Country Living and Natural Colours

Christina here. With life in the 21st century increasingly hectic, there are quite a few people who decide they want to escape from the rat race and live a simpler way. Buying a smallholding or croft can be the start of a new way of life, and that is exactly what the heroine in my recent novel HIDDEN IN THE MISTS did. She wanted to live in tune with nature, be healthier and happier by spending more time outdoors, and growing/producing as much of her own food as possible. It’s something I think a lot of us dream about and after being cooped up in cities during the pandemic, many people went on to follow that dream.

RoosterClearly it is not for the faint-hearted though – there is no doubt it is hard work. Keeping chickens for eggs, having a cow or two for milk (and/or goats), a flock of sheep for wool, and perhaps other animals for slaughter is probably a must. (Not to mention having to learn how to look after them and doing things like milking.) As is growing copious amounts of vegetables and having fruit trees and berry bushes, as well as foraging in any nearby forests. My heroine is lucky in that she lives on the west coast of Scotland so she is also able to go fishing, which is an added bonus.

WoollUnless you have another job, perhaps working remotely from home, making ends meet can be a challenge, as my heroine soon finds out. You might need to branch out in lots of different ways to earn money. Apart from surplus meat, fruit and veg, there are lots of items that can be produced to sell of course – cheese or other dairy products, jams and preserves, home-made soap, candles, honey, and wool either as yarn or finished craft projects. There’s the possibility of offering Bed & Breakfast if you have the room, or even converting outbuildings to holiday homes to let out. There are lots of other interesting suggestions on the internet but for my heroine, I chose the holiday letting business.

Wool sell oneHaving recently become interested in weaving myself, I decided she would mainly be into handicrafts that involved the production of woollen yarn and items made from that. She spins, dyes and sells wool from her own sheep (and additional fleeces she buys from local farmers), and she knits, weaves and crochets to order as well. This meant I had to do quite a bit of research and I became particularly fascinated by the process of dyeing using plants or other things from nature to colour wool and material. The possibilities seemed endless!

28 WoolMy own interest in this was first piqued by one of my aunts who was always dyeing wool using plants she found in the forest around her Swedish summer cottage. She showed me the many varied colours that could be achieved and it demonstrated that our ancestors definitely didn’t need to wear boring clothing. Many of the shades are muted, but by no means dull. By utilising what is around you, the most gorgeous tints can be created.

For my book, I needed to learn more about this and when doing research I trawled the internet for information and advice. I also used a book called Wild Colour by Jenny Dean. It tells you all about dyeing techniques and which plants to use for whatever colour you want and I would highly recommend it if it’s something you’d like to try. It is a whole science!

Me woolFirst, obviously, the wool needs to be thoroughly clean. Having once tried my hand at sheep-shearing (research for another book), I have seen first-hand just how dirty and greasy a fleece is. Believe me, no dye would stick to that! Once clean, carded and spun into yarn, it has to be wound into skeins. That makes it easier to dye them and for the colour to turn out even. These days wool is spun using spinning wheels, but there are still people who know how to use a drop spindle and I’m hoping to learn this at some point. I’m guessing it isn’t easy, but it’s something all women had to learn from an early age in the past and it probably becomes second nature once you’ve acquired the skill.

15 CombThe most common colours (and those that are easiest to achieve) are yellows and greens – a simple thing like onion skins will give strong yellow and ochre – but nature also provides blue in the form of woad, and red from madder roots. Berries can result in soft pinks or lilacs, and a lichen called cudbear will give a vivid purple.

SpindleThese days indigo is more commonly used for blue as it gives a stronger colour, but people in the past wouldn’t have had access to that unless they lived around the Mediterranean or near a trade route to the East. The Romans, for example, were connected to those. (As an aside, I recently found out that Roman aristocrats wanted a particular dye to colour the trim of their togas a beautiful purple – for that they had to have murex dye which is produced from the shells of mussels and it needed 10,000 shells for one single toga!)

When dyeing wool, to make sure the colour sets it’s important to soak it in a mordant (a fixing agent) like alum first, although some things like woad don’t always need this depending on what colour you’re aiming for. Incidentally, I learned that woad is biennial (i.e. the plant lives for two years) and you use the leaves which grow in the first year for dyeing. In the second year the plant produces flowers and seeds that you can grow for the following year. Woad is also apparently an antiseptic that was used to heal wounds.

