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Monday, May 15, 2017

Herb Sale

This past Thursday was the Philadelphia chapter of the American Herb Society annual herb sale. So yes I happened to attend. We weren't able to attend last year. So we made up for it this year. I got some common plants but the cool things that I got are fun.

I picked up a Bitter Orange plant which I just found out is bergamot which I had thought was a leafy herbs. Well at an rate i have a bitter orange tree. The second is Turmeric witch I thought would be fun and something I have never grown. They did have ginger but you can go to the store and pickup a couple of roots and plant them. The final interesting and different spice i picked up is Cardamon. Another plant I have never grown so we will see how they all work out.

As always this is a fun sale and if you are ever in PA in May. They hold the sale the Thursday before Mothers Day RAIN or SHINE. You need to stop by you will truly enjoy yourself.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Field Trip

Well now that I have the gardens I have to fill right. Well the side garen outside my studio is going to be a dye garden. An what does that mean? That means  rip to a herb farm to get some dye plants. Well actually I have some growing and I have some in seed for but I wanted some that I don't have.

A trip to Well Sweep Herb Farm was in order. I believe I has mentioned them before. They have just about everything and other then a couple of mints and a clematis. Every thing I got was dye plants and the owner was a bit impressed by the project. Which is cool in my book every one is really nice and helpful.

We also stopped by for a double lecture on native plants. How to plant them and what they sell in the native plant species. which was a great learning experience and a project for another day.

So back to the dye plants, Since I have several of my own I only needed a small amount. They are as fallows.


  • True Indigo
  • Woad
  • Senna
  • Alkanet
  • Golden Rod
  • Calendula
  • Field Horsetail
What I have in the house is dyers chamomile, nettle, madder, official elecampane, french marigold, our lady's bedstraw, hopi blue corn and hopi black sunflower (I've thought this to be blue but will see). In reality this is going to be a really nice dye garden. Plus Well Sweep has a lot more in the dye plant area. So I can always get more if I like.






Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Garden Stage 2


Ed and I just finished step two in the back yard garden. I finished removing the weeds and grass on Monday. Yesterday I installed the trellises and today we both installed the rocks for the border. To distinguish between the garden and the path. Time to go and plant.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Garden

A project that Ed and I have been wanting to do for bout eight years. Was to remove the fence in our back yard. And have it all open. Children playing baseball on the corner kept hopping the fence and never asking if they could enter the yard to get there ball. So at the time it made the most sense.

At the time my Brother-in-Law and now wife had moved in and they had dogs. So we decided not to go through with our plans. We became okay with it, with them here we rarely used the back yard. We left it alone, they moved out for about a year and then moved back. Again not really feasible to do, so we left it alone.

Over those years the wall holding the dirt off the pavement had crumbled. Which meant the wall of course needed to be replaced. To make our lives easier and since we wanted to do this for ever. We removed the fence, made life a dream. The wall that we built was a stone wall.

You see the farm is actually on a mountain. So there are a lot of stones everywhere. I mean to the point we should have enough stone on the property to build the farmhouse out of stone. So we decide to collect some of those stones and bring them down to the house for the wall.

The wall itself is a stacked wall, which means there is no mortar in between the stones. If you are ever out in the country and see divider walls of stone. They are most likely just stacked with out mortar. That is exactly what we did, when you do that you need a good mix of stone. Large and small and everything in between.

We also decided to turn the back yard into a garden for our selves. So after the wall was built I started removing the grass and weeds. I actually finished that today. So all that is left is to `layout the garden and path. Once that is done I can start to plant. We decided to use the left over stone for that part. It will just tie it all together.

A little extra piece is a grape arbor. I have two grape vines. One is out front and I use the porch as the trellis/arbor. The second is a wild grape that came up from us spitting grape seeds in that area. That one needs a arbr to grow on. We tried just lashing it together but it wouldn't stay up. So I bolted it together and it has thus far stayed in place. If it does fall, just to fall then it goes and unfortunately so does the vine. The grape needs something to grow on or it will kill everything around it.


There is still plenty of work to be done. So this is only the beginning stages. Still it looks good for the beginning.  













Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lenape Fiber uses and Spinning Techniques

Today was a bit of work but we also had fun too. We went to the Lenape Indian Museum. They happened to be demonstrating what the Lenape people did for fibers and weaving. Well they didn't use animal fibers, they did of course use leather. They fibers they used where plant fibers such as nettle, milk weed, blood root and different tree barks. If I paid attention The strongest fiber they had was blood root.

They used an awl to poke holes in the leather before sewing. That was a beaver tooth, then they just used the sinew of the deer as sewing thread. Before beads they used porcupine quills to do there embellishments.

The most unusual thing I didn't know about. They didn't use a drop spindle to spin there fiber. They did it all by had, ALL OF IT. They would spin the fiber between there thumb and four finger. Then twist it over another bunch of fiber. So by hand they would be spinning and plying at the same time. The demonstrator gave us a piece of raffia to try our had at it. Ed had five minutes then he was done. I did my piece and then his.

It was a really good time. I learned quite a bit and had fun with it. If you are ever in the Allentown Area stop by the Museum. They do have events all year plus they do a really good Pow Wow they call the roasting of corn festival. That is in August. So if you get the chance to go you just may see us there.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Crystal and Gem Show

I'm not sure if I have mentioned it in the past. But something I have been doing for years is to collect crystal, gems, minerals and the like. Today one of the local Lions club chapters held a crystal, mineral show and we went. Ed has said he has been to it in the past and it was very large when he went. Well this year, it being at a local high school it wasn't as large as past shows. Or at least what he remembers when he went to them.

I actually did very well with finding some fun stuff. I picked up a gem quality opal. I believe it to be a Golden Opal, it is very pretty and caught my eye. I also got an Irradiate quartz, Shiva Lingham (I have seen them in the past and found them to be pricey). An a Apache Tear, Prenite, two Tremolites (not sure why two), Bismuth, Pyrite.

I also picked up a grab bag, in traditional grab bag fashion you have no idea what you are getting. I think I did really well with this bag. I got two Amethysts, the one is regular and the other is specked with Red Hematite. I also got some Calcite, a bag of tumbled stone and some Sand Selinite.


All in all I think I did really well with every thing and had a wonderful time. I enjoy going to those types of events. So when they come up I try to go if at all possible.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Birthday Presents

Ed and I had the pleasure of attending our Great Nieces first birthday party. Well with all parties of this nature you need to take a gift. So we did buy a couple of things, I also made some thing as well. I wanted to make her a toy. Well I was having a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do. I had come across a crochet bird pattern. So I decided to make one.

The original is actually made of wool. I decided to go with cotton it's easier to keep clean. All you need to do is through it in the washer and dryer and your good to go. the pattern is very interesting I had never done the magical circle before. It made it much easier to do then a chain method. The only thing I wouldn't do is use the magic circle for something flat. It naturally cups as you go around so your not able to have a flat piece. It looks more like a bowl. At any rate it is still much easier then the chain method.

Another gift I withed to make her was a bag. The bag itself is store fabric that I sewed into the bag. But what i did do was inkle weave the straps. Since the material is cow print I went with black and white checks to simulate that effect. It came out really well. The party was a wonderful affair and the gifts where well received
. Now I just have to figure what I'm going to make her next.