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Monday, April 18, 2011

BLUE BALLS






Its Spring and it is really beautiful here in Charlottesville. There is some wild weather of upper eighties to upper fifties during the days and sixties to forties in the eves. The weather is seriously confusing our plants... and a lot of them have decided to bolt. We are keeping our kale at bay. Turnips are over. Our pigments are bolting too. So it prompted us to harvest our Woad (English Indigo) to prevent loss of pigment material from the plants. We had a couple of good plants that over wintered which are supposed to provide  more indigo pigment.  Since Allyson is finishing school and the week is busy with Jeremy's Birthday, Passover, Earth Day, Easter, etc... we decided to harvest the Woad and make some historical fermented woad balls for preservation. They can keep for a few years in the "ball form". Historically this woad ball was created to preserve the plant, increase pigment content, and to sell in markets.  You can see in the pictures the laborious process of picking and slow grinding the leaves. You can see that as they ferment they kind of get a green bluish tinge. Also as a challenge this weekend we figured out how to make a gluten free matzo for passover. It contains potato, almond meal, salt, and a tablespoon of oil. It turned out great. Jeremy also made charoshet and tsimus minus the beef. So tomorrow is a real gluten free passover for us and we are really happy that it is spring and excited about summer and a new beginning for plants, animals, and us.  We are really excited about some new pigment plants and oil seed this summer: Japanese Indigo (Dyers Knotweed), Nettle, Iris, Safflower, Flax and more. Exciting times! XO A&J

5 comments:

Erika said...

You guys are SO cute :)...and I must say I miss running into you in the halls of art school! I'm going to have to pick your brain about plants, me and the BF are moving into our first place in a week and half and want to start growing herbs and spices in our kitchen and backyard. Also Kale is my new favorite discovery with a little vinegar on it, mmm!!

http://alittlesincerityyy.blogspot.com

sMacThoughts said...

I almost understand nothing about this post, not having any gardening knowledge, and being around greenery even less (living in Lower Manhattan).... but I am fascinated!

hodge podge said...

WOW! i hope to grow woad this year and some other dye plants too. i heard an amazing podcast all about woad on the Maiwa website... a talk by a french woman who (along with her husband) has dedicated her life to the plant!

matthew feyld said...

You guys rule.

Kelsey Elise Pike said...

If you feel like trying something new, flax makes amazing paper!