This life and work are so full, but for some reason so difficult to communicate. It was once fairly easy for me to write in this space, but these days I find it hard to be transparent, honest, in one cohesive voice.
And I think this is because there are so many voices running through my mind at any given moment. How do I accurately portray myself, my life, this work when from moment to moment I am experiencing a vast, wide range of gratitude, beauty, anxiety, action, self-doubt, and on, and on.
This project - Woodland Keep - bubbles up out of the sweetest and safest memories of my childhood. It is fed by the preserved feeling of my grandmother's cabin in Vermont - the smell of wood fire, the book-lined shelves, the wooden walls with secret passageways to other rooms, the smell of pies and cookies baking, the comfort of curling up next to her pups with a tea or hot chocolate in hand. It is further nourished by the walks around her home that led me to tracing trails in the forest- imagining stories of mysterious burial grounds, or mystical creatures hiding in the brush. I once found a hidden cove, overgrown with rhododendron and pine, and nestled inside sat a stone bench, a small fountain, a marble statue above. I was certain I had found a sacred space and each day for the remainder of my visit I would return to the thin trail armed with my book and drawing pencils, drawing on my secret stone bench until it was too dark to see.
So, in that way, this project is so much more than a brand or business, but a means of living that is very close to my heart. It is about sharing that feeling of safety, warmth, and sweet indulgence - coupled with mystery, magic, and the wild outdoors. The cabin in the woods simply a symbol and the pies, chocolates, and artistry are the very exciting components, not to mention trades that I really love, perfecting each through practice.
As I begin to share all of this with more and more people it can be quite daunting! Like I imagine with any project, it is scary to emerge from the shadows with your work, or pies in hand and direct the spotlight towards yourself - completely vulnerable to the opinions, praise, and criticism of others.
But even with the occasional lingering self-doubt, the comparing myself to others, the heavy self-inflicted pressure to create work that is perfect, continuously -- I love it. I love this work. I love working for myself and watching my pies, the process, an art practice, this home, my sweet relationship grow and change -- face challenges only to result in something more beautiful. I love the morning walks around these woods, the process of becoming more comfortable within this small island community, sharing it all with them and the growing support I receive each week. As stressful as it can be sometimes, I can really only be grateful as I watch my dreams manifest right before me -- as I feel empowered that through a bit of work and some magic I've turned my reality into that sweet space of comfort and safety of my better childhood memories.
Sooo! With that all being said - this market was my best yet! Each market I've been a bit hard on myself by at least one pie - either one is a bit too sweet, or the custard cracked, or a tad over baked -- but this market I was proud of each and every one. I made a Ginger Pear using Washington state organic pears and organic crystallized ginger and whoaa so good! It was just the right amount of slightly sweet and really gingery. With its popularity during the last market the Black Bottom Cedar came back for another week, as well as the Bourbon Chocolate Pecan. Then with the absence of Barn Owl Bakery I was asked to bulk up with some sweet and savory hand pies so I made a lamb, sweet potato, kale and goat cheese hand pie using all island grown meat and produce and it was pretty mind blowing, as well as a cajeta apple hand pie where that nice cinnamon-y caramel flavor really shined through with the spiced apples.
I also added a cedar ganache filled dark chocolate to the mix alongside the rooibos chai and the crazy good salted cajeta chocolates. Annnd I nearly sold out ! By the end of the market I was left with 3 slices of pie and just a few chocolates left. Plus one of my favorite people Ms. Phoebe Wahl came for a visit and lingered around with me behind the booth -- so nice to have her so close by now!
Sunday was my birthday and all I knew was that the day would be set aside for some unknow destination.
After the market I was whisked away by the Wonderboy and brought onto the ferry to be taken to a different island. We arrived at night and treaded through frosted mossy ground to arrive at our home for the night. When we put our bags down I looked out the window to see a vast expanse of water reflecting mountain shadows with homes dotted along the side, twinkly stars up above, and a bright moon sliver just beyond the hills. It felt a bit like a fairy tale.
I awoke the next morning to a fluffy white bed, a clear sunny sky, and one of the most beautiful views I've seen. Walking out onto the deck, I watched the sea gently hit the rocks and found myself tearing up as the fullness of the scene and the incredibly loving gesture all washed over me.
And then in the evening, we left dinner to be met with falling snow! Magic, I'd say.
I think 25 is gonna be a good one ;)