very quiet. I feel and hope that I will feel overwhelmed with creativity very soon.  That I’m simply garnering all of this energy so that in the colder months I have bouts of making and drawing. I’m trying to disconnect from my social media account as much as possible – use it without really using it, if that makes any sense.  I prefer blogging, the connections and honesty that comes with it.  The significantly less

A peep at the sweater I have been slowly working on over the summer – we have had such hot days this summer that knitting is actually impossible

Still, I am knitting and drawing – just not as much.  Some evenings, I don’t even touch wool because my hands are busy with a book. I’m reading Gone with the Wind right now and am so grateful to Margaret Mitchel for reminding me of how liberating it is to be lost in a good book!

The sweetest gift – my friend cross-stitched this Ouija Board pattern for me for my birthday. Some of you may know this but I love, love, love Ouija Boards
Home away from home ❤ One of the reasons why I’m so often in Nova Scotia, my family

There are still many months of summer left!  Months to ripen the garden.  Currently, I’m picking greens everyday for a salad and flowers to dry.  We are only now beginning to cut the garlic scapes.

Hugo smelling something strange in the garden with a stalking Pangur
I woke this morning to see that this had blossomed from our bedroom window – of course, i ran outside to greet it! There were 7 small bees inside – I love poppies!
By the wattled bed – Picked Roses and Herbs. No vegetables are ready yet but I have been drying roses upon roses and some of the herbs.
How do you dry your flowers? I put old screens in drawers and spread them throughout. The Chamomile is dried for tea and the roses for both rose water as a spritzer for skin and a warming tea for the winter.

The day is still very young and we are going to get out to walk Henry.  The trails on PEI in the summer are often deserted due to the draw of sandy beaches. I think I will knit today, walk, collect some herbs and flowers and read to my heart’s content.

Merry Part ❤

 

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Cicero 

 

Sunday in June

Fairisle and Roadside Lupins

The first weekend of Summer, officially summer!  I am sitting here by a fire with thick wool socks and the steady patter of rain. I swear, this weekend was more summer like.  On Saturday, I dove in the ocean and yesterday, Jamie and I were chased out of the woods by hundreds of mosquitoes.

Yesterday, we had a very slow morning and then ventured out to take Henry for a walk and take some photographs of our shop’s latest knit sweater (a brown fairisle with a vintage feel handknit by my Mom). There has been so much rain this month that the dirt roads are impassable in our little car.  We drove around the centre of the island in an area I really love (just some rolling hills, farms, woods and wildflowers) and stopped at the trail to take Henry for a walk.

Wild Lily of the Valley (Canada Mayflower)

Henry doesn’t seem phased by the bugs but in this area, not only were there mosquitoes but also blackflies.  I’m starting to view them in a different light – as protectors of natural and pristine environments.  Guarding delicate plants from our careless trampling.

Forest Flowers in the dense wood

On our drive home, we stopped on the side of the road to take a couple of photos with my favourite wildflower (I think I might call every wildflower my favourite, it’s hard to have a true one favourite but easy to love them all!) LUPINS!  I love lupins so much – I don’t remember them where I grew up in Ontario but in the maritimes they are plentiful.  I actually read an article recently about how Lupins are not native to the Maritimes but were spread by someone nicknamed “Johnny Lupinseed” who in the early 20th century, spread seeds up and down the province!  I feel like my Mom and I are following his footsteps spreading lupin seeds where ever we can.  In the article, it was addressed whether they are HARMFUL because they are “invasive.”  This idea is so ludicrous to me, why aren’t we asking whether the hundreds of acres of crops that we decimate the land for and  spray with roundup are harmful rather than the nitrogen fixer ditch side flowers : /. Anyway,  rant over.

Pink Lupins – in Nova Scotia there are even white ones along the road. Purple is what you see most often

The patch we visited along the side of the road with buzzing with bees – so many different types as well !   They don’t even seem to mind our presence at all.

Fairisle and Lupins

 

Wildflowers in the home

The shop has been updated with this vintage inspired fiarisle and I am going to begin to devote more time and energy to the shop.  Oh!  You may also have noticed that I changed some things.  FinFolk and Oak is now Waysofwoodfolk.com (yes I know, so fancy!  I am actually so excited!).   I also added (well, Jamie did all of this for me on our slow Sunday morning) an e-mail follow option as well as directly link the Etsy Shop in the menu.  I hope the changes aren’t weird and you like the new banner I painted!

