7i9a4324 7i9a4658 7i9a5107 7i9a51117i9a5217 7i9a5224 7i9a5228 7i9a5382I’m creatively unexercised.  It makes me neurotic.  When was I in the studio last?  I feel cheated on time lately, though I know that we all are given the same number of hours, minutes and seconds every single day.  Time is fair.

I check back through my day planner to see if I’m guilty of squandering my days.  I don’t think I am.  I’m working as hard as I can.  I see the lists I’ve been making, every single day, for weeks and months — the way nothing seems to get crossed off, the way I transfer lists over into the days that follow and the pile of things to do just grows and grows.  I felt hopeless today.  I cried a little.  I had a miniature existential crisis.  I questioned my faith, my lifestyle, my food, my desire to hunt, our farm, whether or not I should blog anymore, if I’m going to lay down on my deathbed some day and regret having an Instagram account…I wondered what the heck I’m working so hard for.  I wondered why I can’t just find the sweet spot with small business, the sweet spot when it comes to balancing photography, writing and metalsmithing…cease the need to constantly evolve.

I picked up my camera and it made me feel tired.  I turned the studio on and just looking at my tools made me feel tired.  I went outside to deal with the last of the garden.  I picked the beets and carrots.  I made soup.  I answered emails.  I fiddled the day away.  This evening, I went down to water to find a little quiet and be in the wind and spitting rain.  It didn’t solve any of my problems, getting all tangled up in the breeze, but I had a sense of space as I watched the rapids froth and roll and I knew everything would be ok.

Summer is over.  My life is so hectic in the hot months.  It takes a long time for me to settle in to the winter months, figure out how to live with Robert again and share space, slow down, sleep deeply at night and readjust to having a helper in life.  I want to fast forward to the good stuff in life this winter but I know I have to patiently and calmly fight for it.  So I will.  So I am.


I feel completely sick about this US election — I’m not talking about the candidates (I don’t want to open that can of worms in this space — besides, I identify as a libertarian and I really have no dog in this fight), I’m talking about the way people talk to each other and treat each other and squash each others opinions and spit in each others eyes.  Alienation and public shaming is the new pink.  It exhausts me.  When is the last time you sat down with a total stranger, asked them their opinion on this election and simply listened to what they have to say with an open mind and an open heart — connecting as humans, not clashing as enemies?  I have been asking everyone I meet who they plan to vote for and everyone seems terrified by my question, at first, until they realize I’m not going to jump down their throats and make them feel like trash.  I just want to know.  It’s my way of understanding the people around me.

We learn by listening to each other.  By hearing opinions.  By being courageous and open to the idea of having our own notions changed.  Are you afraid to learn and grow?  Are you afraid of changing your mind?  See each other.  Hear each other.  Listen to each other.  Even if you don’t agree, be kind to each other.  It’s just politics.  And I think, above all, politics requires diversity.  Absolute power corrupts.  We need a mixed bag of kittens in Washington DC because this nation is split right down the middle and both sides of the matter deserve and require representation.


Rob just arrived home from elk hunting.  Thank God.  I’m going to whip us up a nice dinner.  I hope you are all snug in your homes tonight.  I’m so glad you are in my world.



  1. Thank you. I especially needed to read this today. <3

  2. I’ve been thinking the same thing of my instagram account- and Facebook. And somewhat horrified by the fact that I just quit my 9-5 to farm, mom, and get my printmaking on again- I’m afraid I’ll squander the days. More realistically- I expect that I will make to-do-lists that are bigger than my days. We learned that this year. We only finished our winter chicken coop last week, two days before the nighttime temperatures dropped to -30. And looking back- we didn’t do anything wrong- expect underestimate our daily requirements- and that includes sitting with your coffee, reading a book 50 million times over and over with Maggie, picking all the potatoes, and overestimate how quickly we can do anything else.

    Thank you for taking the time to share with us- with me. I sure do appreciate you and your words. Also- thanks for your open mindedness. There is a lot of anger and fear out there- not just in this election. We need more listening. More honest questions.