OnionDyeing can, of course, be done with materials/fabrics, not just wool or yarn. I recently attended a weekend course in eco dyeing (or print dyeing) which was fascinating. We were given little squares of silk or cotton (it works best on pure silk) and experimented with adding various things to make patterns. We started with onion skins – yellow and red – which were shredded and put inside, then the material was rolled into a small ball, very tightly. We tied string around it to keep everything in place, then boiled it (well, simmered really) for an hour or so. The result was a stunning orange/brown pattern!

LeavesWe tried the same process with eucalyptus leaves (the imported kind are apparently best but UK grown ones work too), and also leaves from various indigenous trees and bushes. Using different fixing agents gives different results and we tried several – iron, copper and alum. The shape and texture of the leaves showed up perfectly and I was thrilled with the result.

ScarfFinally, we were given a white silk scarf to dye and it turned out quite well. Personally, I prefer less earthy colours, but since this was my first try, I was very satisfied with this.

Have you ever tried your hand at dyeing anything, whether with plant material or shop-bought dyes? It can be a great way of refreshing your wardrobe! And the results can be unexpected to say the least – do tell!

120 thoughts on “Country Living and Natural Colours”

  1. Oh, WOW,Christina!
    As always, your research amazes me, and the results you show fascinate. As an aside, my husband reads the Wenches each morning, and as soon as he read your blog (earlier than I do because he doesn’t have cats to feed!) he wanted to get a hold of a copy of HIDDEN IN THE MISTS. I told him that I’d already bought it so I’d download it to his e-reader this afternoon. *G*

    Reply
  2. Oh, WOW,Christina!
    As always, your research amazes me, and the results you show fascinate. As an aside, my husband reads the Wenches each morning, and as soon as he read your blog (earlier than I do because he doesn’t have cats to feed!) he wanted to get a hold of a copy of HIDDEN IN THE MISTS. I told him that I’d already bought it so I’d download it to his e-reader this afternoon. *G*

    Reply
  3. Oh, WOW,Christina!
    As always, your research amazes me, and the results you show fascinate. As an aside, my husband reads the Wenches each morning, and as soon as he read your blog (earlier than I do because he doesn’t have cats to feed!) he wanted to get a hold of a copy of HIDDEN IN THE MISTS. I told him that I’d already bought it so I’d download it to his e-reader this afternoon. *G*

    Reply
  4. Oh, WOW,Christina!
    As always, your research amazes me, and the results you show fascinate. As an aside, my husband reads the Wenches each morning, and as soon as he read your blog (earlier than I do because he doesn’t have cats to feed!) he wanted to get a hold of a copy of HIDDEN IN THE MISTS. I told him that I’d already bought it so I’d download it to his e-reader this afternoon. *G*

    Reply
  5. Oh, WOW,Christina!
    As always, your research amazes me, and the results you show fascinate. As an aside, my husband reads the Wenches each morning, and as soon as he read your blog (earlier than I do because he doesn’t have cats to feed!) he wanted to get a hold of a copy of HIDDEN IN THE MISTS. I told him that I’d already bought it so I’d download it to his e-reader this afternoon. *G*

    Reply
  6. How lovely Mary Jo – thank you so much! I do hope he enjoys it. It’s amazing what nature can provide, isn’t it? And our ancestors were incredibly resourceful.

    Reply
  7. How lovely Mary Jo – thank you so much! I do hope he enjoys it. It’s amazing what nature can provide, isn’t it? And our ancestors were incredibly resourceful.

    Reply
  8. How lovely Mary Jo – thank you so much! I do hope he enjoys it. It’s amazing what nature can provide, isn’t it? And our ancestors were incredibly resourceful.

    Reply
  9. How lovely Mary Jo – thank you so much! I do hope he enjoys it. It’s amazing what nature can provide, isn’t it? And our ancestors were incredibly resourceful.

    Reply
  10. How lovely Mary Jo – thank you so much! I do hope he enjoys it. It’s amazing what nature can provide, isn’t it? And our ancestors were incredibly resourceful.

    Reply
  11. I can remember my mother dyeing things using store bought dye packets when I was very young. She wouldn’t let us kids near the stuff for fear of making a mess. And although I never tried it myself, I had a friend who made a tie dyed tee shirt for me back in the day (70s?).
    The first part of your blog made me think of a great aunt and two great uncles who had a farm when I was a child. They were getting on in years, but they still had fields of wheat, soy beans and corn. But they put me to work in their side garden where they grew every vegetable you could think of. I also collected and cleaned eggs also which they sold. I didn’t always enjoy the work, but I swear, I have never tasted a tomato as good as the ones they grew there.

