spring of plenty, part 3

continued again, now that i am home from work, put groceries away, walked to the ecovillage, and helped a neighbor with dishes in exchange for internet use. enjoy -

my first basket completed. started by rejoice, who explained the theory and steps behind this style of basket. the diamond part at the sides is called a gods eye - pretty cool. i feel great knowing how to make three types of basket after a bucketful of willow was harvested and friends and books helped me out... now i'm that many steps closer to being actively capable of providing for more of my stuff-storage/container needs.

the summer house has a billboard tarp roof and burlap windows!!! the roof is full of holes, though we tried to patch them all with duct tape. it stays so much cooler in here, we have been hanging out in the afternoons and evenings, lighting candles, writing letters with a quill and ink, and reading books together. rejoice is still here, and my friend ingrid has also arrived (by bicycle, from Virginia - holy crap!), And we had a sleepover to celebrate the summer house getting it's roof. i called it my 'holy crap i don't live in a shed anymore' party.

turns out rejoice loves scything. this means my paths are actually getting maintained, so we all get less ticks and are happier. with this path down to the summer house freshly mown you can see all of it's lovely curves. before i lived here, one human had walked it some of the time, so it was barely traceable as a path... i'm not sure if the curves came from my/his human feet or from the deer before us. certainly we are not the only ones still using this path.

i made a half dozen more flannel wipes, this time on my treadle sewing machine. my first project with it, a few weeks ago, was to make a pillow case out of muslin and stuff it with scrap wool from a friend. i made a pillow! and it smells so nice and sheepy. and now we have more wipes, which is good with all these friends around. it has been years since i've bought toilet paper, and one day within two years or so i hope to transition to exclusively using really nice soft, effective plants instead of wipes. anyone have ideas other than lambs ear?

we are making a floor! the shed's pallet floor that i made last year just got removed and leveled at a recent work party (third time it's been leveled), so we have gathered sand and dug some clay from my unintentional pond (we call it failure pond), chopped some straw and started making a floor. i've only helped make cob a few times, and read a few books' recommendations on floor mixes, but didn't follow any exact recipe. we had a blast spreading it out and smoothing it.

the first layer of the floor is done! isn't it pretty? it's a rough coat, about an inch thick. no gravel underneath, just the wood pallet floor. i don't expect it to last more than a few years - it's just a test to see how my lazy-ass way of doing it will go, and to make the shed more comfortable for a few years while it's still in very active use as a living space. i'm excited to have a shelter in which i can drop something and Not have it fall through the floor.

wildcrafted tinctures fresh from the jar. i'm going to witchcamp later in the summer, and am hoping that a decent stock of respectfully harvested medicinals will help pay my registration and gas. a strong magical community is one of my very few deep lacks here in northeast missouri, and i'm hoping that by reconnecting with folks at witchcamp i can tap into some more power, insight, and energy that will lead me toward establishing some sort of coven/circle/group that'll meet my need for connection in magic.

plantain salve freshly made and cooling in jars. i love the way fresh salve looks... this'll be a great balm for all sorts of skin complaints, bug bites, rashes, cuts, and psoriasis. i'm really excited that my labeling is more groovy this time around - i wrote on the paper labels with a quill and ink (i made the quill but not the ink), and attached them with wheat paste that i made in just a few minutes. in the future i want to use handmade paper, home made ink, and ideally, one day once i've become a potter also, small home made ceramics.

i've been playing around with wire wrapping crystals since we found 'the rock guy' at the last dog and gun and bought a bag of crystals for $1. then in a city nearby we found some pretty copper wire... and i have another option of things to sell at witchcamp to make back my travel costs. after these first couple i started mixing in carved bones, snake vertebrae, etc. i love the way they look, though am sad that it'll be a long time before i have any sort of forge or ability to produce my own wire. i love wire. it is so useful for so many things.

the things you haven't seen in these pictures...

i try to capture awesome and glamorous and exciting parts of my life in pictures to share with you. more of the boring stuff can be found via my flickr. the things you won't see in pictures, however, that certain 'realist' friends tell me i ought to share, are as follows...

we are all covered in bug bites. chiggers, biting flies, mosquitoes, poison ivy... we pull ticks off ourselves and each other several times a day if not several dozen (depends on the weather). our remedy for this is to slather ourselves (and each other) with olive oil mixed with certain essential oils, calamine lotion (for some), and herbal bug spray. we also try to get into ponds often.

there's a lot of laying around. it may look like we do a lot, but in the absence of strict schedules, rotas, or any sort of labor quota, a large portion of each day is spent sitting or lying around, reading books, swimming, picking bugs off each other, napping, taking care of ourselves when sick, and playing.

there's repetitive work, too. every single day one of us (usually me at this point, though there are four of us now!) will check the chicken waterers in both coops, give the chickens food, gather their eggs (sometimes involving bodily contortion to get into the chicken tractor), bring water and food to the goats, refill our own water jugs and keep the water filter going for drinking, and cook food for ourselves. every few days we move the goat paddock, make bigger meals to share at potlucks, or do larger projects together. sometimes this work is boring, though the animals are always entertaining and often sweet.

we are topless a lot! and naked a lot. and it is so great. i would be more clothed if there were men around my place, but since we are four women who know each other and are comfortable with each other, we spend a lot of time working, playing, cooking, resting with whatever amount of clothing is comfortable. often times we'll have returned from some errand in town, and will suddenly realize we still have a shirt on, and will shout "why am i still wearing a Shirt!? UGH" and fling it off. living with friends, even in a temporary way, and having this freedom makes a massive difference in my life.

and because i have deep issues with being told what, when, or how to do anything at All, i don't put any expectations on my friends. we do whatever the f*ck we want, whenever we want to. sometimes that means they might feel awkward or not helpful, and that's come up and we've talked about it and found things they can do to feel more useful. and often it means that we don't work together, because rejoice, for example, is more inclined to work in the morning, and i'm not Really productive until afternoon. but we still do plenty of things together, and having the freedom to choose feels better to me than any enforced schedule. and mostly, our dishes get done, and our things get put away, and nothing too monstrous happens. i want my place to be as open and comfortable for friends as it can be. the shadow side of that is that i'm terrified no one will want to visit and stay with me, and so i won't put conditions on it. either way, i still feel good about things as they stand.

and that's where i'll leave off for now. it's summer now, after all...