    XO ELK for dinner!(No moose for us this year- one more thing on the to do list we couldn’t fit in.)

    • WHAT???!!! NO! Celebrate that. Farming, mom-ing and creating is going to look very good on you.

      And thanks for writing what you wrote about being realistic about time. That really resonated with me. It’s good to set goals but we need to be realistic about them.

      Yes, there is a lot of anger and fear and hysteria these days and I do feel the remedy is simply talking, sharing opinions, allowing our ideals and opinions to change and grow…


  3. Michèle Leblanc says:

    Thank you for writing about how sometimes we just want to throw in the towel and just quit… small business is hard work, I’m realizing that now, taking care of a new baby and trying to find balance between that and trying to get my small etsy business going. I admire you and thank you for sharing, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone when I want to give up everything or question all that I’m doing in life so far, thabk you Jillian 😉 much love to you and your family;)

    • It’s a job, like any other job. Sometimes I don’t want to go to work or I just have a “moment” when I feel stagnant and stopped-up. It always passes. Even this evening, I’m in the studio working hard and joyfully.

      We just always need to remember that THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

      And no, you’re never alone.

  4. J.
    Please know, as much as we can’t wait for shop updates, we can’t wait for your photos and words! Just Live Happily and Harmoniously. xo

  5. Everything you just voiced has been on my mind incessantly. Balance is SO hard. But vital. Thank you for voicing this.

  6. you just spoke everything I’ve been feeling these past couple of weeks! perhaps there is comfort in the fact that so many of us share the same struggles? dunno. my biggest sticking point is that it feels downright impossible to have a small creative business and not be on social media. that’s such a disturbing and deeply saddening thought to me because I just can’t get comfortable with it and it seems so very opposite to my life. but then I realize all the goodness we’d miss out on and then I feel badly for feeling negative about social. what a maddening cycle! hang in there, be gentle on yourself and enjoy the balanced moments. xo

    • I think it could be possible to have a small business and NOT be on social media but you’d need to be in a really great urban center in a visible spot that catches attention. I’ll never live in an urban area. It’s simply not a possibility for us.

  7. jillian,
    those of us who feel so deeply are experiencing this collective anxiety and despair and helplessness in the final days of this election. i’ve spoken to so many who feel it, too. hold fast, dear lady. we need your art and words to help make sense of it all, and bring all of us reminders of the beauty that really matters, and reminders of the connection between human and human, bird and beast, two-legged and four-legged, that really make sense. as always, i adore you from afar. xoxoxo

  8. Everywhere I look lately, people are tired out, including myself. Is it the election? Is it the weather? Is it life in general? I don’t know. Here in the middle it can’t decide to be Autumn. We get a few cool days, then the temps zoom back up to summer again. Family was recently impacted by the hurricane in Florida. I know of 3 recent babies, including a niece who is giving birth today. We are bombarded by election coverage and bad news from all over the world. It’s been a rough summer and as far as I’m concerned, it’s time for Autumn and Winter to settle in and quit being so wishy-washy. We’re in a season of super moons – October’s has past and Novemeber and December’s are yet to come. Are the tides and the cosmic energies pulling at us more than we imagine? Are we fighting too hard just to hang on and not be flung into the cosmos? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. And yet – you are right. The same exact number of minutes and seconds every day. I hope we ALL can find the wisest use for them. Blessings to you and yours, Jillian.

    • I think it’s all those things! But especially this US election. I was talking to my mum and she came up with the perfect word for what I am feeling: CAPTIVE

      I feel like I am in cultural and political captivity right now. It’s agonizing.

      I am also reminded of L M Montgomery’s journals (Remember when I was obsessed with them??? I can’t wait to get moved into the new house so I can unpack them and dig into them again.) and the anxiety with which she wrote during WWI — she was a total basket case. She referred to it as “nerves” but I think what she was going through is what I’m experiencing right now.

      And yes, the cosmos…a lot of moon power these days which I think deeply affects women whether they realize it or not.

      Thanks for being here, dear lady.

