Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Birds of a leather

For the better part of today, I'm sadly staying indoors, in spite the sunshine, tooling away (toiling, really) at these little leather leaves, as well as butterflies, daisies, feathers and ferns. Oh my, what an awesome crop I hope to have soon! I'm also thinking of bees, all things natural, crafted out of leather by, yours truly. I'm learning a lot. Mostly from mistakes.

Later on there is a meeting here at the Park, and I have my milking to do, and costume sawing for the 4th of July Parade, too, perhaps. And here I was thinking people came to the country to relax. What a silly notion. So anyways, no real substance still available here, only clatter of keyboards, and pounding of rawhide mallets, and pictures of things I wear.
Today's selection, by the by, is more raggedy than most, due to the fact that the boots are held together by shoe goo and inertia alone, and the dress is an old ladies nightie, so fragile that it tears every time I wear it. Lucky it came with a matching bed jacket that I used to patch it up with.
Lucky, too that my hair covers up the patch and the accompanying laundry number. I matched the raggedy shoes and dress to this neat patchwork jacket that Heather gifted me with. Love it.

So that this blog doesn't turn into a total "what Milla does all day"-extravaganza, I do have a new brainier feature in mind, so tune in tomorrow for Book Report, a (hopefully) bi-weekly book(s) recommendation of yours truly. What? You guys asked for it.

Oh and in one last piece of (great) news: I just bought tickets to see Bonnie Prince Billy in August! Two years ago I went with my friend (and singer-songwriter) Kanerva, who'd never really heard Will Oldham, and we were both blown away by the amazing live performance. The encore song was a cover of an R. Kelly number for crying out loud! The man is a magician.

Not to mention the young star of one of my all time favorite movies. Ever.

I couldn't find any other clips featuring him, what with the weird subtitles, but seriously, watch this movie and then watch Harlan County USA. They're both damn fine films and relate closely to each other.

That's all folks! I did manage to sneak in some culture after all. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Packages and Books Oh My!

Summer is here! Glorious lazy days in the hammock, seals in the water, everything, including my potatoes, growing like these are the last days of all life, and all life must be squeezed into them.
The sunsets are something else too, in hues that cannot be described, or imagined, or captured into the camera, so that while they're there, you must watch them unblinking, before they disappear into the darkness.

Summer may not be my favorite season (I love all for pretty equally, though fall and spring slightly more), but when she's good, she's really darn good.

My reason for the lack of unabashed summer-lovin' that most people engage in is that a lot of the the things I like to do are actually not as much fun when it's hot. Like walking and biking around, or sitting indoors writing, or better yet, reading. Good thing hubby strung up the hammock on Sunday. Fresh air and book-worminess at the same time! Who woulda thunk it...

Speaking of books, right now I'm particularly obsessed over the latest Native American-related tome I'm reading; Peter Mathiessen's In The Spirit of Crazy Horse. I love Mathiessen, and this book is pure magic, in the heart of my current obsession with the 1970s American Indian Movement. I tend to get hung-up on one, or two things at a time and for the past year and a half it's been logging, but now it's giving away to the Native American narrative. Would anyone be interested in a post about one of those two matters, or maybe just a reading list? I need to spread the madness.

A welcome brake from the 500-something page book was offered when these two lovely packages appeared in my mailbox. Two packages in one day?! This girl is spoiled. The first package is from my friend Sini, who's getting married this summer. Along with the wedding invite (so sad I can't be there, she's getting married on an Island outside of Helsinki!) she gifted me with this beautiful book of patterns for cozy, cute Japanese-style dresses and tunics. Many will be made.
The second package was from the Lovely Sara of Forestlass, and it held two beautiful tops (one pictured above, the other you are sure to see shortly), a copy of Wuthering Heights and so much love from a across the ocean, and being completely unexpected, it just made my day!

