Blue Belldon’s “Wrangler”


artist in attic painting

Having personally hand-picked and invited  over 100 artists to take part in both the annual Carlisle Country Craft and Old-fashioned Market Mercantile as well as the Rural Creators’ Collective (the 1st and premiere Artists in the Attic!) I feel as though I want to keep up the momentum of promoting others who have a passion for the rural traditions and spirit of our ancestors as I do…


update on Friday the 13th of May.  Special DAY today for our Animal Wrangler – Kat turns 25!  Happy Trails!  Here’s Kat with one final animal we haven’t shown her holding yet!


kat, donkey


Katherine Kociolek, or “Kat” is a former riding student of mine who is a wonder with all animals and a great folk artist as well.  For three years in a row, she helped run the Carlisle Country Craft and Old-fashioned Market Mercantile with me, (where most of the above photos were taken, including the one with our old lab, Clark)  while attending Sheridan College’s Animal Care program. She is a fabulous natural rider of both English and Western disciplines and for several years now has been working as a trail guide at Claireville Ranch in Brampton, Ontario, as well as at Heart Lake Veterinary Hospital.  She has agreed to be our official “Animal Wrangler”, as I don’t know anyone better!  Below are some of her great folk pieces, sold under the Young Artist Program by my Rustic Revivals.


There Once Was a Farmer…

there once was a

There once was a farmer who took a young miss
In back of the barn where he gave her a . . . .
Lecture on horses and chickens and eggs,
And told her that she had such beautiful . . . .
Manners that suited a girl of her charms,
A girl that he wanted to take in his . . . .
Washing and ironing and then, if she did,
They could get married and raise lots of . . . .

Sweet violets, sweeter than the roses,
Covered all over from head to toe,
Covered all over with sweet violets.

“Sweet Violets” is a classic example of a censored rhyme, where the expected-rhyme of each couplet is replaced with an unexpected word which segues into the next couplet or chorus. Numerous folk versions exist in which the implied lyrics are considerably more risqué than this first verse.  I have written a second verse, from a more emancipated female’s perspective,  that keeps it as amusingly innocent as the above, which we used to sing ’round the piano while my mother played for us as children. Here’s the second verse:

But when the young miss was near middle-age, She thought that she’d rather break out from her…

Husband’s iron fist and his constant request, For her to work harder without any…

Chances to say that the farm was well-kept, She wished into marriage she never had…

(repeat chorus)

This week, the neighbours’ chickens got into our compost and leaf pile, and I’m sure adding their own special droppings can only make the heap richer for the betterment of the garden.  When the turkeys came over last week, though, I had my doubts about their contribution! Silly things!

By the way, just look at the difference in green from one week to the next! Mother Nature is truly amazing in any season, but in the beginning of spring, we surely notice HER wealth of gifts to us!

Let’s think about EARTH this week of Earth Day, and how we mustn’t mistreat or abuse Her like the farmer with his darling “young miss”.  Let’s make sure She, Mother Earth,  knows we appreciate Her, and not just think of Her as a beautiful ‘trophy wife’, there to be taken advantage of at ‘man’s’ every whim…



Earth Day “Emissions” of my Mind


I love the above cartoon of the Earth’s relationship with us.  And because it’s Earth Day, it is exciting news that so many have signed the Paris Agreement to try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions…

My sister is doing her part in Newfoundland – she was the first in St. John’s to purchase an electric car, and she is so proud! Soon they are putting up solar panels to connect to it, so that it will be run entirely from nature, AND not putting unhealthy chemicals and emissions back IN to nature!  Now, if we could all do this, and if it was made affordable for us to do so… Wow!  Here’s Jennifer in her car:

For Christmas, Mom and I gave Richard a Canadian Tire solar panel and all its fixin’s (don’t expect that just the panel is all you’ll need, and don’t expect the back of the box to help much with what you DO need! Ask a salesperson!)  He’s been playing with his solar panel for 4 months now, and has a good idea what he likes/dislikes:

And now, he’s very keen to do THIS to the whole 100ft. of our barn/Quonset at Blue Belldon Farm! It’s available in the u.k. NOW!


Lyrics of the Lake

richard as toad

Toad Pond is behind us on one side,

And we know ’bout the Ode to Commode

But behind us more to the west

Is where Richard goes fishing with Toad.