    Reply
  12. I can remember my mother dyeing things using store bought dye packets when I was very young. She wouldn’t let us kids near the stuff for fear of making a mess. And although I never tried it myself, I had a friend who made a tie dyed tee shirt for me back in the day (70s?).
    The first part of your blog made me think of a great aunt and two great uncles who had a farm when I was a child. They were getting on in years, but they still had fields of wheat, soy beans and corn. But they put me to work in their side garden where they grew every vegetable you could think of. I also collected and cleaned eggs also which they sold. I didn’t always enjoy the work, but I swear, I have never tasted a tomato as good as the ones they grew there.

    Reply
  13. I can remember my mother dyeing things using store bought dye packets when I was very young. She wouldn’t let us kids near the stuff for fear of making a mess. And although I never tried it myself, I had a friend who made a tie dyed tee shirt for me back in the day (70s?).
    The first part of your blog made me think of a great aunt and two great uncles who had a farm when I was a child. They were getting on in years, but they still had fields of wheat, soy beans and corn. But they put me to work in their side garden where they grew every vegetable you could think of. I also collected and cleaned eggs also which they sold. I didn’t always enjoy the work, but I swear, I have never tasted a tomato as good as the ones they grew there.

    Reply
  14. I can remember my mother dyeing things using store bought dye packets when I was very young. She wouldn’t let us kids near the stuff for fear of making a mess. And although I never tried it myself, I had a friend who made a tie dyed tee shirt for me back in the day (70s?).
    The first part of your blog made me think of a great aunt and two great uncles who had a farm when I was a child. They were getting on in years, but they still had fields of wheat, soy beans and corn. But they put me to work in their side garden where they grew every vegetable you could think of. I also collected and cleaned eggs also which they sold. I didn’t always enjoy the work, but I swear, I have never tasted a tomato as good as the ones they grew there.

    Reply
  15. I can remember my mother dyeing things using store bought dye packets when I was very young. She wouldn’t let us kids near the stuff for fear of making a mess. And although I never tried it myself, I had a friend who made a tie dyed tee shirt for me back in the day (70s?).
    The first part of your blog made me think of a great aunt and two great uncles who had a farm when I was a child. They were getting on in years, but they still had fields of wheat, soy beans and corn. But they put me to work in their side garden where they grew every vegetable you could think of. I also collected and cleaned eggs also which they sold. I didn’t always enjoy the work, but I swear, I have never tasted a tomato as good as the ones they grew there.

    Reply
  16. Oh you brought back memories Mary! I had a friend whose mother helped us tie dye T-shirts and mine was yellow. And yes, home grown produce does taste so delicious!

    Reply
  17. Oh you brought back memories Mary! I had a friend whose mother helped us tie dye T-shirts and mine was yellow. And yes, home grown produce does taste so delicious!

    Reply
  18. Oh you brought back memories Mary! I had a friend whose mother helped us tie dye T-shirts and mine was yellow. And yes, home grown produce does taste so delicious!

    Reply
  19. Oh you brought back memories Mary! I had a friend whose mother helped us tie dye T-shirts and mine was yellow. And yes, home grown produce does taste so delicious!

    Reply
  20. Oh you brought back memories Mary! I had a friend whose mother helped us tie dye T-shirts and mine was yellow. And yes, home grown produce does taste so delicious!

    Reply
  21. I remember my Mom dyeing things with those little packets too. And of course, the hippie era – many of my friends tie dyed clothes. I still love tie dyed clothes to this day but I actually never did it myself. My parents (who both worked full time) had a big garden in the back yard and we had to go pick everything daily. My Mom did all the canning stuff too with a little help from us kids. I have never wanted to do that in my adult life. Isn’t that funny? Maybe it seemed like way too much work!

    Reply
  22. I remember my Mom dyeing things with those little packets too. And of course, the hippie era – many of my friends tie dyed clothes. I still love tie dyed clothes to this day but I actually never did it myself. My parents (who both worked full time) had a big garden in the back yard and we had to go pick everything daily. My Mom did all the canning stuff too with a little help from us kids. I have never wanted to do that in my adult life. Isn’t that funny? Maybe it seemed like way too much work!

