Out here in Oregon, I enjoy the rough-hewn life of a modern homesteader and mountain woman, weaving outdoor adventures into the fabric of everyday living. Whether tending the homestead hearth or a campfire up in the mountains, I find great enjoyment in the work of a self-sufficient life. Gather around as I share my tales of camping, cooking, handcrafting, wildcrafting, canning, growing food, keeping chickens, and raising twin children. It is my hope to share some ideas and inspiration with other folks, to strengthen our connections with the land and wild places. As my hero, Henry David Thoreau once said, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.”
May is here, the sun is shining, the days are mild and everywhere you look, things are growing. I am happily getting back in the routine of early morning watering with my first cup of coffee, and every day I see something new germinating. Potatoes are up, radishes and carrots are emerging and my peas finally made it. It's a smaller scale garden than I have been used to working with the last two years, but I think it will give me the opportunity to focus more intensively. It will be a good learning experience. I'm just happy to have gardening work to do again. It's something I always know I can throw myself into and come out feeling exhausted, soothed and joyful all at the same time. I cannot even count the hours I have spent out there this Spring late into the evening mulching away my worries, tilling away my frustrations, and giving all my dreams a place to grow.
This week I made my last big push to get all the garden beds uncovered and I have to say that the soil just looks rich and luscious. I finally gave some attention to my compost pile, giving it a good turning, layering with cocoa husk and introducing red worms from a friend's pile. It's going to be good stuff.
All my seedling starts are coming up in the greenhouse. Aside from some spotty basil germination, all is going quite well. I'm trying some new exciting things this year like edible chrysanthemum greens and Big Doris pumpkins. I'm going to try and figure out how to maximize space to fit in storage onions and fun things like Gremlin gourds.
The raised bed of greens is just rocking. I'm having some sort of freshly picked, succulent, leafy green with every meal. I packed them in tightly so I can just graze and thin them as I go. I am thinking when these come to their end with the Summer's heat, this is where the peppers and tomatoes will go.
While I'm not always getting as much done as I think I should (we will just not mention the chicken run and quail coop that are coming along very slowly), it's still good to step back and look at all the things that have gotten done in those early morning and late evening hours working the soil, and enjoy all the good things I'm beginning to harvest as a result. It will all get done eventually, and in the meanwhile, the garden and I will keep on growing.
This past weekend, our Waldorf School held the annual May Faire on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Everyone gathered around the maypole in the lower field, creating a bustling circle of community fun. With Spring in full swing, it seemed as though everyone was emerging from social hibernation and coming out of the woodwork to co-create this beautiful, ancient festival together.
This year, my childrens' class were the maypole dancers, so it was an especially exciting occasion for us. Wearing white and adorned in flower crowns they made that morning, they all wove their ribbons in and out around the maypole in traditional dances.
Musicians played, dancers danced, and ribbons wove all together.
At one point, my twin children were dancing together in a pair.
I loved seeing their big smiles and knowing they were having such fun.
Watching the woven patterns atop the pole come together and come apart as the dancers weave in and out and around one another always amazes me. It's not always perfect, but I think quite fitting in its reflection of the intricacies of a community.
I was there for the day in my Mountain Hearth Handcrafts booth, watching the bustle and merry making go on all around. I truly enjoy dispersing my artistic creations for other folks to enjoy. I know that feeling well of taking home a beloved piece of art or handwork.
I was visited by many smiling, wonderful folks, friends, and even a troupe of May Faeries!
I have to say, I am happy that May has finally arrived. It's been a long Winter, with all its own challenges and cold, drizzly days tempered by cozy nights by the woodstove. So right now, seeing all the trees and flowers blooming, the honeybees buzzing, and the gentle Spring sun shining, I am feeling a great renewal of joyful growth. So, without further ado, here we go again, dancing around the circle of the year.