Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Old Loves, New Friends

You may have noticed that it's taken me a lot longer than previously predicted to get that post up. Sometimes that's what happens when I write posts containing, you know, actual research and tens of images, so bear with me now.

In the meantime I want you to meet my new little friend. A seasonal migrator, a singer of delightfully chatty little ditties, the Red-Breasted Nuthatch.

Isn't he beautiful? Mary once wrote, far more eloquently than I ever will, about how different flora and fauna signify the passing of time in a given place. And it's true; we mark time in birds and plants and snow cover, much more than we consciously know. A certain species, a certain bloom, is a different  means of measuring than the month, or even the season. In the far North, the first fly of the year, the first yellow-collared face of a coltsfoot (oh how I miss them!) brings the month of May viscerally to us, taps into our ancestral memories.

We carry this knowledge with us instinctively, and once we truly tune into the natural world, it is impossible for us to not notice the thousand small signifiers of passing time. This, to me, is the best reason to keep a journal, to return each year to realize that we are entering the time of rose hips, of Nuthatches...

A few days past the Equinox, some things are changing fast towards the winter: cold nights, molting chickens, the sudden need to nest, stay close to home and the pantry.

I've wondered no further than my own backyard for days and days, yet felt like I never spend any time at home.
IMG_9648 IMG_9634 IMG_9666
All will be revealed soon, I promise you.
IMG_9698 IMG_9699
Until such a time though, I wish you all happy Fall. And do tell, who's coming trough your backyard for a seasonal visit?
A special bird, mycelium, fruit?

all bird photos from here, here and here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


It's not a Teepee, Tipi, or even a Tepee. What is it? What is it? Barring major natural disasters, find out tomorrow. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Only Place

Are you sick of me posting about my hair already? Yeah, me too. But since it is a major change in my being, I suppose I ought to complete the visual log of this transformation. However, in the interest of having some actual substance to this post, I'm gonna share some of my current favorite tunes with ya'll.
                                     Dress- a gift from Nicole
                                   Necklace- a gift from Sara
                                          Mocs- the Fair
                                  petticoat- free from The Dump

In the summer I often find myself craving quiet after the hectic days working in town, but come fall I'm suddenly ravenous for new sounds.

As I've mentioned in a previous music post, one of the funny things about "growing up" is that you become less passionate about new music. Call it the sound of settling if you will, but that is one of the enduring rhythms of life: the older you get the less receptive you are to the Zoo of the New (and more likely to cultivate annoying references;).
Which I think is totally okay, because There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, continues to be the most perfect song in the Universe. Meanwhile, though other, less perfect songs are created from the free radicals floating among the stars who's cosmic resonance is totally worth hearing. (Ah! Here's to out-hippieing myself once again!)

Personally, I would so much rather be like my 71-year-old friend recommending the new Cat Power album to me, than my 25-year-old friend that only listens to music from the 60s and 70s. Both have excellent taste in music, but one is more in this world as it stands right now, not bogged down with too much nostalgia. Which in this case is for an era that they didn't even live through.
Depending on your age/engagement with the musical universe (ah! I get such kicks out of this.) you might wonder how one gets exposed to new tunes. Here's my tips:
1. Podcasts/ Emusic.
Find a podcast of new music from a station you like. Seems simple but it works. I listen mostly to KEXP's "song of the day", since the NPR one went on hiatus.

Like many long time Emusic users, I continue to be disappointed by the changes the service keeps undergoing, but still find it to be hands down the best, cheapest way to find new tunes. For sixteen bucks a month I get two-and-a-half (used to be four-and-a-half-though!) albums of music, most of it pretty alternative and under the radar. With a subscription, it's easy to try out new things with little regret. See something you like? You already paid, might as well try it out.

2. Young hip sister/ friend/ blogger you follow:
My sister has pretty similar taste in music to mine. Except hipper. Find a friend who's taste you like and ask them to share their new favorites.

Alternatively, find a music blogger who's tastes coincide with your own and follow their reviews. Music bloggers are typically the kind of junkies you used to be in your mid-twenties and will analyze and over-analyze interesting new releases for your pleasure.

3. Doe Bay! Doe Bay!
Need I say more? Go to a festival. Go to a show. Go see music live. Even if the headliner is your old favorite, the opening band might be brilliant young hopefuls you've never heard of.

Naturally, as I mentioned in the Doe Bay-post, Noah Gundersen pretty much blew me away with his set, and him and Abby have been on heavy rotation at our house and the shop ever sense. His tortured voice and moody songs are perfect for crisp fall air.
                                    Dress- Flaming Hag Folkwear on Etsy
                       Bracelet-gift from Nicole (in the pocket of the dress I bought!)
                                      Everything else- free from the Dump

I don't know about you, but I love fall. September is, in fact, my very favorite month. Because of how our school years were arranged it marks for me new beginnings, shifting energy, new plans, dresses, tattoos, hair, hobbies (more about that later!), new harvest, abundance, especially here on the Island, since we have not only fruits and vegetables and berries, but money, for once, after the summer.