Last but not least, thank you everyone so much for your Birthday Wishes!  After working at the library for the day, Jamie and I drove straight out to the ocean with Henry.  I dove in (to quickly get out) and then headed home.  Our friends came over and  we ate pizza and watched a movie with a fire.  Now to start the summer ❤

The Woods Yesterday

Hidden Folk

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In December or even November, this is a very welcome scene – but today, a week and a half from May, it’s feeling rather dismal.

Grey and snowy Friday afternoon.  I’m having a “not quite sure what to do with myself” kind of day.  I have a dinner to go to this evening and work tomorrow, but my energy has just drifted off with this snow.  Yesterday, a friend of mine and I went hiking by the ocean.  When I got home, I gardened, placing a rock with a hole in it upright and sticking clippings of lavender among some rocks.  Maybe I spent the energy of 2 days in one?

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Some of my Collection

With tea and a fire going.  With 0 energy but music playing and a sense of security and comfort, I wanted to just share with you a piece of writing that really helped me when I was younger.  It spoke so true to me, even if just in a metaphorical way (but maybe not so…).   I thought perhaps you would like to read it as well, so I’m leaving you with a couple of pictures of some pretty rad books that I’ve collected over the years (we need more fairy tales in our lives) and the writing by a mysterious person named Buck Young.  Whoever you are Buck, thank you!

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Arthur Rackham opened a whole world for me, I love his art!
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Lore and Tradition ❤ A couple more books from my collection

 

Originally published in FireHeart No. 5, 1991, Taken from Southern Cross Review C. 2004

AHISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF THE WHEREABOUTS OF GNOMES AND ELVES, FAUNS AND FAERIES, GOBLINS, OGRES, TROLLS AND BOGIES, NYMPHS, SPRITES AND DRYADS, PAST AND PRESENT

 

by Buck Young

A long, long time ago, the Earth belonged to the creatures of the wood. By creatures of the wood I mean gnomes, elves, faeries, etc. They tended it and took care of it, played in it, danced and sang in it, cared for wounded animals, worked out disputes between species, sat on mushrooms discussing matters of importance and drinking Labrador tea, rode down streams on leaves and bark, parachuted from trees on dandelion seeds. This was the world into which mankind was born. These early days, when man was but a newly arrived dinner guest who hadn’t yet taken over the house, are fairly well documented in the literature and folklore of the world, so there’s no need to go into it here. What I am interested in, and what I am asking you to be interested in, is the question, “Where did all the gnomes, elves, faeries, etc. go?”

The friction between man and the wood creatures began with the discovery of agriculture. With this discovery civilization arose and spread. The forests were cleared to provide wood for shelters and fields for pastures and crops. Mankind had set up camp. No longer just a visitor in someone else’s world, he pushed the wild back from his newly built doorstep. At first, this wasn’t a problem. There weren’t that many people and everyone else felt that it was only fair to allot them their own half-acre to do with as they wished. Some of them even decided to help out. Gnomes moved into the barn houses and helped with the gardening chores. The devic spirits of the vegetables helped humans better organize their crops and plan rotation; taught them the correlation between planetary and lunar cycles and the agricultural year. They taught them to plant radishes when the moon is in Cancer, harvest when the moon is in Taurus. Many trolls felt that the heaping piles of manure were a change for the better, and decided to stick around too.

The rest of the wood creatures just backed off into the wood, occasionally playing tricks on the new settlers, like turning the milk sour, rearranging furniture, tipping cows, tickling people’s faces in their sleep and once in a while stealing babies and leaving bundles of wood in their place.

But man’s dominion spread (and spread and spread and spread) and the forests got smaller and smaller and smaller. Things got real crowded in the woods, and things were getting worse in civilization. Most farmers weren’t listening to the devic spirits anymore. People found they could increase their output by disregarding the needs of the earth. They were raising productivity and killing the soil. Petrochemicals were just a step away. Most of the devic spirits and gnomes fled. The trolls stayed. Today, they live mostly under bridges and in the shallow mucky ditches beneath the metal grating on farm roads that cows are afraid to cross. Be sure to honk your horn before driving over one of these. A troll may be hanging from the grate, swinging over its living room, as they are apt to do after rolling in muck and manure. If you don’t give a warning honk, you may run over its fingers, and it’s not a great idea to get either your name or your license plate number on a troll’s shite list.

