Winter in My Corner of Northumberland County

blowing-snow-across-rice-lake

I’d love to hibernate through the winter. Now that I’ve finally reached my ‘fully mature’ years, I understand why many Canadians want to escape to warmer climes in January. I love all the seasons, but one month of winter would satisfy my need for a quiet, cleansing and recuperation period. However, there are times…

Like today: There was a medium-sized snowstorm yesterday evening and overnight. Last night after dark, the torrent of big, fluffy flakes coming down so gracefully in the beam of the one street light I can see from a window looked ethereal.

Today, a beautiful shining sun appeared over the hill and looking out the windows I couldn’t resist the impulse to take pictures. I began in my own back yard.

Before making the final decision…Smallbones

Victorian lace Christmas ornaments

I became an official senior citizen last November. (I really think we should come up with a better name, as most of us don’t feel very “senior” when we’re in our 60s and 70s. I kind of like “Revered Elder” – just kidding, sort of).

Moving Forward…Smallbones & Me

Jane Weeks of Smallbones Studio

I fell in love with my heritage house on sight and decided that I wanted to live within its old walls before I’d even been inside. It was built in 1855 by Gore’s Landing’s first boat builder and coffin maker. (His photo is in the Peterborough Canoe Museum.) It’s a small and simple dwelling that retains most of its original character. Gore’s Landing is a wonderful hamlet with its very own open-twice-each-week library in the community hall.

Sustainable Living Extends to the Holiday Season, Too!

Santa's reindeer woven cane

Since opening my shop on Etsy, I’ve made many ‘Etsian’ friends and found many people who are contributing to the environmental ethic by making new things from recycled materials, or selling vintage items that were made to last! “Green Gifting” is a natural for those who care about sustainability (which is presumably everybody who would like life on Earth to carry on). Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling for 2013!

How I Make Lavender Castile Soap

Making soap-2

The first step is to mix the water and lye. I use pure rain water because it’s soft, which contributes to the soap’s sudsing ability. Many people are afraid of lye, but you can’t make soap without using lye. (See my post about “saponification” and how it relates to lye.)

(Mis)adventures on the Alderville Prairie

The Alderville First Nation Black Oak Savanna is Canada’s easternmost pocket of surviving prairie. It’s a beautiful and wondrous place that I discovered shortly after moving here 15 years ago. It inspired me to learn more and begin my own tiny prairie pocket…I’m now looking forward to an autumn visit to capture in my memory (and maybe in photos) the beautiful waving prairie of the russet Indian Grass and the magnificent Bluestem, along with all the native Asters. Then in the Spring…

A Look Back at Spring

Robins in nest

One of the things I most love is gardens – all kinds of gardens! I’ve made another vegetable garden where the old drive shed had to come down and plan to steal another bit of ground for a third vegetable garden for next year. I want to be as sustainable as possible with my own organic food. Now, on to spring in the garden!

Sidestepping: My Foray into Vintage Linens & Laces…and Etsy

The new venture was precipitated by many cartons needing to find a place to land in this small house. The cartons were filled with dozens and dozens of beautiful antique linens and laces, some other antique items, and some things more correctly called “vintage” these days. The 1920s & 30s for my mother were a tad different than now – the laundry woman visited once a week & a seamstress outfitted young ladies.

Hand-made Soap: What does saponification mean?

Smallbones Pure Castile Soap

Do you use lye-based products to clear clogged drains? Would you put it on your skin? Of course not! You probably remember references from days gone by that lye soap is scary stuff. This is the reason soap-makers use the term “saponification” for our natural, hand-made soaps. Most people think of lye as only a strong caustic chemical that can burn your skin, or worse. Actually, through the process of saponification and curing, the lye becomes inert and you’re left with a beautiful bar of soap. You can’t make soap without using lye!