The Great Canadian Tree-Warmer and The Crackling

There is a flurry of activities planned in the coming weeks here at ORA and although winter has been a little easier on us this year we’re excited to close out the season with maple syrup and The Great Canadian Tree-Warmer project.

Since January artists have worked on creative tree-warmers that will be exhibited in the forest at ORA. This display of creativity will be viewable over 4 weeks by booking a guided snowshoe into the exhibition area.
Some of our exhibiting artist:
Jane Armstrong –
Karina Bergmans –
Maria Bruni
Shelley Clarke
Molly Cox
Jessie Gussack –
Jude Johnston
Lisa Keophilla –
Liz Pead –
Michael Rennick –

We’re also please to be hosting another intimate house concert with The Crackling. As part of Madic Records living room concert series, if you enjoyed our fall show with Astral Swans consider joining us for another bonfire and music filled evening.

Event info

The Great Canadian Tree-Warmer*
Outdoor Art Exhibition – March 12 to April 9
Book a guided hike contact Joey at
Or drop by ORA any Saturday between 1-3pm without a booking
Snowshoes or IceGrips are strongly recommended 
The Crackling concert March 12
Welcome fire at 6pm
Music at 8pm
The Great Canadian Tree-Warmer*
Community Celebration – Saturday April 2 from 12 – 6 pm
*This is a free event but we’ll be happy to accept PWYC donations for North Hastings Community Trust

Call for Artists – The Great Canadian Tree Warmer

The Great Canadian Tree Warmer

WINTER: for many Canadians it’s too darn long and down-right cold. People spend months indoors hibernating, or wrap themselves in multiple layers of their warmest clothes to beat the bone chilling days. But there is a uniquely beautiful time of year when winter is drawing to a close and the days are getting noticeably longer; a time when trees begin to wake from their dormancy and daytime temperatures rise above freezing; a time where a very subtle earthiness on the breeze signals spring is just around the corner. This is maple sugaring season, a chance for people from different communities to come together and celebrate the sweet end to winter. The craft of maple sugaring has been a long-standing tradition for many Canadians. It is a practice that connects us to the bounty of the forest and reminds us to cherish the gifts of our natural resources. This year, Owl Ridge Acres will be hosting an experimental art project to celebrate the season and decorate the forest through creative Tree-Warmer installations.

A call for local and national artists, photographers, writers, crafters, knitters, sewists and other creative types that are interested in creating a Tree-Warmer installation.

Tree-Warmer Info:
– Materials must allow air to circulate to the bark of the tree.
– Installations should be able to be tied on, or hung, without puncturing the tree’s bark
– Installations cannot contain any hazardous materials that might harm the tree or surrounding forest
– Installations must be within 25cm wide by 75cm long (1 foot by 3 feet) or a full wrap of 45cm x 75cm
– Installations must be able to stand up to outdoor exposure for the duration of the show (freezing, wind, rain, snow, sun, fluctuating temperatures)
Please submit a short proposal (200 words or less), 3 jpg or pdf images of your work, plan, or website where your work can be viewed.

Application deadline Jan 5, 2016
Accepted Submissions will be notified no later than Jan 8, 2016

Accepted Submission to be received by March 8, 2016

Show runs from March 12 to April 9
Community celebration April 2, 12 to 6pm
30914 HWY 28 East
Bancroft, Ontario

Guided hikes every Saturday 1-3 pm or by appointment. (Snowshoes or Ice Grips recommended)

In the living room with Astral Swans


Among the different events planned here at ORA we are happy to bring you a music performance this October! The indie, lo-fi, no wave, sludge crooning of Astral Swans will be playing an intimate show in the living room for your enjoyment.

