Summer Bar-b-que

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As a perfect prelude to a miraculous few days the weather cleared up on monday, right as Pam and Brian’s daughter Tiffany- the remaining family we had not met- and her husband and kids came down to visit for a few days. Family friends showed up with their 3 month old and before we knew it, summer kicked in full swing with a massive outdoor barbeque with 12 adults, four kids, 9 chickens, I don’t even know how many cats anymore, and a dog just to make everything a little less chaotic. Paradise in a backyard.

I have witnessed a miracle of life in watching this progression of events- from chance meetings one after another that have lead to people connecting to build dreams I never imagined could truly happen before. We had an impromptu community meeting to discuss issues, ideas, concerns and set plans. And it happened automatically. I’ve always felt like dealing with people was frustrating, oftentimes, impossible. I feared that there were only selfish, uncaring people in the world, that I would wander alone forever. Without even realizing how much I wanted and needed a family, one ended up surrounding me, and it is openly growing everyday.

As I was toasting rolled oats in a frying pan this morning, cook the bacon first and toast in the gristle, Tiffany and I talked about the idea of combining forces on this, my blog and hers, so that between the two of us we could post more easily as I have many projects and she has many children. I add eggs and cream to the oats to cook it, and as we shredded cheese and chopped fresh fruit and avocado to top the oatmeal with we discuss book ideas. I love collaborations- all the beauty and creativity of a project, with the support and enhancement of loved ones. Kindred spirits are rare treasures. And with this new influence this page may be coming to you under a new name- The Nature Spirit. ( I have also been informed, repeatedly, that not everyone will think of the old english spelling of Faerie while looking this site up- simplicity has it’s usefulness I guess)

Zoe and I took Tiffany on her first Girls’ Night Out in, well, enough years she didn’t remember anymore. We arrived at Sonia’s house in town, proceeded to kick her boyfriend out of his own room( he was smart enough to bow out gracefully when girl number 6 showed up- a wise man knows when he’s out-numbered) and leave us to our sacred feminine goddess time. We turned up the music, danced wildly, laughed and talked to wake up the next few blocks and made almond-butter cherry chocolate chip cookies- Sonia’s recipe. She is now a contender in the ever ongoing cookie war for “greatest cookie ever”- a very scientific and technical title that can only be conferred after many years of tasting and debating. Consistency is key of course.

After a chance to let loose, hug, laugh, support and care for each other, we were all finally able to go back to our lover’s revitalized and strong. Apparently it had a major effect because I caught Aaron helping to hang laundry without me asking and even before running off to the shooting range. The effects of women coming together can be terrifying ;P

Tiffany had to return home this morning, but I am certain of seeing her again soon, and look forward to further adventures with a new part of my family.

Love to all!

xoxo

V

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June Moon

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The new family rooster, Starbuck, who’s way to pretty for his own good. All the hens have been beating him up!

It has definitely been a mercury retrograde kind of week- all plans have just somehow gone awry or taken ten times as long as they should have, but all that being said it’s been busy. Radiators fixed, five loaves of bread and two cinnamon rolls baked, kitchen and laundry room all squeaky clean, and all in time for tomorrow’s Strawberry Moon!

Galadarling “how to survive mercury retrograde”
http://galadarling.com/article/how-to-survive-mercury-retrograde/

Cinnamon Rolls

Use base bread recipe: yeast let to ferment in warm water(about 4 cups water will end up with about two large loaves) with honey and a bit of flour for about 20 mins. Add flour(about two cups to start, esp if you add flax, bran or other grains), salt and melted butter or oil, stif into soft mush let stand in warm oven or sun for about two hours(24 is ideal, but let’s face it, you want to eat some bread), for sponge rise. Add flour to stiff texture, let rise, repeat once more. After second rise, flour and split into two portions, roll out on floured surface, coat with melted butter and cinnamon/sugar until the melted butter becomes thick. sprinkle with salt, roll up and place in pan, bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes. Can also add cream cheese, marcapone cheese, dried fruit or nuts to filling.

