Some Campfire’s Love Poem

Some Campfire's Love Poem

Weary child, as evening 
casts your shadow long
across this pebbled bank

the sun, who held your face 
in daytime, selfless
omnipotent illuminator
who only told you true
for all of your life

who kissed your cheeks
and showed you how
to plant your feet down and
how to lift them up again

weary child, the sun is fading.
Draw near me now in reflection
and be held almost whole
in this unsettling hour.

Elizabeth Keefer, May 2021

LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA in Spring

If the title of this post looks familiar to you, you are very observant and deserve a high five.

Back at the beginning of this year (January 2nd to be exact) I shared some very different pictures of this tree in a post called LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA IN SNOW

Well, it’s May…

The snow has melted, the hot sun is making regular appearances again, and wouldn’t you know it, this Tulip Tree is now in full spring bloom.

Liriodendron tulipifera, aka Tulip Tree or Yellow Poplar, is native to Eastern North America (far from where this one is planted) and is the state tree of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana.

Tulip Trees bloom May through June.

Big showy yellow flowers banded in bright orange at the base of each petal.

What a gift to witness these blooms! Almost surreal looking.

Generous cups of cold sherbet, vanilla and orange…

Perhaps a shaded feast for some lucky pollinators on a hot day.

As colorful as they are, it’s easy to scan the tree and not see the flowers because they don’t open up until after the leaves are fully formed, and by then they are fairly tucked in and hidden.

I’m glad I got a chance to snap these photos; I’ve never seen a Tulip Tree bloom and I was excited to share it with you. 🙂 For reference (for myself as much as anyone else) I took these with my old Pentax K-500 with an inexpensive CPL filter.

What’s blooming in your world? 🙂

Love! EK

Cold and accomplished – first camping trip of the season

Long before I opened my eyes to the calm blue light of tent walls dotted with sunlit glassy raindrops, the honking of geese overhead stirred me to consciousness and a sleepy smile spread across my slightly chapped lips.

First sight of the day, wet tent fabric

These early morning moments are what I camp for.

Waking up in a tent to the smell of wet earth.

Crisp air nips at my cheeks and reminds me of my vitality.

The sounds of animals bustling around me on a thick carpet of damp ponderosa pine needles reminds me I am but one part of a large web of deeply connected beings.

Waking up to a new day alongside non-human siblings – the grasses, the trees, the bugs, the birds, the deer, the rocks. Whew! What a privilege.

looking up inside the tent
out of the warm tent and into the wet cold morning
boots on…
and ready to face the day
sunrise over camp
Foggy sunrise over Lake Roosevelt, May 8th

First camping trip of the year… CHECK!

How beautiful is that fog rolling off the lake? 🙂

Stay curious, friends! ~ EK

Slow Craft: the tale of the perpetually patched pants

In the third installment of the ongoing saga that is patching my well-worn and heavily-mended Lucy and Yak dungarees (here would be part one and part two)…

I squatted down to adjust the height of the lawnmower and the entire butt of my pants split right out! Down the middle and to the side in the shape of a crooked “Y” – I wasn’t mad, I look forward to big mends like this.

EK standing outside showing off a new patch on the seat of her pants

I used a pocket from a retired pair of light blue linen pants that belonged to my husband and a handful of colors of linen thread. The pocket was a nice upgrade from a regular fabric patch; now I have a good place to tuck my gardening gloves in a pinch.

I loosely reinforced the edge of the hole with running stitches before pinning the pocket over top, edges folded under and pinned flat. I worked the perimeter of the pocket with hand-stitching until satisfied. Simple enough!

Close up of a blue pocket patched on to the seat of EK’s overalls with colorful hand-stitching

Below is a recent picture of the original knee patches after about a million washes and rough wears…

EK’s legs clothed in patched pants outstretched next to her dog Stevie, a half full glass of apple juice rests precariously on her shins

On an average day I’m wearing an outfit like this: heavily patched pants, long sleeves to protect my arms from the sun, no-frills Casio watch, wool socks with sandals or boots (depending on the tasks of the day) and a me-made wool sun protection hat. It doesn’t get more “me” than this look right here. 🙂

EK posing outside in mended overalls and a large floppy wool hat

These pants have developed a spirit of their own. I can’t head out into the yard to work, or pack my bag for a camping trip without them saying, “Hey! I want to play, too!”

And who am I to deny them the rigors and grit they so crave?

Shucks… a pair of pants after my own heart ❤

With love! ~ EK

Slow Craft: the perfect sun protection hat

My primary interests this spring put me outside for long stretches of time, subsequently exposing my skin to the sun more than I’d like: hiking, camping, landscape photography, fishing, gardening, etc.

EK sitting on concrete steps surrounded by overgrown grass, trees and chicken wire fence

I wanted to create a custom-fit sun protection hat for myself that ticked all of my “must have” boxes:

  • 100% natural domestic wool with natural lanolin retained to increase the inherent moisture-repellent properties of minimally processed wool
  • Comfortable custom-fit cap intended to wear over a thin scarf or bandana for added sun protection of ears and neck
  • Dense, totally opaque fabric to maximize sun protection and reduce the risk of picking up ticks in my hair while in heavily forested areas
  • Secure/heavy enough to not blow away in the wind without being overly warm
  • Extra wide, semi-firm brim extending wide enough to protect my neck, ears, and entire face from the full noontime sun
  • Cute, homey, forest-dwelling-mushroom-spirit-vibe
  • Inspired by my own previous design for this felted wool cloche
  • Designed to felt naturally with wear over time

Crocheting is old hat for me (har har! I’ll never pass up a good pun) – I picked up some of my favorite wool yarn and a hook, threw a few stitches into a magic ring, and an hour later we had the start of something promising…

Close-up of a ring of crocheted stitches and a light green crochet hook
A hat in progress, a mug of tea, and yarn on a coffee table
EK’s crossed legs in denim pants, encircling the start of a crocheted wool sun hat

Once I was satisfied with the fit of the cap portion, I moved on to the brim with the intention to try the hat on every few rounds until I was satisfied with the width of the brim and the amount of sun protection coverage for my face and neck.