I know Best Coast's music songs are in amour of California, but that doesn't deter me from identifying with The Only Place. You can keep your waves and rays, Golden State, I have everything I need here. And  as long as I can hang out with some of your babes, from time to time, I'm happiest where I am. Why would I live anywhere else? This is the only place for me.
Things to marvel at in the fall: my bees killing off their drones. When it comes time to hunker down for the winter the hives get rid of the loaf around males, pushing them out of the hive and attacking them if they try to re-enter. Sad, but necessary.
You can see two sets female bees attacking drones in this shot.
                                         Dress- free from The Dump
                                         Clogs and vest- thrifted 
                           bag- The Northern California Women's Herbal Symposium
                                       Necklace- gift from Missa
                      Bracelet- gift from Nicole (These two just magically happen to match, right?)

Another fall perk: The return of the outfit shot. I have to admit, I often miss this, the most frivolous aspect of blogging.

In the fall I  have time to run again in the morning. For the last year and a half Mumford and Sons have been a staple of my morning run, and I'm happy to retire them for a time in exchange for these fine fellas. They're perfect for making a fall morning appear even more etherial than it already does.

I raved about them when they opened for the Bowerbirds and they're just as good on record. If you think you can fall in love with a band made up from former hardcore boys, one of whom dropped out medical school for their record deal and who sound like medieval court bards gone awry, you can fall in love with Dry The River.
My ducklings have gone feral in these last few months. Every couple of weeks we play a game of hide-and-seek, me looking for their nests in the thicket, the ducks trying their best to conceal them.
My prize: duck eggs galore, ducks safe and sound in the coop for the night and ancient artifacts accidentally uncovered in the process.
There's so much fun junk in the thicket behind our house, just waiting to be uncovered.

For those darkening nights, cuddling up to your book, kitten, tea mug, or partner,  I recommend Laura Gibson's La Grande, or perhaps Regina Spektor's latest What We Saw From The Cheap Seats. These albums are both dark, moody and oddly joyous, full of stormy night energy.


I love how Regina Spektor continues to eschew any preconceived notions one might have of her music.   She is somebody who is completely original in today's music scene. I don't think I'll find her work predictable. Except maybe in it's unpredictability.

 The Deep Dark Woods have also been in heavy rotation around our homestead. Mali had their 2009 album The Winter Hours on her computer and after a couple of rounds I was completely enamored with it. Take a listen of this gorgeous rendition of All The Money I had is Gone, from this utterly under-appreaciated band who hail from the romantic sounding Saskatoon, Canada. Singer Ryan Boldt's voice is guaranteed to make shivers run down your spine.

That pretty much covers my musical exploits this, the melancholiest  of seasons.

Oh, but I do a actually have one more music-related tip: really good, huge headphones. They make it sound like Alex and Jade are singing just for you. Which they are. In your own personal Musical Universe.

Questions, comments, musical recommendations?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hair Today, Tomorrow, Next Week

Bonus points to those who figure out what 90s superstar's former band I'm referencing in the post title.

So...I guess I never told you guys what the verdict was on the whole dip-dye dilemma.  
That's because I figured I didn't have to, I could just show you the end result. However as these things sometimes turn out, the end result was that after three hours of bleach, hanging out with some sweet girls that stopped by the salon, and deliberation of colors, I suddenly looked at the clock and went: "Wills (my very talented hair dresser friend), you gotta wash this out! I have to go help cater a wedding in ten minutes!"
I left with wet hair and didn't really pay it any mind until much later when I went to make a phone call in the house who's yard the party took place. Cordless phone in hand I walked past a mirror and lo-and-behold if the person looking back at me wasn't somebody's slightly trashy mom. Fake blond with roots and all. Kinda makes me wanna bust out some serious pink cowboy boots...
This isn't its final stage by any means, but I kind of dig it. In some places the line is too sharp and a little higher than I originally envisioned, but I'm excited to fine tune it when I get my color put in.

The most shocking thing about the whole affair, though, is that I've never realized I could actually go blond. Like totally, blond, blond.

I guess hair dyes have really evolved over the years, since I distinctly remember telling a hair stylist at a show I was modeling at that they could bleach my hair all they wanted and it would just come out yellow. She had to dye it like three times, to cover up the straw colored mess she made. Now I can totally see some natural shades in there. Fret not though, I don't think I've got what it takes.
                                           Dress-Gift from Moleskin
                                           Necklaces-free from the Dump 
                               (I didn't string my Fluorite, Missa, I just found some more at the Dump ;)
                                                   Shoes-Gift from Ana 
Hair it is. I'll keep you posted on this riveting topic.
Call it the Kissa-look, if you will.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Do this. Now!

You want to be super-cool like me, right? That's why you read this blog. You want to read what I read, eat what I eat and dream what I dream. No? You have like a mind of your own and stuff? I won't be making my moulah by enticing you to buy stuff from my oodles of sponsors?
Fine then. But I'll bet my bottom dollar that you wish you had an epic collection of Nicole's Flaming Hag Folkwear jewelry. Haha! I've got your attention now!
For many moons I have been the undeserving recipient of Nicole's absolutely magic handiworks. The woman has been so generous with me I can barely hold back tears thinking about it.

