Writing

I just went through one of my old journals and realized how much I use to write (mainly poems, thoughts but also some venting). Here is an Haiku (although the syllable count isn’t perfect throughout) I wrote for my ESL class in high school.

The soft skin of peach
Bloomed in a huge green yellow field
Under the blue, windy sky.

As a squirrel, a bird
Moves quickly under the huge brown forest
To find peace and food

Like tears on my face
Drops of ran are visible under light
Why am I so sad

From inconvenience to nutrition

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I decided to dig up some of our raspberries today since they are slowly  rapidly spreading throughout the yard. As I was digging some of them, I accidentally broke off leaves from the root and instantly thought “I’ll just make some tea with them”. I also happened to dig up a dandelion (root and leaves) and picked some lemon balm. I made a decoction with the dandelion root and then added the fresh (roughly chopped) green tops and let it infuse for about 20 minutes (heat turned off).

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Raspberry leaves are a great tonic for women and their reproductive system. While dandelion is an awesome tonic for the liver.

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Loving this time of year!

I have been planting seeds, growing plants (to be transplanted), and buying transplants for a few weeks now. I love this time of year when most of my time at home is spent outside playing in the yard.
A few plants that usually come back on their own (like borage, cosmos and sorrel) didn’t come back this year (probably due to the 5F weather we had) but the rest seem fine.

We spent the whole day yesterday cutting down bamboo and using it to build structures for the tomatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, and summer squash. We are trying the string method this year for the tomatoes and peas/beans to save on space and also because I have been wanting to try it (seems like a nice and practical concept).  I hope to grow greens under the cucumber tepee since they will be somewhat protected from the heat under the cucumber plants’ foliage.

Here are some pictures:

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Our cucumber tepee (I am also growing a few beans and summer squashes). You can also see our chicken coop (the wind blew the lid off!) and our compost bin.

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Our front yard with the tomato and bean/pea structures.

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Strawberry galore!

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Herb spiral and my transplant growing boxes (my current greenhouses). The boxes both have a lid to keep the plants warm and a screen to keep the critters away (added this year since I got so frustrated at the squirrels last year for eating all my baby plants!)

Washing raw wool

Last October I came home from the Falling Leaves gathering with a bag of raw unwashed wool. It had been sitting in my craft room closet since then waiting for the ‘right’ time to be washed. The ‘right’ time happened to be yesterday as I had time to wash it and it was warm outside (therefore it was warm inside!). I followed the directions from Maggie Casey in her book Start Spinning Everything You Need to Know to Make Great Yarn.

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First soak with Eucalan

I had three fabric bags that I had made a while ago for the purpose of washing wool. I am not sure what kind of fabric it is but it is really thin and see through. So, as the tub was filling up with hot water and Eucalan, I filled up the bags (there was enough to fill up a fourth bag which I didn’t have so it will have to wait till next time). I then placed the bags into the water and pushed them in gently as to not disturb the fiber too much. I repeated the process one more time before adding vinegar to the water instead of Eucalan. By the end, the water was mostly clear. Each soak lasted about 15 minutes.

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Second soak with Eucalan

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Third soak with vinegar

When everything was washed, I took the wool out of the bags and laid it out on big mosquito screens to let it air dry. I placed old towels under the screens to catch the water. It is not until this point that I realized how much hay/wood chips were intermingled with the fiber! Oh well, I’ll just have to comb/pull it out later!

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My drying ‘stations’. You can kinda see my dodec spinning wheel in the top right picture.