Join us for a cup of tea as we grow together in Hobbitness and Holiness, inspired by the faith and philosophy of JRR Tolkien.
Episode 27: Living Like a Hobbit: Homesteading Tips for Beginners with Rosie Hill
This week we’re joined by Rosie Hill of A Blog for My Mom to chat about her family’s homesteading journey! Rosie shares about her experience, what she’s learned, and her favorite resources for anyone interested in taking steps towards living like a hobbit in this way. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Me in February: trying to convince everyone to start a garden, bake their own bread, and homeschoolEveryone: *not caring*Me in March: trying to convince everyone to start a garden, bake their own bread, and homeschoolEveryone: *asking me all the questions bc IT'S HAPPENING*
— Rosie Hill (@RosieHill425) March 26, 2020 Connect with RosieHer Blog: A Blog for My Mom
Mentioned in this EpisodeRosie’s Pizza Crust Recipe
Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening
The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Ep. 26: On Fairy Stories and The Gospel as the Greatest Fairy-Story
This week, we’re talking about Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy Stories”, looking at Tolkien’s term Eucatastrophe, and how Tolkien calls the Gospels the Greatest Fairy-Story.
I wanted to begin with a little bit on Tolkien’s essay, On Fairy-Stories. Now this is in no way comprehensive because it’s really quite a long essay, but I still wanted to give you all an intro.
Written in 1939, this essay was presented by Tolkien as the as the Andrew Lang lecture at the University of St Andrews, in Scotland. For a bit of context, Andrew Lang was a Scottish poet, novelist, literary critic, and anthropologist with a love for folk and fairy tales. Tolkien’s essay was a response to Lang’s work as a folklorist and collector of fairy tales but it really grew into something much more.
On The Tolkien Estate’s website you can find an essay written by Verlyn Flieger, where she discusses On Fairy -Stories.
“If it were nothing else, “On Fairy-stories” would have a primary place in Tolkien scholarship as Tolkien’s definitive statement about his art — which he called “Sub-creation” — and the concept that lies behind it — the power of words to create a Secondary World. However, “On Fairy-stories” has a good deal more to offer, and to a wider audience, than a simple artistic declaration, however important, to a fellowship of scholars. It is also a wide-ranging discussion aimed at anyone interested in the subject of fairy tales…”
“And finally and above all, it is essential reading for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the multivalent myth, epic and fairy tale romance that is The Lord of the Rings.”
Tolkien addresses three questions primarily: What are fairy stories? What are their origins? And what is the use of them? It is also in On Fairy-Stories that we first see the word Eucatastrophe, a term coined by Tolkien himself, which we’ll talk about in a bit.
So if you weren’t sure if it was an essay worth reading, I hope by now you’re convinced!
You can find On Fairy Stories in a few different places. First, there are a few free PDFs floating around the internet and I’m linking to one of them in the show notes. If you’d like to purchase a copy or perhaps find one at your local library, you can find it included in “Tree and Leaf” or “The Monsters and the Critics”. Both are linked at the bottom of this post.
I wanted to read the first few lines of the essay because I think they set the tone quite well for the rest of the essay, as well as my own Tolkien studies.
“I propose to speak about fairy-stories, though I am aware that this is a rash adventure. Faerie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary and dungeons for the overbold. And overbold I may be accounted, for though I have been a lover of fairy-stories since I learned to read, and have at times thought about them, I have not studied them professionally. I have been hardly more than a wandering explorer (or trespasser) in the land, full of wonder but not of information.”
- JRR Tolkien, On Fairy Stories
If you’ve been listening to our podcast for a while, I think I read this quote in our very first episode because it reflects my own feelings toward reading and studying Tolkien -- I am a lover of Tolkien’s works, although I haven’t studied them professionally (yet).
So after just a super brief introduction to On Fairy Stories, I wanted to discuss a question that’s come up a lot over the years, moreso in my experience in Evangelical circles but it’s also something I’ve heard Catholics wrestle with: Should Christians read fairy tales?
To put it plainly, the answer is yes. In “On Fairy Stories”
Episode 25: Quaran-Tea with Tolkien
So if you’re listening to this right now in the Long Lent of 2020, we are currently in the midst of a pandemic due to the coronavirus! I hope if you’re listening at some point in the future that things have settled down and everything is just fine and we’ve put this whole thing far, far behind us…
But right now, we’re all struggling. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected by this.
On top of worrying about the actual virus, many of us are also experiencing a sudden loss of income, a dramatic change in our daily routine, some of you I know have been alone in your apartment for weeks and are having a difficult time adjusting to simply being alone all the time. You need a hug. I hope this can be like a virtual hug in whatever way that’s possible.
Healthcare workers like my husband and many of our friends are working extra hours under higher stress, and many others are navigating working from home… It’s just all around very stressful for everyone in a lot of different ways.
I wanted to share this episode with our current situation in mind but I think it will be useful for any time you find yourself having to stay at home for long periods of time, or honestly whenever you need a little encouragement or inspiration to be a bit more Hobbity.
I also wanted to say that staying home, social distancing, self-quarantine… whatever you call it… would naturally be very difficult for Hobbits as they loved spending time with each other, throwing parties, gathering at the pub to gossip about Bilbo and Frodo… and it’s okay that it’s hard for us too.
We were created to live in fellowship and we are being asked to make this sacrifice for the time being, and I just wanted to acknowledge that it’s okay if you’re struggling with this. That being said, I hope sharing these ideas will help you feel a little inspired and cheered up and ready to choose well what to do with this time that’s been given to you.
