Winter Palette, and dreaming

Amongst all the delicious food and wonderful company of friends and family I’ve enjoyed over the last few weeks, on both sides of the country, I’ve been really digging winter’s wardrobe.

It’s really quite exquisite.

It got me to thinking, after I had finally finished cutting out all those wool circles and stitching them together, that maybe I should just stop there. I mean, the colours of the wool seemed to parallel so well what was going on outside…

But I forged ahead with my plan, and dyed the finished piece to resolve the colours a bit:

It’s a lap quilt by the way, if you haven’t guessed – and a gift for my lovely parents. The mysterious circles that I showed you last time ended up numbering nearly five hundred. Yes. I know. They were cut from scraps of wool that I’d squirreled away from work at the hat shop, that were destined otherwise for the trash. “Too small to be useful” they say… Yeah right!

See, this is more the palette I was hoping for. Beach stones with a touch of algae. Or maybe perhaps temperate rainforest camouflage, in case my folks every need to hide in the woods. (It would be warm, at least…)

I’ve been thinking I’d like to hide in some woods. Well, not hide per se, but this whole living-in-Canada’s-largest-metropolis thing is wearing a bit thin. Especially after spending the last few days of December in a gently dilapidated family farm, surrounded by acres of frozen fields, cattle, dusty barns, and icy sun as we quietly shuffled the pages into a new year — Toronto feels so grey and hard.

Living on the Earth - a cool book about homesteading and being a big hairy hippie

I’ve long had this fantasy of building my own home.  I mean, really building one. Like… the best-ever fort, something a hobbit would love, maybe with grass and goats on the roof.   It was fueled in the beginning by this one great book that I yoinked from found on my parent’s book shelf as a teenager  (thanks, Mom), and a fair deal of naive romanticism, but I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.   My great grandparents were homesteaders in Alberta. Maybe it’s in my genes.  We did build a lot of forts in the forest as kids.

But recently, I’ve been thinking again about it. It’s pretty clear that the “conventional” way of building homes — rolling out poorly designed, toxic, debt-laden, cookie-cutter ugly car-dependent suburbs onto arable land — isn’t working. Housing crises, anyone? For girls like me who might want to settle down and raise a family one of these days, it’s looking a bit bleak. Except, there’s really quite a bit of merit to the notion to the BIY home. I won’t go all more evangelistic on you here. But aren’t these beautiful?

Framework for a straw bale home

Wall of an Earthship in progress

I’d like to live inside a home I imagine first – a practical work of art of my own creation, that can grow and change and evolve with my knowledge and experience. Imagine. Forms in harmony with nature, built from salvage materials, warmed by the sun, surrounded by permaculture gardens. Hard, meaningful work that nourishes me and my loved ones, simply, that has me learning as much as I can about life, with my own hands. Creativity reinvisioned as a natural, easy part of life, making choices, making beautiful, making do. Subsistence crafting.  Taking pleasure in doing things myself, in knowing how, in finding local, free solutions to the task of living. People helping each other. Community. Kids.

Maybe some goats on the roof.

Hope you all are well, too.




4 Responses

  1. Oohhh I had that book when I was a young feral hippie …. I loved it!
    “How to slow down. Plant a carrot seed. Watch it grow. Pick the carrot and eat it.” Something like that …

  2. Such good things, those. We’ve been banking in memory bits of home-building things recently, too. It’s a fun place to be.

  3. preach it, sister.
    i love that last paragraph of yours. the whole thing, really, but that last bit. there’s a bit of familiar yearning in there…..
    and the blanket turned out really really beautiful.

    making beautiful, making do….
    i like it.

  4. Can Chris and I move in nextdoor?

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