I’m looking forward to a full moon celebration, I’ve been sorely neglected my nature practice, and I’ve noticed it’s so much harder in the winter. One wants to be outside to enjoy the sky and honor nature, but she can be just so cold! Watching the January Wolf’s Moon rise over the mountains was definitely the best one so far this year. I’m hoping the weather will work for a small bonfire tomorrow night to celebrate. As it’s the Strawberry moon, or sometimes known as the flower moon, a bowl of strawberries shared among friends and a little bouquet given to someone who needs uplifting seem like as excellent way to honor the moving into summer phase. Along with gourmet s’mores of course! Cinnamon graham crackers, dark chocolate Lindt bars, and fresh vanilla marshmallows(whole foods carries very good ones, often in the deli section) make outdoor living absolutely lush.

For other moon ritual ideas:

 

http://mooncircles.com/full-strawberry-moon/

http://journeyingtothegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/full-strawberry-moon-june

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Brian has been preparing to bring in honey bees and spent the time Zoe and I were redecorating the RV making a giant “beehouse”, not the traditional upright hive, but a long bird house style home, with a lid that can be taken off and everything ready to go but the screens. It’s longer than I am tall! (Not that I’m very tall at all or anything…)

Momma Pam seems to have invented an excellent allergy remedy- Aaron and Brian have been seriously suffering so we’ve been working on a concoction. It seems that if you pack a jar of fresh grated ginger, cover it with warm water, let it steep for a day and strain, then mix it with a bunch of local honey, coconut oil, fresh ground cinnamon and drink about 2-3 shots a day of it, the allergies disappear. Aaron’s been so happy to be able to breathe through his nose again, I’m getting chapped lips from all the kisses, which would be easily remedied with some honey, but that just makes him kiss me more 😉

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Promise has declared that the rest of her time here is “Fairy Week” and set Brian to making her fairy wings, and has commandeered Zoe and I as actors in a play she is writing. It seems to involve covering everyone in glitter, so I am definitely looking forward to it. Uncle Sakka has been set to work on building a stage and Momma Pam, as always, is support with dinner and cookies. Aaron has not been pressed into labour, she’s too fascinated by the fact he’s doing things like building a motorcycle and melting metal.

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Zoe made her niece the fluffiest purse imaginable, and this is only her third completed project! (Aaron calls it the octopus, guess what he’s getting for his birthday) I have barely even progressed past the basic scarf stage of crochet! I am learning to make socks though, being a size four foot makes that a very useful skill. I’m learning that it takes me so long to make stuff, and custom fitted wool things get very coveted come winter, that I’m working on getting the supply done now. Maybe I’ll even finish a christmas list in time this year? EEK!

Photo Update :D

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ImageAaron making a mess in the Workshop tent

I’m taking a short trip down memory lane today. Aaron has been in Santa Fe for nearly a week for his sister’s graduation, and I’ve been a bit lovesick. I even miss arguing with him! So, I’ve been taking comfort with kittens, fantasy books, and repainting the interior of the RV. You know, the simple things.

We had a great trip up to Portland to drop him off at the airport. The flight was for an ungodly early hour, he had to be there before six am, so after showers we recovered at Zoe’s favorite place from the time she lived in Portland, Sound Grounds cafe’. It lives up to it’s reputation as a comfy and eclectic art world. We arrived as a couple of clowns were doing a kids storytime, which was an interesting way to enjoy a late breakfast. I was very impressed with their coffee, tea and food selection. They did a $3 Dave’s Killer Bread egg in a basket with cream cheese that was AMAZING! They also offer a wide variety of activities for a wide range of age groups(there are more than just clowns). My favorite part of the trip was all the roses though. We walked so many streets just drinking in the sight and smell. I saw every kind of rose imaginable, even pink and yellow ones as big as my head!

