The other day I was working with Arlène, a friend from the garden, to start up a blog to document this year’s garden adventures, which will serve as an archive of photos and stories as we prepare for our eventual eviction and search for a new home. When Arlène and I talk, even when we’re supposed to be working, we have a tendency to go off on tangents, which I like. That’s my kind of talking, because tagents often lead to exciting discoveries.
During one of our little derives Arlène mentioned a website called Keepinuse, based in Switzerland (mostly in the French part though there is some action in the German regions), that works on the assumption that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. People put up posts for their unwanted things that they’d like to give away, while others post requests for certain items that they’d like to take off someone else’s hands, and somewhere along the line the giver meets the receiver and an unused object finds a loving home. I like these sorts of ideas so I created an account and, as luck would have it, the first give-away I found was a woman posting for her mother, who had some materials for dyeing wool that hadn’t been used in a while. I responded immediately, got a response back, and set up a date to go up to their house in the suburbs and pick up my goods.
On Friday I parked my bike downtown and took the bus out to a small village, where I met Béatrice, the mother. She drove us to her house and took me to the backyard, where I saw that the dyeing materials would very definitely not fit in my bike basket. I was picturing a pot and a few packages of tumeric. It was a lot more than that. Sheep not included, but pretty much everything else was. I’ve made an inventory:
1. Two 5 kilogram sacks of ground madder root to make a vibrant red dye. (Béatrice showed me some samples she’d done, still bright cherry red even after two decades in her basement.)
A new-to-me video, which I discovered thanks to Root Simple.
So though there is this loss of understanding the value of things, of the meaning of things, and in handwork, in transforming nature we also make something truly unique that we have made with our hands, stitch by stitch, that maybe we have chosen the yarn, we have even spun the yarn — even better, and that we have designed. And when I do that, I feel whole. I feel I am experiencing my inner core because it’s a meditative process. You have to find your way; you have to listen with your whole being. And that is the schooling that we all need today.
Nothing to add here… she says it all.
Now back to my knitting.
- When Should I Start My Seeds? (Helpful planting chart for multiple zones from Common Sense Homesteading)
- How to Search for Science-based Gardening Advice (Root Simple)
- Dumb Gardening Mistakes (The Yarden)
- Around the World in 6 Garden Plans (Kitchen Gardeners International)
- Creating a Beautiful Tea Garden (Farm Girl School)
- Tomatoes for all, and other tomatoes, too! (The Green Gourmande – my friend Claire’s blog, spreading the love for crop diversity)
In other news, I finally got my bike repaired after its long winter’s nap. No more bus. FREEDOM!
And in still other news, I picked up a set of knitting needles yesterday. NEW PROJECT!
Also, thought I’d throw this out there: I’m looking for people who raise sheep for wool who would be interested in talking to me for my research. Doesn’t matter where they’re based — I’m searching especially for people living around Geneva, Switzerland (where I live), but I’d be interested in talking to people elsewhere, too, because why not? So if any of you reading this happen to know people who raise sheep, please contact me. Thanks!