Category Archives: garden
I was looking through old drafts and I found this unpublished gem from Spring 2011. My mom visited me and we went on a road trip to Charleston and Savannah. We spent a day outside of Charleston touring a plantation called Middleton. Nice memories & we got some great shots…
I got a job! And then I got another job! And then I got ANOTHER job!
Yep! I am am busy girl these days. I am still working with Rob the Potter. I threw my first two pound pitcher and a oil burning lantern. I took a bunch of pottery with me to Los Angeles and sold almost every piece! I have also started an Etsy store for Rob and have been working on my own Etsy store as well. My site is still in progress, but please check out Smoke in the Mountains Pottery. I shot all the photography and wrote all the descriptions and am quite proud of it. It’s been one month since our launch and we have already sold 8 pieces, which I consider to be a great success.
About three months ago, I was hired by Blue Moon Elise (BMe), a wonderful store right in the heart of downtown Murphy. BMe is a a soap/bodycare store, yoga studio, soap factory, and massage studio all in one. The company was started over a decade ago by Rachel Sylvester, a passionate and fiercely motivated gal with a dream and vision; she is such an inspiration to me as a yoga teacher and a business owner. I am learning a ton about essential oils and natural bodycare. I go home reeking like lavender and patchouli everyday. It’s the kind of place that sells Dr. Bronners and ear candles, but it’s still boutiquey and lux and on the main street. In addition to all the BMe products, the shop sells other natural body care lines and lots of cool jewelry, crafts, food, clothes, cleaning supplies, and yoga gear. I have really amped up my yoga practice too; I am taking 4 classes a week. Another perk – I can ride my bike there!
About two weeks ago, a started working part time in the Folk School Marketing Dept. The job is just temporary for now, but I love it so far. I am doing graphic design, web updates, and blogging on the Folk School site. The marketing department is in Tower House down by the blacksmith shop. Tower house was built in 1933.
It is surrounded by rolling fields and the occasional cow strolls on by. It is rural, majestic and pastoral – the complete opposite of the grey congested smoggy concrete land of Commerce where I used to work. Sometimes when I walk around the Folk School grounds it is so beautiful I just want to cry. Coming to North Carolina was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
So the question on everyone’s mind is… are you staying out there? Well, my answer is that yes, I am staying here for now. I will be here through the summer and then I am going to reassess where I am at. I am horrible at permanence. I have a hard time committing out loud. I feel pretty committed to being here right now, and that’s all I have to say about that.
I do feel like the world has lots of adventures out there in store for me. One of the nice things about living out here and working various part time jobs is the flexibility of time to travel. Speaking of that, I booked a trip to Ireland in July! I am going for two weeks to meet up with my parents and Aunt Ann to go to the McAuliffe Clan Rally in New Market. My father’s mother’s maiden name is McAuliffe and that’s how I am connected to the McAuliffe linage. I am so excited to return to Ireland after 13 years.
Yep, life is pretty good right now!
I am starting a garden right now… it’ll be an adventure for this bonafide city slicker! I will document my progress here. I have started to get my tiny plot ready for some greens and I have started seeds in the greenhouse. I know I am late in the season for the greens, but I am still gonna give it a run…
So far, I have started kale, spinach, 2 kinds of lettuce, cilantro, basil, and chives. Transplanting on the 21st which according to the old-timey almanac is the best time for transplanting…. we shall see!
One day in the garden we were hanging out by the herbs and Sadie was picking tiny white flowers off a massive bush patch. Turns out that the flowers were chamomile and they were ripe for harvesting! Who knew? Now I do! Tea doesn’t just come from a tiny packet you buy at the store.
Since then I took an herb class that focused on teas, tinctures, and infusions. I made an echinacea infusion and a holy basil infusion. I also made a great tea blend with dandelion, chamomile, calendula, hibiscus, comfrey, & lemon balm. I am learning a lot, but I also have lots to learn.
We’ve since moved on to tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and chard in the folk school veggie garden, but back in May and June the garden was exploding with beautiful heads of lettuce. Having a dining hall that uses food from an on site organic garden is quite a treat.
Every morning the work study crew asks the kitchen what they need from the garden and then the work studies go harvest it. Lately we have had a huge assortment of basil and the pesto that the kitchen makes is DELISH. I am hoping to take Steve’s Italian Cooking class in a couple of weeks.
ps… I feel like every post includes a photo of me holding something and grinning. It is my theme!
