A Chicken Coop of one's own

There comes a time for some of us when creative space is outgrown. I did that quite a while ago. I tend to be surrounded in my sunroom by piles of books, baskets of yarn, fiber and material; and then there are the bags and bags of dried plant materials that I use to create herbal products for myself, family and friends. I am one of those that can create amid chaos. However, I seem to be running out of table(s) space. My husband has been eyeing this sunroom for a while with his own ideas of a dining room on top of it all. So last fall when there was talk of building a new chicken coop for our birds I commented that I'd be perfectly happy with a chicken coop of my own. I didn't realize until the day the concrete truck pulled up that there were in fact two chicken coops being built. I was giddy with delight! I will finally have "A Room of One's Own" that Virginia Woolf wrote about so long ago. A place I have wanted for my entire adult life. I have been able to carve out space in many a home we've lived in and even had a wonderful shared studio space when Pico Accuardi Dyeworks was in business. But this entire (well small entirety) building will be my place to escape, create, bring the outdoors in. With the added bonus that it is just 25 feet from my house.

IMG_2321 The view from my front stoop will be up the meadow. Looking at my garden with Hunchback mountain in the background.

Since the beginning of last summer I have been asking myself-what's next? As soon as that floor was laid I immediately thought classes for the fiber arts. And that will happen a bit. However, the more time I have in my garden the more botanical projects have been popping into my brain. So, you'll notice a new title to this here blog--Chicken Coop Botanicals. Everything that I love to do comes back to plants and nature--dyeing fiber, foraging for mushrooms and herbs, cultivating plants in the garden, cooking. I'm even going to stick my sweet birds into that category as they are a big component in the health of our land here on this little bit of Mt Hood. In my early 20's I fell in love with the idea of being an herbalist. It didn't make sense in our lives at that time, but I have read, experimented and created ointments, teas and tonics over the years (it's great to have a husband that is a willing guinea pig). I've been creating body and medicinal products a lot of late, especially during the period my father lived with us. Last summer I created 23 Flower Essences from our property. I want to share some of these products with you sweet friends. I keep going back and forth on selling online. I always worry about liquids leaking in the mail. Today I received a Very fragrant package from my mail lady. At this point my plan is to host a few pop up shop or two in Portland until my coop is finished. At that point I will host a quarterly open house selling whatever I've been making during that period. I'm very excited that a greenhouse is also being built so there will also be a spring and fall plant sale by next year.

I have been remiss in public writing for quite some time. Mainly I just haven't wanted to say This or This is what I'm up to as by the next day it could change. But I really feel that I am where I need to be and I'm doing what I love! Not to say you won't see me at Gino's on the weekends, but there are 5 more days in a week;)

I also want to acknowledge those that have really inspired me in the last quarter of 2014. Learning is something that should happen everyday of your life. You might be surprised by a different layer in a subject you think you truly know:

Chelsea Heffner has created an amazing learning space at Wildcraft Studio School. The 2015 schedule will be up later this month. Take a class! Any class! I took two last fall. The first was with the ladies of Portland Apothecary teaching Autumn Herbals. Terrific teachers and a great resource of a Portland herbal CSA. I'd definitely take another class from them. My biggest take away was to put Astragulas root in everything! And now I do (teapot, soups, bone broth). Thank you ladies! The other class, with Elise Krohn, was a Forest Medicine class. This class blew my mind. I have cooked with pine, fir and spruce needles, but have never thought of the medicinal components. Duh. I've been playing with these ideas for the last few months and I'm now taking an ecourse Through Blue Turtle Botanicals. Where Elise comes from an Olympic Peninsula Native American background, Darcey Blue is from the southwest and comes to the table with Shamanic herbalism training. I found Darcey through Instagram. I've been inspired by several plant and nature lovers on Instagram lately. These are a few others whose products I love--One Willow Apothecaries, Kings Road Apothecary and Amrita Aromatics. What inspired you last year that you will be bringing with you into 2015?

I am so excited about 2015! I feel creative at a whole new level. We have a big spring European trip planned. A summer wedding for my step-son, Gino:) Another more local trailer trip planned for the fall. And writing. There will be writing. I've been thinking about the podcast quite a bit in the last few months. I do want to bring it back in 2015. Same title, but the content will reflect more of what I've got going on now (don't you worry, I'm still knitting and spinning daily). I am trying to decide if I want to continue at an audio level or if I will be changing it to a video podcast. Input appreciated.

I haven't posted in so long I realize that I could go on and on. But I should save something for tomorrow;)