foraging and gardening update

Last week when Katrina and I were at MOP we cut back some of the Oregon grape as a part of the site work we were doing. I was struck by the colour of the inner bark- knowing the roots were a dye, but I had no idea the bark was as well. I brought home the branches, and scraped of the bark for a dye test.

the branches are worthy of saving, the scraped pattern of colour is so stunning!

the branches are worthy of saving, the scraped pattern of colour is so stunning!

I poured boiling water over the bark, let it sit overnight, then simmered about an hour before pouring the bark and water back into the jar and leaving it to sit for another few days to pull any remaining colour from the bark. The water now feels quiet thick and viscous, and a short dip of a linen strik shows  great promise for a strong clear yellow.

linen test strik with dye in the background- not a urine sample in case you were wondering....

linen test strik with dye in the background- not a urine sample in case you were wondering….

the grey fibre is 2 ply linen roving I spun that I am going to do a dip dye with- hoping to get a multicoloured skein to try a backstrap weaving experiment.

Meanwhile things grow in the gardens- or in most of them. I actually had to reseed at hastings urban farm, I think the seed was all eaten by the birds. This time we have netting in place, as well as a sign so the local gardeners know to help us with watering- in case the seeds just dry out too much in the current heat.IMG_1685

but the milkweed at hastings farm is easily 3 times the size as at the other two sites…

milkweed fibre in progress

milkweed fibre in progress

at Trillium North it is curious to see how the Marylin seed variety has come up so much faster then the elecra seed- you can see the green corner where the Marylin grows.

And last night at trillium we processed fireweed from the stalks for future use as well as harvesting some green nettle fibre.

nettle fibre, green  freshly harvested and green fibre hackled a few weeks back

nettle fibre, green freshly harvested and green fibre hackled a few weeks back

and the night ended on the high note of Tracy and David collaborating on making an ancient glue stick of sorts…. Tracy brought pine pitch, heated it up and David provided some wood ash to mix in, and it was stirred and rolled onto a stick. This would traditionally be used to waterproof a basket or waterproof the seam in a canoe.

pine pitch+charcoal= glue stick, who knew?

pine pitch+charcoal= glue stick, who knew?

Amazing! I am cherishing my nights with Tracy, every time we meet I learn so much. Now I get to go spin and try drumming using the rhythm of my spinning wheel for Mirae’s dance workshop at Hastings Farm- good fun!

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