Toad hops over from his Toad Pond

And whispers the trout-hops to Rick

And off goes my husband and partner

With his rod and his bucket, to pick

The best of the Mazerolle Lake

Where the fish enjoy our bait

All because it comes from soil

That’s organic and fresh on our plate.





Some great links!Homesteading, D.I.Y.etc

18 Berry Bushes to Grow in Your Yard: How-T0 Guides How to Grow A Modern Hedgerow 5 Ways to Start a Community Garden Self-Fertilizing Hay Bale Garden Beds 16 DIY Smokehouse Ideas What is vertical gardening? Edible Weeds 101: Health Benefits of Stinging Nettles How to Grow Microgreens 106 Used Pallet Projects

via Round-up of Interesting Links: Homestead Edition — Temple of Athena the Savior

Beloved Birch at Blue Belldon

birch, juliebirch at Blue Belldon, enhanced

The birch tree is a perfect symbol for our new start at Blue Belldon Farm.  Not only is it a significant part of my work with Rustic Revivals, (see photo at bottom of this post), but it symbolizes renewal and new beginnings, and represents caring for others and helping them “flourish” as best they can.


from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford

 The birch tree symbolizes a fresh start and can bring courage and determination to those of us who are treading the path of spiritual growth and development for the first time. Although the birch does appear fragile, it is in fact extremely hardy. This teaches us that in apparent weakness there is often to be found great strength. The birch also promises new life and love, and is a potent symbol of purification and renewal, which focuses our attention on our potential for the change and on the consideration of new directions and goals to be experienced in our lives. It teaches the lesson of unselfishness and of caring for the needs of others in ways that help them to flourish of their own accord. 

Medicinal properties: The oil from Birch bark is used for treating skin conditions, and insect repellant. The sap is a natural shampoo, and can be a remedy for dysentery and urinary infections. An infusion of Birch leaves is an antiseptic and diuretic.                                                                                   Magical properties:  Birch wood is believed to ward off evil, banish fears and build courage. Associated with beauty and tolerance, the Birch’s vibration heightens tolerance of oneself and others.  Use a Birch Broom to brush out the old year on the morning after Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.  Add the cut bark to protection spells or drink birch beer if you feel you are under psychic attack.  Stripped of its bark, Birch is the traditional Yule Log. This latter is part of what my business, Rustic Revivals uses birch for (see bottom of this post).  Here is a most lovely original watercolour card painted by my Hudson Quebec friend, Jane Wright.

jane's birch card

The Birch

Rippling through thy branches goes the sunshine,
Among thy leaves that palpitate forever;
Ovid in thee a pining Nymph had prisoned,
The soul once of some tremulous inland river,
Quivering to tell her woe, but, ah! dumb, dumb forever!

While all the forest, witched with slumberous moonshine,
Holds up its leaves in happy, happy stillness,
Waiting the dew, with breath and pulse suspended,
I hear afar thy whispering, gleamy islands,
And track thee wakeful still amid the wide-hung silence.

On the brink of some wood-nestled lakelet,
Thy foliage, like the tresses of a Dryad,
Dripping round thy slim white stem, whose shadow
Slopes quivering down the water’s dusky quiet,
Thou shrink’st as on her bath’s edge would some startled Naiad.

Thou art the go-between of rustic lovers;
Thy white bark has their secrets in its keeping;
Reuben writes here the happy name of Patience,
And thy lithe boughs hang murmuring and weeping
Above her, as she steals the mystery from thy keeping.

Thou art to me like my beloved maiden,
So frankly coy, so full of trembly confidences;
Thy shadow scarce seems shade, thy pattering leaflets
Sprinkle their gathered sunshine o’er my senses,
And Nature gives me all her summer confidences.

Whether my heart with hope or sorrow tremble,
Thou sympathizest still; wild and unquiet,
I fling me down; thy ripple, like a river,
Flows valleyward, where calmness is, and by it
My heart is floated down into the land of quiet.  – James Russell Lowell

Below are some of the many items Rustic Revivals offers from the lovely birch tree resource, from fallen branches or peeled bark off already dead trees.  These items are made by custom order for weddings, etc. or for direct purchase here at the farm or on


Bees – why we will die out if they do…


Let’s let the dandelions and daisies grow! Let’s plant more wild-flowers and floral gardens for cross-pollinating. Let’s make sure the pesticides get BANNED everywhere!

