Above, Julie, Richard and Joy. Or, as it says in the Sheldon (Belldon) Chadwick poem, for which we named the farm: Joyfully Rich With Jewels!
Rural Pursuits ‘n’ ‘Riting: Julie
About: Author Update – Julie’s pen name is J. Ivanel Johnson. Her online and Goodreads/Amazon book bios say that J. Ivanel Johnson is a disabled author who now lives in the Appalachian range of Northwestern New Brunswick, where she and her husband Richard and mother Joy have for some years tried to manage self-sufficiently on their small farm overlooking inspirational views of nature. Like her grandmother before her (the ‘Ivanel’ of her pen name) she has written her entire life, first publishing two poems with Annick Press in Toronto when she was only 11. She has been a high school English and Drama teacher, working and living in the highlands of Scotland, the moors of Yorkshire, and the Rockies of Montana and the Yukon, before settling in the east of Canada. Recently published work is here: Julie A. Johnson, B.A., B.Ed.. (author, J. Ivanel Johnson) of McKencroft Productions, Upper River Valley, NB (traditional unceded territory of the Wəlastəkwiyik (Maliseet) and Mi’kmaq Peoples). author site: (links to my Amazon and Goodreads books/stories here)
2019 – 2021 publications: include works in the Nothing Without Us anthology (nominated for a PrixAuroraAward & on syllabus at Trent University,) THEMA Literary Journal, the social-justice mag. Quaranzine by Third Estate Arts, the Cat Ladies of the Apocalypse anthology, Mollyhouse Literary Journal & The Journal of Undiscovered Poets.
Rough Notes musical – official site: https://mckencroftproducti.wixsite.com/roughnotes
Previous to writing full-time, Julie has run two eco-friendly businesses, Rustic Revivals and Rural Revivals, with which she has garnered quite a bit of media and publicity over the years, writing hiking and historical preservation articles for the Ministry of Natural Resources, and lecturing/M.C.ing at environmental and heritage conferences in each of the 4 countries in which she’s lived and worked: Ontario, Canada, West and North Yorkshire, England, Aberdeenshire, Scotland and near East Glacier Park in Montana. She was the organizer/founder of the Carlisle Country Craft and Old-fashioned Market Mercantile, a pioneer and natural-arts festival in Ontario for 3 years, as well as running the corresponding art shop, Rural Creators’ Collective 4 days a week. Previous to this she taught high school, coached riding/eventing at competitive levels and instructed music pupils/directed and acted in stageplays and for several professional ‘whodunnit’ dinner theatre troupes.
In the past, Julie has competed 3-day event horses she’s bred and trained herself, and led both hikes and trail rides through the Rocky Mountains and the Highlands of Scotland. Other than horses, livestock she has owned have been a donkey, goat, chickens, rabbits and a sheep. She is the driving force toward living as self-sustainably as possible at Blue Belldon Farm, celebrating both the history of the area and the organic and natural resources the agricultural land of the area presents.
Rural Pursuits: Richard
Richard enjoys the great out-doors and will be happy to get away from the ‘rat-race’ of south-central Ontario where he has lived and worked primarily for the last 25 years. Having hailed from the Gatineaus originally, and then lived on the prairies of Saskatchewan in his early twenties, he definitely knows that mountains and valleys are among his favourite scenery. His time spent in the U.K. has caused him to attempt many a happy highland fling, and whilst posing for many of Julie’s RusticRevivals items for her shop online at etsy.com he has developed a love of being a simple laid-back ‘red-neck’. He loves hiking and camping with Julie, and his hobbies include wood-working, sketching, and mechanics. He wants to have a pig at Blue Belldon Farm, and you can see that he’s a bit of a ham himself. He works hard, and doesn’t object to the most menial tasks like shoveling manure, but he much prefers the solitude of cutting wood in the woodlot, designing furniture or wooden accessories, and playing whatever instrument he can get his hands on, incl. blowing into a whisky jug! And when play-time is over, he definitely appreciates his snoozes!
Rural Pursuits: Joy
Julie’s mother, Joy, is also a very outdoor-oriented person. Her love of the mountains and valleys probably comes honestly to her because her father was a McKenzie, born in Aberdeen, in a small croft in Savoch. In the mid 1980s she and Julie’s father went to log-building ‘school’ in Ottawa, and were preparing to build their own log home (upper left) when Julie’s father Syd sadly passed away at the age of 47. Since then Joy has helped build orphanages and taught children in third-world countries such as Sierra Leone, Africa and in Mexico. A former piano teacher, Joy keeps busy with her musically-inclined grandson, named Sydney for his grandfather, and also with her amazing craftsmanship of spinning and weaving. She has dressed as a pioneer on many occasions for publicity for Julie’s festival, and patiently given tutorials on the homesteading arts she and Julie strive to keep alive. Joy learned the spinning and weaving from her Aunt Ila, who was also, like her niece, a great traveller and genealogist. Joy’s other hobby is horticulture, and she is an asset to the various types of gardening which will be happily growing from the earth at Blue Belldon Farm.