Now, there is little wild land left at all, and even that is shrinking at an unprecedented rate. There is simply not enough wild space for all the gnomes and elves, fauns and faeries, goblins, ogres, trolls and bogies, nymphs, sprites, and dryads.

So where are they?

Are they dead?

No.

So, where did they go?

The answer is a bit surprising. They didn’t go anywhere. We did. Early humans had an intuitive knowledge of their role in nature, just as bears and raccoons and mice and every other critter does. They understood, from the ways of the wild around them, that nothing ever comes from nowhere and nothing ever just disappears. Things change form. Death is necessary for life to continue. They offered up their kills as sacrifices to the gods of nature. They offered praise, prayer, sacrifice and song to the spirits of the wild, to brother buffalo, brother deer, and brother tree.

Now we know that everything that ever existed continues to exist, in one form or another, and as far as we can tell, they were more aware of that back then than we are now. So, the sacrifice, song and prayer did not ensure the immortality of the slaughtered, either in body or spirit. That was already taken care of. What it did ensure was the continuance of the connection between the spirit of the slaughterer and the spirit of the slaughtered. Killing is risky business. The membrane separating the internal from the external is not necessarily as thick or as clearly defined as we have come to believe. Every time we kill, we risk killing the reality of that thing inside ourselves as well as outside. We risk breaking the connections that lead in and out of the membrane. Taking a life to feed life requires a keen understanding of the natural law of give and take. When we lost that understanding, gave up the songs, the sacrifice, the prayers, we lost the connection. Saying grace is not enough.

When we lose those connections, everything becomes dead – fish, rivers, frogs, mice, even each other. There is no way they can reach inside us any more. The five senses we are left with are not enough. We have given up those connections in exchange for the freedom to clear-cut forests with skidders, turn cows into milk machines and chickens into egg factories. We can experiment with animals, club seals, wear fur, and exterminate entire species. Not a twinge of guilt. The lines have been severed.

And we are all under the impression that it is the forests, the creatures, the spirits and the wild lands that are disappearing from the universe and not us. This is not so. Thinking like that is like thinking that if you stand on the end of a limb and saw that limb from the tree, that the tree will fall and you will remain standing. Bugs Bunny might be able to get away with that, but we can’t.

It is we who have fallen away from the real world into a world where we may carry out our twisted sterile dreams without threatening the earth and its inhabitants. Ever wonder why the trees, stones, rivers and streams, birds, bears, frogs and snakes no longer talk to us as they did in the early tales of Native America, the Hindu, the Africans, the bible? It’s because we’re not around to talk to anymore. Every clear-cut, every vivisection, every mechanized slaughter of cow, pig or chicken moves our dream world further and further from the tree, making a reunification, which is still possible, more and more difficult.

Somewhere not so far from here, in the real world, the ancient forests are still standing, the buffalo roams the prairies, the sky is full of condors, the deer and the antelope play, and dodo birds still wander the sandy beaches, bumping into things.

Where there are still wild lands in our dream world, strong connections still exist. Bridges, tunnels, portals. Occasionally a traveler will get lost in the wilderness and find himself in the real world, returning the next day to find that a hundred years have passed, or never returning at all.

There are more ephemeral connections as well – brooks and waterfalls where you can still here voices from the other side, if you listen carefully enough… When they sit by these waters, they hear loud clanking and screams. When they eat magic mushrooms, everything STOPS glowing and condos rise where forests stand. Our children can see their world in their dreams. Their children see our world in the nightmares.

And there is another connection. Sometimes agents from the other side infiltrate our world in an attempt to expedite reunification. Believe it or not, they miss us over there. Sometimes – more often than you might think – they send souls over to our world to be born as human babies. There are quite a lot of them actually – gnomes, elves, faeries, sprites, etc. running around in human bodies, doing crazy things like writing on walls, working in co-ops, running inns in the mountains, talking to themselves in the streets, making pottery, practicing witchcraft. They are planting biodynamic gardens, sitting in the back yard naked, arguing with satan. They are in asylums pumped full of Thorazine, in a classroom on Ritalin and lithium. They live with Indians. They run recycling centers. They are starting revolutions, corrupting the young, inventing paranoid conspiracy theories, making up religions. They’re directing movies, gobbling acid, drinking heavily and writing poetry.