To boot it's Sara's birthday today, so let's hear a big huzzah for her! Know that you shall receive a belated birthday package soon, my dear.
Even weeding, or being called to work unexpectedly couldn't dampen my mood on this sunny day. It's still windy enough that long pants or tights are most practical, but one can certainly work up a sweat in the garden.
Other than Native Americans, logging and sewing project, I'm also heavily into clogs right now. I've never been a heels girl, at all, and the current hoove-like ankle boot trend is abhorrent to me, but I wearing these three dollar Swedish beauties kinda makes me get the whole thing. They do miracles and wonders to your stubby legs. Still, safety and comfort first. You will never see me in these. Or these. Or these. Oh my god they're hideous!
Sorry, I got side-tracked there for a moment. But seriously, if anyone can explain the appeal of ankle-platform-booty-shoes to me like I'm a five-year old, or a layman, or in mathematical terms, please do.
I seem to be losing it, so maybe I better get back to my book. Stick to what I know best, books not fashion and I'll see you tomorrow, I hope, in a more collected post, with something real to say, possibly about logging.
Sunshine to your neighborhood. And if possible, seals and sunsets, too. And canoe trips.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's that 70s girl again!

Some of you may remember my little sister Mali from such posts as the 1st ever Dirt Road Style post, my travels to Vancouver BC, or her general winning smile and amazing style. She was one of my bride's maids and this weekend she's up here for another stint of maid-om for an Island Wedding later on today. Yesterday we met up for a cup of coffee. She is studying art in Vancouver and I was lucky to receive one of her zines. In return I bought her this awesome hat and 70s blouse from out thrift store. Isn't she just a picture on her way to the to the wedding rehearsal?
I'm making a mad dash to get all our stuff together for Summer Solstice on another island, cooking and packing and ironing the apron of my traditional folk costume, which is meant to be worn on important holidays, but I just wanted to drop in and thank all of you for the virtual love, hugs and insights in the wake off my loosing my pet chicks. Thank you. You are the kindest, most amazing readers one could ask for. Nay, strike that, friends.

Happy Solstice one and all!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nature isn't cruel... just does what it does.

(Note: All opinions expressed within this post pertain only to my own ideas about animal husbandry, I do not judge anyone else's choices, save for actual cruelty to one's fellow creatures.)

Last night a mink got into our chicken coop and killed all of our three chickens. We had two Black Stars, Harriet Tubman, and a late addition to replace Chachakin last fall, Potpot, named so because she actually knew how to make that chicken noise, unlike the other two. My favorite chicken was a Red Star named Pippi. She was a pretty dumb chicken.
My Pippington.

I don't believe in anthropomorphizing animals, but when you live with any animal, you realise that they are different individuals and have distinct personalities. Harriet was aptly named due to her fearless nature and her yen for freedom. She was quite the escape artist. Pippi was good natured and liked to eat. She got lost from the pack easily. Potpot was smarter than the other two and very dignified and distrusting of humans.
I've always thought of animals as a "people" as well, not because I attribute them with human characteristics, but as fellow creatures with independent souls and niches in this world. People who claim that animals don't have equivalents of our souls, are in my humble opinion, less like people themselves.
A lot of people also seem to unconsciously (or perhaps even consciously) to have the opinion that their animal, is more of a person than some other animal. They would do anything for their cat or dog's well-being, but don't think twice about the suffering of production animals in factory farms, to the point where most pet owners feed their animals meat-products derived from the suffering of other sentient animals.
Furthermore, I believe that "owning" an animal puts you in its debt, in at least two ways: you are responsible for it's well being, for protecting it and taking care of it, something I feel we failed yesterday. Secondly I are responsible of letting it live out its life as much as possible in a way that is true to it's character.

I would not have cat because it would be in it's nature to hunt the beautiful birds that grace our park. Nor would I have a dog that I would have to keep chained for most of its life in spite the fact that it's a long distance running wolf on the inside. Don't get me wrong, I love cats and dogs and fully understand why people have them and love them. I just love the birds in the trees more.

I had my doubts about keeping chickens: Would we be able to provide a life for them equivalent to the contributions they made to us, or would we be holding them in miserable, unnatural serfdom for their short lives? The chicken, much like the domestic dog, cat, cow, pig and to a lesser extent, horse, as evolved alongside humans to the point where it is somewhat impossible to fully understand what is and is not natural to them.

Certainly if no one ordered them from the chick-factories, the breeds of chicken that we have created might slowly die out. Their wild ancestors would continue to scratch their way trough the forests of Sumatra.
I still am not sure what to think of the act of having chickens or any animals for that matter. What I fully believe is that if one is to consume products of animals, it is one's duty to try to get them as close to home as possible, and from a source that treats animals with the respect they deserve, regardless of cost or inconvenience.