An unfinished crocheted hat and a ball of yarn in a wooden bowl on a coffee table

My goal was to finish the hat completely in time to bring it with me on a weekend camping trip.

I finished just before bed the night before we left and snapped a window-lit selfie as the sun went down to commemorate.

EK posing in front of a window wearing a newly finished hat

This hat is a delight! Truly one of the best things I’ve ever made, all crafts considered.

It fits my outdoor needs exactly, which means I will treasure it and wear it for years to come.

This feeling; this is whole point of slow craft. ❤


As it turns out, an unintended benefit of my new wool sun hat is that it helps me hid from neighbors and sip my tea in peace…

EK sipping tea in a chair outside, face is hidden by a sun hat

Anti-social sun protection…

But as always, my anti-social inclinations are betrayed by a big grin and friendly disposition. 🙂

My new hat even matches my favorite self-drafted knit shawl.

This look is giving me amateur mycologist, forest dwelling Carmen Sandiego vibes and I love it.

EK in the same chair with tea but looking at the camera smiling

*singing to myself* – “Where in the woods is, EK Sandiego?”

hehehe 😉

‘Til we chat again, EK

A recorded version of my April Workshop: Developing an at home yoga practice

For those of you who wanted to attend my live donation-based workshop but missed the date, you’re in luck!

Below is a truncated video recording 🙂

If you found the information in the video helpful and would like to leave a donation in support of future community classes and workshops you can do so via PayPal here: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=XBA2TKLQ83WFU

**If you’d like to be notified of future events in advance, please subscribe to my (non-spammy) newsletter below**

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Thank you and we’ll talk soon, EK

New podcast project, Plumb: a conversational journey toward center

Witnessing the Breath: a guided relaxation practice Plumb

A simple and effective breath-awareness relaxation practice suitable for any time of day, no experience needed. All you need is a comfortable place to sit in a setting with minimal distractions. Grounding, centering, relaxing. More at EK-Yoga
  1. Witnessing the Breath: a guided relaxation practice
  2. Plumb: an introduction

Plumb | to adjust or test by a plumb line/to be exactly vertical or true

Episodes of this podcast include personal reflections, rich community conversations, and simple practices for cultivating emotional resilience and navigating life mindfully, wholeheartedly, and with purpose.

Be well! – EK

April workshop: developing an at home yoga practice

***Registration for this event has passed***

This Sunday, April 11th at 1pm PST

In this 1-hour educational workshop I’ll share tips for developing a yoga practice at home, the benefits of using various props in your practice, and discuss some common household items that can stand in as alternatives to commercial yoga props.

Sliding-scale, $5-$15 suggested donation however no one will be excluded for lack of funds.

All experience levels are welcome and no special preparation is required.

To register for this pay-what-you-can virtual event: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYkcuqtrj8iGdfBnWlQSVquf71uD1izGoWa

Blessings! EK

*SOLD OUT* February Slow-Craft Care Packages

February Self-care care packages are now listed in my shop. A short video detailing what all is included in this month’s care package can be found below.

Bette sits on a black couch in front of a tan wall, talking about the contents of the February Care Package

I might do these monthly or seasonally as I have time and resources, and depending on the response.

All the best, Bette

Recipe: Tropical Fruit Granola

A clear glass bowl containing hot oatmeal topped with milk and Tropical Fruit Granola

Per request via Instagram.

Made with gluten-free oats, nuts and seeds, coconut, dried fruit, and wellbeing-supportive, adaptogenic herbs.

Tropical Fruit Granola

  • 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups chopped raw walnut pieces
  • 1 cup shelled raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried pineapple, chopped into small rough bits
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried mango, chopped into small rough bits
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons natural liquid sweetener such as maple syrup or honey
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted gently
  • 1 tablespoon powdered Ashwagandha, I like this one (optional)
  • Gomasio seasoning/Japanese Sesame Salt (sesame seeds and roasted salt, also optional)
  • 1/3 cup dried shredded coconut would also be good but I didn’t have any (optional)

Preheat the oven to 250º and set aside a baking sheet. In a large bowl combine the oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, ginger powder, and Ashwagandha (if using) and stir thoroughly. Add liquid sweetener and vanilla extract to the bowl and stir again. Add melted coconut oil to the bowl and stir again until all dry ingredients are coated evenly. Pour mixture onto a baking sheet and spread with a spoon until evenly distributed. Bake at 250º for around an hour, stirring every 20 minutes to prevent burning. Once the granola is finished but still in the baking sheet, add dried fruit and even sprinkling of Japanese sesame salt (if using) while granola is still hot and stir around once more to combine. Allow the granola to cool completely on the cookie sheet before transferring it into jars or storage containers. Feel free to store it on the counter at room temperature if you plan to eat it quickly, or in the fridge for 2 weeks.

I make granola often because it’s cheaper than store bought, I can control the amount of sugar in it, and it’s nourishing, light and easy to pack on a hike.

What kind of granola would you like to see next? Peanut Butter and Popped Sorghum? Pistachio Ginger?

All the best, Bette