Welcome! The alpacas and farm life have become my constant teachers, and I have begun shifting my blog focus to reflect the lessons I am learning. I plan to share more thoughts and stories related to farm life in Grays Harbor County and carve out a space in the ethernet where one can stop, breathe, and think.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Weeds. They're not just for breakfast anymore.

Public Domain Photo
Dandelions apparently thrive just about anywhere on Earth.  OK, maybe not Antarctica, but they do grow anywhere that I've happened to live. If children weren't so good at encouraging seed distribution, perhaps the story would be different.

I find it somewhat funny that dandelions are the whipping boy of the flora world. It's actually a nutritious plant, with leaves that are high in iron. And a field of dandelions gone to seed looks like an ethereal snow fairy waved her pixie dust over the grass. Besides, there's just something fun about making a wish and scattering those tiny seed umbrellas flying off into the wind to make more dandelions.

What does any of this have to do with alpacas and fiber arts? Well, we have many dandelions currently staking a claim on our 10 acre alpaca farm. And, you can use them to dye wool. I spent some time today between rain showers gathering from the abundance of yellow dandelion flower heads in the gardens around the house and out in the fields. I'm a little late in the season - some have already gone to seed - but I will continue my bending and plucking work out for the next several days in an attempt to harvest at least a pound or more of the flowers. My bucket is still a long way from being full.

The first batch is now drying on a screen in a covered area where it can stay dry but still get good air circulation. I plan to save the dried flower heads until I'm ready to dye yarn at a later date.

If dandelions are still blooming in your area, start picking and saving for a dyeing adventure this summer. For those of you living in the city, help out your neighbor and pick their dandelions, too. If you decide to knock on the door to ask first, you'll likely be greeted with bewilderment (you want to what?) followed by sincere gratitude (take all you want!).

My dandelion-stained hands showed an inkling of the dyeing to come.
Ciao for now,

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