Wild Connection Tees

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It’s National Wildlife Week and thus an excellent time to introduce these cool Piq kiʔláwnaʔ tees from the Wild Connection. Printed on BC-made hemp and organic cotton T-shirts from Hemp & Company (originally of New Denver), what better way to help the wild creatures in our area than by supporting a great organization like the Wild Connection in their mission to keep the wildlife corridor between Kokanee Glacier and Goat Range provincial parks open for rare white grizzlies, mountain goats, wolverines and Western Toads.

One may also support this worthy mission by grabbing an equally awesome Piq kiʔláwnaʔ sticker, which we also carry, and by visiting TheWildConnection.ca to learn what further actions can be taken for our wild neighbours. 🙂

The Wild Heavens

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With the purported Christmas Day sighting of a sasquatch in our area, The Wild Heavens – the debut novel by Nelson-based writer and wildlife researcher Sarah Louise Butler – may be even more plausible, and gripping.

Publisher Douglas & McIntyre, who should be applauded for printing the book here in Canada – a rarity these days, describes the book as follows: “It all starts with an impossibly large set of tracks, footprints for a creature that could not possibly exist. The words sasquatch, bigfoot and yeti never occur in this novel, but that is what most people would call the hairy, nine-foot creature that would become a lifelong obsession for Aidan Fitzpatrick, and in turn, his granddaughter Sandy Langley.

“The novel spans the course of single winter day, interspersed with memories from Sandy’s life—childhood days spent with her distracted, scholarly grandfather in a remote cabin in British Columbia’s interior mountains; later recollections of new motherhood; and then the tragic disappearance that would irrevocably shape the rest of her life, a day when all signs of the mysterious creature would disappear for thirty years. When the enigmatic tracks finally reappear, Sandy sets out on the trail alone, determined to find out the truth about the mystery that has shaped her life.”

The Wild Heavens is an impressive and evocative debut, containing beauty, tragedy and wonder in equal parts.”

According to Valley writer Tom Wayman, “Sarah Louise Butler demonstrates an astonishing ability to mix an intense and precise attention to detail regarding the natural world and family life with a powerful and convincing evocation of the inexplicable occurrences and essential mysteries that are aspects of both. . . . Butler’s accomplished command of style and story invites readers in and shows them marvels.”

筷子 – お箸 – Chopsticks

chop_sticks_v01We are proud to offer a fine variety of Japanese-made chopsticks in dozens of colours and styles – not to mention chopstick holders – and at present our selection may be at its height. 🙂

Some background on chopsticks: they have been used as eating utensils in China since the Han dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE), and by that point had already been in use as cooking utensils for perhaps a millennium.

Their use has since spread around the world, but the custom was gradually adopted first in neighbouring East Asian countries, into what some scholars refer to now as the “chopsticks cultural sphere”. Interestingly, the rest of the world can be divided into two other areas based on primary dining customs – where people eat with their hands and where forks and knives are used.

A Queer Memoir of Finding Love and Conceiving Family

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Writer and poet Jane Byers of Nelson is the author of this week’s Kootenay book pick, Small Courage: A Queer Memoir of Finding Love and Conceiving Family.

The book’s publisher, Caitlin Press, describes Small Courage as a “moving and inspiring memoir of a same-sex couple as they create a life together, adopt twins, and overcome challenges, from outside and within, to build their family.”

“Rarely do we know what life will hold. When starting the adoption process, Jane Byers and her wife could not have predicted the illuminating and challenging experience of living for two weeks with the Evangelical Christian foster parents of their soon-to-be adopted twins. Parenthood becomes even more daunting when homophobia threatens their beginnings as a family, seeping in from places both unexpected and familiar. But Jane and Amy are up for the challenge.

“In this moving and poetic memoir, Byers draws readers into her own tumultuous beginnings: her coming out years, finding love, and the start of her parenting journey. Love imprints itself where loneliness lived, but sometimes love, alone, is not enough to overcome trauma. Little did Byers know that her experiences when coming out was merely training for becoming an adoptive parent of racialized twins. Small Courage: A Queer Memoir of Finding Love and Conceiving Family is a thoughtful and heart-warming examination of love, queerness and what it means to be a family.”