The transition from their world to ours is not an easy one. It’s not easy on the soul and much is lost. They may have no idea who or what they are at first. They may or may not find out. They WILL know they are not like other people. They will know that this world is not theirs. They will faintly remember something better, where things made sense and worked like they ought to, where love and magic had the power to heal.

They will know what makes other people happy does not make them happy, and that what makes them happy makes them happier than anyone else alive.

They will see things others cannot see, hear things others cannot hear, feel things others cannot feel, and know things others do not know.

They will laugh a great deal or cry a great deal or both.

They will love humans individually, but have a hard time with humanity as whole, and that will occasionally approach loathing.

They will have a handful of very close friends, and often be very lonely.

They will be unhappiest when forced to act like a human and do things that humans do, want what humans want, or when they are convinced that they actually are one.

Things will not be easy for them. Because of their memories of the other side, the world will seem to them a wondrous calliope with just a few teeth missing on one of the cogs. Because of this tiny deficiency, the music is off key, the horses are crashing into each other and the children are frightened, bruised and crying.

The solutions will seem obvious, but no one will listen.

They will repeatedly be punished for shouting FIRE! in a crowded theatre, when the buildings really are in flames but no one else can see….They will get slapped on the wrist for pointing to the EXIT signs when everyone else is running around screaming and trampling one another.

They will be zealous, fanatical and didactic in their beliefs. They will feel utterly confused.

They will have ecstatic visions and babble incoherently. They will be extremely articulate.

They are prone to long periods of silence. They have no idea how to say what they really mean.

They spend a lot of time with children and animals.

They will become drunkards and dope fiends, organic gardeners, soap makers, carpenters, madmen, magicians, jugglers and clowns, lunatic physicists, painter and scribblers, travelers and wanderers…

They will dress in bright colors, frumpy sweaters or all black.

They will smoke too much and drink too much. They will eat only macrobiotic foods. They will develop addictions to Mountain Dew.

They will often be accused of living in their own fantasy world.

They will make great lovers. Yeah, even the trolls.

They will spend too much time either making love or thinking about it.

They will speak to inanimate objects. They will have much brighter eyes than everyone else. They will expect their magic to work in this world and their love to heal, and will be crushed by this world, and often won’t expect it.

It will come close to killing them.

They will visit the places where the connections still exist: the waterfalls, the mountains, the oceans, and the forests. They will draw on all the power they have, and sometimes, sometimes, the magic will work. And everything will be wondrously easy. The teeth will grow back on the cog on the calliope, the tune will right itself, the horses will bob gracefully up and down, around and around, and the children will giggle and sing with cotton candy stuck to their cheeks and noses.

They will spend their days trying to reconnect a branch that millions are busy sawing away at. Often it will be more than they can bear.

While the rest of humanity is busy working on new and more efficient ways to lay waste to the Earth with the push of a button, they are saving it. A handful at a time.

They will share a common conviction that they are the only sane individuals in a world gone mad.

They are right.

 

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Living Room Peace – Last September with my Fairy Friend – we read, drink tea and play ouija when we’re together.

I hope you have enjoyed it and please share your thoughts! What similarities do you share with the fairy realm?  I relate to so many of them, perhaps I should just fully embrace it?   I am also so interested in the other issues of FireHeart 🙂 ❤

I would love to write more on this topic but it will have to wait until another day ❤

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To the Waters and the Wild … (Yeats, Stolen Child)

 

Brew a cup and cuddle with a blanket for a fun documentary!

 

There are SO many “fairy tunes.”  Traditional Reels and Jigs that folklore points to fairy origins.  There are many stories about Joe being drunk and sleeping on a fairy fort usually near Samhain or Beltaine, was stuck there for 7 years and came back to play these fantastic songs that he learned from the wee folk. I was going to share some of these with you but the youtube videos aren’t great and why not share a Canadian Band that has nothing to do with the traditional tune? it really picks up at around the 4:25 mark.  Enjoy!!