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Of course we were all eager to get back home for kittens and a good night’s sleep after a very long day. The little grey tiger has been adopted by Zoe and Sakka with the deceptive name of “Muffin”, such a sweet name for an increasingly large terror. I adopted the gold tiger kitten, who is bratty enough to befit her name of “Princess”, and Aaron adopted the black one, adoring his mellow nature and little white-dipped tail, and calls him “Alfred”.

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Sakka holding the little Muffin of doom(they’ve taken to calling her Bran Muffin)

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The greenhouse (pictured above) is thriving, though we had to get ladybugs to eliminate a mild aphid problem. But the echinacea is blooming, the mints threaten to take over, we’ve eaten enough greens to feel like rabbits, and we just got a pile of oils, shea butter and beeswax to make salves out of a number of the herbs.

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Zoe outside of one of the Tipi’s

I have been shocked at how comfortable tipi’s have turned out to be. Sakka has been impressive at making it homey for Zoe, putting together a vanity table, and a set of flower boxes outside. The key is to use a broom around the rafters to eliminate spiders, but even that hasn’t been as bad as I expected- and being a first-rate arachnophobic that was a major concern.

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Zoe’s first completed knit hat

Zoe has taken to the knitting like a fish to water, but after several attempts and a good deal of improvement, as much as I want to knit, crochet is just more my thing. Maybe I just did it too long first, but either way, I find it significantly more easy than knitting. Momma Pam found a crochet pattern for socks so I could make them for Aaron instead and they turned out to be more than twice as thick in texture, which is what I needed for him anyway, and I can do it in a fraction of the time. Win-win. But I may do some knit lingerie for winter, light, warm and sexy 😉

I’ve been feeling like I’m on vacation, being alone again for the first time in months. Adjusting to such a large family in a short time has left me feeling a little overwhelmed and having a quiet space to retreat too for a few days has certainly helped. I’m remembering why relationships are so important and re-establishing my boundaries. Oh, and painting, lots of painting. And fabric dye, and hanging art, and my will I be busy the next few days!

 

May Carousel

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Enjoy some lovely end of May thoughts!! XOXO!!

 

All your relationship problems solved:

http://theeditorsjournal.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-difference-between-men-and-women-very-very-true/

For the Love of Lingerie:

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/04/29/what-if-sailor-moon-characters-were-lingerie-models-theyd-look-stunning-like-this-【photos】

True Help for the Homeless, I can’t wait for the rest of the country to follow suit:

http://www.nationofchange.org/utah-ending-homelessness-giving-people-homes-1390056183

As the noose tightens around our freedoms, here is proof that even charity is now a crime, i.e. if you want to help people, your donation must go through a specific or government organization so WE can determine how it’s used, control the money, control it all:

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/05/12/3436712/daytona-beach-feeding-homeless/

From Makeup to ART!

http://upopin.com/tal-peleg-eyelid-paintings/

It’s art, no it’s a landscape, no it’s a photo, no it’s real……

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/neil-simone-surreal-paintings

Nutrition data, otherwise known as the eat-real-food-and-enjoy-life-because-it-doesn’t-matter-anyway science:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512214128.htm

I don’t know which is worse- how much the Pharmacutical industry will charge for a treatment to bypass exercising, or the fact that American’s will pay anything to mot have to live a healthy lifestyle in the first place:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140512112547.htm

When you’d lost all hope in science and medicine, this comes to renew the world of possibility!:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513132703.htm

Paper sculptures!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/katharine-morling-ceramic-sculptures

For the Relationship challenged, here are some difficult but renewing truths:

http://markmanson.net/6-healthy-habits

Whole new level of Flower Fairy Fashion 😀

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/grace-ciao-fashion-illustrations

so much cute!!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1209765

I want this artist to do a mural in my home!!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1235755

Fashion, Art, Cosplay and just downright beautiful!

