Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mushroom Monday

As the days shorten and the air cools, I'm still spying forest fungi...

I think these are Turkey Tails

I'm unsure about these and the few below...They look like puffballs but never appeared white to me. So if they are puffballs they were already past their prime for edibility.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ramble Around Ireland #3: Tollymore Forest Park

I have an affinity for ancient trees, branches hung at impossible angles, carpets of moss, and green forest light. Tollymore Forest Park just outside Newcastle, County Down, Ireland is a place of my dreams. We arrived early in the crisp morning, entering through a neo-Gothic arched gate. The forest is full of follies. In architecture, a folly is an extravagant structure or building that is built primarily for ornamentation with no real purpose or look different than their real purpose.  Most of Tollymore's follies were built in the late 1700s by James Hamilton.

Just on of the many follies.

We took the trail that skirted the River Shimna and passed through The Hermitage. This seemingly ancient abode was built around 1770 by Hamilton as a stone shelter to be used while fishing.

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

The Hermitage
The forest, the follies, and more that fifteen bridges: an epic kids (and grown up kids) to explore. There is an air of myth and legend all about this forest - Robin Hood hiding in the Hermitage, trolls collecting tolls at bridges, fairy and elfin abodes hidden about. (And for fantasy fanatics, some Game of Thrones scenes were filmed here). We visited near the end of October so the trees had an autumnal glow to them and the paths were strewn with gold leaves. We spent the first half of the day here and could have easily lingered until the half light of dusk when we may have spied the mythical folk of the forest. 

Near the car park is an arboretum with amazing and exotic trees. I recall an ancient Yew, a Cork Tree, and some stunning, towering evergreens. There are public toilets at the car park (much appreciated). There are a few more follies upon exiting including a barn dressed up like a Gothic style church. I believe it cost 5 euros to use the car park, otherwise the forest is free. Possibly the best 5 euro spent on our trip. Tollymore was an immediate favorite of ours. An absolute must if you are anywhere near county Down, which is packed with a lot of other great sites.  

Ethereal morning light
Presumably a Gothic-arched door to Faerie

Stepping stones across the river. There were several sets of these.

The Mourne Mountains in the distance.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Traveling Tiny Traditions

I hate to fast forward a month or so but the holidays are fast approaching. With them come our yearly traditions, ones we've had for ages, others we create new. There are freshly made Traveling Tiny Journals in my shop now which make great gifts and stocking stuffers and can be worn on a necklace or fastened to a keychain. They are also a great way to begin a new tradition.

There are many things you may want to scroll in these tiny volumes:
          -we are thankful for ... (could be passed around at Thanksgiving)
          -gifts that were given & received
          -major milestones and events of the past year
          -a letter to Santa from wee child
          -a letter to a wee child from Santa or one of his Elves
          -a hope or prayer for the coming year
          -how your family celebrated the holiday season
          -wee photos of your loved ones from the past year
          -the dates and milestones of Baby's First Year

Each year you could add to the little volume or have a new one for each year. Also, they would be grand for Yule or the New Year or other annual celebrations such as birthdays. Visit Traveling Chariot's Shop to browse these and other gifts for the winter season.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Fall Friend

Can you spot the friendly Mantis posing in the Autumn sun?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ramble Around Ireland #2:
Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep down to the Sea

Here is an example of the serendipity of travel: What ended up as one of our favorite locales, the craggy beach just before Newcastle, Co. Down, was actually just a stopping place for us to stretch our legs and take a peek at the ocean view. Little did we know there was a coastal path where stunning boulders tumble down to the sea while the Mourne Mountains and Slieve Donard towered behind us. There is even a folk song about this area: The Mountains of Mourne. We clambered around the rocks for quite awhile, up onto precipices, down into hollows. Eventually we found a small stream gliding into the sea. Following it led us under a massive arch beneath the road which revealed another old bridge (Bloody Bridge - thus named because of a massacre during the Rebellion of 1641). I dunked my tired feet into the frigid water and relished the magic here where ancient stones and water convened to cast an unforgettable spell. We counted ourselves lucky to have been drawn to this place.

*See last picture for the information board at the trailhead. Just on the A2 south of Newcastle.

I was entranced by this stone which appeared to me to be a map.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween from the Traveling Chariot

Spectacular & Spooky street art in the medieval town of Kilkenny
Just back from Ireland, the ancient land where so many Halloween and Harvest traditions were born, I am trying to relish the holiday and the season. Above and below I am sharing some macabre photos from my rambles. Halloween has it roots in the Irish Celtic festival of Samhain, meaning summer's end. Check out Bitesize Gaelic for English & Irish Halloween words and pronunciations. Before it was all kitkats & zombies, Samhain was a time to ready for the dark half of the year, for it marked the Celtic New Year. It was a time to honor ancestors (which I did in Ireland, tracing my ancestors past), loved ones, and the loss of the past year. It was a liminal time when, it was believed, that the veil between this world and the other was thin and when fairies, goblins, and darker spirits came and went, roamed free on the eve of Samhain. It is natural that bonfires were a way keep such spirits at bay as well as celebrate a new year.  So on this rainy mist covered Halloween, light some candles or  a jovial bonfire and ready yourself for winter, for winter is coming.
near the ruins of Kells Priory
stones at small chapel on the grounds of Tintern Abbey, County Wexford
Stones at monastic ruins of Glendalough, Co. Wicklow
Crows keeping watch at Hore Abbey, County Tipperary

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ramble Around Ireland #1

Trim Castle Keep
Dublin always bookends our trips to Ireland for practical reasons like flights & jet lag. But we don't stay long because A: we have there been several times and B: cities are great but, for us, rural is better. It is out of cities and into the countryside that Ireland's ancient tangled roots really show. Where we can trace time and traditions alongside rivers and mountain ranges. So after a day in Dublin we pick up our pint-sized rental car and head north. We first stopped at Trim Castle which is an impressive walled ruin (that you might recognize from the film Braveheart). Trim Castle, situated on the River Boyne, was begun in 1167 at the site of an earlier wooden fortress. It cost a meager 4 euro to visit. To explore inside the keep (tower) one must take the tour, which last about an hour.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Over the Hills & Far Away

Back from the land of myth & mists, that great green isle of Ireland. Hoping to share some of my rambles soon, though Autumn is in full color now & the trees are tugging me out of doors. Until then...
Cahir Castle, Ireland

Monday, October 5, 2015

Spilt Ink

I looove this leather which reminds me of spilt ink in indigo and brown. This is my personal journal and think I write in it more than my previous one. Perhaps there is a correlation between the allure of the journal and my journal attendance...It could also be that this is quite large, 7.5 x 9, thus easier to write in than my last journal. The only thing that would make this better is if the leather was green, rather than blue, and brown. I have more of this luscious leather, so if you are needing an inspirational vessel for your words or sketches drop me a line at . I'm open to custom orders and sizes. Or browse my Etsy Shop for other journals. Shop and Blog will be closed for a bit soon because this Chariot is going to be a-traveling !

Mushroom Monday: Earthstar

These are Earthstar Mushrooms, they are otherworldly and quietly bloom on the forest floor from July to September (I found these in August I think). Their name derives from the shape they make when they open. My trusty mushroom companion Missouri's Wild Mushrooms states for their habitat: "In the strangest places, but mostly single to several on the forest floor." It also notes that if you dry one out it will last forever, make a great keepsake, and conversation starter. They seem just the right mushroom to make a wish upon.

Not comprehensive of all MO mushrooms but a very good resource for the most common and most of the edibles. Great amount of information to help one identify and feel confident about eating an edible mushroom. And recipes in the back.