I love every piece I have: my little tooled leather book (for which a friend gave me tiny pen!), my row of crystals (which always elicit delighted compliments), the feather and bone amulet (wood/stone/feather/and bone/ roaring of the ocean guide us home! Need I say more?) and my latest gift which I received from her in person, a too short meeting, which I still think of whenever I feel particularly lonely or unloved (I mean that, Nicole. Of all the amazing experiences on that trip, our little moment stands out.).
food for the soul
Think I'm lucky? Well, you can be too. Because Nicole is on a journey to new, exciting adventures and in celebration of that she's offering a giveaway of epic proportions!

The winner gets not one, not two, but at least five (count 'em!) pieces of FHF jewelry!
Told you she is pretty darn generous person.
To enter, all you gotta do is leave a comment on her giveaway post, advertise on blog (which, by the way, this entry is not for. I'm just so stoked on this giveaway I want to spread the word.) or other social media for an extra entry and hope that Brigit's on an exotic foreign vacation and misses the whole thing.  
(I'm just kidding Brigit! If you win this one however, I'll charge you with filling out my lotto tickets.)
Nicole is totally one of those enviable women with impeccable taste. You know, where she's like wearing some sort of 70s velvet and gold-lamé hooded cape and you're like 'Wait what?!?!? I wish I could rock a 70s velvet and gold-lamé hooded cape!", but you're so in awe that you're not even jealous 'cos it's too base of an emotion.  You feel me?
Part of her changing scene is that she's expanding her etsy shop and there are some serious treasures to be had there. Indian cotton, leather and lace, oh my... Check it out, 'cos there are more ways than one to get your mitts on some FHF goodness.

I make a pretty persuasive argument, no?
So what are you waiting for? Go and get you some

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Clearing

                                                              Skirt- made by Teeny! From a scarf! It's awesome!
                                                             Mocs-Barter Fair
                                                             Necklace- a gift from Anne. It used to belong to her sister. 
                                                                           It is one of the most precious things anyone has ever given to me. 

I had other ideas for this post, but Mother Nature had her own.
It is September now, the month of mottled sunlight and empty beach, awash with seaweed and dead jellyfish. The few people here are quiet, peaceful, respectful. Gone are the screaming hordes. The animals can tell it too, reclaiming the park.

I have to say that when we got home from the city, I breathed a huge, billowing sigh of relief. It felt more like home than in months. The air smells like freedom and berries and decaying leaves. The stars are impeccably bright.
Native and non-native alike, the fauna once again outnumber the lumbering humans.
The small spotted ones get larger by the day. For the sake of the two seemingly motherless fawns I hope they do grow stronger and more independent fast. Certainly these two had a curious nature, chasing around the cats and chickens, coming close enough to me to feel the air move when they took off. Thankfully they were smart enough to do just that, run for the hills. That gives me hope for them.

We are each in our own element more now, settling in for growing our winter stores (fat or pantry), rejoicing in the sunlight, going about our business.

Pleased to be here, and nowhere else.
Speaking of places you will go, without ever leaving home. This is one of the many things we did on our little holiday:
A small moon, first of five (the tattooing was cut short by the need to see Beasts), an imperfect circle.
The seven words, mine to carry on this earth, first written on a cave wall in about fifteen-hundred years ago by a legendary, or more likely mythical Chinese poet, hermit, and self-proclaimed madman Han Shan. Translated from the original by one Gary Snyder. These words are the last line of a poem Snyder titled simply "Cold Mountain".  In it, Han Shan, who's name also means "Cold Mountain", discusses his life as a hermit, the truths he has managed to glean from years of such a harsh existence among the boulders, creeks and birds of the mountain. The poem touches on freedom, possessions, pressure to conform, the ills of "modern life", social constraints to seeing the truth.

No one truly knows who the historical Han Shan was, how he really lived and died, nor does it matter much.

I'm sure there are other interpretations, but I chose these words because from the first reading of the poem I took them to mean literally everything.

I took them to mean that Cold Mountain is no more a real, tangible place than Han Shan a real tangible historical person. Rather we carry it with us, traveling up its
"Rough and dark - the Cold Mountain trail,
Sharp cobbles - the icy creek bank.
Yammering, chirping - always birds
Bleak, alone, not even a lone hiker"

to get to a place where we find, for the lack of a better word, God, or Enlightenment, some spiritual sense in this world, a way to comprehend, or maybe even ease our suffering...or perhaps nothing more than the journey itself.

That you don't have to be a Zen hermit to get there, or any kind especially religious, pure or moral person, you just have to try. That religious, spiritual seeking is just that. Trying. To be a better person, trying to do least harm, trying to live by your values, trying to practice meditation, loving kindness...trying.
I could go on forever about the meanings behind my handy spiritual post-it note, but I do believe that is another post. I will add though, that the tattoo is not the only reminder of being a religious seeker that I carry on my body today. This beautiful necklace was gifted to me by dear Anne a while back. I've been waiting to wear it for this very special occasion. It used to belong to her sister, who's conviction in her beliefs in utterly inspiring. As is Anne's own.

Lucky for us, we don't most of us travel up that mountain alone.