http://the-dame.com/epic-headwear-posh-fairytail-couture/

What is homesteading exactly?

http://woodridgehomestead.com/rebirth-of-self-sufficiency/to-make-a-homestead/

If you are interested in becoming more self-sufficent and overwhelmed at how, this article is a great start for learning how to take the transition to your own comfort level:

http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2012/10/how-to-homestead/

Zoe and I just started getting super into knitting, this is now the goal:

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1235472

Political statement- Photographic proof that we all in fact are just people, what a novel idea!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/xn/detail/2100445%3ABlogPost%3A1205326

Art coming out your ears!

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/smartwater-10-artists-who-shatter-perceptions-of-reality

For the DIY and environmentally inclined, homemade solar lamps:

http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2012/04/diy-sun-jars-homemade-solar-lights/

Summertime Stroll

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Pic: Deviant Art d1efwgs

With a few hours alone I decided to take advantage of the rare peace offered and go for a walk up the road, as I’ve not had a chance to explore the area much. The lady across the street has a small farm and a couple of horses, quietly grazing as I strolled by picking wildflowers. I must have found twenty kinds just within sight of the road in the mile or so I walked. I picked one of each to show to Zoe when she got back, though I did not pick any wild strawberry blossoms, that would just be cruel. I also found a gorgeous white star shaped flower that grew just a foot to far to reach on my own. I found a tree with a moss blanket sprinkled with flower so tiny it required a magnifying glass to see their detail. A true fairy forest indeed.

The strawberry theme continues, as Pam brought back a flat of strawberries from a farm a few miles down the road, and we have already had more chocolate dipped strawberries, oatmeal with strawberries and bananas, and as I write this there is a strawberry rhubarb pie in the oven. I even chopped up some of the chocolate dipped strawberries into a parfait for extra decadent deliciousness. Five of the seven in our group love to cook, so fortunately primitive living is very physically active or I would never be able to keep up with what the kitchen produces! Even so, I try to make sure to carve out time for more relaxing and fun physical activity, walks, yoga, hula hooping, dancing to music and whatnot. For a long time I tried the “fitness regime” of daily activity but found I was more likely to actually be active at all if I just made it a goal to play everyday instead. Much easier to look forward too, though sometimes easy to toss aside in favor of more “practical” activities. Be firm, go have fun.

Parfait Decadence
I’m not typically one for endorsing a brand, but the greek gods original plain yogurt is the most delicious healthy yogurt I’ve ever eaten. It’s very thick, actually more like ice cream when it’s cold and makes a perfect afternoon treat when topped with granola, nuts, and in my most recent foray into true decadence mango and strawberry drizzled in chocolate 😀

 

Oatmeal for a Pile
Cook bacon in griddle pan, pour rolled oats, a serving per person, into leftover gristle, add butter and toast oats to golden brown. Splash in milk or cream, crack in one-two eggs per person, add pile of grated cheese, stir until cooked through. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dill. For savory oatmeal top with bacon, avocado, roasted peppers, onions and other vegetables. For sweet, top with strawberries, bananas, cocoa powder, jam, honey or nuts. If you love the taste of toasted oats, you can also fire the oats with whiskey before adding the milk, to give a rich and nuanced flavor. ( I love variations, base recipes, let everyone add extras to their preference, easiest way to cook for a crowd)

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Pic: Deviant Art Suuperx

I’ve been relishing the time at home the last few days, the chance to explore and catch up on activities set aside due to the rigors of travel. I even got a chance to paint my toe nails- an opportunity that should never be passed up . Every time you look at them you can remember that there was a time when you weren’t running frantically around trying to be productive and can look forward to such moments again. It’s such a wonderful mode of self-care. I can get aesthetic about such indulgence sometimes- what about the chemicals? the corporate overlords? the societal expectation for how women should look or act, am I playing into that role? and on and on and on. Sometimes, painting nails is just that, enjoyment and creative expression. I smile when I see gold shining on my toes, mission accomplished.