Memories of a Doukhobor Life

OurBacksWarmedOur Backs Warmed by the Sun: Memories of a Doukhobor Life – the 2020 debut of Slocan Valley author Vera Maloff – is this week’s Kootenay book pick. The gripping saga of both a family and a community, it is a valuable addition to the fascinating – and often tragic – historical record of our diverse valley. Here’s more from publisher Caitlin Press:

“For many, the Doukhobor story is a sensational one: arson, nudity and civil disobedience once made headlines. But it isn’t the whole story. Our Backs Warmed by the Sun: Memories of a Doukhobor Life is an intricately woven, richly textured memoir of a family’s determination to live in peace and community in the face of controversy and unrest.

“When author Vera Maloff set out to find the truth about her family’s history, she knew something of the struggles of living a pacifist, agrarian life in a world with opposing values. To find the bones of that history she turned to her mother Elizabeth, who, in her nineties, had forgotten nothing.

“In Our Backs Warmed by the Sun, the author, through the stories of her mother, describes a wholly activist life. The Doukhobors—both the Sons of Freedom and moderate sects—led anti-military protests throughout the early 1900s, harboured draft dodgers in the 60s, and stood up for their beliefs. In response, they were hosed down, arrested, and jailed.

“Vera learns of the confusion and fear when, as a child, Elizabeth and her family were interned in an abandoned logging camp while their father served time in Oakalla prison for charges related to a peaceful protest, and of her loneliness when, later, she was institutionalized—one of a series of Canadian government efforts in assimilation. By removing the children, it was believed, the cycle of protest and resistance could be broken.

“Tracing the Doukhobor movement from Russia, the author explores the spiritual influence of its leaders. She does not shy away from the controversial actions of the Sons of Freedom in the darkest days of bombings and arson, or the toll on families and communities, probing with a historian’s curiosity and a daughter’s tenderness.

“Elizabeth’s story is also one of a small but thriving Kootenay community, and of the experiences of a family who stood by their beliefs. Laughter, ingenuity and tenacity are offered up in the pages of Our Backs Warmed by the Sun, an important and engaging window into our collective history.”

Recycled Wool Blankets

WHOOL_BLANKET_FB_01Our regular customers may know about Klippan’s gorgeous – and incredibly soft – Eco-Wool, Lambswool, and Merino Wool blankets, but may not realize we now carry their Recycled Wool blankets as well. Founded in 1879, the family-run Swedish textile designer has just introduced this new, even eco-friendlier line that uses leftover wool fibres – combined 50/50 with humanely-sourced Lambswool – to create the beautiful blankets you see pictured here, both of which are now available in store. 🙂

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Balancing Bountiful, BC

The Kootenays are blessed in many ways, and one is certainly the myriad talents of our neighbours throughout the region. Each week over the next month or so, Raven’s Nest would like to highlight an important book published by a Kootenay author since early 2020.

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We’ll begin with Mary Jayne Blackmore’s Balancing Bountiful: What I Learned about Feminism from My Polygamist Grandmothers, which made the annual BC bestseller list last year. The fifth of 150 children fathered by controversial Fundamentalist Mormon leader Winston Blackmore, Mary Jayne was born and raised in the idyllic but isolated community of Bountiful, just south of Creston.

Wed in a church-assigned marriage just before her 17th birthday, Blackmore had two children while still a teenager and yet was able to begin college at the age of 21. This “compelling memoir” details her “healing journey” as Blackmore explored the outside world before restoring “loving bonds with her family, including her father” and returning to Bountiful as an educator and proud feminist. For more information see caitlin-press.com/our-books/balancing-bountiful or drop on by.

Leggings Galore!

If you need leggings, we’ve got ya covered. We recently received a new style of Terry legging from Montreal’s Abaka that is a bit thicker than most. Made eco-responsibly in Quebec, these ethical fashion garments – available in Pine and Black – are two-thirds bamboo, 28% cotton, and 5% spandex (or terry). In addition to the regular Black legging that is a bit thinner, we also have a new one from Abaka in Navy Blue.

Overall we currently have a nice selection of colours and styles – made of organic cotton, hemp, or bamboo, of course – that are Canadian designed, and almost all the leggings are made here as well.

Photos courtesy Abaka

!New! Beautiful Rainforest Coconut Bowls!!!

These bowls are handcrafted from discarded coconut shells, and a tree is planted for each bowl sold.
Rainforest’s natural coconut bowls will perfect any eco-friendly kitchen of yours!
Biodegradable, much sustainable, long lasting, and adds some pure ‘coconuty-ness’ to your kitchen!
Add a tropical feeling to your summer picnic, bring the island feeling inside your cozy home in the winter, or just enjoy a salad in any one of the four seasons!
Choose the coconut bowl that totally suits you and your friends, and you’re rockin’!
Don’t forget to Enjoy!!!

~ Roza, nine years old!