September Harvests

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Our very overgrown vegetable and flower garden ❤
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Teddy Sunflower and Bachelor Buttons

Oh September!

Come and gone, but not for long.

It’s the first of October and I am sitting on the cold, bathroom floor.  Petey, the orange tabby is curled up beside me in a little nest.  This morning, we made an emergency vet call because we were convinced that our orange companion, Petey, had a UTI or FLUTD.  All vets are closed on Sundays on PEI, hence the emergency visit.  He had a shot of antibiotics, pain medication and has been put on a special diet.  I feel the need to sit with him for the day and monitor him – check on his pee and simply let him know that he has someone here with him.  I do love him and hate to think of him in any kind of distress.  The vet did tell us that it was caught early enough that he will make a full recover – but still, poor Petey!!!  Regardless, I am still worried about him 😦

And so, I am taking this bathroom time with a sleeping Petey to share with you the harvesting photos that I took over the month of September.  I actually wrote much of this blog post last week so it may seem a little disjointed from my sweet cat, Petey.

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Picking Heirloom Tomatoes 🙂

My love for this earth bursts during this golden cast month.  The mornings and evenings are cool while the afternoons are drenched in a favourable heat.  I rejoice, knowing that the tomatoes on the vine will ripen and our pumpkins are finally swelling with each setting sun (in this case, in a tree).  The tips of the maples are painted ruby red and the mossy forest floor is sprouting F U N G I !

In all Mother Earth’s beauty, I have been busy harvesting from our gardens.  Organic food is so perishable that I have been hopping right on preserving.  Jams, relishes, pickles or simply freezing.  I grew up on a 2 acre property with a very large organic garden and was so accustomed to preserved food that I really feel like it’s a natural part of life.  Sometimes, I feel like I am a 20 something year old who is meant to be a crone, living tucked away and dabbling in spinning a handmade home (refraining from turning my neighbours milk sour or destroying crops, of course).

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The Pumpkin plant that grew from the compost!  Last year, we put our halloween pumpkins in the compost and in return, received an incredibly healthy plant with many pumpkins! These are still growing – though still green.
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The plant is so healthy that it actually attached itself to the apple tree by the compost!  The tree is suspending some very healthy looking pumpkins 😀

The days, grow colder and colder and I am anticipating the deep, dark.  We have had a steady harvest of beans, squash, tomatoes, beets, carrots, cucumbers and a multitude of herbs!  Our small freezer is already packed full of stewed tomatoes, blanched beans and foraged berries (we need to invest in a deep freeze!).  All of this food is coming from a relatively small patch of land.  We live on a 1.25 acre plot, most of which is wooded, and the total area used for gardening is VERY small!  To this point, I have done all of the gardening on my own, with just a shovel and a rake.  Perhaps I should delve more into how, but it’s just so simple and very, very rewarding!  Not only in the basic fact that you’re not paying for food but in the whole process of watching a plant grow, flower and produce fruit.  In a season, you over see the cycle of life which ultimately nourishes your body and soul  >.<

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Straw we have been collecting for the chicken coop and garlic beds.  Dorothy knows what’s up.
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A little corner garden, some slugs got to some of my tomato plants this year so I saw them as a sacrifice to the slug gods …. makes perfect sense.
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Using my shirt to bring home apples from an old, twisted tree.  Our very kind neighbours told us that the tree that we have been visiting is an old variety called “Alexander & Wheatley.”  I found information on Alexander trees but nothing on “Alexander & Wheatley”  I imagine perhaps it’s what they were called on Prince Edward Island 😀
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Potato harvest and hand knit fingerless mitts.  I planted these potatoes last March/April using cuttings from our bag of PEI russet potatoes (We love our potatoes :D)
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Black turtle Beans!  I have slowly been shelling these and placing them on a screen – hopefully we will have enough to have a couple meals of delicious refried beans but next year I have grand plans for more turtle beans.
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The Onions, we only harvested maybe 2 dozen but I assure you my eyes well up from these fresh onions
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Stewing our Tomatoes – We grew a couple different varieties this year, including Mennonite Orange Beefsteak, Purple Cherokee, Alaska Tomatoes and German Johnson!
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Juice from our Veggies and Herbs 😀  The colour comes from those lovely beets
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Dearest Petey ❤ Pumpkins have very tough skins – this white pumpkin is actually from last year! The plant is a rosemary that my mom gave me.  I am going to over winter her and put her out next spring.
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Making apple jam from forages apples
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Checking on the tomatoes, I suppose!
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Heritage Tomatoes!  – Aside from eating them regularly with meals – I’ve been stewing and freezing them so we don’t have to purchase canned stewed tomatoes
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This one has been eating tomatoes as well… a small bounty and my favourite flower -foxglove (digitalis)
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Acorn Squash
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Kitchen magic – I used the skins and cores to make some apple cider vinegar
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Butternut Squash!  My absolute favourite 😀
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This pumpkin is growing suspended from an apple tree!  We have a very large plant growing from the compost which has flown right into a tree and now hosts numerous small pumpkins.  I love it!
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starting to fill the pantry in the cold room! We only had 2 jars left from last year so thank goodness the earth provides!