 

I woke up to what might be a miracle of evolution in the greenhouse. Two sister cats had been pregnant, one gave birth about two weeks ago- the kittens I’ve been talking about on here. And the other was still pregnant, and surprisingly taking on baby sitting duties quite regularly(even grandma kitty did some kitten sitting), and at some time in the night, the second cat gave birth to four more miniscule bundles of fur in the very same nest in the greenhouse! So I walked in with my tea and journal for my morning kitten meditation and found a pile of fluffy purring joy! Four newborns, three two week olds, two momma kittys and a grandma all piled together happy for me to join them (though that might have been the turkey I brought too…) in reveling in baby-wonderfulness.

 

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Pic:Mother Earth News

Poor Aaron was torn between holding adorable kittens and dealing with the sudden upheaval in his allergies. As it turns out adding some cinnamon to local honey can enhance the anti-allergy effects, and there are some very good homeopathic treatments out there, look for ones that mention histamines for the best effect in my experience. Zoe had been complaining of excess breakouts from stress recently so I made her some bail infused jojoba oil as treatment, and in just a day(two applications) it’s started to clear up. I put in a handful of fresh chopped basil in a jar, smashed it some to release the oils, added about a 1/2 cup of jojoba and put the jar in a crockpot of water to slowly warm it, making the infusion time a day rather than two weeks.

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Pic: Deviant Art Andarin

Perception

Magic and all things beside

If you don’t look you’ll never find

or hear the changes on the tide

whispering what needs to die

or hear the challenge to the self

a power beyond mortal health

seeking to steer us to farther places

than we could reach with mortal paces

but close your eyes and soul to hide

wake young wishing you had died

 

 

 

Maytime Market and Summer Wine

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World peace can be achieved with kittens, I’m sure of it. Maybe puppies too. Add a couple of otter and fox kits in there and we are omming our way into enlightened greatness. It’s been the greatest blessing on my soul to be able to wake up in the morning and take my coffee into the greenhouse to pet the fast growing kittens. Their eyes are just beginning to open now, and they are in the perfect fluffy roly-poly stage of playfulness to leave you laughing for hours as they try to walk around and tackle each other, only to fall belly up little paws waving to grab your finger. Bliss. This is followed with a close second of fresh picked strawberries at the Farmer’s Market downtown. We snapped up a pint right off, and I had to defend it to make sure any made it home for yogurt parfaits and chocolate dipped madness. By the time we got home from the market, Pam (who is everyone’s adoptive mom at this point) was making spinach and feta calzones fresh from the bounty of her garden, add a dash of Firefly (damn Fox for canceling that show!!) and a gentle rainfall to make the best night’s sleep in a few weeks and much needed after the exhausting fun of the Ashland adventure.

 Strawberry Madness
Melt about 1 cup of chocolate chips for a full pint of strawberries in a double boiler. Put 1/2 cup of heavy cream into a skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbs honey and salt, stir occasionally, let boil gently until the mixture thickens to a custard consistency. Let cool about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally. Dip strawberry in chocolate, place on try to cool, then dip into caramel and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy your sugar coma.

 

A little boy runs across a farmer who has a truckload of cow manure.  The boy asks him what he is going to do with all that cow poop.  The farmer tells the little boy, “I’m taking it home to put on my strawberries.”
The little boy looks up at the farmer and says, “I don’t know where you come from, but where I come from we put cream and sugar on our strawberries.”

      The strawberry theme has been pretty predominant lately, when we were in Arcata a little stone shop, for some unknown reason, was giving away free strawberry shoots. We took one, put it in our largest coffee mug, put some dirt from the ground outside in it along with some St. John’s Wort powder and water to help with the transplant shock, and put it in the window by the driver’s seat remembering every time we drove somewhere to water it. When we got to Eugene we simply put it outside and forgot about it. Coming back from Ashland the other day, I looked over to find that it is actually starting to bud and is outgrowing it’s pot. I love nature, live, let live and eat strawberries for your lack of trouble.

