moving toward the light

dear friends, this has been my blog home for such a long time... but lately i haven't been feeling it.  i think that with my papa's passing, i've gone through kind of a metamorphosis... (no, not into a cockroach!)!  i may be back in this space, or not..

here's some little bones to leave you with (obvs i'm still working on cleaning them)... from one of our roosters who met his demise... from all-natural causes known as our dog betty :(  
here's to better days ahead!


mini (many) miracles

A week or so ago I had learned of a magickal caterpillar on Sylvia Linstead's blog, the Indigo Vat.  Imagine my surprise when I was taking photos of a vintage lamp for Etsy only to notice this coast's version of the little visitor:  a white-marked tussock moth caterpillar.  He seemed to be carrying an extra bit of fluff in his antenna - you know there's always plenty of fluff around here!  The prominent little tufts, or tussocks, actually are defensive weaponry - they are toxic and can cause a rash in humans!  Wild little trickster faeries.

Father's day came and went with plenty of tears.  I feel like I'm breaking open and perhaps I'll be left a more real, less cynical and reserved, more overtly spiritual person.  In our wolf-dog's usual wake of destruction (at a year and a half, she's still just a huge puppy), she unearthed a notebook with papers that included an email from Papa dated 5/23/97.  It was one of those things I put in a safe place but had no idea where that was.  It was the sweetest letter he ever wrote me.  It felt like the sign I'd been waiting for, praying for, that he really is here with me.  And my wolfie messenger is so dear for delivering it.

Later this week I'm going camping with Mad, my oldest and bestest friend, at the firefly gathering.  We've known each other for around 27 years.  She's coming all the way from Illinois to see me and make things ok.  And our girls' getaway of choice is this gathering... she's an archaeologist, so our interests intersect in learning primitive living skills (including for me, dyeing the Appalachian colour palette) and communing.  I haven't been camping in years and my hub insisted I needed gear that I wouldn't have thought - like fold-up chairs, a hatchet, a lantern and a ginormous cooler.  I was envisioning glamping with quilts and candles and bunting, and so these utilitarian provisions in their Coleman shades of dark blue and grey didn't seem quite aesthetically pleasing or old-school enough for me ... but he says I'll thank him..  So you can look forward to lots of photos of hippies and tools and plant friends and bonfires and shamanic dancing and glow tubes, and hopefully more faeries!


a spark of gray

i've been an admirer of Sylvia Linsteadt's blog The Indigo Vat for some time now.  what drew me in initially was her work with wool, but i stayed for her lush descriptions and photos of the wild bay area she loves.  her combination of deep ecology and myth with lyrical writing is just enchanting...  she has also written for the Dark Mountain Project, most recently an essay called Turning Our Fairytales Feral Again.  so when she started a "wild tales by mail project," called the Gray Fox Epistles, i was curious - how odd to have a newly-penned story come via snail mail!  i couldn't resist the analog appeal.

i came back home to the first three epistles all at once.  the presentation is gorgeous, complete with animal tracks and lace lichen, seeds and petals.  it took me a couple of days to devour them.  these are not just stories, they are deep universes of imagination, history, animal knowledge and innovative prose.  so much more than i expected and so nourishing to my wild-deprived soul.  i've been tired of all my usual interests...  but these stories, they are the first thing i've come across that lit a spark for me, made me want to learn and think and move and maybe even write again.  

i have a good friend who said to me once, "there's no wild any more.  there's just captive and captor."  she is a wise woman, and i accepted her pronouncement, depressing as it was.  but Sylvia and the Gray Fox have made me see that there is still plenty of wild, out there and also within, maybe just out of reach, but strong and coursing in, through and around our man-made mountains.


giving thanks

some of my nearest and dearest have made and sent the most thoughtful gifts...

such a generous surprise from Heather, who knows my feelings about trees..
we studied them together.
she even contacted my hub to make the arrangements. 
i was so moved by this gift to the earth!   

and not long after the worst, I received
"Fairy dust" by Handstories (embiggen to see all the dust!)  
all I had to do was mention faeries, and off she went!  
it even includes a fragment of Grandma's sheet 
(and there aren't many people who can say that!)
it softened my heart and made each day a little easier to bear.

and then such preciousness blew in from my dear Dana of Leililaloo
who knew from across the pond how much I needed gentle care.  
she even included the tree painting, below.  

there were also lovely cards, texts, comments here and facebook messages of support and love.
i'm still heartbroken, but i'm also ecstatic to have such friendship.
i feel very blessed to have such a father,
and to still have such beautiful souls in my life.
*thank you all*


things are still happening

but it doesn't feel like they are supposed to.  My seven year anniversary with my love was on the 28th.  I felt it, because I love my love so deeply, but we haven't celebrated yet.  And Beltane, the crown of the year, has passed me by as well.  I long to be a light-bringer, a blessing on this mother we call earth... but for now, all I feel is in this tearjerker of a poem by Auden.  

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Thank you to my dear friends for your condolences.  Every tenderness counts x a thousand right now.  


