On Friday afternoon, not only did another big milkweed bonanza arrive, so did fall, dramatically. Friend and plant paper maven extraordinaire Cecile Webster came to use the beater and brought me two big bags stuffed with milkweed stalks that her neighbors wanted to be rid of. While Cecile beat a couple of loads of yellow flag iris (gorgeous pulp), I stripped away the milkweed leaves – lovely clear stems.
After a good post-process talk, we went out to the garden to harvest some chilies, plus indigo leaves and late blooms (hollyhock, marigold, impatiens, nigella, and yellow and purple coneflower) for Cecile’s next eco-dye batch. While were running round the garden, huge billowing gusts of cold wind whipped down from the north, dropping the temperatures over twenty degrees.
Allegedly there was even a little snow, but I didn’t see it. Saturday afternoon was dark, rainy, the heat on upstairs but not in the studio, where I spent several hours chopping, steaming in two batches, beginning the stripping and making some plans. Today, temperatures climbed back up a wee bit and I was outdoors for the short couple hours of early afternoon sun with Chance, then into the studio to finish all the stripping.
I have never had this much milkweed all at once (about 12 ½ very full gallons) and it’s exciting. A scraping session awaits, then in the next 20 days, my plans are to cook and make some tests with three of four types of fresh milkweed fiber, deal with some other neglected fibers, clean up the gardens, meet a writing deadline, start Chance on a new, radically different training program, see a couple of important shows, and cycle out the closets for winter. That’s a good, satisfying schedule. Hello, fall.