This evening, as I sit with Petey, Jamie is making Veggie Burgers using bulgar and plenty of kale from the garden. Roasting rutabaga and beets.  I’ll likely come back in here to keep Petey company afterwards (we need to keep him from roaming because his infection makes him pee outside of the litter box, we don’t want him playing with the other cats and his food is separate from hugo & Pangurs).

This morning when we drove out to our vet clinic, we passed by the new Amish farms here on PEI.  They are stunning – beautiful handmade homes and barns and gardens, arg!  I gush over them every time!  We took a different route home and passed by their freshly built, one room school house.

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sunroom, strawflowers and afternoon light

M O O D S

I am currently listening to one of my favourite musical groups – Boards of Canada  They help me go into a meditative state when I’m writing or making art (and wondering how I actually provided the video in my last blog post…. WordPress evades me ). Reading Issue # 5 of the graphic novel Sweet Tooth (it’s super if you like apocalyptic stories) and hoping to do an Amazon order to get Dina’s Book by Herbjørg Wassmo and The Good People by Hannah Kent 😀   All of this while sitting on the bathroom floor, drinking a glass of wine while Petey rests.

Happy October, I very much hope your cupboards are full and your appetite for books and nature and art is being quenched in some way or another.   It’s time for our veggie burgers ❤  Goodnight to you all!

sunflower-1909
Egon Schiele “Sunflower,” 1909.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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gardening and knitting 😀  

PINK MOON IS ON ITS WAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

I N S I D E

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

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

A P R I L  P I C K S

BOOKS

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

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

TV / PODCASTS

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

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

THE FAIRY FAITH

KNITS

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

MUSIC

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

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

B E   W E L L

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

Preparing Knits for Etsy

Hello Earthlings!

It is SO cold here on the Island.  With the wind chill, it is -29 C!  I’m currently sitting in the studio with the wind raging against this West facing (drafty) window. I’m wearing an angora rabbit wool sweater I found at the thrift store with a sheep’s wool over that. On the stove, rice and squash water is simmering away so the chickens can have a warm meal before I close them up in their coop for the rest of the day.  I even tried to take Henry for a walk but it was brutal, we walked until she did her business and then we ran back to the house!  My nose is chapped and I’m smothered in my calendula salve, such is life in a cold climate.

But for now, I am content with rosemary and frankincense in my diffuser, the music of Hildegard von Bingen floating throughout the house and a cup of black tea.  Petey’s made himself comfortable on my lap so I’m stuck here now!

I wanted to share with you my creative process of making listings for our knit items for our etsy shop!  We have many new items knit by myself, Meaghan and our Mom.  I am responsible for doing the photography, making the listings and shipping the items out so have the freedom to show you the process ❤

To welcome February and celebrate the turning of the wheel, we have 16 new items in the shop!  One Icelandic Sweater that I finished in January, 13 pairs of freshly knit fingerless mittens, a pair of soft double knit snowflake mittens in brown and ivory and lastly a decorative fairisle scarf.

Once this work is complete, Jamie and I take Henry out to the beach or the woods and do some photography for the items.  This weekend, the forecast is calling for absurdly cold temperatures for exposed fingers.  We might be having a stay in weekend with the exception of getting wood from the wood pile and checking on the hens.

Below are a few pictures I took of the indoor process.  I hope you enjoy!