Papa died on a Tuesday

and i haven't seen him since
except in my memory - i keep hoping he will haunt me.
i feel like i've lost my way with blogging
like i've lost my way with everything.  

Papa had a beautiful and green burial.  
just what he very specifically wanted, a pine box, out by the monastery.
Father Vincent did a lovely job with the memorial service.
it was so personal.
i'm still (mostly) here, gutted
and possibly more likely to pop up on fb or instagram
but some of my friends are only in blogland,
so i'll try to be here too
as i reinvent life, and find something to say.
right now nothing much seems to matter enough to bother,
except thank you for being here.


fluff and maudlin


these are some batts i whipped up not long ago. i missed spinning and fiber so much while i was at my folks' place, but now that i'm home, i'm feeling meh about it again.  there's too much else to do, too much to feel and think about and process.  i think my relationship with fiber is one of control.  while i'm carding, spinning, stitching, i feel as though i have some order and that things are holding together as they should.  it's a great feeling.  but when i'm not able to do fiber it's because all is hanging out... there is no control... or i'm admitting that there never was.

it's not that it's right or wrong to want to be in control and to be exercising that desire through fiber, but i think it's good that i become aware of it.  then the maniacal stitching that happens sometimes starts to make sense.  did i tell you about that book i read called Solstice Wood?  i think i did, but anyway, the ladies in the fiber circle were stitching together the boundaries between the worlds.  i can so easily relate to that... i want to keep the boundaries closed, at least in terms of my papa - i don't want him crossing over, not yet, not soon - but it seems they are thinning anyway and there's nothing i can do to stop it.  so i'm leaving them wide open and hoping we all get swallowed up.

so what activities are good for life-in-transition?  dyeing?  water usually soothes my wild beast.  or how about making pies.  reading and sleeping have been my mainstays but i should try walking the wolf pup through the woods.  too bad we lost that bungee leash, it made it so much more comfy to walk with her.  she's so incredibly strong and still she wants to chase birds, so she can't be left to run on her own.  catching up on blogs and feeling connected to other people today has helped a little.  there must be some way of staying present even in this grief, but if i'm honest, i don't even want to, i want to escape to a make-believe world that i create and stay there.  where he is always there, singing to me, just like when i was a baby girl, "you are my sunshine," or "hush, little baby."  i was always most excited about the billy goat. or i can take over on the singing part. i can do that.




i found this little dear awhile back on a walk through our woods.  hir skull was poking up through the leaves just as bright and heady as a queen surveying hir realm.  i stopped in my tracks and without even thinking, gathered hir to myself.  i soon realized that there was much more of hir bone gold to be found under the layers of damp leaves and earth, and each limb bone and vertebrae that extruded felt like another gift, and there were many.  i hadn't brought a bag or basket for gathering, so i took off my aran sweater, a long-ago gift from mum and a staple for me on cold winter days, and laid hir out.  the green and brown staining made me wonder if bones could be dyed like easter eggs.  

i have since cleaned and bleached dearie's remains and they are pristine, blanched, beautiful.  i have thought about making hir into a mobile, in which i would crochet hir back together and add some of hir missing bits, as i imagine hir when s/he was alive.  i have been guilty of following the trend toward bone collecting, toward rewilding, earthing, primitive living - they are all connected somehow, are they not?  is there not a bone craze making itself felt throughout the craft world, in jewelry and on etsy? 

 i know i'm not the only one gathering and crafting with bones and animal-ephemera, not the only one with a red fox tooth ear cuff and tail, a crow cast skull necklace, a set of my own indigo-dyed cat bone adornments, a gifted antler wand, a cache of precious traded squirrel bones, a grandiose four-horned sheep skull and any number of thrifted taxidermied friends whom i've collected since childhood (and i'll only barely mention here my roomfull of wool).  we are, many of us, held rapt in their presence.  lupa has written about the magick of animal parts, and hoodoo has a long tradition of using animal claws and bones along with herbs to make their mojo.  although with hoodoo, i believe many root doctors don't shy from a human finger bone or other as curio.  

 i am wondering though if i was right to unearth dearie.  if this fetishization of animal remnants is yet another form of speciesism.  most of us wouldn't consider having human bones around.  and yet while we seem to separate nonhuman animals out this way for adornment or decor, it isn't on surface smacking of disrespect, but rather of honour.  we who fetishize hold them sacred.  we don't venerate human bones in the same way partly out of human exceptionalism, but also because they aren't that interesting.  (although i do have a close friend who was able to snatch up a small bone of her dear friend who met an early death.  she found it when they scattered her friend's cremains, and kept it, a beautiful story).

deerie seemed comfy there in the woods, no matter that her skull sung out to me, a beacon.  i am not the most observant of kin, something i'm trying to change, but still i need company when morel-hunting to spy the little phalluses.  i tend to miss the glorious details, but s/he shone so brightly to me that i could not resist or refuse hir.  the problem now is that there is no art i can make, no method of display, no reanimation or imagination that won't fall depressingly short of Hir in life or spirit.  s/he now lies wrapped in a tea-towel embroidered with the day of my birth, another gift from mum, awaiting my plans.  whatever i decide, i think it's important that before s/he ends up forgotten and dusty with my own remains that s/he be respectfully re-interred.  