Matthew Swann is a musician from Calgary that is currently touring living rooms across Ontario. Performing tracks from his latest album All My Favorite Singers Are Willie Nelson, for those that would like to familiarize themselves with the album it can be streamed at

The show is on Saturday, October 17, 2015
RSVP on the facebook event at

ORA looks forward to hosting more of these intimate events to bring the music-loving community together. We are working at creating a larger space to accommodate more guest for events like this. It’s been a really trip through history as we remove walls and tear through the multiple layers of  wallpaper.  We’ll apologize for our appearance in advance as some of these renovations are still on going.


Artistic Hootananny & Harvest Picnic

It was a beautiful weekend to get together with family, friends and neighbours over the love of local food and art. The Art Barn displayed a bounty of locally grown produce, eye-catching art by Joey Bruni, Dianne Eastman, Ken Fraser, Roy Mitchell, Freddie Towe, Don Wilson, Colleen Zetaruk and beautiful poetry by Suzanne Ballantyne.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather as the sun went down and The Cocoon Project lit up Saturday night. Gathering around the bonfire as folks helped welcome the first weekend of fall under a brilliant full moon, was a wonderful warm up to Sunday’s Harvest Picnic. There was no shortage of local goodness to indulge in and surprise visitors to welcome.

Hobby Farm Harvest & Creative Weekend

As much as we don’t like to admit it summer is rounding to a close. The deciduous trees are losing their green colour and the gardens of the hobby farm are seeing major progress in root crops and late season producing vegetables/fruit.
What better time to celebrate the harvest and a chance to spend time with friends and neighbours. We’re hosting a creative weekend and harvest picnic at the end of September. Come get creative, enjoy the fall colours and say farewell to summer as we welcome a new season.
RSVP for the event on facebook –

Alex Bowron shares her ORA experience

Transcribed Unedited Notebook Notes From a Month of Solitude

ORA – DAY 1 (arrival)

Beautiful drive; clear, sunny, dry, wide open. Lots to learn. Picked my room. Have a lot of hope and high expectations for myself. Some nerves, but mostly I just wanna be alone.

a vibration that begins in my heels, runs the length of the backs of my legs, shoots sharply through my center and then dissipates throughout my torso. It rarely reaches my head.

feels a lot like déja vue

a woman alone is grounded; able to move and pause as she feels.

a woman alone is generous to herself.

Studying the rituals of


‘her body was free to follow its own rules: a long-legged gait too fast for companionship’ (Prodical S. 2)

‘She kept to her own thoughts then, touching them like smooth stores deep in a pocket’ (18)

When you can hear yourself breathe you remember to……



A busy one: lots of preparing – to leave and to stay. Just stoked the fire solo for the first time. Only cursed three or four times. It is very quiet. Just the air blowing thru the vents. I’m living with ladybugs…

3.LB.1 4.LB.2

Lady Chatterly’s Lover     – Connie
‘…like so many modern men, he was finished almost before he had begun’
(Ch. 5)

it had hit her in the
middle of her body
it lay inside her
growing with each passing moment of solitude

hearing yourself breath

a lone wolf by choice

Nietzsche … solitude … Zarathustra…
•    seclusion as spiritual strengthening
•    Siddhartha Gautama  (passes from safety/luxury to reality/hardship through solitude to enlightenment and then returns)
•    monk on a mountain
(the stars last night brought me to my knees – there is no way to describe such breathtaking depth)

historically, it is men who are awarded desired solitude. it is a selfish thing that brings one in touch with the self and allows for self-improvement and a readjustment of priorities.

We worship independence but fear alienation. We desire to be recognized in order to feel legitimate.

sleep is nature’s way of ensuring



Last night the stars put me to the ground. Snowshoed the trail alone today. Veered away at one point – the sun was low, trees shadows long and so, so quiet. Fire went down to 43 but I got it up again with a good stoke. Worked. Not quite enough, but well. Nights are the only thing that’s taking a toll. Didn’t sleep well (too hot, coughing, too quiet…I think…). I just want the days right now. Especially the mornings

6.snowshoe.1 7.snowshoe.2


Days are already melding together. The sound of my voice speaking to others was strange to me today. I could really hear it. I tried walking into town but I left at three – the sun sets at 5:30 and the roads are narrow and slick with snow. Got some work done. Not enough reading. Need to both pace and push myself.



