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Generalities and Dirt

I'm just feeling chatty this evening; no long diatribes.  I've been taking advantage of the lovely weather to clean up the black walnuts in the yard - two wheelbarrows full from one mid-size tree.  We got a bumper crop of black walnuts this year from three of our walnuts (we have many), and here's me without a nutcracker that can handle them.  I'd go after them with a hammer, but I'm not that crazy about the taste.  I'm told, however, that they're considered desirable for gourmet cooks, and they do have a different flavour from English walnuts - more floral.  When the Armageddon (spell-check wants me to capitalize that; I guess it's important!) comes, I'll be able to eat them, at least.  I'd better lay in some flour, so I can make walnut bread.

I've got big plans for naturalizing bulbs - I bought 200 or so daffodils for naturalizing in the woods near the stream.  There is a spot near where we hope to build the Elizabethan Tavern (that is also capitalized, because you're damn right it's important) where the land is a bit steeper as it goes down to the stream, and it's perfect for daffodils, since the trees through there are deciduous, and there's plenty of sun in the early spring.  I've also got English bluebells to plant through there, and a few snowdrops.

By the front gate, I've put in some pink daffodils I got on sale, and by the mailbox, I've got a cluster of snowdrops planted.  They like to spread, so I hope in a few years, there'll be a carpet of snowdrops out there.  Same with the daffodils - the clusters I've naturalized over the ten years we've been here have steadily increased in size.  My dream is to have carpets of flowers in the early spring, that will then give way to blossoming fruit tress and dogwoods, then native wildflowers in the summer. 

I loves me some flowers - the more lavish, the better.

I also have a couple of fig trees to put in by some unmowable spots int he lawn, and a raspberry.  I'm going to plant my lavender out where it will get lots of sun (it doesn't like being in a pot, and lavender loves the clay soil here), and I have a white heather plant and a japonica I have to find homes for.  It's made a little more difficult because I don't have the courtyard flower beds laid out yet, nor the vegetables beds and the orchard, which will go in this winter (we're putting in fruit trees once they go dormant, which will be November at the earliest).  Still, I can always move things if need be.  It's better to have them in the ground than freezing in pots.

Finally, I have had a resident praying mantis on the morning glory trellis - I took a photo of it a couple of weeks back, when Bob rescued it from the trimmer.  She decided she like the trellis so much, she laid two egg cases on it, and took up residence, hunting all over, and sunning herself in the morning (that side of the house faces east).  I haven't seen her for a couple of days, so she's either died or has taken shelter from the cold nights.  I did not know that mantises laid more than one egg case, and I'm delighted that she decided to do so there, where I can make sure they don't get harmed.

We also caught an ambush bug laying eggs today.  I'd never seen ambush bug eggs before; they look hexagonal and they're sticky on the bottom.  Unfortunately, the spot the ambush bug decided on was not as optimal as the mantis' choice; she was laying them on the front left tire of the Miata.  Bob scooped her off the tire, and then we saw the eggs, so he scraped those off, and we took a look before he wiped them off on the grass.  They probably won't survive, but I'm not exactly broken up about that; ambush bugs have a nasty fang.

(I remember once at the old Crusades site, we were staying in one of the cabins, and I lay down to take a nap; when I woke up, there were at least ten ambush bugs all snuggled up on the blanket with me.  Apparently, I was the warmest spot in the room, and they were cold.  Fortunately, I didn't roll over on any of them.)

Anyway, that's what I'm doing right now.  That, and I have taken a break from the jacket, and I've started embroidering the laurel wreaths on my blue and white laurel wreath cotehardie.  I've been meaning to do it for years, and the white wreaths on the blue have almost faded away completely, so I started on those.  I'm working in white Halcyon Yarn  gemstone silk, and it looks great - it really pops against the blue.  Each wreath takes about 7 hours, so at roughly 130 wreaths, I should be done... ah, whenever.  It's going to be my traveling work, since the jacket is moving into a phase where I can't bring it to events easily.  I'll take photos at some point.


( 6 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Oct. 24th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC)
Black walnut hulls make a lovely brown dye. Especially on silk. stringgeek and I got a lovely rich cinammony brown from the batch we played with last year.
Oct. 24th, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC)
This. Also, was it this boiled with iron filings that made a durable black dye or ink? Or am I thinking of oak galls?
Oct. 24th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
Oak galls make black ink. I think this was mordanted with alum -- not sure where my notes are right now.
Oct. 24th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I just could not remember, though I suppose I just should have Googled it. :-)

Googling it, I found something (from someone in the SCA, it seems) that if you use a cast iron pot or throw some iron nails in, it will produce a dark brown or black-brown ink:


Oct. 24th, 2011 04:10 am (UTC)
Pink Daffodils?!?
Oct. 25th, 2011 03:26 pm (UTC)
Wal-Mart had them as a "pinkification"-type dealie for Komen. I got them half-off ($2.50 for 10). I saw them by chance, I was looking for something else.

They look like a white daffodil with a pink trumpet - Breck's has pretty much the same kind.
( 6 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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