  9. All of it, yes — I understand. Thank you for saying the things I feel too tired to say right now. It’s a relief, and I’m grateful. Xoxo

    • Jillian, candle in the dark, my post about turquoise was meant to remind you to turn to what brings you joy during these bleak days. Stones from Mine #8 seemed to strike a spark when I saw you Friday. We all need to remember or find what brings us joy and intentionally bring more of that into our lives, especially now, with politics and oncoming darker days of winter pressing us down. The color turquoise is a mood elevator, as are several others, so for those who are suffering the blues know that even hanging a happy colored piece of clothing, scarf, fabric, or canvas in a prominent location can often help brighten spirits, especially for children who are feeling how unstable this era has become. This will seem overly simple minded to some, but I have been involved in politics for 25 years, and have never seen nor felt so much fear and negativity at every level, from governors and senators down to elementary school children. If you can’t paint a wall or buy a yard of bright fabric, help your kids or grandkids hang something bright and happy like their favorite shirt on the wall where they see it every day. My 13 year old grandson asked me this summer if the world was about to end. I hadn’t realized how much kids his age and younger were absorbing, and how little hope he had for the future. We all have to stay involved, or get involved. So much of what is happening needs oversight by non-politicians who owe no favors to anyone, it is those who take the time to bear witness to political processes who shine the light of day to prevent the creeping darkness.

  10. You just perfectly captured how I have felt the past two weeks. The low level of panic and endless to do lists and exhaustion. Transition seasons are so hard, and stepping out of main season farm life is like stepping into a deep well you didn’t see. I don’t want the manic pace anymore, but don’t know how to slow down. And there is still so much work to be done. I think picking vegetables and making soup may be one of the best salves. Sending love from Oregon. xo


  12. Jillian, I know everything is working out for you. As Joni Mitchell sang, “life is for learning”. I just want you to know that I felt like dying all last winter in well into spring. Your blog, your light, was the one beautiful, life~assuring jewel I could cling to and I clung like a baby opossum on its mama’s back. One million thank yous from me to you isn’t enough. I cherish you. Be especially kind to yourself as you allow your creative well to refill itself. Stay gold, pony girl XO

  13. Thank you, Dearest Jillian! Couldn’t agree more! Much love to you MUAH!

  14. Jen Murray-Szarvas says:

    Please don’t stop blogging and sharing photos. You are a magnificent slice of loveliness that I need in my life. I enjoy everything about you, your POV, your quirkiness and your creativity. The world will be a little bit darker should you chose to stop sharing your gifts.

  15. I have mixed feelings on social media. I’m such a private person — I struggle to reveal myself even to people I see every day — but on the other hand… life is hard and if we have a little light to offer a stranger, don’t we have a duty to share it? I don’t know. I haven’t found my answer to the online wilds yet, but I do know that you are a light in my life and this website is one of the few safe, beautiful places I’ve found to visit on a regular basis. So there’s that.

    Do what makes your heart happy, do what brings you peace, but know that every photo, ever blog entry you post, I take in as joy. Know that what you’ve given has made a difference in this stranger’s life, and it makes me happy to think of you out there in the (literal) wilds living a big, holy life.

    • I struggle with that, too, believe it or not.

      I think part of me has become numb to that struggle because my life has been relatively public for almost a full decade now. I only know what I want to be for others and what I want my spaces to be for them and I stick to those guidelines for myself.

      Thanks for being here!

  16. the first photo.
    the last photo.

    my heart pulses with the power of everything you wrote.


  17. Thanks for this, for all of it. And as a Canadian watching all this election stuff from a safe(???) distance, it can sometimes be too easy to lump it together as “have all Americans lost their minds?!” when I know of course that’s not true. But it’s still nice to hear a rational voice every once in a while.

    Regarding time, I try to remind myself “you can only do what you can do” and be okay with that, even when the demand or the desire tells you to stretch yourself to breaking.