Here are some of my favorite photos of the folk school grounds this summer. It has been wonderful to be here seeing the seasons change. It is quite a difference from my snowy arrival on January 9th…
This is the field behind the garden. It leads down to the Rivercane Trial where there is an old Cherokee meeting/prayer ring. One of my friends who works at the school told me that this is one of the places the Trail of Tears started. The Cherokee prayed at the prayer circle in Brasstown the day before they were rounded up and forced to leave the area.
Julie is one of my favorite people on earth right now. An incredible soul, she is a North Carolina native and on the current workstudy crew. Her term ends right around my term, so we are planning to do an apprenticeship with a local potter together in October.
The History Center is right next to the Keith House. This is where you can learn all about the folk school history. The woods are so lush and green right now. I learned that the most prolific ground cover is called “Virginia Creeper” not to be confused with Poison Ivy (although there is a ton of that growing around here too).
A weekend class on tomato growing planted the row of heirloom tomatoes on the right. The flower bed with zinnias, marigolds, daisies, and echinacea on the left is where I pick my flowers for my room.
The school has so many tables, benches, gardens, gazebos, and nooks all about. This is on the trail between Open House and Keith House.
Open House was built in the 30s or 40s for the Fall Festival. It is a beautiful old outdoor pavilion. I have taught some bellydance classes here, the cloggers practice here, and we threw a rogue square dance on night here in July.
I am alive; thanks to Candice for the booty kick and the realization that I am long overdue for an update.
So, since you last heard from me, I have assumed my host position at the John C. Campbell Folk School. At this point, I am more than halfway through my term and it has been an INCREDIBLE life changing experience. The host position is a scholarship job where I live and work at the folk school as an RA of sorts with the exchange of getting to take a class every single week.
The work study position I had in the winter was only a nine week program where I worked on a team of five people and we did mainly gardening and maintenance projects. The work studies work 6 weeks and get to take 3 week long classes. The work study scholarship is either working 9-5 OR going to class like a regular student the other weeks. The host position is like working full time and going to school full time, hence being WAY more busy all the time (hence my absence from the digital world); you are on call all the time. It’s exhausting, but the experience is really invaluable because I get to take so many classes.
The host job is a four month position and there are always 2 hosts. As of 2 weeks ago, I am senior host and Rebecca Gallo of Hyde Park, New York is my junior co-host. When I was junior host, the lovely Ms. Leah Dolgoy of Montreal (see photos below) was my co-host for two months. The terms overlap so one host can always train the incoming junior host.
Enough technical talk…. so classes! (besides getting your own room) the classes are the BEST part of being a host. I have taken thus far:
Beginning Blacksmithing with Paul Garret
Ladderback Chairmaking with Lyle Wheeler
Lighting in Blacksmithing with Greg Price
Chasing Tools and Toolmaking in Blacksmithing with Bill Robertson
Dance Calling with Bob Dalsemer
Beginning Fiddle with Cathy Grant
Quilt Making with Audrey Hiers
Chair Caning with Gwen and Jared Chafin
Mountain Dulcimer Building with John Huron
Medicinal Herbs with Cathy Merckens
Spoon Carving with Frank Boyd
Forge Building with Bob Alexander
Pictorial Woodburning with Debbie Pompano
As if I wasn’t already randomly skilled in many random things, I am totally upping the ante here at the folk school. Next week I am taking basket weaving. I love it.
I miss playing music with Leah! She and I would always jam together during random spots throughout the day when we had a moment. We also had many clandestine meetings in areas of the campus where late night music could not be heard by sleeping ears. As you can she in the photo, she plays autoharp and I of course play clawhammer banjo.
She tunes we would play most often included:
“Bury Me Beneath the Willow”
“The Marching Jaybird”
“Say Darlin” Say”
“My Long Journey Home”
“Virginia Bootlegger Song”
Much of the work we did in the garden during work study session #1 was transplanting seedlings in the greenhouse. We would start lettuce, kale, chard, spinach and beets in communal containers and then transfer the little sprouts to their own private domains within plastic pots. It was fun for a city gal like me to see the seeds grow! Coming back to the folk school, it is also so cool to see the huge heads of lettuce in the ground – all grown up.