This week’s featured blog is The Willow House Chronicles, the blog of Sheri aka Barefootheart (don’t you love that nickname? I do!). Sheri is a self-described late-50s mother of 3 grown daughters, a long-time horsekeeper, a crazy cat lady, a book reader, a student of nature, and a gardener. She currently keeps two horses and a donkey, 6 cats and a husband. Although she grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Sheri always wanted to live in the country. She and her husband moved to a rural home when they married and have lived in the country ever since. Over the years, she has enjoyed observing and studying nature, because there is always something new to see and learn.
Sheri, why do you blog? What got you started?
When I began the Chronicles, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I would write about. I was spurred on to begin, however, by Seabrooke, my highly successful blogger daughter, who writes The Marvelous in Nature and is part of the Nature Blog Network team. She got tired of me making suggestions and said “Write your own blog!” and finally I did.
Seabrooke has a zoology degree and a strong background in hands-on zoology, so her posts tend to be more technical or detailed, while my nature-related posts offer the view of a layman nature lover.
How has blogging changed how you think about nature? or how you write?
Blogging has sharpened my powers of observation as I have an eye constantly on the lookout for interesting phenomenon suitable for a blog post. Further, blogging has encouraged me to look more closely at natural phenomenon that I might not have otherwise inquired into beyond a cursory observation, and this deeper understanding has been rewarding. I have enjoyed sharing my observations and findings with others.
What do you like most and least about blogging?
I began my blog with the goal of posting an entry every day for one year. I completed that challenge on February 4th, a few weeks ago. It has been a very satisfying experience, but also a very demanding one. Planning topics, lining up appropriate photographs and completing research as needed, can be quite time-consuming.
Blogging offers a number of satisfactions. It is very nice to have a place to post photographs you love and be able to share them with others. While retaining a core of nature-related subjects, I have also covered local events and other diverse topics. After a lifetime lived in the Toronto region of Ontario, my husband and I relocated to eastern Ontario a year ago. Keeping the Willow House Chronicles has given me an outlet to share my experiences in exploring a new region and its history. It was moving to a new house that inspired my blog title. The name for the house just popped into my head one morning as I was enjoying a walk around the garden, and it seemed like a good name for a blog that examines daily events and observations in and around my home.
As I am an avid reader, I decided to include book reviews in my blog and established Bibliophilia Mondays. The books covered range from light fiction to non-fiction on an assortment of topics.
Now that I have a year’s worth of entries, it is pleasant to look back over the year and observe the changing seasons, revisit favorite events and remember interesting sights. It also provides a calendar for anticipating the schedule of the upcoming year.
How do you promote your blog and attract readers?
It has been rewarding to gradually build up a readership. I haven’t done too much to promote Willow House Chronicles, but try to join blog carnivals regularly to reach new potential readers. I also had business cards featuring my blog address printed and keep a few with me to hand out occasionally as opportunities arise. I have a few regular readers who often leave comments and I enjoy hearing from them very much. I also have got to know other writers through their blogs and have enjoyed sharing the experiences of other nature bloggers.
Anything else you’d like me to ask you, or that you’d like to volunteer without being asked?
In the past year, I posted a few entries about environmentally important issues such as keeping cats indoors and drinking shade-grown coffee. In the upcoming year, I would like to help raise awareness of conservation issues like these through my blog. As the new gardening season approaches, I hope to also feature posts on organic and nature-friendly gardening.
Thank you, Sheri.