    • I have a funny story. Quite randomly, a Russian rocket scientist from Los Angeles bought the farm next to ours and we got to talking and he apologized for Putin! He actually begged me to not judge him by the current leader and politicians of his homeland and I told him, “You can’t judge the quality or character of a nation by it’s appointed leader.”

      I hold to those words.

  18. That’s the thing though! I am NOT embarrassed of the USA. I love this country and think it is full of such great people! I think of all my friends in all their home states and how diverse they are religiously, politically, occupationally — they’re an awesome cross-section of humanity and they’re ALL American.

    What I am ashamed of is these people who wind up in the lime light — politicians, hollywood stars, who are such annoying twerps and they wind up representing us — THEY are what the world sees and they are what the world equates with America and that really chaps my hide.

    I was so offended by the latest “Celebrity Roast” that Jewel took part in. I actually tweeted my disappointment to her on Twitter (!!!) and then was lambasted for it by a bunch of strangers. Whatever. The point is, I found the entire thing horrendous, the treatment of Ann Coulter (who I am not a fan of or an un-fan of) completely shocking and worst of all, I was ANGRY that these celebrities are how the rest of the world defines this country. I watched that roast objectively and the whole of it hurt my soul, but especially the treatment of Ann Coulter. No woman deserves to be ambushed with hate and called a “cunt” (CRINGE) repeatedly while forced to sit there and take it all on the chin. The roast wasn’t funny or clever. It was celebrities reading insults off a tele-prompter. It was completely devolved. It was depravity. And it was not America. Not my America.

    Anyway, I digress.

    We’ve got to feel free to talk about this stuff and we have to have the self-control and kindness to do it respectfully.

    And yes. We’re busy. It depletes or quality of life. We need to stop the glorification of busy.

    Love ya.
    Sorry for ranting.

  19. I have my favorites…..YOU dear, are definitely in the top rank the more I know of you and your ‘soul’.I deeply apologize for not connecting with you in person this summer in McCall……NO TIME!🙊Oh my! TIME…sweet time! The reason I was compelled to write when I read your words tonight!
    Sharing yourself as you do honestly,openly and candidly……….HELPS me to put my shortcomings as well as my own neurosis(life) in perspective.I admire the work you do and the lifestyle you choose to live,and what I know of your character, so how comforting to know we are in this together….YOU,ME…..everyone here and beyond….as a collective! I believe we get it….. I so get it Jillian,I do!I get the struggle in this human experience.I do revel in the beauty of it too. But whether it self managing on the daily,health,food,family,friends,travel,deadlines,small business(and ALL that entails😳)the state of our society……GOVERNMENT/POLITICS….so many layers to just surviving let alone thriving! Oh my!SATURATION!So so much to do so little time! I LOVE that you are so often our happy place but all the while with very real qualities and vulnerabilities!That is what we love, what is so relatable! You know this will pass,it always does. I know I do this, and as far as I can tell there is no way you could not do it too….BITING OFF MORE THAN I can chew more often than not! It is exhausting,overwhelming and just downright draining! A HUGE energy suck! But I continue to do it as if I have no recollection of the last ordeal I suffered at my own doing!? You have evolved….. you are evolving! I found you in….I believe it was the first issue? of BELLA that I picked up and was blown away reading your feature in the mag. I identified with you and your words and have been checking in with you since then. YOU have EVOLVED from that time, you are changing and growing daily! Keep it up kid! You are doing great…..you are going places…..doing great things! Breathe,take time for self care,do what matters today,let the rest be. Keep learning,growing,stretching! AND continuing to share it ALL with US!!!
    Thank you sooooo much for allowing my **RAMBLE** here! Just a couple more points before I close😉
    SOCIAL MEDIA: So BITTER/sweet! Much needed to run a business in today’s world really and often to feel a sense of community or just to simply connect. Yin and Yang….with all that is positive there is a negative as well. It is tough,as much as I am often inspired by others on social media….I am just as often let down or disgusted by images and radical,over-the-top words,rants or put downs! I just recently posted on my own Instagram page a blurb about TIME! As I was typing I was thinking how much TIME am I really on here? How many moments of my life are devoted to looking at other people and theirs?!?!?🤔 Balance? Is there such a thing? What does it look like? A big challenge for me…..I think others would agree in their lives as well in the world we live in.
    And lastly the hot topic in this country…politics and the election! I,like you Jillian, consider myself Libertarian and don’t really heavily identify with either party. I also like to make sense of my surroundings or the people I cross paths with by asking questions.LOTS of QUESTIONS! I have found the same things….fear or outright lashing out if ideals and positions do not align in a discussion!!! I have found people respond with disgust and disdain if asked about their opinions on the matter. WHY? Why is there such a deep divide and separation in our own country for and about our own people??? WHAT?I agree no one can seem to have decent,respectful good old fashioned conversation about any of it! It is alarming to say the least! What happened to the golden rule? Lending a helping hand? Waving……SMILING at each other??? Good neighbors and sharing afternoon conversation over coffee/tea around the kitchen table? Come on people lets get back to the BASICS! Our lively hood depends on it! Let’s take care of ourselves and each other! Even with differing outlooks let’s have the conversations respectfully! GOOD will prevail!