    Reply
  23. I remember my Mom dyeing things with those little packets too. And of course, the hippie era – many of my friends tie dyed clothes. I still love tie dyed clothes to this day but I actually never did it myself. My parents (who both worked full time) had a big garden in the back yard and we had to go pick everything daily. My Mom did all the canning stuff too with a little help from us kids. I have never wanted to do that in my adult life. Isn’t that funny? Maybe it seemed like way too much work!

    Reply
  24. I remember my Mom dyeing things with those little packets too. And of course, the hippie era – many of my friends tie dyed clothes. I still love tie dyed clothes to this day but I actually never did it myself. My parents (who both worked full time) had a big garden in the back yard and we had to go pick everything daily. My Mom did all the canning stuff too with a little help from us kids. I have never wanted to do that in my adult life. Isn’t that funny? Maybe it seemed like way too much work!

    Reply
  25. I remember my Mom dyeing things with those little packets too. And of course, the hippie era – many of my friends tie dyed clothes. I still love tie dyed clothes to this day but I actually never did it myself. My parents (who both worked full time) had a big garden in the back yard and we had to go pick everything daily. My Mom did all the canning stuff too with a little help from us kids. I have never wanted to do that in my adult life. Isn’t that funny? Maybe it seemed like way too much work!

    Reply
  26. Thank you Jeanne – yes tie dye is very appealing! And I must admit I’m not very good at preserves and things like that. My mother was much better!

    Reply
  27. Thank you Jeanne – yes tie dye is very appealing! And I must admit I’m not very good at preserves and things like that. My mother was much better!

    Reply
  28. Thank you Jeanne – yes tie dye is very appealing! And I must admit I’m not very good at preserves and things like that. My mother was much better!

    Reply
  29. Thank you Jeanne – yes tie dye is very appealing! And I must admit I’m not very good at preserves and things like that. My mother was much better!

    Reply
  30. Thank you Jeanne – yes tie dye is very appealing! And I must admit I’m not very good at preserves and things like that. My mother was much better!

    Reply
  31. What a fascinating and fun post, Christina … thank you! I liked seeing the pieces from your weekend course. I have done tie dye but that is my sole experience with dyeing that I can recall.

    Reply
  32. What a fascinating and fun post, Christina … thank you! I liked seeing the pieces from your weekend course. I have done tie dye but that is my sole experience with dyeing that I can recall.

    Reply
  33. What a fascinating and fun post, Christina … thank you! I liked seeing the pieces from your weekend course. I have done tie dye but that is my sole experience with dyeing that I can recall.

    Reply
  34. What a fascinating and fun post, Christina … thank you! I liked seeing the pieces from your weekend course. I have done tie dye but that is my sole experience with dyeing that I can recall.

    Reply
  35. What a fascinating and fun post, Christina … thank you! I liked seeing the pieces from your weekend course. I have done tie dye but that is my sole experience with dyeing that I can recall.

    Reply
  36. Mary T. brought back memories of those messy dyes in the ’50s and ‘60s. Not only messy in the dyeing because the promise of “permanent” color was a stretch, but the dyed item (and even some commercially dyed ones) had to be washed separately. A friend who wasn’t really into housework washed her husband’s white business shirts with her kids’ red flannel pajamas. Mayhem ensued. It wasn’t pretty, although the shirts were a nice pink!
    But what really came up for me was a silk scarf-dyeing class in Cambodia a few years ago. I chose turmeric yellow. I dug, washed, and boiled the turmeric root for it. Let me tell you, it was electric gold, not just yellow. Gorgeous, but not what a Regency deb could get away with. Not being one of those, I’m free to love it and flaunt it—and I do on occasion.

    Reply
  37. Mary T. brought back memories of those messy dyes in the ’50s and ‘60s. Not only messy in the dyeing because the promise of “permanent” color was a stretch, but the dyed item (and even some commercially dyed ones) had to be washed separately. A friend who wasn’t really into housework washed her husband’s white business shirts with her kids’ red flannel pajamas. Mayhem ensued. It wasn’t pretty, although the shirts were a nice pink!
    But what really came up for me was a silk scarf-dyeing class in Cambodia a few years ago. I chose turmeric yellow. I dug, washed, and boiled the turmeric root for it. Let me tell you, it was electric gold, not just yellow. Gorgeous, but not what a Regency deb could get away with. Not being one of those, I’m free to love it and flaunt it—and I do on occasion.