Read | This one might seem obvious, but log out of Netflix and pick up a book! Scrolling through twitter for 14 hours a day is not good for you, ask me how I know. Obviously I’m going to recommend reading Tolkien. If you haven’t read The Lord of the Rings yet, now’s your chance. And if you have but you haven’t read The Silmarillion, do it! If you’ll be ordering books online, check if any of your local bookstores offer online shopping, or try getting it straight from the publisher if possible. Smaller businesses are hurting right now, so try to support them if you can.
If you need any other book recommendations, visit teawithtolkien.com/bookshelf for all of my book reviews and my to-be-read list. Many of them are available on the Kindle, so you don’t have to worry about going to a bookstore or ordering anything online.
Go Outside | I can’t help but imagine a bunch of hobbits sitting on their front porches yelling to one another about potatoes and cabbages. If you have a porch, so sit on it! In whatever way you’re able, even if it’s just opening a window and breathing a little fresh air -- DO IT. I try to take a walk everyday with the kids and it helps so much. So if you’re able to take a walk, take a walk. If you can’t go outside at all, open your windows and let the sunshine in.
Pray | Tolkien recommended ‘making a habit of the praises’ in a letter to his son, especially in times of distress. He also wrote, “It is also a good and admirable thing to know by heart the Canon of the Mass, for you can say this in your heart if ever hard circumstances keep you from hearing Mass..." which feels very applicable as all public Masses in the US are currently suspended. The prayers Tolkien recommended can be found at www.teawithtolkien.com/blog/prayers.
Be Creative | Spend some time sitting with your own thoughts and then create something! Pick up a notebook and journal, write poetry, paint, o
Ep. 24: On Art, Literature, and Sub-Creation with Haleigh DeRocher
Hi guys! I’m sure you’ve noticed we’ve taken a break from the podcast this past month but I wanted to pop back in with this short episode in which I was joined by Haleigh DeRocher of Sweet Sequels. Black Friday is literally upon us even though it’s only Thursday evening as I’m recording this, and Haleigh’s etsy shop is one of my favorite places to find unique bookish gifts and she’s running a lovely sale so be sure to check her shop out!
And before we jump into the episode I wanted to remind you that the Tea with Tolkien pop up shop is only open for only TWO more days — we’ll close at the end of the day on November 30th! We’ve got our Hobbit at Heart hoodies and mugs and Christmasy totes and onesies and more, so check it out — I’ll leave the link in the show notes or you can just go to etsy.com/shop/teawithtolkien.
We’re also running a Small Business Saturday / Black Friday sale so you can save $20 off orders of $100 or more with code FRIDAY20 or get 10% off your entire order with code SAVE10.
So a little bit more about Haleigh. She’s a super talented artist who focuses on creating pieces inspired by her favorite books, so of course there are tons of references to Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as well as plenty of other authors in her shop. I’ve been following her on instagram for years now and I was so excited when she agreed to create the beautiful cover art for my Lord of the Rings companion journal and devotional, To Middle-Earth and Back Again. It turned out so well and since we had this connection, I wanted to talk to her for just a little bit about her art and such. I hope you’ll grab a cup of tea and enjoy this conversation!
Haleigh’s Etsy Shop: Sweet Sequels
Episode 23: Beorn & Beekeeping with Daniel Stewart
This week, we are joined by Daniel Stewart to chat about living like a Hobbit, beekeeping, and our favorite bear-man Beorn! I learned a ton about beekeeping and I hope you will too!
About this week’s guest:Daniel is a husband, father, beekeeper, whisky maker, and Tolkien fan. He lives in Waco, TX with his wife and four children.
Links:GIMLI, GALADRIEL, AND GUADALUPE: AN IMAGE OF OUR LADY IN THE LADY OF LOTHLORIENTHE LAST RITES OF BOROMIRHaley’s book I mentioned: “The Grace of Enough” by Haley Stewart”Daniel’s TwitterDaniel’s Instagram
Ep. 22: Leaf by Niggle with Fr. Dan Bedel
In this episode, we are joined for Tea by Father Dan Bedel! We talked about one of Tolkien’s lesser-known works, Leaf by Niggle, as well as Tolkien’s Catholic faith, Harry Potter, and the upcoming Lord of the Rings tv show being produced by Amazon.
Tolkien writes that this story is “the only thing I have ever done which cost me absolutely no pains at all. Usually I compose only with great difficulty and endless rewriting. I woke up one morning (more than 2 years ago) with that odd thing virtually complete in my head. It took only a few hours to get down, and then copy out. I am not aware of ever ‘thinking’ of the story or composing it in the ordinary sense.” - Letter 98
“I recollect nothing about the writing, except that I woke one morning with it in my head, scribbled it down -- and the printed form in the main hardly differs from the first hasty version at all. I find it still quite moving, when I reread it. It is not really or properly an ‘allegory’ so much as ‘mythical’. For Niggle is meant to be a real mixed-quality person and not an ‘allegory’ of any single vice or virtue…” - Letter 241
Customer ReviewsSee All
A great and heartwarming podcast
I absolutely love when this podcast comes on in my feed. It's a moment of heartwarming, small joy in an otherwise hectic day.
New to Tolkien
I don't actually know anything about The Lord of the Rings. Like, at all. But this podcast makes me want to! It brings out the themes of Tolkien's stories in a really simple and beautiful way. Sooo I'm probably gonna finally pick up my Middle Earth collection and read it (after I'm caught up on this podcast, of course ;)
Thank you for doing this, Kaitlyn!
Such a relaxing podcast
I love this podcast because it’s short and not so in depth as a lot of Tolkien podcasts, which can make for a nice break occasionally. It’s also been fun learning more about the catholic symbolism from a catholic host! I’m not catholic, so some of those similarities are lost on me.