Julia

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Walked home through the fields to our house, Ways of Wood Folk Home Base ❤
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A helper ❤
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Making Process – I chose to make several with an accent of pink
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rose with neutrals ❤ Soft knits
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New Items to be handled  ❤
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Singer and Snowflake Mitts
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Pangur Ban inspired fingerless mitts (knit by Meaghan)
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Orange Pekoe and styling the sweater (way too much caffeine for me today!)
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SO many fingerless mitts! Meaghan made 8 pairs and I made 5
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Reverse
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My photography studio ❤ (aka our bedroom and my favourite spot)
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Bedroom details… a postcard from Iceland and thrift store mirror
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My work space 😉 Too much tea so a giant jar of water
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My Gunnar’s Daughter design, prepping for the shop posting
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Workspace ❤ and new sweater for the shop
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After photographs are up, each item must be measured. It’s a cold day
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Desk Details ❤
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measuring the sweater

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Yuletide by the sea

Although, we didn’t even visit the sea.  At the highest point of our walk up the hill, you can see the Bay.  Along the drive, you follow the strait East.  At my family’s home, you are so close to the Atlantic Ocean, the sea birds fly overhead and you can smell the salt in the air.

We drove down on Christmas Eve from the Island, a 5 hour drive now that the ferry is closed for the season. We spend our Christmas at my family’s home in Nova Scotia with my family and animals. It goes by so quickly, but leaves me feeling so happy and full of love, even after the 5 hour drive home.  I find it such a beautiful drive that it doesn’t really seem like long.

Christmas at our house is full of treats, homemade meals, walks in nature and just sitting around, talking.  I didn’t even knit the whole time I was there, although others were knitting.  We ventured into the woods on Christmas afternoon to make some tea and have a fire.  My mom and I walked the dogs on boxing day to the fairy tree.  A massive maple tree that is alive but essentially hollow.  It has a door and you can stand in it.  I feel like it’s a gateway. I don’t really know how we discovered it, but have been paying it a visit at this time of year for 8 years now.

I could have included so many photographs.  Jamie gifted me with a new camera and I took MANY pictures.  However, it takes so long to upload them into WordPress so I chose ones that really spoke to me in some way.  I hope you enjoy them.

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Passenger
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Christmas in Nova Scotia
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Henry checking going to check out the barn
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My Favourite lamb from the Creche
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We asked the birch for just a little bit of bark – the rest we foraged from the snow clad earth
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My Dad saved our fire from going out, isn’t it beautiful?
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Druid
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Company has made the trek up to the woods
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Woodland Tea Preparations
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A very lopi Christmas
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Usnea everywhere, one of my favourite types of moss
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My great Grandmother’s kettle put to good use in the outdoors
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Before the storm, the walk back gnome from the woods
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The handmade greenhouse looks nice in all kinds of weather ❤
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Still green in the glass house
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The deceiving Lapin
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Beautiful illustrated book by Elsa Beskow from 1960
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Christmas Carols…

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Visit the fairy tree
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gift from my mom
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Henry of Wyeth
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Spot the beaming light
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Countryside
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The Strait
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My Favourite house in the East.  They have small bales of hay around the foundation of their home.  I wish I knew when it was built ❤
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Driving Home

Inking and Painting Yule Cards

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A wee elf inspired girl wearing a lopapeysa cape, heading out to check on the farm animals on a bright, winter’s night – cards available at Woodfolk Prints

The last of November, the foggy and rust strewn month. We have traded our ruddy November shades for the whites, greys, blacks and blues of winter.  Already, 2 storm fronts have guided us right through the wardrobe and we’re told to expect another tomorrow.  We luckily have a wood burning fireplace, several cords of wood and plenty of food.  I love winter in all it’s cold, bright glory.

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Our house after the second major snowfall this morning
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The woods were dangerous this morning, splitting trees and heavy falling snow prevailed

Anyway!  Over the course of November, I designed a couple of little Christmas/Yule time (whatever you fancy) cards to carry at December Markets as well as give to family and friends.  I wanted to share with you some of my drawings and the final products.  I love working with paper, it’s such a simple yet beautiful material (I took several book history classes in my Masters and yes, much of it was about paper ;).  I put a couple up for sale too on my paper shop.

