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Making Old Things New

March 9th, 2018

I’ve been dying indigo shibori flour sack towels for Seeds & Sundries, and while I had an indigo vat going, I decided to try to give new life to an old L.L. Bean Boat & Tote bag. It worked beautifully. These bags last forever, but being natural colored canvas, they stain and start looking a little rough around the edges. I simply dipped mine into the indigo vat twice, then rinsed and washed (by hand). The handles were originally black. I also have another one with pink handles (you can see it in the background) that I’m doing to dye and a few larger ones as well.

I used the same indigo kit that I used last summer with my nieces, this one from Jacquard is a great one for beginners. While you can (and I have) purchased the indigo supplies separately from Pro Chemical & Dye, this kit is a great way to get started. Overall, I’d call this project a success. I should have taken before photos so you can see just how dingy and dirty the original bag was. Perhaps I’ll remember when I do the next few.

What fun projects have you been doing lately? Have you been trying to find ways to make old things new again?

Maple Sap Tea

March 8th, 2018

During maple sugaring season, all tea is made with maple sap. Sometimes, I dip straight from the boiling sap kettle, other times I boil it in my teapot (depends on how long the sap kettle has been boiling). It’s amazing how much sweetness straight maple sap contains.

It pairs particularly well with certain teas, like chai, rooibos, and hibiscus. The photo above is red rooibos tea brewed in sap, it’s wonderful and probably my favorite variety of tea. It tastes great and is very good for you too.

What’s your favorite kind of tea?

Winter Burn on Boxwood

March 7th, 2018

This winter was particularly cold for a long period of time. We also had less snow than normal. A prolonged January thaw and early warm temperatures, mean the the boxwoods had a particularly rough time this winter.

The majority of my box has winter burn. It’s not really a big deal, they’ll bounce back. They just look a little sad for a while. For the most part, I don’t worry about it much. They key is to not prune the winter kill out too soon. Sometimes the plants bounce nicely. They need a good pruning this spring anyways, I’ll make sure to remove any brown bits that remain in May when I prune.

Did any of your shrubs suffer this winter? 

Winter Interest

March 6th, 2018

One of the things I love about hydrangeas is the winter interest they add to the garden. The dried blossoms look great throughout the winter, though this time of year they’re starting to snap off and tumbleweed across the yard during wind storms.

These are ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas that look fantastic in the summer. You can see the echo of their summer glory.


None of my other hydrangeas have any dried blooms left, they are all planted in areas that get quite a bit of wind. Only these bushes planted up against the house get enough protection.

Hopefully, as hedges grow and windbreaks are planted more and more of them will retain blooms throughout the winter to add some much needed interest in the garden.

What’s your favorite shrub for winter interest in the garden?

Grow Light Garden

March 5th, 2018

Now that it’s almost time to start planting things directly in the ground outside, I have my indoor winter grow light garden going in full swing.

I’ve been harvesting greens for salads each evening, along with lots of cilantro and arugula for breakfast.

I water every Sunday with a diluted liquid kelp fertilizer, it seems to be keeping the greens growing nicely and producing lots of fresh leaves each week.


Grow light space will become quite limited soon, this past weekend I started four flats of onions and three half flats of other things (celery, fennel, and flowers).

What’s under your grow lights this week?

About

This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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