    Reply
  38. Mary T. brought back memories of those messy dyes in the ’50s and ‘60s. Not only messy in the dyeing because the promise of “permanent” color was a stretch, but the dyed item (and even some commercially dyed ones) had to be washed separately. A friend who wasn’t really into housework washed her husband’s white business shirts with her kids’ red flannel pajamas. Mayhem ensued. It wasn’t pretty, although the shirts were a nice pink!
    But what really came up for me was a silk scarf-dyeing class in Cambodia a few years ago. I chose turmeric yellow. I dug, washed, and boiled the turmeric root for it. Let me tell you, it was electric gold, not just yellow. Gorgeous, but not what a Regency deb could get away with. Not being one of those, I’m free to love it and flaunt it—and I do on occasion.

    Reply
  39. Mary T. brought back memories of those messy dyes in the ’50s and ‘60s. Not only messy in the dyeing because the promise of “permanent” color was a stretch, but the dyed item (and even some commercially dyed ones) had to be washed separately. A friend who wasn’t really into housework washed her husband’s white business shirts with her kids’ red flannel pajamas. Mayhem ensued. It wasn’t pretty, although the shirts were a nice pink!
    But what really came up for me was a silk scarf-dyeing class in Cambodia a few years ago. I chose turmeric yellow. I dug, washed, and boiled the turmeric root for it. Let me tell you, it was electric gold, not just yellow. Gorgeous, but not what a Regency deb could get away with. Not being one of those, I’m free to love it and flaunt it—and I do on occasion.

    Reply
  40. Mary T. brought back memories of those messy dyes in the ’50s and ‘60s. Not only messy in the dyeing because the promise of “permanent” color was a stretch, but the dyed item (and even some commercially dyed ones) had to be washed separately. A friend who wasn’t really into housework washed her husband’s white business shirts with her kids’ red flannel pajamas. Mayhem ensued. It wasn’t pretty, although the shirts were a nice pink!
    But what really came up for me was a silk scarf-dyeing class in Cambodia a few years ago. I chose turmeric yellow. I dug, washed, and boiled the turmeric root for it. Let me tell you, it was electric gold, not just yellow. Gorgeous, but not what a Regency deb could get away with. Not being one of those, I’m free to love it and flaunt it—and I do on occasion.

    Reply
  41. Thank you, Kareni, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It was a very interesting weekend as I had no idea leaves and other things from nature would give such clear imprints on material. I’ll have to experiment some more!

    Reply
  42. Thank you, Kareni, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It was a very interesting weekend as I had no idea leaves and other things from nature would give such clear imprints on material. I’ll have to experiment some more!

    Reply
  43. Thank you, Kareni, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It was a very interesting weekend as I had no idea leaves and other things from nature would give such clear imprints on material. I’ll have to experiment some more!

    Reply
  44. Thank you, Kareni, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It was a very interesting weekend as I had no idea leaves and other things from nature would give such clear imprints on material. I’ll have to experiment some more!

    Reply
  45. Thank you, Kareni, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! It was a very interesting weekend as I had no idea leaves and other things from nature would give such clear imprints on material. I’ll have to experiment some more!

    Reply
  46. Wow, that sounds fantastic, Mary, I love yellow! I kind of feel sorry for the poor debutantes who had to dress in such boring colours. And you’re right, items that have been dyed should probably be washed separately although the fixing agent ought to prevent the colours from staining other things. LOL re: the pink shirts – I bet the husband wasn’t best pleased about that! I’ve done it with a lone red sock that managed to get into the wrong pile …

    Reply
  47. Wow, that sounds fantastic, Mary, I love yellow! I kind of feel sorry for the poor debutantes who had to dress in such boring colours. And you’re right, items that have been dyed should probably be washed separately although the fixing agent ought to prevent the colours from staining other things. LOL re: the pink shirts – I bet the husband wasn’t best pleased about that! I’ve done it with a lone red sock that managed to get into the wrong pile …

    Reply
  48. Wow, that sounds fantastic, Mary, I love yellow! I kind of feel sorry for the poor debutantes who had to dress in such boring colours. And you’re right, items that have been dyed should probably be washed separately although the fixing agent ought to prevent the colours from staining other things. LOL re: the pink shirts – I bet the husband wasn’t best pleased about that! I’ve done it with a lone red sock that managed to get into the wrong pile …

