Apr. 16th, 2013 11:04 pm
helblonde: (Flocke and seal)
Step by step we climb the foothill.

Before the winds really came up yesterday, I got a bunch of oak branches burnt down to ash. I did it in the Weber, thank goodness, so I could shut all the hatches and not have a patio covered in it today. The used up coco mats from the hanging planters made excellent firestarter, by the way. A little of that goes a long way.

Today, I found a ceramic pot to steep the lye in. I lined it with rocks, put in another coco mat (to act as a filter), poured the ashes in on top of the mat, and then filled it up with water. I covered it and then put it up where it should be undisturbed. I'll check the concentration on Friday.

I also found my pH strips. They work, despite their age (they were given to me as a kid). Listerine, my test fluid, is pH 4, which is frightening. Don't put that in your mouth!

I've been shopping for straw hats for my A&S class. The wholesale sites I've found have insufficient information on the hats. Fortunately, retail sites are a little more forthcoming and have better pictures of the same hats. Retail markup appears to be about 4x. I did find a site that will let me pay wholesale prices. The hats are sold by the dozen. When it gets here, I'll test out one hat to see if it'll work for the class. Hopefully, I won't be left with eleven lemons.
helblonde: (Poppy)
I've been cutting out the under branches of our* oak tree. Partly, this clears out space for walking. It also takes a bit of weight off the fence. This is my second week of filling the green bin with twigs and leaves. I expect to do this for a few weeks more.

Do any of you workers of wood want the larger diameter pieces (1.5"- 2" now,  and larger once we can get up there with the chainsaw) for knife handles or anything? Most of the pieces are gently curved or crganically straight. None goes more than a foot and a half without branching. I'm happy to save them for anyone who can use them. Otherwise, they'll be firewood for later.

I have been saving the mid-sized branches because I want to burn them for ash to make lye. I want to make lye, well, mostly because I can. But also, because [ profile] joycebre and I have settled on a day for abusing hair in a period style. We're going to be trying out a few period recipes for hair bleaching, and lye is a component. Yes, we're trying this at home! We're using donated hair, by the way. We're enthusiastic, not crazy.

I'm going to have the samples at A&S for my "Make a 16th century hair bleaching hat" class, but it you want to check them out some other time at the event, I'm happy to play show and tell.

In other news, I took a closer look at the garlic. It was severely afflicted with rust. I trimmed off the worst-affected foliage today and sprayed the rest down with fungicide. The garlic picked up the rust from the mallow that afflicts my yard. Pleasantly, the onions, which are right next to the garlic and theoretically closer related, are completely unafflicted.

Since I was already spraying fungicide on a day clearly unsuited to it (stupid wind), I decided to go ahead and spray the nectarine tree, since that is already showing signs of leaf curl (thank you neighbors who can't be bothered to treat their heavily infected tree). I sprayed the roses, too. Mostly they are looking healthy. I only have one which had a nasty bit of rust (that I cut out mercilessly), and another which is still fighting black spot. No powdery mildew so far this year! Considering how much rain we've had this spring, and how that interferes with keeping the plants treated, I'm rather pleased.

However, if it should decide to rain in the near future, you know who to blame. Spraying the plants is rather like washing the car; Mother Nature takes it as a dare.

* Strictly speaking, it's the neighbor's tree, but it grows behind their shed where they ignore it and over the back fence, where we can enjoy its shade.


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