meet wolfie, in liminal space

this is wolfie.  
he emerged as part of a very unique and interesting commission.

i'm finally home, but everything is in limbo
papa's cancer has interrupted life as we know it.
we've been through it before, but not like this.

the funniest, most precious moment lately:
doctor, to my papa:  "do you know where you are?"
papa:  "on that lady's ranch."
doctor:  "what do you do for a living?"
papa:  "retired"
doctor:  "what did you do for a living?"
papa:  "cowhand."
doctor:  "what is a cowhand?"
papa:  "a person who takes care of cattle."

mama and i were flabbergasted.  
did he get this from gene autry movies?
or from a past life?
i think the doctor thought he was joking at first, but he was totally serious.

we're going to see the work that's been done on the house tomorrow,
the new roof and plumbing.
but as it turns out, we may not move there.
there's just too much going on.
ah well.
yippee calle, mufukkas!


kitchen: before

while i'm waylaid i thought i could show you
the sad little kitchen and breakfast nook.
stuck in 1998, or long before.
i have taken down the curtains and scrubbed and scraped
grease from the cabinets.
everything is vaguely yellowed.

the gas man told us that the man who used to live here
stayed right in the kitchen next to the gas heater.
this is where he lived
he didn't use much of the house
and he was a good man.
i wonder if he died here.

progress is being made in my absence, the roof is almost done.
the plumbing needed help too.
and we had the guy do some other sundries for good measure.
i can't wait to get home and see the progress
and start DIYing
and dyeing my pieces for the Fall show in Hillsborough
have i told you about that?  i will soon.



this was one of the loveliest, most thoughtful gifts ever
a vase from my friend Susan
who is an amazingly talented sculptor and potter
and yes, with violets on it
it's the first object of ours that I brought into the house.

work on the house is Happening
the new roof, and work on the plumbing
but i've been waylaid
we learned today that my darling father has the cancer, again.
so it might be some time before i'm back
making this house into Home
or making the rounds in blogland
but i do miss you all.  


wouldn't you know

that the wood under the roof tiles isn't looking too good.
so we're told we need a new roof
i guess we'll have to go forward, although 
i loved that patina on the old slate roof
but it is 60 or so years old, i guess it's tired
and been leaking for a long while.
so, on we go!

our guy is replacing the roof, the plumbing, 
fixing the ceilings and walls
and repairing the hardwood floors.
should be done by the time i get back from atlanta!
and then we'll paint and see what else needs doing.


we found our person!

i'm so relieved that we finally have found someone to fix the roof!!
and he can do everything else too, apparently!
thank the Goddess for the recommendations of friends.

there's this strange ceramic part of the chimney
i wonder what went missing?!
i guess in the short term i'll cover it with a plant...
but it seems like it needs a coat of arms, or something architectural and grand..

there are two beautiful big black walnut trees

one in front and one in back

and this little workshop, with electricity
where Rocky will put his woodshop
and in the lean-to area, i think that'll be where we keep the feed.

here's the back of the girl.  a funny face :)
i love that stump right in the middle.
work on the roof starts thursday!
and then we'll work our way down.



i feel like the Starlings are following me.  even though
they are probably just going about their business.
so i had to make a bird.
not fancy iridescent fabric for my first bird though.
just a little bird, looking at me.  

we're still trying to find some help on the house.
we're starting with the roof, and 
the first couple of people don't seem like the right fit.  
but i have another lead i'm working on...

we've had a couple of mishaps.  when i had the water turned on,
it sprayed everywhere in the mudroom from the washer hookup!
everywhere, out into the room, onto the windows, down the side of the house
it was cray-cray.
but some pliers and a few turns later, it was off.  

and it turns out the copper gas pipes were stripped!
by some needy soul.  
so they have to be re-installed.  
so still, no hot water because it's gas.
and for some reason, no water to the upstairs.
that has us scratching our (collective) heads.
more mysteries to be revealed.


13 acres

this is what the land looks like..

 this is that tree in the middle of the old well-house
it's an evergreen (obvs) and full of berries!
anyone know what kind it is?

and this is one of three sisters out in the pasture
Sarah thought it looked like an apple tree
anyone else? 

and this is the old barn.  i think it'll do just fine for the bunnies
and the lean-to will be good shelter for the donks and sheepies.
hub thought it might fall over, but i figure it's been here a while.

and we found this old trunk in the barn, how exciting!
this isn't who we bought from.  i love picking in general, but from our own land is the best.
i think we'll use it as a coffee table. 

and the sand!!  the sand is so weird!!  
this area of NC is called the Sandhills, but i'm so shocked to see it everywhere
at least we won't have so much mud and muck like here
i do love drainage.