    Reply
  49. Wow, that sounds fantastic, Mary, I love yellow! I kind of feel sorry for the poor debutantes who had to dress in such boring colours. And you’re right, items that have been dyed should probably be washed separately although the fixing agent ought to prevent the colours from staining other things. LOL re: the pink shirts – I bet the husband wasn’t best pleased about that! I’ve done it with a lone red sock that managed to get into the wrong pile …

    Reply
  50. Wow, that sounds fantastic, Mary, I love yellow! I kind of feel sorry for the poor debutantes who had to dress in such boring colours. And you’re right, items that have been dyed should probably be washed separately although the fixing agent ought to prevent the colours from staining other things. LOL re: the pink shirts – I bet the husband wasn’t best pleased about that! I’ve done it with a lone red sock that managed to get into the wrong pile …

    Reply
  51. I haven’t tried my hand at dyeing or weaving but would love to have a go some time. I really enjoyed that part of Hidden in the Mists. Her small holding sounded wonderful.
    When I was growing up money was extremely tight. So we always had ‘grow your own’ as it were. We had every kind of vegetable that could be grown in Ireland. My brother always grew strawberries and blackcurrants. Mam used to make jam and she also pickled our own beetroot. She also knitted all our jumpers and cardigans.
    We always had a pig or two. I loved them. Wonderful animals and we also had a cow, hens and ducks. We were quite self sufficient, mostly out of necessity. This kind of thing was nothing unusual in Ireland at that time.
    Up to last year I grew some veg for the house myself. I enjoyed it and hopefully plan on doing a small bit again this coming year.
    Very interesting post Christina.

    Reply
  52. I haven’t tried my hand at dyeing or weaving but would love to have a go some time. I really enjoyed that part of Hidden in the Mists. Her small holding sounded wonderful.
    When I was growing up money was extremely tight. So we always had ‘grow your own’ as it were. We had every kind of vegetable that could be grown in Ireland. My brother always grew strawberries and blackcurrants. Mam used to make jam and she also pickled our own beetroot. She also knitted all our jumpers and cardigans.
    We always had a pig or two. I loved them. Wonderful animals and we also had a cow, hens and ducks. We were quite self sufficient, mostly out of necessity. This kind of thing was nothing unusual in Ireland at that time.
    Up to last year I grew some veg for the house myself. I enjoyed it and hopefully plan on doing a small bit again this coming year.
    Very interesting post Christina.

    Reply
  53. I haven’t tried my hand at dyeing or weaving but would love to have a go some time. I really enjoyed that part of Hidden in the Mists. Her small holding sounded wonderful.
    When I was growing up money was extremely tight. So we always had ‘grow your own’ as it were. We had every kind of vegetable that could be grown in Ireland. My brother always grew strawberries and blackcurrants. Mam used to make jam and she also pickled our own beetroot. She also knitted all our jumpers and cardigans.
    We always had a pig or two. I loved them. Wonderful animals and we also had a cow, hens and ducks. We were quite self sufficient, mostly out of necessity. This kind of thing was nothing unusual in Ireland at that time.
    Up to last year I grew some veg for the house myself. I enjoyed it and hopefully plan on doing a small bit again this coming year.
    Very interesting post Christina.

    Reply
  54. I haven’t tried my hand at dyeing or weaving but would love to have a go some time. I really enjoyed that part of Hidden in the Mists. Her small holding sounded wonderful.
    When I was growing up money was extremely tight. So we always had ‘grow your own’ as it were. We had every kind of vegetable that could be grown in Ireland. My brother always grew strawberries and blackcurrants. Mam used to make jam and she also pickled our own beetroot. She also knitted all our jumpers and cardigans.
    We always had a pig or two. I loved them. Wonderful animals and we also had a cow, hens and ducks. We were quite self sufficient, mostly out of necessity. This kind of thing was nothing unusual in Ireland at that time.
    Up to last year I grew some veg for the house myself. I enjoyed it and hopefully plan on doing a small bit again this coming year.
    Very interesting post Christina.

