Whilst the winds blow…


Planning a vegetable garden,a flower garden, perhaps an herb garden? If you have fiber animals, or are a fiber fanatic like me; your thoughts may also lead you to planning a garden for color…fiber color. There is no need to have an entire garden devoted to natural dyes…just add some plants that will grow in your area (zone); take rhubarb for instance, anyone can grow rhubarb- heck you may already have some in your yard. A much unappreciated plant, (unless you make rhubarb jelly, crumble or pie) It thrives in almost any garden. The tuberous, fibrous tissue at the base of the leaf-stalks feels sticky and soapy when skinned and sliced, but when boiled for an hour so, and strained, yields a lovely color – a serious pastel-yellow. Approximately 90% of all plants yield some shade of yellow…

Dye plants may interest the gardener who is also a spinner or fiber artist. Nature has its own palette of colors with dozens of dye possibilities, which even include some nuts, fruits, vegetables and other common foods and fungus (yup, fungus).Natural dyes are everywhere, colors can even come from tree leaves ; berries ; herbs, nuts and shells,and barks.

Growing the dye plants is easy, and can be fun project. But getting the most vivid colors from plant pigments and making more permanent dyes involves mordanting, or treating the fiber before you dye it with a metallic compound, such as alum.
Mordanting is a process..so more on that in another post. I will also post on needed equipment.

Different parts of the plants yield different colors…

Plants yield these colors most commonly, yellows and tans, blues, and reds; believe it or not, green is the most difficult color to achieve – seems odd doesn’t it.
Some plants you might consider:
Woad for true blues(a very, very invasive weed-take good care with this one)
Madder for intense orange, scarlet and plum
Saint John’s wort for gold, maroon and green
Sunflowers for deep olive greens
Hollyhocks for yellow, mahogany and reddish black
Purple loose strife for gold, brown and black (another invasive plant)
Weld for strong clear yellow
Coreopsis for deep yellows, oranges, browns and maroon
Lady’s bedstraw for orange, gold and pinky red

Well, I have to get back to ordering seeds and chicks…I will try not to be too over-zealous in my pursuit of both…

Speaking of pursuits, pictures from our December barn rescue(partial rescue):
winter weeds

barn old

winter barn

winter closed

winter doors

barn 029.1

winter saving

Be Well,
Jess

Sharing a cup of comfort…


Do you feel it? The warmth of Christmas in the air; in your heart? It is in the chatter of children, as the excitement of gifts under the tree builds, it’s in the sweet smell of pine that fills the living room, it’s in mankind’s generosity, it’s in taste of a peppermint candy cane stirring your hot cocoa…yes, it is every where if you just take a moment to notice.

JOY 12

It’s in the faith and hope that inspires us throughout the year. It’s in the shared Joy. A shared meal. or a meal given…We were on our way to NYC to bring Courtney to an appointment at the children’s transplant center at Mount Sinai Hospital. A trip interrupted; appointment was cancelled en route. (a clerical error, I won’t go into that, let it suffice to say, I was not happy, and her Momma?…well, you can imagine) We made the best of the day, driving to Rockefeller Center to see the festive windows, Christmas tree, and happy skaters (Courtney’s favorite part of the day). We ate our lunch at the Brooklyn Diner, She ordered a hot dog, when it arrived at the table we all had a good laugh. She ate about 2 bites of it, she wasn’t feeling too well.
hotdog

As we walked back to the car we passed a homeless young man with his dog, who donned a grey sweatshirt; sleeves rolled up over his paws, sitting on the side-walk, back to a tall NY, cold, stone building. As we passed, I overheard a bit of a conversation between this (boy really) and a concerned caring woman. “Have you eaten today?”, was all that I heard, I did not hear the answer. We looked at each other; Gina ( Courtney’s Mom, wondered if it would be ok to offer him Courtney’s uneaten Hotdog. We agreed, at least we could offer. Courtney and I walked over to the boy and his dog, and the girl awaiting a transplant to sustain her life; quietly handed the lonely boy her meal. She softly patted the massive dog’s head and walked back to her waiting Momma, not a word spoken; none needed.
NYC courtney

Have you felt the warmth of Christmas?

warm light

The warmth of Christmas is felt in every act of kindness. I love Christmas.

NYC creche

Be Well,
Jess

Wordless Wednesday…A Rat in Hooville.


I smell a rat, he calls it his RAT ROD…I call it Tetanus.

1938 Chevrolet.

Oh Lordy Be. I love that Man!

Be Well,
Jess