This is a very good article from Jessica Tucker’s on ONE GREEN PLANET


Bees are some of the hardest working creatures on the planet, and because of their laborious work ethic, we owe many thanks to this amazing yet often under appreciated insect.

Our lives – and the world as a whole – would be a much different place if bees didn’t exist. To illustrate this fact, consider these numbers: bees are responsible for pollinating about one-sixth of the flowering plant species worldwide and approximately 400 different agricultural types of plant.

Honeybees and the other pollinators and the invaluable pollinating services they provide us with helped produce approximately $19 billion worth of agricultural crops in the U.S. alone in 2010; that’s estimated to be one-third of everything we eat! The other animal pollinators such as bats, moths, butterflies, hummingbirds, ants, and beetles contributed to an estimated $10 billion in 2010! To say we rely on the pollination efforts of bees (and other animals) to sustain our modern food system is an understatement.

Let’s take a look at the amazing world of bees and acknowledge all they do for us:

Pollination – How it Works & Why it’s Important

What is pollination? Simply put, it is the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower, the anther, to the stigma, which is the female part of the flower. Upon the two’s meeting, a plant’s seed, nut, or fruit is then formed.

Some plants rely on animals to assist with their pollination process, while others can pollinate themselves or rely on the wind to do it for them.

Bees also tend to focus their energies on one species of plant at a time. By visiting the same flowers of a particular species in one outing, much higher quality pollination occurs – rather than spreading many different pollens to different plants which are not being pollinated, all plants of one species are getting an even distribution of vital pollen from others of its same species.

Pollination is essentially plant reproduction. Without help from animal pollinators, our everyday food supply would look much different – at least one third of our staples we’ve come to rely on would no longer be available.

Bees Provide Sources of Food

few examples of the foods that would no longer be available to us if bees ceased pollinating our agricultural goods are: broccoli, asparagus, cantaloupes, cucumbers, pumpkins, blueberries, watermelons, almonds, apples, cranberries, and cherries.

Honey is a food product created by bees and is not to be forgotten. Made by bees regurgitating nectar and passing it back and forth in their mouths to one another before depositing and sealing it in a honeycomb, its intended use is for the bees’ winter food stores. Humans are quite fond of this amber liquid as well – the 2013 honey crop was valued at $317.1 million.

Bees Beautify the Planet

Pollinating flowers and contributing to the beautification of the planet’s floral landscapes may be the bees’ perhaps simplest and least economically important actions, but it’s certainly its most aesthetically pleasing one.

By keeping flowers pollinated, bees perpetuate floral growth and provide attractive habitats for other animals such as insects and birds.

Bees are easily amongst the most important insects to humans on Earth. These humble, buzzing bugs deserve a huge thanks – for helping provide us with our favorite fruits and vegetables, their delicious honey, and beautiful, flowery gardens!


This is a great chart from my friend Anne Schultz, who lives on a farm AND works in a flower shop.

flowers to plant for bees

Lastly, as she is presently the featured artist on my Artist in the Attic  section of eco-friendly artisans, I’ve included a lovely bee/sunflower photo of Yvonne Parsons

bee, yvonne

Favourite Country Kitchen Items

towers cupboard1

The above is my 220 year old crazy quilt which I always have displayed somewhere in my kitchen, with the barnboard cabinet made by Malcolm Towers of Hamilton, Ontario.

The hinges are the same type that will be used when I’ve renovated /upcycled the kitchen cupboards.

