Our Days Now

Picture 2392Our days now are spent tending to both the needs of winter and the needs of spring. We’re still hauling in firewood, and feeling the need to warm ourselves with hot tea and homemade broth. Somedays we are still putting a layer of long underwear on beneath our work clothes. The water buckets for the sheep and chickens are often still frozen in the morning. We are, however, for the most part without snow. Plants like winter aconite have pushed through the thawing ground and have blooms ready to open. Small, bright yellow flowers, just what we need to bring warmth to the landscape! Already the chickweed (Stellaria media) is starting to come up and spread along the ground in the greenhouse. This is great because I will pick it for salads, tea, and make a tincture with some – (More on this later).

Xanthoria parietina

Xanthoria parietina

I recently collected some lichen for wool dyeing. A jar of Xanthoria parietina sits soaking in a mixture of ammonia and water, fermenting nicely.Picture 2405 In about three months or so, I will have the makings of a nice dye bath. I’ll keep you posted as the process moves along. Whether I am making tinctures, salves, or a concoction to be used for dyeing wool, I love this chance to be a ‘kitchen chemist’. A very basic ‘kitchen chemist’ that is, but with wonderful results that improve our health, nutrition, and can bring wonderful color to a skein of yarn. Speaking of yarn, the last package for our winter yarn CSA will go out this month. It’s been fun putting together the skeins of yarn, choosing patterns, and including a snapshot of one of our lovely sheep. We’ll surely be offering this again.
A warm weekend coming up, a few new lambing pens need to be built and another wall boarded in the studio. Maybe one of the giant brush piles can be burned. What sorts of things are people doing to ready themselves for spring? Any new gardening projects on the ‘to do’ list? We’d love to hear.

12 comments on “Our Days Now

  1. I logged in to get some writing done, and your post was right there 🙂 a happy serendipity! Spring is coming here as well in Vermont. I am ordering seeds, and going to try to grow some calendula from seed this year (first year growing it) so that I can dry the flowers and use in soaps, salve, and other things.

    • Hi Daphne,
      Isn’t it great to have this new season upon us….I feel quite ready to break ground and begin placing tiny seeds into the soil. I love using calendula in salves…keep me posted with your own salve/soap making. Always glad to hear from you!
      denise

  2. I’m ‘thinking’ spring, but it’s only in the 20’s here today with snow flurries on and off. Pellet stove is roaring. So, I’ve been busy putting up a blog for my MG group. SCMGA.Wordpress.com. I post, I tweak, I spend a lot of hours. LOL I’m also binding a quilt and trying to get in a little walking but not outside today. 🙂

  3. Hi Denise , I’m just so amazed with you along with Judy and Daphne. You are all so incredibly grounded. I love reading your posts and the follow up comments. I so wish I had the commitment you guys have to live life so simply but so rich..

    • Hi Jo!
      Thanks for the comment. I am so glad you’re reading along, and it was great seeing you when I was in Ireland. I think you’re pretty amazing and dynamic woman as well….hello to all and I hope I’ll see you in the Fall.
      Best, denise

  4. We’re in that uncertain transitional time, too–the weather is exciting but iffy enough to make us cautious about outdoor activities. We’re headed for a much warmer spell so I imagine the drama will be hearing about snowmobilers being pulled from the lake, as the ice breaks up!

  5. We were traveling last week and, now that we’re back, I’m ready to dive into spring tasks. I’ll be planting seeds inside today, cutting stakes from cleared brush, sorting through rock piles, and picking pussy willows! I love this time of year.

    • We’ve been burning brush ( on the non- windy days), building lambing pens, and finding tons to do outdoors. It feels good to come in after a day outside feeling tired from doing so. Hope you enjoyed your travels!

  6. I was off the island the last week and have caught spring fever since returning. After a season of exposure to all of nature’s offerings, our tunnel plastic is planned to be put up this coming Sunday. Fingers crossed the weather is calm as predicted.

    Will that lichen dye be as bright as the plant is? A magnificent shade of yellow it is. It’s wonderful to hear all of the goings on there and all that is up and coming.

    • Hi Melissa,
      So glad you were able to get some R&R, often just a step outside of our day to day, for just a spell, makes all the difference. Was so very much hoping to see you while I was in Ireland…it was a quick trip this time for me and somehow we got caught up with ‘on site’ projects and a bit of running around, somehow not a moment to spare. I’ll be back in the fall for a longer spell, and will most certainly make a good visit happen. The lichen will actually produce a shade of purple ( lilac-ish) after fermenting for a couple of months. Amazing huh? Lambs any day now…I see that you have two new bundles…too cute! Someday I hope you come to visit your old stomping grounds…there is so much I’d love to share with you. Happy days to you and hello to all!

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