I have nothing but respect in fact for our friends who are poultry farmers. They let their chickens lead a normal life, and protect them from predators, something I feel very angry at myself we failed to do.

I always knew they would die, perhaps violently, I just didn't know that it would be my fault. The mink just did what minks do, acted out its part in the great, complicated play of life. We failed to fullfil our second part of the agreement that one enters with animals, in spite our best intentions. The first part, I am confident we did well in.

Our chickens had a good life. They were useful, fun to be around of, brave and curious and they seemed to enjoy their lives.
We buried them in the garden, where they liked to root around and destroy things.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Dreamcatcher and the Sickle

This Sunday was the laziest in a long while for me; laying around in bed until ten, eating and reading and catching up on favorite blogs. You guys have written and photographed some wonderful things. What a treat, like 10 of your favorite magical fashion magazines all appeared in the mailbox the same morning.

I was totally smitten by Amber's wondrous post on the a little vintage shop from 70s Portland and Sasha's posts from "Witch Camp" and about a local jewellery designer. I have high hopes for a roadtrip to Northern Cali next year and can't wait to see the Sierra Foothills the magical land from which these lovely ladies hail from.

These images are my favorites from said posts and though you've probably seen them already I have share them here. So much love.
I'm making myself a replica of this bird-dress by Goddess, it's amazing.
How much would I love to be a herbalist witch woman partying with all this female energy?
Or wearing one of these amazing rings, preferably in my birthstone? Or any piece from Gather Jewellery for that matter?

A lot, I think is the answer. What a charmed life you lead Sasha!

I did get some amazing jewellery myself this weekend at the Farmer's Market. Local girl Amelia has cast these beauties in enamel and I just felt like I had to invest into one of her pieces.
Dreamy or what? My only peeve is that I didn't get picture of the stylish jeweller herself. I am however bringing you another long delayed edition of Dirt Road Style from the market. She is a recent summer addition to the Island and something of a jeweller herself.
Or what do you think of the bee&hive brooch Sarah made for herself in jewellery class? Why didn't they have that class at my college!?!?
Cowboy boots, powder blues, pockets and bees, oh my!

Other than my little jaunt to the market Saturday was very much a work day, but Sunday, like I said was gloriously lazy. I did do my own version of mowing and weed whacking which includes an ancient tool that I love wielding.

It's so wonderful to find a rhythm with it, realise that your body has to taut and relaxed at the same time and that the old sickle you got for a dollar at an estate sale still has bite, still does to the job, because things just used to be better made way back when. It does not however make the lawn much shorter. Good thing I don't really have lawn...

I did plant some more squash as well, picked some berries for my ice cream, and went Dump shopping, but mostly I just lazed about in the sun. Glorious, glorious sun.
I'm reading so many interesting books right now, including this one, as well as Lakota woman
recommended by Heather I think, and World Made By Hand. Our reading is often determined by the books we find at the Dump and right now it's a lot of Native American stuff which might be sign of some undercurrents of our lives right now (more about that later). I have however ordered a few books online including the afore mentioned WMBH and a couple of other interesting titles. They're worth a post in and of themselves I think.
I love how all of my "shopping" could easily make one heck of a 70s outfit. Love it!
Happy week everyone, peace love and rainbows to one and all!

Friday, June 11, 2010

I am also you

I guess you guys already know that I'm big reader of books, sometimes even big, important books. The book I'm holding here, may not be one of those, but rather a forgotten gem that C. found for me at the magical Dump, one that I like to pick up and browse sometimes when I feel a little bit blue on the edges.

It's called I am Also You. It was published in 1971 and it contains images and thoughts of the 60s cultural revolution in America, a time, though naive and innocent, was also rather more hopeful and dreamy, than these sometimes gloomy days of ours.

Come to think of it though, the good old days resemble these bad new ones pretty closely: America is embroiled in a seemingly never ending war, the youth are turning away from the materialistic values of their parents, and seeking a new, simpler way of living, and technological advances engulf our lives with information. Go figure.

Anyways reading this book cheers my up (along with listening to Joan Baez and wearing a favorite dress from Heather), so I thought I'd share some of it's cliched wisdom with you.
(This is all there is to it.)
I love this image the best, it is as though they're a part of some alternative history.
Anyway over and out, off to pick more berries and work.