Friday, October 14, 2011

Eating the first snowfall

First snow on the homestead, scooped off of the log fence railings; eaten pure and melting on my tongue.  Another handful brought inside and fed to my darlin', shared in the dripping woodstove heat. 
Poor man thought I was going to put it down his shirt!

Living even farther north

Our homestead is 15-20 miles north of town.  That may not seem like all that much on the face of it, but when you think that the arctic circle is only 60 miles north of town, it seems more significant.

I realized this fact a month or so ago, when I was driving home late at night and realized I was driving into the sunset.  Literally.  It was night time dark in town, but about half way home I started seeing pink sunset tinges on the tops of the hills, that gradually increased in brightness and saturation.  Shortly after arriving home, darkness fell there too. 

I don't know if its entirely due to latitude, or if it has more to do with the unique variations of our particular micro-climate (micro-climates here are dramatic things: in winter a micro-climate can be twenty to thirty degrees warmer or colder than the "official" temperature, which means forty to sixty degrees difference from eachother).  But after the flurries of yesterday, that were apparently more than flurries at home, we have a bout a half inch of snow covering the homestead.  Here in town there's nothing on the ground.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Seasons of change come around once more

Last night, a golden moon behind the silver birch with a platinum sky as I left my yoga teacher's studio.

Snow flurries from a grey sky all day.  It's dark by 8 pm now.  Radio says highs of 30-35 degrees.  Ground frozen hard, and grass frozen white in the morning. 
"Winter is coming" is the motto of the Starks of Winterfell.  The traditions and yearly cycles that I live, and try to live, and intend to live, all revolve around this.  Winter is coming.  This is the time I am awaiting all year. 

I garden for food and joy and connection, yes.  But I garden for food to preserve to eat through the winter.
I (and by I, I mean I oversee, opine about, and occasionally help Darlin' Man) cut and chop and stack wood to keep us warm all winter.
I will raise livestock to feed us through the winter
My huskies await winter with all the joy in their snow-dog hearts and thrive when hitched to their people on skis on a snow covered trail.
I wildcraft herbs and berries for use all year, but specifically for the season when the dark and the cold and the constantly indoors-ness takes its toll on immune systems and spirits.
Gardens are dug in or pulled up, pots are emptied and stored, in preparation for the winter.

I have one more thing to do - make saurkraut out of the massive quantities of cabbage sitting in the fridge from the CSA storage share - and all my practical winter yearly winter prep chores will be done.  I have freezer bags full of lingonberries, and a few stored blueberries and raspberries.  I have canning jars of fruits waiting to be made into mid-winter pies.  I have quarts upon quarts of soups in the freezer: borscht, parsnip caraway soup, turnip pear soup, salmon chowder, root vegetable stew, and potato leek soup waiting to be thawed and enjoyed by the fire.  There is salmon and halibut the darlin' man caught, and frozen chickens from a local farm waiting at the butchers.  I have calendula, shepards purse, yarrow, plaintain, dandelion, coltsfoot, violet, rosehips, raspberry leaves, parsley, oregano, chives, thyme, savory, and rose petals dried in jars. 

I love this point of the year, the anticipation of the cold and the dark ahead. With a full pantry (even if we're not self-sustainable yet), and a full wood bin, there is such comfort in the coming cold.  Winter is my time of greatest creativity, I dive into myself as our world is plunged into the dark and the cold. 
There is an image I keep coming back to, I believe I wrote a poem about it once, of my creative soul being a seal who surfaces through the ice into a snow, moon, star, and aura -lit world of winter dark to bring things into being - in fiber, in words, on stage.  Its a different kind of hibernation.  On the physical plane, I wrap myself in coats and scarves or blankets and mugs of tea and steaming soups by the fire, and gather round with friends and loved ones to create our own sunshine out of love and friendship; while inwardly I go deep down and far out and bring the antipodes back to the hearth.

First Sale

This past weekend, as a weaver, I made my first sale. 

It was a barter, really.  A trade to another artist for a peice of mixed media art.
- but do you notice how I termed that?  How I feel comfortable terming that?  "another artist" I just said.

  That phrase may not be much, but in it I allow myself to identify as an artist.  As a fiber artist, that is.  I've identified as a theatre artist for a while now, even as I move away from doing theatre to focus on other things (says she who is about to direct a show...)  There is something phenomally validating and strangely liberating, to having another person value -literally- your work. 
Kimberly Rogers is a pretty well-known local artist, and I was overwhelmed, and excited, and honored and all sorts of goeey and postive feelings when she asked if I would be interested in swapping a peice of my weaving, for a peice of her art.  I was at craft market/bazzar, sitting with my friend at her booth.  She makes all kinds of amazing jewelry: earrings, necklaces and the like; and she had invited me to have some woven peices on her table.  I don't have all that much inventory, but I brought three peices with me: a scarf, a small rug, and a doubleweave peice the size of a large placemat.  It could be used on a table or a wall, and is different on its two sides.  The main colors are copper and purple.  One side is woven with copper and the other with black. I designed it based on an overshot pattern, I took the blocks and applied double weave threading to it.  I called it "southwest sunburst."  There is more to the warp that I'm doing another peice on.
It's a rectangular peice with, on one side, copper blocks raidiating out from a larger central copper block.  On the other side the center and radiating arms are a purple/black.  I will look for a photo of it... I swear I took one, and now I'm not so sure. because I cannot find it!

I had had my eye on a peice of hers all day, and was going to buy it as a gift for Darlin' Man; to have my little mat valued as equal -I valued it that way, which makes it even better somehow that she agreed with me, since I proposed what I wanted in exchange - is amazingly satisfying.  And inspiring.

What a way to end the first craft market I ever displayed my things at!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A quote a friend shared...

She casts her lot, life, with the trees and the winds, the sands and the tides, the mountains and the moors
she is Outcast, casting herself outward.inward, breaking out of her casts
Fictions, moving out of the maze of mediated experience. As she lurches
leaps into starlight her tears become tidal her cackles cosmic, her laughter Lusty"

Morning snow on the side of the road