Ultimately, I would love to print on handmade paper, but all in good time!  I have so many “I would like to…” in every area of my life, especially when it comes to making (and growing) but for the time being, this is what I have available.

What are these pieces inspired by?  I am inspired by SO much.  So many art movements, historical eras, design.  I love art and I love history.  These are inspired by mid-century Christmas card design, my backyard and closet, medieval tapestry and the woodcuts of one of my favourite artists, Albrecht  Dürer.  Mid-Century Norwegian Folktale books, fairy tales, medieval botanical woodcuts and I could keep going!  I would love to do some posts to concentrate on just one facet of something I love (for instance Irish Folk tales or Medieval woodcuts, etc.).

And for now, I am going to sit by the fire, drink chamomile and red raspberry leaf,  work on a custom knit sweater and listen to Mary Jane Lamond and Anonymous 4 ❤

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Practicing my favourite Rhode Island Reds
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Not far now…
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Rough sketches, I think I might be a lopapeysa cape wearing elf wannabe
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Happy Elfling presenting Holly for the Holidays
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Grey and Blue winter girl checking on her animals

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Green Ink and my Durer Woodcut Book
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Scandinavian Inspired elf, available on etsy.com/shop/woodfolkprints
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Handmade cards with handmade ornaments
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The beginning of the Flying Yule Reindeer
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Finding inspiration, guidance and a little confidence
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My work desk and a little colour added
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Medieval Tapestry inspired reindeer card 🙂
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Medieval French Tapestry Inspiration
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Christmas Wreath and Cabin on Brown Rustic Paper
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My original illustration, made with my Mom in mind
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The latest mitts, a vintage Grimms recent Thrift find and a handmade card

And there you have it!  My latest artwork and cards all available on my Art Etsy Shop WoodFolk Prints (www.etsy.com/shop/woodfolkprints).  Each card is blank inside and is stamped with one of my handcarved stamps on the back as well as on the fold of the envelope. I really hope you enjoy looking at these photographs of my work, it means a lot to me to hear any type of feedback when it comes to my creative world.

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My walk this morning, 4 days later

 

 

 

November on the Island

It’s the end of daylight savings today.  Winter is at our doorstep and I am bracing myself for the coming dark months, for the cold and snow, fires, hot herbal teas picked and dried over the summer months and the melancholia that sometimes makes an appearance.  One of my old time ways to deal with the dramatic changes in weather and daylight is joining it outdoors.  We have always hiked year round witnessing the changing of the seasons, but I always feel as though it’s crucial in the late fall.

Jamie and I have been taking Henry regularly to trails around our house.  We live in the countryside on Prince Edward Island and have access to many beautifully wooded trails.  The countryside here is idyllic.  The rolling hills host 100 year old farms with trees that match the date of those old homes.  Horses, cows, sheep and goats graze peacefully and the ocean is never far.  The red of the Sugar Maples have all fallen but the tamaracks stand golden and the blueberry fields stretch scarlet.

Here are a few pictures of the walks we have taken this past week.  I hope you enjoy them and see the beauty in November ❤

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The woods are going to sleep

 

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An old logging trail in the woods
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Henry waiting patiently for a treat

 

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Something about old fence posts… 😀
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Tamarack and Spruce ❤
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The Hedgerows by a trail down to the river we live near, it’s full of rosehips at the moment
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Henry in her element
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On our way to the trails, we took a different random country route for a little adventure and see many abandoned farms.
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Jamie took this photo of me on one of walks with all my Woolens, one of the best parts of Autumn
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Walking down a red road to see the changing Tamaracks
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Wild blueberry fields forever

Away with the Faeries…

Hello out there Earthlings!

The darkness of October and the imminent Canadian winter has encouraged me to start a blog.  Here,  I hope to share small parts of my day living in the country, artwork and sketches, knitting and patterns, herbalism, our quest for self-sufficiency and last but not least, my love for tradition and folklore.

The name “Finfolk & Oak” stems from where my family and I live, by the sea and with the trees.  Moreover, the magical connotations of the finfolk or sea people of folklore and the majestic oak tree point to our love for the Otherworld.  I tend to walk through this life always thinking about things that arguably aren’t there…>.<

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Watercolour and Ink Banner

Thank you so much for joining me, I hope this post finds you well!

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Pen and Ink logo, drawn in the spring from our apple blossoms.