    Thank you for welcoming thoughts and allowing this space for discussion!(sorry for the run on randomness my fingers ran away with me)Oy!
    Hugs and a BIG NAMASTE’!

    • Robin,

      Bless you for this big response! No worries on not meeting up in McCall — we’ll be there again next fire season and hopefully I’ll be able to spend more time there.


  20. Something must be in the air. Or rather, has been brewing. Perhaps it is the election. Perhaps its just being our age. I *finally* kicked my facebook to the curb. I was staying on it “for family” but that thing is designed to suck people in and do crazy things to their heads. I’ve since been questioning whether to stay on Twitter. Instagram, I like, but as I often think about Social Media in general, I sometimes wonder–what’s the point? It’s never been something I’m fully comfortable with.

    I had brunch (because, Portland) with a friend the other day and she was talking about stressing out about self-care. Her therapist had her write out on a white board all the things she “has” to do for self care. And then she had her circle all the things she *actually* had to do. And then, she had her circle the things she *wants* to do. I have a feeling an exercise like this would be helpful in many instances to add perspective to the sense of overwhelm.

    Bless you and your openness about the election. I hope we can all be more kind to each other. I hope we can find our balance again. My heart breaks at the meanness in people. Hopefully your words will ring true to many.

    • YESSSSS!!!!!!!!!! I am thrilled to hear you quit Facebook.

      Never look back.

      Instagram is made of the same stuff but at least it’s a limited barrage…

      Let’s have brunch sometime…next time I’m in the Portland airport.

      Miss you.

  21. I think its something about this time of year that makes us feel restless and out of sorts in out own skins. I blame it on our biology, I don’t think our bodies get that we don’t need to hibernate away the cold months! Please keep creating, your blog brings me so much joy and inspiration. This time of year always gets me feeling a little blue and run down. I also feel like there is never enough time in the day, and my 6am wake up call is so hard when its still dark out in the morning. There are others things I love about the season though! Autumn colors, Halloween decorations, relatively cool SoCal nights, and soon snow in the mountains! All you can really do is just keep on keeping on and hold on to the things that give you the most joy. <3

  22. Oh my gosh… whenever I read your blog, I always think you have everything so TOGETHER! It’s kind of nice to know you’re human, but of course I don’t wish hard times upon you— no, no—- not at all! Sending peace and love to you!!

    • Well I have a lot of things together but I AM human.

      This morning, Rob said to me, “Thank God you’re creating again. You’re so much happier when you’re making stuff.”

      Too true.