Below, Marg Moylan personalized folk-art saw.

julie, quilt, saw

Below is the project I’ve just finished.  30 years ago I had a collection of International Coffee Tins sponge painted blue and white to match my dishes and to hold all my spices. However, I sold those years ago and have used the pigeon holes (from a hotel in London, ON) for a variety of many other uses.  Now, I want to have them back permanently in my kitchen, but couldn’t find old coffee tins, tea tins or anything the right size/shape. Thus, I very reluctantly bought boxes at the dollar store that fit (with chalkboard tops I can also use for labelling) and have aged and distressed and decorated them, along with 6 plastic ( I of course also hate plastic, but needed SOME that were air-tight).

pigeon holes

***above, pottery  oil light by Natalie of Remembrances:

and cloth gingham bags by Miriam, quilter/fabric collector:

The plastic, which I would never use normally, was the same shape as my old International Coffee Tins, so I felt I had to use a few, but made myself feel better by knowing that, though imported boxes, the rest of the spice holders were at least wood and thus eco-friendly.  The plastic boxes were Mod-Podged, but not literally. (You do know that they sell that stuff at exorbitant prices but it’s really just cheap clear-drying thin white glue?  You can buy some cheap glue, and if it isn’t thin enough, add a few drops of water and stir! Cover surface with glue, tear or cut napkins or photos, pretty paper, etc., glue on and then when dry, paint over with the glue substance again, and it dries as a hard protective outer covering).  The boxes were lightly stained dark, then partially painted blue, which I then wiped off as a distressing technique, then I sponge-painted with white to match my sponged dishes, and sanded down/box-cuttered the edges, and finally put on matching labels from what I used on the plastic containers – a brown paper choice which kept the boxes looking old.

Another favourite of mine I hope to display in the kitchen is this “apothecary” for dried flowers and herbs, originally made by and for my Great Aunt Jessie, who was a wood-worker and made the wee drawers for all her hardware… I have a collection of old tins and bottles with mod-podged old labels on them (downloaded from internet) that look great in and around these apothecary drawers…

jess's apothecary

And lastly, a favourite kitchen display piece is my antique pine hutch which we ‘rescued’, primarily unwanted from an auction for $300.00 just a few years ago…

pine hutch

All Canadians should know this… and OBJECT!


The statistics are mind-boggling, the numbers seem exaggerated… but this is all true, folks.  If you can’t grow your own ( and anyone can, inside, u.v. lights, near windows, or on apartment balconies and in back yard greenhouses) THEN AT LEAST PAY ATTENTION WHEN YOU ARE GROCERY SHOPPING!  We are eating SOOOO much that doesn’t come from our own country (giving developers more excuses to take over and build on our agricultural land, and in the woodland and marshes that are natural habitat for our wildlife.)   Every year I see more and more apple and pear trees by the sides of roads and in old orchards left unharvested. WHY are we wasting our own food, only to spend top dollar and import much less naturally-grown and naturally-stored fruits? Are we really THAT lazy now?  We have tipped the scales WAY too far – things are wholly unbalanced, and I’m not sure we can ever right it properly again.  But, the next time you are in the produce aisles, look at what you’re about to buy that’s not just grown in the States, but even worse, Mexico, South America, Central America and overseas!  So that not only are we eating terribly unhealthily, with chemically enhanced products that cause cancer and all other types of brain and body diseases and conditions BUT we are messing with our own economy, and giving greedy corporations license to keep building on our OWN farm and orchard lands…. Watch this. You absolutely WILL NOT BELIEVE!  Eat REAL (ie: NOT baby carrots, even if they say ‘organic’) and Eat LOCAL – meaning not just our own nation, but our own NEIGHBOURHOODS.  (Or better yet your own home-growns).  And if you can’t afford organic produce, DO wash your food in natural vinegar – far more pesticide poisons will be taken off with vinegar than a mere rinse in water – and it makes ’em all shiny, too!


Below, a vertical hanging herb garden  Rustic Revivals (me!) built for a customer who wanted to grow her herbs and smaller veg. in the frame outside during the summery months and inside the rest of the year – made from old pieces of tobacco slats…


vertical herbs



fortune cookies

Remember the margarine commercial “It’s not NICE to fool with Mother Nature…???

This is another frightening, eye-opening article about how our food is being modified – without our knowledge!

And lastly, here is a piece of salvage art made by Rustic Revivals (me)  – the blocks were old table legs cut up and found in a dumpster. The fabric is all tea-stained linen from a scrap bag.  The piece reminds us NOT to fool with Mother Nature – can we ever put it all back to rights? Sometimes I am so disheartened by what we as a species have done to this planet…      (for more salvage and folk art eco-friendly/natural works by Rustic Revivals, see either our shop on  –   OR google the name for more info/photos!)  The below was made for a Mother’s Day gift, which gives it that little extra double meaning!


ma nature3