Wednesday, October 11, 2017


it's milkweed harvest season.
the monarchs are all done
and in my 25 acre grown up meadow
amongst the head high and higher goldenrod and brambly blackraspberry
i strove for an hour and a half harvesting
asclepia, milkweed.
it's between green and field retting time,
the leaves are gold or gone,
and only a little milk left.
the bast fiber  in the stalks is what i'm after, 
and the few pods left 
will provide me with seed fiber
all this fiber is for making paper later this fall.
i can't even begin to describe how jungly that meadow is.
much grown up to baby trees or bushes
but the goldenrod! over my head!
and the warm october meant that the thankfully tick free toil
was some of the hardest work i've done in a long time.
the result was a huge heavy plastic bag of potential.

 i always make a little twine for fun
thankful that i don't have to make all the string i use in a year.
 on my stove is a big pot
full of the black walnut harvest from two trees in town
in dye form.
(i only took some, the squirrels got most).
i've already dyed paper and cotton and silk and maybe some wool in it.
but i put in woven cotton tape a couple weeks ago.
it's cooked, steeped, cooked, steeped, fermented a bit
and the tape isn't dark enough yet.
but it will get there.

skein of twill woven cotton tape, dried

the last reveal included a fruity growth
see those beady bubbles
looking like amber treasure. 
 and some spores...
this layer went right into the garden
before i removed the skein.
my friend told me this summer
that if i was born 200 years ago i'd have been 
accused of witchcraft.
perhaps he's right. 


  1. Wonderful. Wonderful. And more wonderful, yet. (And, you are definitely a witch!) This fabulous post reflects my feelings about fall. A time to 'put up', 'put down' and to cozy up. Happy days. Enjoy...Claudia

  2. claudia, i am so slipping down into witchiness.... it's the wonderful turning time, isn't it?

  3. you are the best kind of witch. MILKWEED, LOVE! inspires me to get ready for the huge batch waiting for me back west next week.

  4. mo, you are sweet!
    aimee, you are, too. you inspire me with milkweed!

  5. My first thought on reading was alchemy and cauldrons and witches - and then all the comments went there as well! There is something very special about harvesting and gathering and taking the process all the way through...what delightful and whole-some thing it is. Go well.

  6. Especially the bubbly foam on the dye pot!
    AND the twined rope!

  7. fiona, you're right about how special this all is. i feel like the material is teaching me everytime.
    michelle, it was bubbly and "dusty", a little bit of mold in there!

  8. there is a little witchy-ness in the air. I can feel it here on the wet coast,dyeing with pomegranate rind and home grown madder. Strange smells in the kitchen.

  9. jean, witchiness in the air here, there, everywhere. it's harvest, it's hunkering down, it's COLOUR!


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