Rustic Carpentry..

While looking around the large main cabin, in the social quarters – I found books of vast information on professional smithing, and a small book called: “Rustic Carpentry: An Illustrated Handbook” by: Allgrove Publishing, Classic Reprint Series.

In my middle school, high school days – I did a bit of fiddling with carpentry (I was the only girl in wood-shop class with the guys) *shrugs* which didn’t matter to me. I have always been one who likes to remain busy with something, preferably creating something fun and interesting (“How does it work? Let’s see if I can make it too, but in a different way” -kind of thing). I like creating ‘conversation pieces’ – art works which cause you to stop in pause and think. πŸ™‚

It would be fun to try some of these projects shown in the book. πŸ™‚ There are plenty of sticks here to create whatever your little-imagination desires. We are planning as a group in the fall, to thin out the forest behind the pond -so then the forest can get proper air flow (it’s a bit over crowded right now). The book mentions the flesh of hazel, cherry, yew (I do not think I will find any of that here), birch, larch, fir and the prunings of many varieties of shrubs may be used. πŸ™‚

You should not harvest your wood in the spring or summer (it will cause the bark to peel off) -unless you want this effect or ease for the rind to do so. Harvesting in the mid-winter is best, due of when the sap is at rest. You certainly want to make sure the wood has completely dried before working with it.
Also to mention, learning the simplistic joints one can make with the wood is important for designing our roof and connecting rafters, etc. We are planning to make our own wooden nails as well. πŸ™‚

Once I create some decent ‘ish looking projects, I will write about how I made it – and will be drawing out some basic designs on how to construct it (the uploads of completed projects will have to wait for photographs, because we do not have a good internet connection and our bandwidth is limited here).
Update: 08/01/17′

We are going into phase two for setting up the ‘mushroom gardens’ -next Tuesday. We shall be cutting biodynamic/organic certified trees on the property in an area where it needs thinning out for proper forest air circulation. There shall be plenty of sticks that shall not be good enough for the project. The instant thought came to mind of creating my first project with rustic carpentry. Also, we have an area on the property which has a rich flush of bamboo (I can also use this as a secondary option as building materials for the arbor). πŸ™‚

Knowing me, I always start big and complex designs (so then I can get a good understanding for the mechanics of how to develop a certain skill). I tend to learn more efficiently and better grasps hold of my mind that way. πŸ™‚ I enjoy a good challenge to myself. haha πŸ˜› πŸ˜€

Water conservation: Swells

This morning, I learned how to save water in swells with connecting ponds. πŸ™‚

By using a hillside one can create tiers of land with small ditches. Each ditch has a mound of soil in a rounded ‘step formation’ with water. Each tier has various useful plants and trees nearby to help with stopping erosion and slowing the water loss. Depending how much water you want to store and if you plan to have fish in one of the lower tiers to help make the land more fertile – you could have three to five ponds with various swells between each pond. πŸ™‚

A water pump is used to help with water cycling in the water ponds and lower levels, and/or in times of need when a drought is happening. We are currently having an early drought this season in Virginia. So the water level is dropping in the ponds by inches. We need to have the swells kept at ground level for water. If we do not keep the swells full, it takes more water and trouble with water staying in the area .. and more water is used when the swells are low with how mother nature will automatically try with balancing things.

When it rains, the swells will fill to full capacity and overflow into lower tiers. Once the last tier fills and spills over – the domino effect proceeds in continuing to all ponds. If there is a creek nearby, it will eventually flow into the creek when the last large pond is over filled by rain storm. By having the swells, this stops the rain water from gushing quickly down the slope of the land and taking precious soil, organic nutrients, etc with it. By having the swell-tiers method, this helps collect water sources into pond reserves.

Excellent with improving the water-table’s surface where your plants shall be rooting best. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

Overall, it is a better control approach in regards of water storage/watering plants on a semi hilly to steep landmass. The tier-swell method really helps lands who have been ‘raped’ over many years by over grazing livestock, clear cutting trees and repetitive mono-crops heal faster overtime with new green growth and watering more effectively.

Crickets Cove Adventure!