    Reply
  55. I haven’t tried my hand at dyeing or weaving but would love to have a go some time. I really enjoyed that part of Hidden in the Mists. Her small holding sounded wonderful.
    When I was growing up money was extremely tight. So we always had ‘grow your own’ as it were. We had every kind of vegetable that could be grown in Ireland. My brother always grew strawberries and blackcurrants. Mam used to make jam and she also pickled our own beetroot. She also knitted all our jumpers and cardigans.
    We always had a pig or two. I loved them. Wonderful animals and we also had a cow, hens and ducks. We were quite self sufficient, mostly out of necessity. This kind of thing was nothing unusual in Ireland at that time.
    Up to last year I grew some veg for the house myself. I enjoyed it and hopefully plan on doing a small bit again this coming year.
    Very interesting post Christina.

    Reply
  56. I have never woven anything. I wanted to get a loom once, and had visions of beautiful fabrics, but alas, did not work out. No talent.
    The first time I did any dyeing, I made my high school tennis shoes yellow. We wore white ugly (very ugly) one piece things that were the least flattering things anyone could have conceived. And it had our names on the back so there would be no doubt as to who was in this ugly outfit. So, I made my shoes different from any others, just to make me feel better.
    Yes, I tie dyed in order to be “withit”. I have never been “with” anything. In fact, I believe I have always been “without”. Anyway, my tie dyeing came out OK. I believe that was one of the best ideas ever designed. So, easy.
    I have lived in the country. I tried a vegetable garden…the green beans were so hard they could have been deadly weapons. We had a mare and a colt. But, no animals that actually produced anything. We showed dogs and they did win ribbons and trophies. We also had a beautiful cat who did not realize cats and mice should be bitter enemies. He was more of a social director than a vicious animal.
    I loved your pictures of the beautiful colors of wool. You are absolutely right, those clothes would have been lovely, not the least bit dull.
    I thank you for this entire post and the pictures. I must say, your descriptions and suggestions are absolutely wonderful. Thank you Christina.
    Hope everyone is well.

    Reply
  57. I have never woven anything. I wanted to get a loom once, and had visions of beautiful fabrics, but alas, did not work out. No talent.
    The first time I did any dyeing, I made my high school tennis shoes yellow. We wore white ugly (very ugly) one piece things that were the least flattering things anyone could have conceived. And it had our names on the back so there would be no doubt as to who was in this ugly outfit. So, I made my shoes different from any others, just to make me feel better.
    Yes, I tie dyed in order to be “withit”. I have never been “with” anything. In fact, I believe I have always been “without”. Anyway, my tie dyeing came out OK. I believe that was one of the best ideas ever designed. So, easy.
    I have lived in the country. I tried a vegetable garden…the green beans were so hard they could have been deadly weapons. We had a mare and a colt. But, no animals that actually produced anything. We showed dogs and they did win ribbons and trophies. We also had a beautiful cat who did not realize cats and mice should be bitter enemies. He was more of a social director than a vicious animal.
    I loved your pictures of the beautiful colors of wool. You are absolutely right, those clothes would have been lovely, not the least bit dull.
    I thank you for this entire post and the pictures. I must say, your descriptions and suggestions are absolutely wonderful. Thank you Christina.
    Hope everyone is well.

    Reply
  58. I have never woven anything. I wanted to get a loom once, and had visions of beautiful fabrics, but alas, did not work out. No talent.
    The first time I did any dyeing, I made my high school tennis shoes yellow. We wore white ugly (very ugly) one piece things that were the least flattering things anyone could have conceived. And it had our names on the back so there would be no doubt as to who was in this ugly outfit. So, I made my shoes different from any others, just to make me feel better.
    Yes, I tie dyed in order to be “withit”. I have never been “with” anything. In fact, I believe I have always been “without”. Anyway, my tie dyeing came out OK. I believe that was one of the best ideas ever designed. So, easy.
    I have lived in the country. I tried a vegetable garden…the green beans were so hard they could have been deadly weapons. We had a mare and a colt. But, no animals that actually produced anything. We showed dogs and they did win ribbons and trophies. We also had a beautiful cat who did not realize cats and mice should be bitter enemies. He was more of a social director than a vicious animal.
    I loved your pictures of the beautiful colors of wool. You are absolutely right, those clothes would have been lovely, not the least bit dull.
    I thank you for this entire post and the pictures. I must say, your descriptions and suggestions are absolutely wonderful. Thank you Christina.
    Hope everyone is well.

