Welcome to our About Us and introduction to The Wood Folk Diaries series, which will become Rachel’s field journal.
The Ways of the Wood Folk was written by naturalist William J. Long, published in 1899, with these quaint illustrations by Charles Copeland. This now public domain work was scanned by The Biodiversity Heritage Library and posted on flickr. I visually restored them with Photoshop.
The pièce de résistance is the bear:
Long is also sketched lounging with rabbits, and an illustration of a game bird and her chicks was included as well. There is much more to it, but these pages stood out for a simple reason…
…this is also my wood folklife. The only difference is that he is better dressed. Well that and 100 years plus.
I have wandered the woods with red foxes, black bears, rabbits, and partridges, among other wild ones. By wandered I mean they were on the path with me. I even had to shoo an overfriendly fox.
Many of these experiences were once in a lifetime. The Wood Folk Diaries is my way of sharing what was, and new experiences as they unfold, with field notes, sketches, photos, and videos. Long would probably say, “attagirl!”
Being close to nature is the main reason I left Toronto life to flee to the woods of cottage country, Ontario. I arrived late in the summer of 2013 to live in a Thoreauesque cabin, in the one-acre wood, surrounded by trees and birds and animals. Lions and tiger swallows and bears! Oh my, they are here. And they bring awe and tremendous joy.
Robin, who founded Song of the Woods Studio, moved here with his beloved wife Ann in the late 90s for a dream retirement in the wilderness, on 100 acres of nonstop wild entertainment and adventure. All the while he continued the leatherwork of his teens and other crafts he’d mastered over the years. He took Song of the Woods to art shows like our local Haliburton Art and Craft and nearer to Robin’s pre-bush bugger rovin’ spots, The Purple Turtle. He was also active at powwows as a vendor until about 2013, a favorite being Curve Lake. Fast forward to 2015.
I had wished to blog about the flora and fauna of the area for a while, and I’d bounced aimlessly from one idea (or URL or Facebook page) to the next. I had always wished to expand my creative skills as well but lacked the confidence to go all in. Being introduced to Robin opened multiple doors. Being shown I could do anything if I knew how – I watched and learned.
And here’s another anything – this field diary. I’m not claiming to be William J. Long or R. D. Lawrence, but I will be R. A. Lower. Volume 1 Chapter 1 will be about my ruffed grouse who for a Springtime always ran up to greet me whenever I exited the cabin. I also especially look forward to introducing you to the little black bear we watched one late summer after his mother had chased him off. You’ll get to see his transformation too, and hopefully feel like you were there – like you are here sharing all the adventures to come. Please subscribe to our notifications list to hear when new content is posted! We won’t spam you. Also, we’d love to connect with you on social media. We hope you’ll stay tuned.