 

For everything you ever needed to know about strawberries, plus more silly jokes, visit: http://strawberryplants.org/

 

 

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Myrrh displayed at Avdat, a stop on the Incense Route. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

 

As it turns out, strawberries (I truly did not plan the post to go this way, the strawberries are taking over my brain) are actually quite good for your teeth. Their high acid content helps to whiten your teeth and the high vitamin C content is good for overall immune system health. This is good news as with all the chaos I’ve been sorely neglecting my teeth. But I’ve been surprised at how healthy my teeth have remained even with the neglect. I”ve found that using an electric toothbrush helps a LOT esp if you tend to be irregular about it. I dip it in baking soda and cinnamon to use as a tooth powder and my teeth glow white. I’ve found that a good mouthwash is a distilled alcohol such as whiskey or vodka cut with a 1 to 5 ratio with distilled water and a single drop per cup of any or all of: tea tree, cinnamon, myrrh, or fennel essential oils. DO NOT SWALLOW. It won’t do any lasting harm to the vast majority of people, but essential oils are potent and can wreak havoc on your digestive system even in small quantities(though the recipe I gave is very dilute, hence it’s safety as a mouthwash). Diarreha is the most common reaction, often accompanied by a headache. But it’s very good for your teeth and doesn’t affect the kidneys, brain or nervous system the way excess flouride does. And besides being in standard toothpaste it’s also in any water that goes through a treatment plant and a variety of foods.

 

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Picture: One of Aaron’s hand forged knives. He invented the folding technique that gives the steel that wood-grain pattern

I had no idea my request for whiskey to make another batch of mouthwash would send the boys into such a tizzy. They decided they wanted to make their own and commendered all of the apples, peaches and strawberries they could get ahold of, and I had to fight them over my fresh local honey, lest it in up in the brew as well(they ended up using bulk honey instead). After a week of fermenting, it’s been strained and is sitting until all of the silt goes to the bottom. In between this, the boys have been leaving blackened fingerprints everywhere as they are handling so much charcoal nearly everyday. Aaron is teaching Sakka how to forge and he has now completed his first knife, and is now working on the hard part: sanding, hour upon hour……

I’ve been alternating between the knitting circle and my crazy quilt. I love the idea of crazy quilts- all the fun mismatched pieces of beauty I’ve collected over the years being blended together to make a work of art. I’ve been making mine multi-layered and have even added faux flowers and leaves to create patterns along with the embroidery. I love mixing things like this, practicing quilting, embroidery, ribbon embroidery and wool work all in one piece creates deminision I could never achieve otherwise and serves to keep me from getting bored with a project. I really think it’s all about figuring out the personal little quirks it takes for you to get things done, the same methods simply don’t apply to everyone. Though really, my bigger issue tends to be how I like to overload my plate. “I want to do all the things!!!” then a week later I’m huddled in the corner crying that I can’t keep up with everything. Pacing and Finishing are ongoing battles, but I get better every year as I become frustrated with the emotional strain of acting otherwise.

 

