Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Perfect garden day

I love the tenacity of our kozo. I know people worry about the invasive nature of it, but we are pretty well surrounded by concrete, and we only have male plants so there is no fruit or seed to run off to other parts of the city.
We propagate via cuttings and these babies that looked kind of yellow, forlorn, and dehydrated this summer now look fabulous.
I asked Charity to jump into the frame to try and give a sense of how big the plants are getting. But it's hard to see with the tree lines behind.
I'm in there admiring one of the biggest shoots of the year; this thickness is ideal for a good harvest. Not all of them are this big, but it's so much better than last year. A little fertilizer goes a long way. Thanks to all of the Korean and Japanese papermakers who insisted we do that!
This praying mantis was trapped in the metal tub adjacent so Charity got it out with a stick because it seemed to really not want to be in there.
Our madder is VERY happy. This is the first season and we'll let it grow for another year or two before harvesting for dye.
The indigo we left to go to seed is definitely flowering; we'll wait a bit before we harvest for seed.
Our tororo looks sad this year, likely overcrowded, in poor soil, and experiencing some leaf mildew. Hopefully the roots aren't tiny, but I panicked about getting seed before we lost it to the ground.
It was the ideal day to be outside. Here are the opened pods after Charity and Radha and I emptied them of seeds.

There are still a few left outside that weren't quite ready. We ate lunch outside, too, and the two of them had a great laugh when I was outside to wash buckets while my iris was cooking on the stove: I was squatting and scrubbing a bucket when I saw a dog approach me out of the corner of my eye and then start barking. I screamed very, very loudly and startled him, while sending the ladies into laughter. The small next door dog manages to wriggle out of the fencing from time to time but his best friend Tom wasn't around to say hi, and he was probably annoyed that I was interrupting his attempt to sunbathe (the Morgan blocks his southern exposure).
I also got a wonderful treat in the mail: excellent machine-made paper from the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry Department of Paper and Bioprocess Engineering. I had met Bill Burry, who runs their lab, in Fredonia last month and we talked about his years of research on phragmites and their potential use in industrial papermaking. The paper is great; the only issue is the labor it takes to harvest these invasives.

Shifting now into fall/winter paper production and hopefully AWAY from all the drama and trauma of the last few months. I can't wait to get back to physical work to see how my body is holding up, and to remember why I do all this in the first place.

1 comment:

Velma Bolyard said...

drama and trauma rot. yay for the garden of paper delights, it looks much happier.