On Spring and how we're doing our part.
When we purchased our 60 acres we felt like we landed in paradise. This will be our third summer with our homestead and it is a constantly evolving project. In conversation with multiple people, I've decided to blog about what we're doing to help our part of PEI survive and flourish.
When we first bought the property, I spent two weeks (not joking, it took FOREVER) whipper-snippering the whole yard. The property had been on the market for a few years and the grass was mile high. I had considered asking an uncle to come over with a tractor for a rough cut, but it was blueberry season and all tractors were tied up in blueberry harvest. So, off I went, one tank of gas at a time, clearing our front and back yard, cutting a trail to the field, another to the dirt road. I noticed multiple nests in the grass as I went, mostly rodents, but also rabbit and birds. They were all empty, thank goodness. However, even as we continued to groom our yard that year and this past summer, I've often thought about how much habitat the long grass had provided for animals in our yard. So this year, we are cutting the grass in the front yard, and a trail to the garden, to the orchard, to the road, and to the field, but we are leaving the majority of the back yard alone and letting the grass grow long and untamed.
With the problem that we are having with a lack of pollinators on PEI (and all over the world), it is important for us to notice where we can make changes to help our ecosystems. The area that we are letting grow long will be supplying bees and butterflies with more flowers to feed from. In order to help this process along, we've also purchased packages of wildflower mixes that we will be sprinkling around the yard.
On our 10 acres of cleared land, we will also sprinkle these wildflower seeds. We also transplant trees, bushes, and flowers there whenever possible. The topsoil was stripped from this land before we purchased the property and so it is a field that we are trying to restore with as much diversity as we can.
As I've mentioned, we've cleared trails throughout our property to be able to find ourselves in a variety of animal habitats. With the brush that we have collected during these cutting sessions, we have built a brush pile in the middle of the cleared field. While you can burn your brush to keep things tidy, you can also build it up somewhere off the beaten path, where animals can make great use of it. The brush pile in the middle of the field provides a lookout for sparrows and other birds- there isn't a single time that I've walked past it that it hasn't been in use. The brush pile further into the woods is used by squirrels to cache seeds for winter.
PEI is an agricultural island, which means that most of our open land is used to produce food or livestock feed every year. One sad reality of this land use is that ground nesting birds will often build their nests in hay fields, which are then cut using large machinery with big tires. My kickstart into wanting to have my own safe haven was spurred from such an experience, and unfortunately the baby birds didn't fledge before the hay was cut on that field. However, having been raised in a farming family, I know that it's hard to change methods just to suit the animals. So next time I see this a ground nest in a hay field, I'll quickly mark off a square so that the tractor doesn't cut that area. I swear, the songs that bobolink and song sparrows make are worth the effort.
What can you do to help the animals in your community? Here are some suggestions:
1- Don't cut the dandelions this spring. They're beautiful and they help the insects.
2- Let the ditches grow, often they're full of beautiful lupins and Queen Anne's Lace, so they're gorgeous anyway- but if yours aren't, buy some seeds and sprinkle them in the ditch.
3- Let unused sections of your yard grow long. Think it looks unkept? Then start with just a two foot wide stretch along the fence where it's a pain to trim anyway. A lot of flowers can grow in a small space.
4- Don't pick flowers if you don't need to. This is the hardest for me! I LOVE having flowers in my house. However, now that I've got lots of houseplants, I'm happier to leave the pollinating flowers outside where they serve their purpose.
5- You only have a balcony? I bet if you planted wildflower seeds or bought some other pollinator friendly flowers for your window boxes you would see bees in no time.
6- Increase the diversity of your land. No, don't go crazy with wild cucumber or other invasive species. Read about what you can plant, find transplants, buy seeds. There are apps that you can download FOR FREE that let you take a photo of a plant and it will ID it for you. AMAZING. These are so useful for this type of project.
7- If you're lucky enough to notice a ground nest, mark it off so that you don't accidentally run it over with the mower. You'll likely notice the mama hopping around trying to distract you from her nest, so if you see that, pay attention underfoot.
8- The term 'weed' is used to describe a lot of plants that are great for our butterflies and bees. Just because something is a weed, doesn't mean you have to pull it. If it's beautiful and you're noticing bees on it, leave it to grow.
It all counts, friends. Hopefully with collective efforts from like minded people, we can start helping our tiny friends make a comeback on our little green island.
