Natural Dyeing

The Impatient Herbalist

I've been making all kinds of remedies for family and friends (well mainly for myself) over many years. I decided that with the addition of a studio up here on my little bit of Mt Hood I could sell some of the items I really love to locals that want to visit. This will be a great venue for natural dyeing classes, cooking and gardening classes. A jumping off point for wild walks into the forest and making some basic remedies and food stuffs at the end of a walk.IMG_2148 But I'm impatient! I am surrounded by jars of face cream, lip balms and soaps. I've started to infuse local honey with sweet violets, young spruce or fir tips, rose scented geranium leaves. IMG_2159On my shelves are tinctures made from healing plants for the body and flower essences to help heal emotional issues. I want to share all these delights and my sweet little chicken coop is still on the list of "to be built". I think it will be late summer before I am stepping through the door(which will leave plenty of time for fall mushroom walks and classes). So later this week (Thursday to be exact) Chicken Coop Botanicals will open online! Why Thursday you might ask. Thursday is the anniversary of Gino's Restaurant. What better way to keep all the ducks in a row. Year 19 for the restaurant and the beginning of a new venture.

The online shop, as in the coop itself, will have an ever changing list of items available for sale. These will be both seasonally based and worked in small batches. In August it is finally dry enough to dye yarn and fabric outside. Each season has certain ingredients to work with, as well as certain foods and medicines IMG_2242our bodies call for. In addition, as I work on books, pamphlets and classes they will all be available under the Chicken Coop Botanical banner. All my working life, both in the restaurant business and floral and catering and yarn businesses I have been botanically driven. I've played with herbs in the garden since I was 22 and have incorporated them (as well as other plants) into every part of my home and working life. I think this next stage is a culmination of all these aspects of my life.

Check back Thursday morning for a link to the online store. And if you are on Instagram be sure to join in the virtual opening party. There will be a couple of giveaways and lots of products photos. @debaccuardi

The Podcast will be returning soon as well. It will continue in the casual format, but will go way back to the days when I talked more about the ointments, teas and the gardening I do around here. I'll talk a bit more in depth about the hows and whys of products I'm making or ingredients I'm using. Folk Herbalism is for the people, by the people and information should be easily accessible. You will have to put up with some soap box talk about eating seasonally and how prevention is so much better than treating an existing issue (it won't be the first time I've stepped up on that soapbox). I'm still knitting, spinning and there will still be a lot about these animals around here. I have also been puttering with some sewing and embroidery (I blame Creative Bug for all new hobbies). I hope you'll join me again for new episodes. I'll post an announcement and link here when At The Kitchen Table is up and running again.


Summer Dyeing and it feels so good


20140721-104643-38803737.jpgOkay, yes I was the original audience (13yr old girl) for the summer the movie Grease came out. And yes, those songs will be stuck in my head forever. haha Oh blog, you are wondering where I've been? Well sometimes it behooves one to just live life without sharing more than photos on Instagram.

Instagram I enjoy adding photos there as I can send them along to Facebook or Twitter. And sometimes that is all I have the energy to do. Over the last 8 months life has been busy, stressful and then after some brain healing time I have been fully in the garden (hence the title) this summer. I have really gone back to my beginning interests in gardening--my herbs. I love growing absolutely every vegetable, flower and useful plant I can here on my bit of Mt. Hood. However, if I could only grow one family of plant it would be herbs! I grow culinary and medicinal. This year I have the time to make herbal teas, tinctures and syrups from my mature herbs. I've been making flower essences as well (something I've been interested in for a while). In addition I am sample dyeing yarn with just about every herb around our property.20140721-102306-37386653.jpg 20140721-102305-37385567.jpg

I am teaching a Plant dyeing class at Winslow Forest Farm in August (there are still spots available).  It has me energized to see what colors I can get from every plant on my property. It's fun to sample dye, keep a dyer's journal and plan for future sweaters and sewn skirts (yep, I've fallen down the sewing rabbit hole). In fact I'm really interested in the art of traditional Japanese Indigo dyeing. Next year there are plans for a big patch of Indigo in a new garden spot next to my new (old and reclaimed) greenhouse. I am in a stage of life where I am playing while I figure out what's next. I love this stage! It won't last, but I am going to enjoy it immensely.

I have been writing quite a lot as well. Mostly for myself, but I feel like it's time to write a bit for you as well. Thank you Cynthia Morris! and the Free Write Fling for helping me find a new voice. Cynthia is a great guide to help you play in life as well as figure out what you want to say with your writing and other creative endeavors. The next Fling begins August 1. Come write with us. The community is great and very diverse.

I've been finding some very interesting blogs and websites lately as well. Here are a couple I keep returning to for inspiration on living and creating-- Cold Antler Farm ( loved her last book!), Rowland and Chinami Ricketts .


Onions in the Dyepot

It's cold up here! We had such a nice long regular summer leading into an Indian summer that didn't want to stop. I knew fall would be a millisecond and I was right. All weekend we gazed at white tipped trees that told us the mountain was getting ready to welcome skiers. Yesterday the snow clouds threatened here, but failed to deliver. This is the point where Sunday Supper becomes a hardy soup and salad affair. And I have the opportunity to do crossover posts. Click to read the soup and salad post.

While my kitchen exuded fragrances of fresh baked bread and simmering onions the rest of the onions (their golden skins) were simmering just outside the door. In the spot where our future outdoor kitchen will preside my dye "studio" lives. I have been dyeing a lot this fall with mushrooms foraged from the mountain above us. But today I want to share a "whole plant" story. Over the summer I've been gathering the skins of all the onions we cook with. I was waiting for the tipping point--french onion soup. I cook down ten onions for create the caramelized onions that are the base of that soup. It also creates a nice pile of skins to add to my other cooking pot. IMG_1336 I'd been getting this pot ready with some natural mordants (tin lined pot, copper pipe sitting in water for a week, cooked down rhubarb leaves). While the onions simmered inside they simmered outside as well IMG_1339. I added the yarn and fiber as the color began to pull out from the skins. A skein of sock yarn, a few of lace weight mohair, 4oz of Polwarth fiber. All simmering softly so as not to felt any of the fibers. When I saw that the fibers had picked up quite a lot of the color and that the water was once again turning back to it's beginning color I turned off the heat and let the "soup" sit over night. The merino sock yarn grabbed that color and held on. I had layered the onions all around it so that it would have a mottled look.IMG_1340 Both the mohair and fiber took the color straight on giving each a golden hue.IMG_1345 IMG_1346 The mohair will be part of a striped cowl paired with some mushroom dyed yarn from last month at the dyepot. Still deciding about the other two items, but I have an entire winter ahead with which to play with my ever growing pile of projects.

This post definitely falls into the 52 weeks of happy posts:)