There is something about advice that I love.  It simplifies, it imparts wisdom from experiences past, it renders lessons from a particular context and the happenings within that context.  And I love looking for advice, with my favourite source being generations who have tread before me, who have it together now and maybe didn't always have it together.  Small tricks, simple twists of every day tasks that have magnified benefits.   Place weight over the wheelbarrow tire for easier lifting, knot an extension cord where it ties in to a tool, two five gallon pails are easier to carry than one on its own, and so on.

And, sometimes, I love giving advice.  I am fully aware it can be rude and condescending to give unsolicited advice so I try to hold back as best as I can.  I figure the practice now will do me well in the teenage years to come, when it may be best to let go and let the kiddos figure it out (for the majority of the time).  But today, I am going to let loose.  I am going to lay it heavy upon you.  No denying it.  Advice, wanted, needed or not, is coming your way.  Are you seated and ready??

Here it is....Be very, very, wary picking paint colours whilst pregnant and then feel self-assured you will love these paint colours for the next set time.  Believe me, I know.  I don't quite have a finger on the why.  I just know the what.  Three pregnancies, many paint colours picked during each pregnancy-fueled nesting stage, all colours now hated and changed.  

The kitchen, the living room, all the bedrooms, downstairs and most importantly and of particular significance, because everyone can see it, is the chicken coop.

Think electric blue.  Purple blue.  Blue, blue, blue.  Which is fine, except I am a bonafide, non-blue person.  That and it's close to our house, which is red.

Completely illogical, or, at least for me, it is.  I prefer subdued colours, a palette lent to me by the earth (la ti da!).  But really, igneous rocks on a cloudy day, canola stubble in November, limestone quarries in the evening.  These are the colours that get me going.  Not primary, wake-up colours!!!

And so, after five years of mental disgust, every time I drive in my driveway, the chicken coop is undergoing a change.  Think a deep lake in the evening.  That inky black, charcoal fray that makes you rethink your evening swim because just maybe, there is the biggest sturgeon ever, waiting to grab your big toe, and suck you under, never to be seen alive again.  I have an active imagination still prompted by all the R. L. Stine books I read as a ten year old!

Other inspiration falls in the northern hemisphere.  Other places with similar hauntingly cold winter nights with lingering darkness remains past the time the bus picks up your school children and returns with them in the evening.  Where six months of the years have long shadows all day.  



These places where I have imagined them embracing the ice, the snow without a perpetual chorus of how cold it is, how windy it is, how dark it is, when will it warm up, when will the sun return, thank goodness we can all runaway to Mexico.  

But it seems here on the Canadian Prairies, we grit it out, suck it up and shovel snow because we are hardy stock.  But it doesn't seem we embrace our cold, love it to the very heart of our being.  We are resistant.  We live here without any great celebration for the winter season.

But wouldn't it be freeing to love the cold inherent to the place we live.  And to do it in a beautiful, simple way that other places have.

I'm thinking of places like Iceland.  The place is embodied by its name.  No nulling, no minimizing.  Simple and honest.  

So, I'm going for an Independent People inspiration.  Self-sufficient, making it through despite, despite.  Settled, content with what I've been given.  And mould it into an aesthetic like this.    

                                                         as seen on

Or this, but with more snow for at least six months of the year. 

                                                                          timeless by olegeir on Flickr 

                                                                          timeless by olegeir on Flickr 

It's moulding what you've been given and celebrating it, by make your surroundings beautiful within your geographic context.  Here, dark exteriors are both stark contrast against winter snow and, in overcast fall and spring skies, muted monotones.

Our little chicken coop is two old sheds placed together, a bit asymmetrical.  However, with some clean straw, fresh water and grain with some scraps, our girls flourish here.  They wander the yard and come back in at night to roost.  They cluck.  They huddle in during the winter.  It works, it's nothing fancy.  However, it still needs a paint job.  I'm particularly excited about the fall leaf colours with the dark contrast from the coop.  In my mind's eye, more moody, more serene than the cookie monster blue it is right now.  A place of quiet to visit each evenings as "tuck the girls in" as they huddle and perch on their roosts.  A line of buff, red, black, white, pearlescent green feathers.  I will keep you posted!