Since July 9th, I have been in Virginia at a Bio-dynamic, Permaculture and Food Forest Garden. πŸ™‚ What a lovely place! πŸ˜€

Marianne and Cooper are the owners and founders of the one-hundred and thirty acre plot. It was originally clear-cut, and the Earth had been stripped numerous times by agriculture and grazing. What Marianne and Cooper have done in slowly restoring the land is magical. πŸ™‚

I am learning so-much from Crickets Cove. I plan to stay here for eight to nine months.. I might stay longer (it depends on Daniel with employment in web development, timing with visas for New Zealand, what is needed of me here, etc). I am pretty happy overall and flexible. πŸ˜‰Β  πŸ™‚

Cooper is a master blacksmith. There is a strong possibility I could learn how to work with metal. Perfect for making hand rails, hinges, hangers, hooks, pots and pans, to various other useful works of art. πŸ˜€ Probably on Sunday evenings, I shall learn overtime this amazing skill.

Also – Once a week, I will post photos of the gardens, orchards, herb beds and various future projects. πŸ™‚

See you soon! πŸ˜€

Tadelakt Workshop!

A few days ago we headed over to a wonderful Sigi Koko three day workshop, in Fawn Grove, Pennsyvania. We learned how to make a Tadelakt finish over our future sinks, counter-tops, shower walls, cob oven and various other waterproof surfaces. πŸ™‚

It’s not that difficult to make from the start, as one might think. πŸ™‚ You really need to be careful with using slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) though – due of it being able to strip the protein from your skin within roughly … after five minutes (it is not a strict cut-off. You should aim within five minutes so then you do not get into trouble). πŸ™‚ Simply make a nearby station where you are planning to create tadelakt with three buckets of: water, diluted vinegar and water to dip your hands into to neutralize the lime. πŸ™‚

Here are a few pictures I took whilst learning from the amazing-cute-beautiful Sigi Koko! πŸ˜€ *I did not have my Olympus camera with me for this trip; hence the non-high quality camera work. πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

Tea Party and Virginia

I come bearing good news! πŸ˜€

I shall be heading out to work for eight to nine months at a lovely permaculture/food forest/organic/bio-dynamic – farm in Western Virginia. The farm is called: “Crickets Cove.” Pretty-much all of the skills which I need to acquire for the Butterfly Forests Homestead can and will be learned at Crickets Cove. I shall be gone, starting on July 9th. πŸ™‚ While I am away from the current home I am living in, I will be uploading photographs and various information I gather about how to run a successful, self-sustainable homestead. ❀

More than likely, I will be posting every now and then (once a week(?) with my adventures here. πŸ™‚

The tea party part, is in regards to celebrating this next very-important step in my journey. Also, to see everyone I care about before I head off for almost an entire year. πŸ™‚
I am not able to invite all those I love and care about to the tea party .. but – nonetheless, it will be great! πŸ˜€ ❀ .. Also, there is something special about a hand written letter, or hand made card.

Below are photos taken of the hand watercolored tea party invitations I finished a couple minutes ago. πŸ™‚ Of course, you are very welcome to use these images for your own tea party, if you would like. *The more tea parties in the world, the merrier! πŸ˜€ haha



Second Waystation Design <3

Shame on me! πŸ˜› πŸ˜€ I completely forgot to place shallow water patches for the visiting butterflies to drink from; from the previous first Waystation watercolor/sketch. πŸ™‚

Butterflies need to drink water from time-to-time in order to get their much neededΒ  fortified minerals from puddles, creeks, or ponds. πŸ™‚ I’ll place a few mini-ponds.. a winding moat of sorts, which shall flow it’s way downwards towards the main pond -behind the Music Yurt-Hall. πŸ™‚

*Almost done second layout of the Waystation. πŸ™‚

UPDATE: 2:35 pm ❀

Honey-bee Butterfly Oasis..

How cute! πŸ˜€ We plan to have a meadow.. a butterfly oasis and home. In the future, having a learning station to see various native butterflies in their habitat, would be ideal for the help of conservation. I am a lover of stone paths. *^^* hehe So, designing a ‘long eye’ shape stone walking path surrounding the butterfly waystation would make sure children and their parents/guardians knew visually where they could and couldn’t cross.

By having a waystation for the butterflies on the property, helps the new emerging adult butterflies from the indoor butterfly sanctuary -have a food source, place to mate, lay their eggs and help keep the butterflies return to the Butterfly Forests Homestead. πŸ™‚

Also to note, the waystations/meadows help keep the honeybees happy and well fed all year round. Even when the time comes for the four bee boxes to swarm naturally; the likelihood of returning or staying in the area is higher due of the densely populated food sources. It helps lastly for the honeybees and butterflies to continue pollinating (some butterflies do help pollinate) the various fruit bearing trees, bushes, flowering herbs and many others. πŸ™‚

Daniel and I desire strongly to inspire and fascinate any guests and new found friends who stop by the Butterfly Forests Homestead, to learn how anyone can help heal the world.

