I found Cayla on Instagram a while back and have loved following her ever since. She radiates beautiful, strong energy and her pictures are so magickal. I love watching her garden adventures in the Spring and Summer and her family is so sweet as well. Learn more about her below and don’t forget to follow her to join in her adventures!
What does a typical day in your life look like?
I wake up at 6 am and start the kettle for tea/coffee. My daughter and husband typically sleep until 8. I used to really hate waking up this early. But now I look forward to it, as it is usually the only alone time I get. I will usually read, work on a creative project, or do some light stretching. Spring and Summer afternoons are my favorite. After breakfast I go outside to check on the garden. A few years ago my friend tried to install a self watering system through out my garden beds while he was house sitting. I really enjoy taking the time to water all of my plants. Needless to say, I ripped out all the self watering hoses as soon as I got home! When you’re spending that one on one time with your plants you establish a bond. And you can notice right away if there is a deficiency or a pest infestation! Now that Juni is a bit older I have been letting her help me in the kitchen with dinner. I think it is so important for tradition like this. I never helped my parents in the kitchen. But I think there is something magical about cooking as a family. Passing down recipes generation to generation. I hope my daughter has fond memories of helping me cook.
You’re like a magical garden fairy! What got you into gardening? What do you grow? What’s your fave thing you grow?
I have always been in to gardening. I grew up in a small rural town in Northern Michigan. My Mother has always been an avid gardener. I have memories of weeding her 10+ gardens on our 5 acres. Back then I thought it was a punishment. Now, with all the new technology, weed covers, and all that, I would rather be hands in the dirt, pulling those weeds on my own. You have to be in there doing all the work by hand. That is how you get to know the plants. At my home now we have 9 5×8 beds where we grow all of our vegetables. This past year was the first year we have been able to sustain ourselves over the winter!! What an accomplishment! We still have potatoes in the cellar. My favorite thing to grow is herbs! I dug out a massive bed next to our garage when I was pregnant. It was a labor of love. We have nettle, motherwort, mullein, yarrow, calendula, lavender, flax, mugwort. I would rather be out foraging for these herbs. But it is so beneficial to have them in the backyard. Learning and making our own medicine.
Do you have any advice for people that want to start gardening? Any tips?
I believe that everyone should try and grow their own food or medicine. It is a revolutionary act! Take your life into your own hands. Maintaining a garden is fairly simple with a little bit of knowledge and intuition. One book that really helped lay out our whole backyard plan is titled “self sufficiency on a 1/4 acre” We live right outside of Detroit, here in Michigan. Even with a little bit of land you can grow food and support your family. Start small… if you have the land put in a bed or two. If you have a porch or a window, fill a box with some dirt and seeds. Something simple and instantly gratifying to grow is lettuce! Once it pops up, you can pick it as it grows and have a fresh salad every day!
You’re also a rad mama! What’s the best part of being a mama? What advice do you have to people thinking of having a baby?
I would have to say my favorite thing about being a mama is having the chance to be a kid again myself. I love watching her discover things for the first time. Playing games and being silly. My advice to people wanting a baby… Family and community are key to survival. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. After my friend had a baby, we all signed up for a day to bring them meals for a month. And when they went back to work and their baby wasn’t in daycare yet, she asked us all to help out until they got him in. At first I thought she was being pretty bold and it was a lot to ask. But honestly, this is what all moms need! We need one another more than we think. I suffered from ppd because I didn’t allow myself the time or freedom. I was too afraid to ask for help.
What’s your biggest wish for your daughter?
My biggest wish for my daughter is that she grows into a self thinking, confident woman. I grew up thinking I wasn’t enough, that I wasn’t capable of achieving my dreams on my own. I want my daughter to know she can do anything!
You’re super artistic. What kind of things do you make?
I LOVE making things with found objects. Right now I am really passionate about my fiber art. A few years ago I started making these landscapes sewn with recycled fiber remnants. I have always been into thrifting and making my own clothes, so I have saved a lot of unique textiles and scraps. Most would think my studio space is a disaster. There is some sense to the chaos. I also make cute little plush toys! I had an Etsy for awhile. I just do custom orders now.
What’s something you’ve struggled with in life? What has it taught you?
Something I have always struggled with is my self confidence and wanting acceptance from everyone. This is such an exhausting way to live. I have given up on a lot of my own dreams because I didn’t think I was good enough. After becoming a mother I have been able to become more comfortable and confident in my own skin.
What’s your fave thing about where you live? You’re least fave?
I love living so close to Detroit. There is so much art, music, culture and a sense of community. As much as I love the city, it is also what I like the least. I grew up in rural northern Michigan. I miss the space, exploring the forest, getting lost in nature. I lived in a very small town. My graduating class consisted of 63 kids! All of which I had started kindergarten with. My partner and I dream of moving back north so that our daughter can share the same experiences I had growing up.
Tell me one of your favourite books!
My absolute favorite book is Just Kids by Patti Smith. Read it and you will cry your eyes out. I really like books that make me cry. Another favorite is Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. Outside of novels, I am in LOVE with author and herbalist, Stephen Harrod Buhner. He will BLOW your mind wide open with his fascinating insight on plants and how they communicate with us and the world.
What are you ‘known’ for?
I guess I am known for being creative and artistic. My friends and family usually come to me when they need decorations made for a party. A custom Halloween costume. Plush toys for their babies.
Can you show me your fave photo you’ve ever taken? Why’s it your fave?
Oh! This is a hard one. The photo I find myself staring at most (it is the only picture on my refrigerator) is one I took of my husband and daughter on the porcupine mountains in the upper Peninsula of Michigan. We had hiked 10 miles along the shore of Lake Superior. All the while with my 10 month old daughter on my back. The photo is one of my favorites because it is candid and brings me back to that special day.
What are your priorities right now?
Right now I am putting myself first. It is a bit difficult when you have a two year old. I have been trying to incorporate moments of self care throughout the day. It feels good to get to know myself again and reconnect with the things that make me, me.
Whats your ultimate goal, personally and professionally?
Our ultimate goal as a family is to move on to land where we can learn to be self sufficient.