Saturday, August 29, 2015

Still Walking and Oak Galls & Update on Plant ID

  Although still sore and stiff this  morning, I can report no painful charlie horses-thanks again to my friend that reminded me about taking magnesium and potassium and to wear good shoes too-in my last post.

  We have chances of rain this weekend so I wanted to make sure I got my walk in and I ended up going right back out to collect oak galls-so got my 4000 plus steps in already.

   The oak galls have always fascinated me, but I have as yet to use them. I could never find specific information on how to use these as a mordant-when to collect, how much weight oak galls to weight of fibers. These are especially used as the mordant-fixative when natural dyeing cottons. In the past these were also used to make ink and to dye leathers.
   During my first walk I spotted several small oak trees full of these, so when I got back to the house, I gathered up a bag and went out to collect some. I definately need lots more but this is a start.
    I went on pinterest and there are loads of pins about oak galls so I will do some reading, I also have Liles book so hoping he has written about these too. I am thinking I may use in my natural printing projects.
   If any of you have worked the oak galls in your dyeing I would love to know more.

  Yesterday afternoon I went out in the garden to see what there was. I gathered up some nice cucumbers and sweet peppers so thinking of making a sweet pickle relish today. I also gathered some beans-finally-enough for a couple meals. I did have a few sweet dumpling squash growing but those squash bugs have found them and are devouring the plants as I speak. the sweet potato vines look good so will see in another month or so if they grew any potatoes.

   I am off to make me some breakfast and get going on the making and canning of relish
   Have an awesome weekend!

Update: after looking at my photo yesterday again, and looking at them again on my walk this morning it popped in my mind that the leaves look like thistle, but I did not see anything sharp on the stems. So I knew my plant expert Mr L would know-and as soon as he saw the photo-he said well that's a type of thistle that grows in the woods not usually  near buildings. I said I couldn't find the thistles-oh they are there he says on the leaves themselves-so I will check on that tomorrow. He says the tips of the leaves are very sharp. The top little purple part of the plant is the flower-but it does not blow around in the wind later as does the thistle we are used to that the goldfinches eat.

So of course I asked him about the oak oaks too. In the spring when they are green-with gloves on for sure-inside is the thick black ink that the native americans used, and used on their leathers. Now in the fall when they are brown and dry and the bug is gone, is when you use these for a natural dye and/or a mordant-or the fixative on cotton especially


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