i now walk a different route, almost daily, and there is this always to look at. from our dirt road looking back onto our place, this is the stream outlet from trout lake, close by. it runs through our land, bisecting and defining between the granite ledges that run away to the southeast. the soil is poor for farming, and the woods is not the robust great northern woods, it’s marginal, with trees seldom growing very large unless their roots find a pocket of rich soil. but this land, marginal, edgy, rocky, is a delight to get to know. coyote leaves frequent reminders on the dirt road, the shit matted with deer hair, berry seeds, bones. this is rough country.
there was a time when i’d try every fungus for dye color, now i’m often content to imagine. there have been other things to tend to. my seven papermakers at slu motivate me to challenge them with possibilities. we went over to the sustainabilty farm to forage ‘weeds’ and garden waste. i found these in the big shed:
the sustainability programs farmer sam stores his remay as crocheted chains over the rafters. i don’t think he knows this is crochet, which pleases me. at the farm we gathered: cattail leaves, thistle seed heads, cattail seed heads (tails), milkweed, milkweed seed pods, corn husks, and i harvested the indigo sam grew from my seed (ricketts) and we made dye samples on silk.
off i went to maine for the common ground fair, staying with hannah again.
both hannah and ty ran in a race—5 K— hannah’s first win. after the race we went to the coomon ground fair, where i took no photos. making a fast 10 hour (one way) in trip in 4 days had my whole body vibrating, but it was great to get away and see an event i’d long heard about. it was also fine to see hannah and ty race, they are so motivated and had a good time.
at the new house things have been a struggle, my partner’s had several bouts of eye surgery, many trips to a med center 2.5 hours away, and i’m way behind on all the day to day stuff. but i have been experimenting with a stash of washi from linda marshall (washi arts) making samples of how each paper behaves spun on my little jenkins lark, a tool that is such a pleasure to use!
so as i move into october i am still: spinning, sorting out my studio, trying to find books, teaching my delightful group of seven, making trips to the med center, anticipating a visit from traveling australian friends, foraging, and planning my maiwa class coming next may in which we will make flax paper, spin kami-ito, make books, weave shifu, make some color and marks and stitch, and see where the fibers lead us. the flax paper for my class will be pulled on small beautiful moulds made by my first sustainable papermaking students, eli allman.
i found a large bag of dried indigo. i’ve been stripping the leaves in preparation for using them, once i find john marshall’s book (with the recipe for this) in my disaster of a studio.
round the place i’ll know that fall is here.