I’ve been asked the question before, why bother to knit socks or sew quilts or craft x,y,z when you can get it cheaper at the store? And really it’s about something beyond money(gasp!! I know, in this culture? is it possible?) but it’s true. It’s about 1.) simply having a channel to create something of beauty( I also find it quite meditative), 2.) being able to make it custom in ways you can’t find in a store such as size, color and oftentimes full designs, and most importantly 3.) not being part of the system of human slave labor, corporate overlords and environmental destruction. If we raise sheep or purchase wool from independent farmers, we are being ecologically and local economy conscious. If we make it ourselves we have an outlet for creativity, a means to show love to our friend family, and we are not participating in the cycle of slave labor forced on 3rd world countries. Sure, it takes time, but I can talk and knit/sew, or watch a movie and knit/sew or ride in the car and knit/sew and, well, you get the picture. It doesn’t really impede life at all, and in fact makes all the little pockets of idleness and waiting throughout life far less tedious. Though I have offended many people trying, I cannot read a book and have a conversation at the same time, so handicrafts must suffice. It’s also such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment when I finish a project. It’s there, in my hands, a little piece of my life and I can use it or gift it how I choose. I have simply found it a much more positive and powerful way to give of my life-energy, and have found I appreciate it more when it’s given to me in a likewise fashion. As with everything, it’s about not being part of the mainstream cycle.

 

Meet Harold, our new mascot

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After only being in town for an hour or so, a handful of different people we had plans with ended up canceling and we were left with most of an afternoon to spare. We decided to head back to our camp spot and start the fire early (it helps the RV to stay warmer in the evening) and work on art projects. We happen to camp down the road from the local animal shelter and humane society, and as I had been feeling lacking in the cute fuzzy creature department, I convinced Aaron that we should stop and “do some research and have some fun, we’ve been thinking about a pet, we should just stop and see what’s there”. This turned into a two hour escapade as we met every dog, cat, bunny and rat in the building.

A dog was out of the question, we both love them, but they are too big for an RV that already contains two people and a metal workshop and a library and wood pile and you get the picture; I love cats but Aaron says they are stuck up and was worried about one wandering away as we traveled. We ended up spending quite a bit of time with a massive white bunny named Daisy, shocking the poor receptionist who wandered over to check on us and found Aaron calmly holding the bunny on his lap while she took a nap. Apparently, this is not normal bunny behaviour and he was supposed to go through training and paperwork and have someone supervise so no one got hurt. They didn’t count on Aaron, who had owned a wild bunny for a while and tamed it to the point of walking a leash, so Daisy wasn’t really even a handful. She was a wonderfully sweet girl, but we were worried about her being to stressed with travel and trying to give her enough room outside. It’s a strange thought when one lives in the forest, but considering travel and predators and so on- not to mention the space she would need in the RV- and it was the same as having a dog.

Moving on to the rats we opened the cage to a cute little tan and white male dubbed “squeakers” by the staff, and he hopped right out of his house and up my arm, cuddling right away and sneezing the whole while. I chatted with the medical tech who treated him, and she said he was one of her favorites at the whole place and loved bananas. Within a few minutes of cuddles, both of us were in love. So half hour later, a handful of paperwork and some pictures for the place to use for promos, we walked out with a massive cage and a cute little rat we have now daubed “Mr. Harold Squeak”,  though it maybe should have been “sneeze”. He sneezes every time he gets excited or nervous about ANYTHING! (the “harold” was for harold and maude- the VW is Maude, Aaron calls her “his donkey”) We got him home, and within a few minutes he was trying to drag a giant roll of shiny gold ribbon into his house. He has also shown a preference for silk and lace, so he proving himself to be a rat of taste and distinction. He’s also loving sweet potatoes and almonds- but he peels off the skins, which I didn’t even know one could do to an almond!

The best part was introducing him to everyone, though Zoe took the cake, mostly because I played a prank. We went to the thrift store to find Harold a proper travel basket and found a wonderful one that looks like a cobra charmer basket. On arriving at Zoe’s I told her I was all excited because I found an amazing new craft basket and a bunch of craft supplies and I had a surprise for her on top. She lifted the lid and screamed loud enough to hear down the block! After this exciting meeting, they are now good friends, and Harold gave his approval for her trailer by spending a few minutes exploring sneezily (is that a word? Oh well, I’m talking about a rat being cute, I’m allowed) and promptly feel asleep on her lap. So now, we have a family pet, who I’m quite certain can be trained to do amazing things with avocado and bananas, to join us on our trip! Hooray!