la vie de Praerie is another way of saying Life on the Prairie or Prairie Living. This translation is my own French — you won’t find it in a phrase book. It took three years of living on this land – building the house, creating the home and garden and orchard and hen house and vegetable patch from scratch, before I came to see it as it really is: a world away from the world. Another kind of life is happening here. The weather wields huge influence. It does not come softly, softly. The wind screams, the sun scorches, the water has too much salt and the soil reluctantly yields growth. Summer temperatures are extreme. In winter, when it rains, everything drowns. Distances are far – no popping into a shop for something you forgot to buy. There is much solitude. Neighbours are all around but they are far away and I cannot see them. We wave to each other in passing engulfed in clouds of dust on the dirt road.
With all this peace and tranquility, I have time to make, time to sew, time to write and time to paint. I have time – to be busy, but not to be idle. The work that I do takes hours, days, weeks, much of it is painstaking and detailed, done individually and done by hand. William Morris of the Arts & Crafts movement (late 19th century) had a goal: to provide tasteful but affordable alternatives to mass production – items that were beautiful, well-made, practical and produced in a way that allowed makers to remain connected with, and take pleasure from, the process. That is my goal too. To craft well designed, beautiful products that you only have to buy once in your life. Unless of course you want to buy more to give away as gifts – because sharing the appreciation of craftsmanship lifts the spirits and is good for our well-being!