General

A small business and van living

I’ve had a few questions and conversations recently about what it is like to run Wild Fen from our van and so I wanted to talk a bit more about it today.

We set up Wild Fen from our rented home in our beloved Fens a few years ago. Our intention first and foremost was to share and celebrate our love for the natural world. Since then we left our home and our full time jobs, sold our belongings, bought a van and converted it into a home for us to live a slower life, closer to nature, creating natural incense, jewellery and prints.

We moved into our van in March this year and since then have been transitioning our life, possessions and business into it as we explore the UK.

It’s been an ongoing process of learning and adjustment. From a work perspective we set up our printer, laptops and tools to run on our solar electricity (being savvy with when we charge things especially with sunlight hours decreasing now), battling with limited Internet and finding space for our packaging and supplies has required selectivity, patience and flexibility on a daily basis! More generally adjusting to a completely new way of living has taken its toll on us emotionally and energetically at times too.

And yet for us, this option allows us to work full time on a business that we love. It means we can spend most of our days in nature, exploring, learning and creating which we do remind ourselves of often, like the times we can’t move without standing on a packaging box.

Being closer to nature each day has inspired us to form even deeper connections with trees which led to the creation of our Wild Jewellery in the Summer. It is not a straight forward or particularly convenient life in many ways. Living in a van requires creativity and patience, jobs take longer, water needs to be topped up and heated on the stove, space is extremely limited, airflow is a constant consideration, and vans break down often at the worst times.

It has taken the best part of the year to feel as though we have found more flow working this way, but as Winter approaches, there is no doubt we will be met with more challenges to adjust to. And yet as I sign off this blog, sat in the doorway overlooking the Wye valley, a Buzzard is calling over head and I have a calm feeling inside that tells me, it will be worth it.

Wheel of the Year

The energy of Samhain

Samhain (pronouced sow-ein) is one of the eight seasonal festivals that make up the wheel of the year, an ancient way of observing the yearly cycle, and the transition of the sun and the seasons. Samhain is celebrated at the end of October/beginning of November (the origins of modern day Halloween) and marks the final harvest period of the year and the birth of the Winter. At this time of year we can observe the natural world preparing for the Winter months that stretch ahead. Trees lose their leaves, plants die back, and animals stock up and may begin to migrate or hibernate.

Samhain was considered both the end and the beginning of the Celtic New Year, honouring the understanding that all new life and beginnings, emerge from endings.

For me, acknowledging the 8 festivals throughout the yearly cycle provides points at which I stop and observe what is going on in the outer world as well as my inner world. A moment to reflect on how things currently are, how they have been over the last season and how I would like to move ahead into the new one.

My most precious insight from observing the wheel of the year is the element of change within it. Light and dark, growth and decay, beginnings and endings. In the modern world we are often expected to be as productive and efficient no matter the season. A striving towards a fixed state of happiness, vibrancy and certainty that isn’t present in the natural world, certainly not all year round.

At Samhain, the hours of darkness outweigh the hours of light as the Sun’s strength and energy wanes. It marks the end of the growth part of the year’s cycle. The seeds of the harvest have now fallen and lay dormant deep within the dark earth before they emerge in Spring.

Observing the energy of each season can guide us to reflect on those themes in our own lives. At Samhain these may include endings, letting go, losses and the lessons we have learned from adversity. We may feel called to embrace rest, wind down and nourish ourselves whilst dreaming of what the seeds of next year’s growth may hold.

Some seasons may feel easier to connect with than others, depending where we are at. Some may pass us by without much significance while we feel much more aligned to others.

We have felt especially connected to Samhain energy this year, crafting jewellery from Yew and Elder wood, gathering apples, cooking hearty meals and exploring damp and mossy woodlands.

You can find out more about our Samhain offerings on Instagram or our Etsy Store now.

Wellbeing

Lessons from a Primrose

After a shaky few days, taking my morning cup of tea out in the garden this morning felt like an act of restoration. Walking barefoot across the lawn, moving from the shade into the sun I came to sit down in front of a small patch of Primroses. I noticed that the petals of most of the flowers were wilting now, nibbled (not by me) and turning brown in patches as they were reaching the end of their blooming period here in the UK.

Their name translates from the Latin meaning ‘first’ and these little pioneers led the way, opening their delicate yellow petals to a cold and tired world just a few months before. To the earliest of Spring days they brought a reminder of renewal and hope from the woodland floors.

They hold such an important role in our ecosystem – as an indicator of ancient woodland they offer an important early nectar source for insects, most notably brimstone and small tortoiseshell butterflies.

As I spent time observing these precious little gems this morning, I became aware of their niche. Flowering early, they bring joy and valuable nectar sources before they become overshadowed by larger plants on the woodland floor. They don’t bloom all year round, or attempt to be like another flower. They just bloom when conditions are good for them and then retreat when they are not.

As a human being, I often find myself trying to fulfil so many roles. An array of options are always available to us that it can be easy to stray from our true nature, or feel less than in comparison with others. Do you sometimes feel as though you should always be blooming, or be more like someone else? If so, perhaps spend a few moments just observing a plant in nature and be reminded of her lessons of embracing our individuality and niche. Just another little dose of nature’s medicine, always available to us.

With love and plant magick,

Nicola