  23. Being creative all the time is almost impossible, so don’t be too hard on yourself, you are just normal (not really in fact ahahahah) and super creative all the time in different ways that you think (even gardening is creative, cooking,etc..). We are going back to shorter days, less light, we have to adapt, takes a few days….
    Seen from Canada, this presidential campaign has been going on for far too long…also I think that whatever people’s tendency is… right, left, center, democrats, republicans… it should be handled with respect, decency, tolerance, elegance …it is not the case, what a pit.
    But…Your way of life, your blog, your pictures are a huge amount of pure oxygen every time I read one, and if you ever stopped I will understand but I am sure that you will be missed, I mean really missed.
    Social media…..the new way of life, useful but soooooooooooooooooo time consuming, like our lives do not belong to us anymore.
    Thank you for being who you are, for letting us in your (great) world that is so refreshing, so…yes, refreshing!
    Happy Halloween and tomorrow already November, this summer has gone by so quickly!

    • I think my issue was that I had NOT been creating — like a bird dog locked in a cage and not allowed to exercise/exorcise my wee demons.

      I think everyone in the States is election-fatigued. May it come to an end swiftly.

      Thanks for being here!

  24. I haven’t commented in ages; but as a long time fan + follower I wanted to say thanks for sharing that you too get stuck in the same quicksand that I presently am resting in! (and yes, I am not sticking to my list by being here…. ha, ha..).

    Is that a Pronghorn horn?

  25. Please keep sharing in the space, it is Gods work really. We need you to keep shining bright. I had a rough summer-my own existential crisis, mental breakdown, and now a slow ascent to recovery. I just snapped. I felt I wanted to quit my life- my relationship with my wonderful boyfriend, my job, my ambitions- I wanted to just shrink and disappear and be seen by nobody. Just retire into the woods and live as a drifting hermit off the land. The strange thing is, nothing obvious actually happened, just all of a sudden, everything became too much all at once. My parents battling cancer, my boyfriend’s constant burnout from over working, my own day job boring me, living with a roommate… My rational brain couldn’t reconcile with my limbic one and I became afraid of everything even as I knew there was nothing to fear. I lost my center and sense of who I am. What a mess. I am so comforted by your honesty and how you move through your more difficult moments. Getting space has been difficult for me currently, but I am working on it diligently. I too have been thinking to leave Facebook- how funny that it seems so many others are thinking this too? It is comforting to know others are struggling in similar ways with similar tides- moons, the elections, the tiredness of being, the police shootings, the protesting at Standing Rock… Indeed, what are we working so hard for? What is the point? What really matters?
    I like the word ‘captive’ for what is going on right now personally and nationally. I do feel captive in so many areas of my life and even awake in the mornings, sometimes, feeling so choked up with feelings I have no names for- I can’t breathe. I remind myself that I can only be in control of myself at anytime. I meditate, I push on, I remember what I am grateful for and that I don’t need to have all the answers right now. We are all going through something, as my boyfriend likes to remind me. This too shall pass!

  26. I’m on facebook (I don’t post much but am there for some friends…ugg facebook). I figured out how to turn off my feed…instead now I see inspiring quotes when I log on. I turned the feed off because of all the icky memes that are so often posted there…and this election has been off the hook for ickiness! I remind myself that for every person passionate in support of one side there is someone equally so for the other….and that they all want what they feel is good for this country. We all have that in common. I think WE…the people out here living…that’s where the real changes and good stuff happens. Politicians are not the best avenue for improving things. It’s the actions of all of us collectively in our day to day living: choices we make, how we treat others and life in general. Diversity is beautiful.

  27. Jillian. Thank you SO much from the bottom of my heart for this blog. Your words inspire us all: your truth. Please keep blogging. If it’s the one social media thing you keep up. People need substance, and while instagram is a wonderful visual space (and super important for small creative businesses like yours), I think your blog is the really where the soul is at. Your writing is an art that compliments all of your other talents. I look forward to your posts and relate to them so strongly.

    I’m crippled by tiredness these days. I think all of us outdoorsy folks are saddened by the very existential environmental crisis upon us. 🙁 That’s a big one. It saps our energy when we worry about it as much as we all do. My own PhD research seems meaningless and even though I care about it, I feel like it is a waste of my small time here on earth, sometimes.

    Thanks for this post! <3 Happy Season of quiet time. Of routine. Of reflection. Of boredom. Of freedom. xo

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