Already I am aware that if I wasn’t writing down the date every day I’d loose track of time. I wrote some good short think pieces today. I am beginning to gather my momentum with this experience. I am also aware of how quickly this time will pass. I am growing accustomed to the silence and subtle sounds of winter. The air is incredibly crisp. I wept alone in the woods today…

9.woods.1 10.woods.2


Hit a hump today. Woke up down after another rough sleep. Took care of some errands, came back ready to disappoint myself with a throw-away-day, but ended up working. Wrote some stuff I liked. Tested the Go Pro camera then wrote some more. Still haven’t fit enough reading in, but I feel I will. Every day begins with at least half an hour of Violette Leduc. Begun work on my website. Feeling apprehensive about how I’ll make it what I want. But it feels possible – which is good.

A woman alone is internally curious, her body modular and free to track its own habits. Once doubt is awarded passage through an exit wound that wasn’t there before, necessary adjustments can be made so she will become receptive to her own thoughts. A narrow passageway dispatches the smooth surfaces into being: reinvented through intervention.

It is alluring and impossibly unified, reinforced by the subtly defiant architecture of a confined and chaotic space. If approved, the wobbly vibration may enter at the balls of her feet, running the length of her legs, gathering steam as it shoots sharply into her core and then dissipates abruptly before reaching her head. It is this very lack that drives her – like Déjà vu sustained and without source; like being granted access to the gnarled entrance hall of a burrowing invertebrate.

With such a long-legged stride she was considered too fast for companionship. Although dour to admit, she feels it for what it is: a clearing out of what is no longer required. With this, a spillage and slippage of what was once contained, she is finally able to focus. Basking in diffracted rays she takes advantage of this entanglement of intuition and cognition and redistributes her energy. What results is confident, odd and odorless, charged with intimacy and firmly bound in an amorous dance with itself.


Missed this day. Too much going on that refused my rhythm.


Had fun but felt guilty, or mostly anxious, most of the time. The weekend’s can be easily wasted if not planned properly. The work around the house is satisfying in its own way but I am selfish: I want all of time to myself.


I find myself capable of detecting the movement of the forest. Not only tracks, scat and worn tree trunks, but the behavior of the snow and the sound of the cold. The trail is different every day, in a subtle way that I would only notice from frequent contact. Today I followed a coyote; yesterday deer; and every day the woodpecker.

11.tracks 12.binos 13.field


I’m beginning to find these entries less and less useful. Too much self-consciousness can detract from existing in the moment. I am entering production; allowing it to enter me. Joy is not sustained, nor do I wish it to be.


Spent all of today on one piece. Spent part of yesterday on it too. Will spend tomorrow and the day after and every other day on it until I have what I want. I know I am slow and I know it will be decades until I feel a firm and steady grasp on my craft.



This experience is more of a personal, healing journey then I could ever have predicted and more than I ever would have hoped. My spiritual findings feed into an intellectual process. It feels exciting in one moment and then I loose the ability to feel lit at all. This place is regenerating and generative. I hope the affects will be lasting…

Keep yourself, your perspective, context, desires, fears, what you like and don’t like in mind; especially when viewing the work.

Below is an article written during my stay at Owl Ridge Acres

Momus The Contemporary Erotics of Laurie Kang

Welcome to Owl Ridge Acres

Owl Ridge Acres is looking for creative people in need of reconnecting with nature, time to focus on their practice or spending time with other artistic folks in a rural setting. Come be part of a growing community! ORA is now open to accepting applications for Summer and Fall residencies.


Throughout the season we also look forward to bringing you a variety of events and special interest programming. Please feel free to follow this blog, Twitter or Facebook for the latest.