By having the sign posted in front of the densely flowering butterfly waystation; also in addition – we shall have the certificate mounted right underneath the main sign. I’ll sketch-watercolor the butterfly mini-meadow shortly.

Direct link to: Waystation Certification Application and Sign Bundle

UPDATE: 2/28/17′
First Waystation design. Second design coming soon! πŸ˜€

Butterfly Forests/Rose Twig Sign 1

This is the first drawing of what the main sign(s) will look like for the Butterfly Forests Homestead and Rose Twig Music. I will watercolor and sketch singularly each sign in a future post. πŸ™‚ Daniel’s business, Rose Twig Music, will not have a music hall or dedicated space until some time after the Butterfly Forests Homestead has been built first, but will probably exist on a freelance basis from the start. πŸ™‚

Setting up an Etsy Account. :)

The Butterfly Forests Homestead will be a mixture of the Arts as well. πŸ™‚
Daniel, shall have a yurt music hall (the name has not been decided as of yet by him) in the lower right hand side of the property, near a man made pond/waterfall. At the CSA, there are plans to have a mixture of dairy products, fine assortments of herbal goods, candles, baked and raw foods, fruits, veggies, nuts, honey, etc.. and also – artwork made by myself periodically, along with artworks from Etsy artists. πŸ™‚

I have been thinking of making an art shop there for years now and never took the time to actually get down to doing it. πŸ˜› πŸ™‚ Well, that has changed. haha The artworks will be a mixture of up-cycled products, paper mache’ artworks (masks, dragons, props for cosplay, etc). Polymer clay sculptures and anything else I passionately enjoy creating. πŸ™‚

To me, I am not thinking about the money earned aspect of it all. If I dared allow that to be the domination of my efforts- why do it at all? πŸ™‚ My quality of work, details and love would not be genuine and I wouldn’t really find it fun.Β  As someone I look up to once said something around the lines of: “Forget about the money. Do what you love to do and be a continuous ‘master’ of what you love to do in your life. Certain people who have similar interests will in time notice and love it, money will naturally fallow it.” πŸ™‚ ❀

At the moment, I am working on completing a few artworks to my soon to open store. πŸ™‚ ❀
The shops name will fall under the Butterfly Forests Homestead. Once I have the store up and running, I shall post a link here. πŸ™‚

Applying for Skilled Migrant Visas

Currently Daniel and I are calling “New Zealand Now” for questions in regards to immigration. Since our newly inaugurated United States president has been sworn in, there has been a spike in potential individuals whom want to relocate to New Zealand.

So, right now we are waiting on the line in the queue for our turn to have certain questions concerning when we should be applying and a few other curiosities we have.
On a side note:

Sorry about not updating the Butterfly Forests Homestead Blog for sometime. Life has been quite busy lately and winter in New England is not the best for creating.. Best put: it can effect one at times in productiveness if they are sensitive to gloomy weather. πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

But no fear! πŸ˜€ I am also in the mist of transitioning into a better job. πŸ˜€ No more retail “profession” for me! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜› I shall hopefully start working with children in an after school program. πŸ™‚ After we have established the Butterfly Forest Homestead, we would like to have children visit with their parents/ guardians and explore.. learn about what we do. πŸ™‚ ❀ I want kids to come into the Butterfly Sanctuary supervised and/or have a visitor teacher who is an expert in butterfly care and conservation. The visitor or myself, will show/teach the little ones:

1.) About the many fascinating elements of what a butterfly is.
2.) A basic presentation (verbal and visual) development of the butterfly’s metamorphosis from egg to adult.
3.) How important butterflies are to the environment’s overall well being, as a species and benefits to mother natures health.
4.) How you can help strengthen native butterfly species and what flowers/plants you can plant in your backyard for butterflies which they prefer as food and habitat.

Other areas of the Butterfly Forests Homestead shall have interactive lessons in mind. For example, visiting the silkie chickens, quails, herbal gardens, food forests, flower gardens (both medicinal, edible, and simply for the butterflies, hummingbirds and bees) and also small groups can visit the small rare dairyΒ rawhiti goats. πŸ™‚