Friday, August 27, 2004

bear raid

Just a quick note to make reference to the fact that we have been visited by a bear for the past few weeks. I am beginning to see him (her) more and more. This makes me think that we will have an early frost. The leaves are starting to turn, and even though we have not had cool temps, there are other indicators that the summer season is coming to a close.

I saw the bear earlier in the week, at dawn, heading for the trash can. I was in the car at the time, and honked at him continually, until he turned around and went back up the mountain into the woods. Yesterday, around 8:00 am, one of my egg customers notified me that my trash can had been over turned, so I am guessing that the bear was indeed sniffing around. I have been pouring ammonia into the trash can in attempt to discourage him, as he will snap any bungie cords right off of the can. I try to keep the trash "clean"...storing any meat drippings in glass jars, rinsing off any tuna cans, or yogurt containers. Any veggie peelings go into the compost. I have learned from experience that locking the can in the garage may result in a broken garage door. So, if he is that determined, he can have the trash can, and I will clean up after him.

This is a nuisance bear. I do not mean to point fingers, but some summer visitors to the area think it is exciting to see and feed bears. They go back to the city, and the bear wants more food. He has learned where to go for food, and associates the area with a meal. So, he becomes "conditioned" and BOLD. I don't mind the trash can...but I am fearful for my rabbits and chickens. Hubby put up a trap ...consisting of a board with nails sticking up ..and we have to place that around the hutches and the coop to discourage him. I keep the trash can far away from the house, and a sign on my front door to remind us to make noise and look both ways before going outside. Like I say...NUISANCE! To read more about the black bear in my neck of the woods, go here. Written by a friend of mine, this article covers the laws in place protecting the bears, and the difficulties that one has to deal with when a bear attacks.

Saturday, August 07, 2004


This growing season has been exceptional. My Hopi Red Amaranth (pictured above) is almost ready to harvest. I have been trying to find information on how to prepare a dye bath for this, but so far, I have not found very much. There is more information avaliable about how it was used by the Hopi to color the corn bread, than there is for how to dye wool with it. I would imagine that I use the entire plant and just make a tea first. I will wait for a few more weeks before I harvest it. I am enjoying its bold presense in garden. I also grew a red beet (pictured below) that is used for dying wool. They are doing ok too, but I did not get very much seed.

Both the Hopi Red Amaranth and the Red Beet Seeds, were given to me this spring by a gardener/ spinner friend of mine, who ordered them from Pine Tree Seed Company. And both of these plants are in the Goosefoot Family, along with approximately 1298 other species. The seed from the Amaranth should be fairly easy to save, so I can grow more of it next year if I like the results of the dye. As for the Red Beet, I would have to try and "winter over" a plant or two. Beets are a biennial, and would not set seed until next spring. I have tried this before, and not been successful. I wonder what a beet flower looks like anyway?

On the fiber front, I have finished two triloom shawls. They are both off the loom and waiting to be fulled. And I am waiting for a nice drying day to full them! We have been having a good deal of rain and humidity I have put off doing this task. I am also working on spinning up skeins and skeins of plain white Finn wool. This has been sitting in my stash for over a year, and I want to have it ready to use when I do the dye bath. I am spinning singles of approx 26 wpi and plying them into skeins of about 380 yards.

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