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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Preparations for The May

May fast approaches and with it some major life changes here in my little realm. The spouse will once again become an integral and constant part of the daily homestead rhythm. He will be making art again. The apple and pear trees will bloom alongside the countless other lusty blossoms of May. 

Things will be shifting up, at home, in the gardens, around the little acre, at the studio, in my life. Like the garden beds I prepare for annual plantings, so too my life. Like the blooms of spring that yield harvests of beauty, challenge, nurturance and sustenance, so too my life.
Stay tuned! Peace.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Appreciation and Honor with Reason

March has been a month of focusing on green things. Between starting seedlings, planting cool-weather crops, wild harvesting, and preparing the tax nuisance, all things green have been in the forefront of my mind and my will. Some of the tasks are more pleasurable than others. Know what I mean? 

I've been enjoying wandering my little acre and observing my rooted friends awake from their mild winter slumbers into this early spring. Odd weather aside, I'm always delighted to see the return of this little green ally, Hypericum perforatum, known in the Wise Woman Tradition of herbalism as Saint Joan's wort, yet better known in the conventional world as Saint John's wort. It took me years to convince her to make a home on my little acre. She's now making herself quite at home, showing up around the "lawns" and in my main vegetable garden too. I've learned to give her authority in her choice of rooting, and she grows where she choses, with limited intervention from me. Though I do remind her that I appreciate her playing nice and sharing with our other rooted friends.

Yesterday I harvested this non-native wild invasive, Allaria petiolata, commonly called garlic mustard. My goal was to clean up some the "proper" gardens and to start the first batch of garlic mustard infused vinegar.

So the the whole plants were washed, the roots separated and chopped, add to a quart jar, topped with as much aerial plant matter as would gently fit and filled it up with apple cider vinegar.

In eight weeks or so I strain, filter, bottle (and label) it to use as is or to mix with other infused vinegars. I love using this super-abundant plant in this way, the root vinegar reminds me a bit of horseradish, and I have added it to many a Fire Cider variation over the years.

As the season progresses I'll continue harvesting this plant to ferment and dry the roots, to use the leaves in various pestos and dry some as well. And to infuse more vinegar too.

When it comes to our non-native invasives, I choose to step-off the track of convention, which has enjoyed too-long a history of demonizing Nature. Instead I choose to learn more about them and how to work with them, to appreciate them for what they have to offer, and to honor the truth that they're here for a reason.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Spirals, Spirals, Spirals.

Winter feels like it never quite arrived here on my little acre, yet here we are, mere weeks to the vernal rebirth. So saved seeds are inventoried, several are started, some planted, and still more ordered to honor the spiraling return of annual activities of nurturance, sustenance, legacy and honor.

I finished this, one of several recent Creative journeys. A return to portals and a sweet reminder of the spiral and value of journey over destination, on so many levels.

 I made this recipe:

Banana Cacao Finger Cakes
4.5 cups unbleached flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
.5 teaspoon salt
1.75 cups sugar
1 cup butter
4 bananas, mashed
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 cup cacao

Measure and blend the first three dry ingredients. Set aside.
Cream the sugar and butter, blend in the mashed bananas, blend in the eggs and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two waves, mixing well at each, mixing in the cacao nibs before the second wave. Know what I mean?
Spoon onto a cookie sheet (I lay down unbleached parchment), bake at 400F for about 11 minutes. Cool on a rack and enJOY! That's how I did it, anyway. And they came out quite good.
And baking - anything Food - invokes more spiraling.

And my winter finger spun fiber project has yielded 6 balls of upcycled cotton "yarn." I'm not sure of the linear measure that was produced, but I do know that, once the fabric was ripped and tidied, it took an hour to create 3 linear yards of "yarn." This Creative journey also yielded a nice, rough callus on my right thumb and forefinger, the fingers that work the spiraling fibers.