PS- I know this isn't necessarily photography related, however, I find great joy in photographing flowers and insects, which are helped by doing the previously mentioned steps. So technically, it's just a how to guide to make your own backyard a photographic paradise!
here's to the groom
Wedding days often focus most of the attention on the bride. What is she wearing, how will she do her hair, is there a veil or a statement hairpiece, or is there a rocking pair of shoes peeking out from the hem of her dress? I am always a part of the collective, oohing and aahing over the details of a bride's bouquet, tearing up at her dad watching her come down the stairs. There's just so much identifying that a 20-something photographer can do with the bride on the big day. All of those little bits of connection show deep in the photos that we take. Being the photographer on a wedding day is like having a back stage pass to the most intimate, romantic, sentimental ceremony of life that a family can share.
Grooms have a special place in my heart. When my brother was married four years ago, I spent the days leading up to it helping to decorate and prep and do all the fun wedding details. When the big day came, my eyes were glued to that sweet brother bear of mine. I watched him with bursting pride, awaiting the love of his life at the front of a sweet little church in Western PEI. When she rounded the corner and his eyes filled up with tears, my own tears spilled onto my cheeks. I felt my heart burst with love and admiration for him, and throughout the rest of the day, during photos and the reception and the dance, the love just kept welling up.
When I started booking weddings shortly after, I found that I often connected with both the bride and the groom wholeheartedly; identifying with the bride, and seeing a reflection of my brother in the groom.
When it was my turn to be the bride this past fall, I had a fantastic time being with all of my lovely friends while getting our hair done, our nails painted, being pampered. My friend, Treena, was our wedding photographer, and she captured beautiful moments of the day that I would have otherwise missed with all the hub-bub. The morning was a blur, and once we arrived at the little hall where we were married, all I could think of was that beautiful person waiting for me at the end of the aisle. When we got our photos back, it was the photos of him that I looked at the longest.
So here are a few photos of some of the grooms I've had the pleasure of meeting. May you witness the pride and anticipation in their eyes.
As a little extra, here is a photo of my gorgeous husband and I on our wedding day, as well as one of that sweet brother of mine reading a poem at our ceremony. Both photos taken by our dear friend, Treena, whom we cherish with all our hearts.
My mission, or, hello and thank you.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my website and peek around at the things that bring me immense happiness!
I'm incredibly passionate about photography, a beautiful art which captures fleeting moments we may otherwise forget. I have always found joy in documenting the moments that make up our minutes, hours, years, and lives. Often dubbed a 'Sentimental Sally', I have a deep emotional attachment to memories, both my own and those of my subjects.
I have been blessed to grow up in the idyllic Prince Edward Island, on a farm with horses, dogs, fields, and forests to roam. Photography for me has never had the simple objective of making money or capturing only formal portraits. I have spent endless hours with little girls and ponies in summer evening sun, with dew drops falling from evergreen buds in spring, with my husband and daughter in the morning light of our little farmhouse.
Working with any client of mine has been an absolute pleasure. I delight in being given the opportunity to show a couple what their love looks like, or show a new mom what the bliss of holding her baby feels like from the other side. Weddings are days so full of love and emotion that I spend the whole day in a state of euphoria, due to watching the love, but also due to the immense gratitude that I have knowing that this is actually my job!
Family photos are another opportunity for me to feel immense gratitude, and often, share a lot of laughter along the way. We all have that one family member that has resisted the idea of family portraits and dug their heels into the ground even on the walk to the car. I'm always happy to bond with everyone, and often enjoy the satisfaction of hearing from even the hardest of resistors, that the group had fun and- once final images are received- that they are very happy with the outcome!
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading! I hope that you've come to the conclusion that you should book a session and we should get to know each other. I truly appreciate your time, and look forward to hearing from you.
(Photo courtesy of my sweet sister)
There is always a photo to take.
For the last three years I have made a point to drive to Kensington to take photos of my amazing and wonderful friend Sara. The first year, she was pregnant with her gorgeous daughter Leah. The second and third years, we went back to the same locations and took gorgeous photos that she has in huge canvases on her wall. (Hello ego boost, seeing your work blown up feels GOOD.)
This year was a little different, we didn't manage to get together when the sun was still warm and summery, so this past weekend I went over in hopes that we could at least have a few moments of warmth to do the annual shoot. Well, this weekend wasn't exactly warm or dry on our fair island! However, Sara and her hubby got married last month so there was a particular garment I had my eye on since their wedding day!
Check out photos of Leah wearing Sara's wedding dress!
I'm an outdoors loving, animal obsessed, nuggets of happiness driven 27 year old woman. Here are my thoughts on the beauty I've encountered. Enjoy!