So that's what I've been up to: Spiraling. Spiraling. Spiraling. Back to the vernal verve of spring.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Fresh Perspectives, Old and New, Reborn and Transformed

Blogging, it seems of late, has taken a backseat to the other forms of social media. Is it just me, or do you find this too? In any event, I'm still making daily. I'm making manifest my conscious dreams, and some less-than-conscious dreams are making themselves known to me. And that's exciting.
I've been throwing paint and these recent "backgrounds" may end up being finished pieces. But then again, they may not. All the same, these two recent canvases in their current state have offered me a fresh awareness of, and heightened appreciation for their visually raw, organic nature. I'm quite certain this newborn perspective is born of a collaborative project that I'm working on - more on that another time.
And my bins of fabric from my quilting days (some 30 years ago) have found their way to the coffee table for evening finger-spinning. Many of the these fabric scraps were gifted to me by my mom and Aunt Mary, and many others are the remains of my piecing-n-quilting days. And the cordage they're transforming into is precious.

That's what I made. And am making.


Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year Blessing

Root yourSelf in the infinite possibilities... sprout, grow and blossom boldly as you dance and sway to the rhythms of this fresh measure of linear time.

And then... then... cascade your seeds with Wyld abandon!


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Reflections of Gratitude

On this day in 2004 I posted my first blog. Since then, the venues have changed a number of times as have the technologies that support them. My early blogs were pure written word, for images weren't even a possibility. A lot has changed over the past eleven years and I am grateful for those changes ~ in my rooted life, as well as those less tangible in my online life.

I reflect back and consider the folks who've been following my follies since those early days, and feel gratitude for the relationships we've forged together over the years. I find myself visiting the blogs of these friends, keeping in touch on Facebook, and in many ways it's like visiting them at their homes, getting glimpses of their daily lives and the passions that fan their heart flames.

I am grateful for the intimacy, the friendship, the love... even if I never meet you in ordinary reality. Thank you for that. You nourish and sustain me ~ and my follies ~ in ways you'll never know. And I am grateful.

And today I'm grateful, too, for our first snow of the season. Peace.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Pizzelle Pace

This past quarter has been rather grueling... yet quite worthy. My studio move in October and hasty set up for plans-in-place, not to mention "the holidays," combined with a shift in business strategy has been delightfully exhausting. I am glad that I had the foresight to make time to lounge in the mornings, take afternoon naps and retire even earlier in the evenings than is typical for me. And now I look forward to a deliberate pace that will allow me to continue nurturing my studio space, to focus on established plans, to work on projects that have been set aside, and to nurture the dreams that shall make manifest.

I have canvases to procure so I can get together with Nona Muse to work on an Alzheimer's art project, and other painterly endeavors. There's inventory to replenish, and to assess for year-end, for tax preparations are just around the corner. There's my house, my sweet little hut that is in a too-long-lingering state of disharmony that needs my attention and care. And there's my lists born of dreams not yet ripe with importance or urgency that must be revisited. And other stuff that requires energy and action.

I'm glad for winter's full arrival with the solstice. It signals a season that will nurture and support the gentler pace I seek. A pace that allows time and space for giving attention to the little things in life that add value and meaning... like these pizzelles I made yesterday.

So that's what I'm making today... a pizzelle pace that nourishes and sustains me ~ holistically ~ now and in the days to come.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Preparations for Whiting Mills' Holiday Open Studios

Tomorrow may be Small Business Saturday and I'm certainly geared up for that... but next weekend... next weekend is for our Whiting Mills 9th Annual Holiday Open Studios event, and I'm super psyched for that!

I still have much to do in preparation for the Open Studios weekend and while I might work myself ragged this coming week, I'll enjoy every minute of it! In addition to the 50+ tenants of Whiting Mills, this event hosts several talented visiting artists and craftspeople from our regional community. We have local food vendors visiting over the weekend, too, including a favored local farm, Howling Flats, so I won't have to worry about bringing lunch or making dinner! There's musicians wandering the halls, gracing the corridors with beautiful sounds. I'm especially looking forward to Joseph FireCrow, who's music and storytelling never ceases to inspire me.

Plus, attendees can enter to win one of these fun new "I've Been Through The Mill" T-shirts ~ we'll be drawing winners throughout the weekend. Aren't they adorable? I've already purchased one (two, actually) and will be wearing it, I'm sure. ::nods::

So, hey, if you're in the region, stop by our Whiting Mills Holiday Open Studios in Winsted, Connecticut, next weekend, December 5th and 6th from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. It's sure to be a swell time!

With that, I have product to prepare, labeling to do, not to mention turkey and assorted feast leftovers to manage before I head to the studio this afternoon, so I wish you a creative day... week... life!