    Reply
  59. I have never woven anything. I wanted to get a loom once, and had visions of beautiful fabrics, but alas, did not work out. No talent.
    The first time I did any dyeing, I made my high school tennis shoes yellow. We wore white ugly (very ugly) one piece things that were the least flattering things anyone could have conceived. And it had our names on the back so there would be no doubt as to who was in this ugly outfit. So, I made my shoes different from any others, just to make me feel better.
    Yes, I tie dyed in order to be “withit”. I have never been “with” anything. In fact, I believe I have always been “without”. Anyway, my tie dyeing came out OK. I believe that was one of the best ideas ever designed. So, easy.
    I have lived in the country. I tried a vegetable garden…the green beans were so hard they could have been deadly weapons. We had a mare and a colt. But, no animals that actually produced anything. We showed dogs and they did win ribbons and trophies. We also had a beautiful cat who did not realize cats and mice should be bitter enemies. He was more of a social director than a vicious animal.
    I loved your pictures of the beautiful colors of wool. You are absolutely right, those clothes would have been lovely, not the least bit dull.
    I thank you for this entire post and the pictures. I must say, your descriptions and suggestions are absolutely wonderful. Thank you Christina.
    Hope everyone is well.

    Reply
  60. I have never woven anything. I wanted to get a loom once, and had visions of beautiful fabrics, but alas, did not work out. No talent.
    The first time I did any dyeing, I made my high school tennis shoes yellow. We wore white ugly (very ugly) one piece things that were the least flattering things anyone could have conceived. And it had our names on the back so there would be no doubt as to who was in this ugly outfit. So, I made my shoes different from any others, just to make me feel better.
    Yes, I tie dyed in order to be “withit”. I have never been “with” anything. In fact, I believe I have always been “without”. Anyway, my tie dyeing came out OK. I believe that was one of the best ideas ever designed. So, easy.
    I have lived in the country. I tried a vegetable garden…the green beans were so hard they could have been deadly weapons. We had a mare and a colt. But, no animals that actually produced anything. We showed dogs and they did win ribbons and trophies. We also had a beautiful cat who did not realize cats and mice should be bitter enemies. He was more of a social director than a vicious animal.
    I loved your pictures of the beautiful colors of wool. You are absolutely right, those clothes would have been lovely, not the least bit dull.
    I thank you for this entire post and the pictures. I must say, your descriptions and suggestions are absolutely wonderful. Thank you Christina.
    Hope everyone is well.

    Reply
  61. Christina, your mention of the idyllic farm, etc & reality made me laugh because it made me think of the beginning of “Holiday Inn” with Fred Astaire–going to have that lovely, easy life on the farm…and winds up in a sanitarium due to a mental breakdown! Way more work than he was expecting!
    I took a class in dying many years ago, using plants, etc. The teachers recommended “Wild Color” even way back then! But instead of woad, we actually got to use Indigo. Gorgeous shades of blue!

    Reply
  62. Christina, your mention of the idyllic farm, etc & reality made me laugh because it made me think of the beginning of “Holiday Inn” with Fred Astaire–going to have that lovely, easy life on the farm…and winds up in a sanitarium due to a mental breakdown! Way more work than he was expecting!
    I took a class in dying many years ago, using plants, etc. The teachers recommended “Wild Color” even way back then! But instead of woad, we actually got to use Indigo. Gorgeous shades of blue!

    Reply
  63. Christina, your mention of the idyllic farm, etc & reality made me laugh because it made me think of the beginning of “Holiday Inn” with Fred Astaire–going to have that lovely, easy life on the farm…and winds up in a sanitarium due to a mental breakdown! Way more work than he was expecting!
    I took a class in dying many years ago, using plants, etc. The teachers recommended “Wild Color” even way back then! But instead of woad, we actually got to use Indigo. Gorgeous shades of blue!

    Reply
  64. Christina, your mention of the idyllic farm, etc & reality made me laugh because it made me think of the beginning of “Holiday Inn” with Fred Astaire–going to have that lovely, easy life on the farm…and winds up in a sanitarium due to a mental breakdown! Way more work than he was expecting!
    I took a class in dying many years ago, using plants, etc. The teachers recommended “Wild Color” even way back then! But instead of woad, we actually got to use Indigo. Gorgeous shades of blue!

    Reply
  65. Christina, your mention of the idyllic farm, etc & reality made me laugh because it made me think of the beginning of “Holiday Inn” with Fred Astaire–going to have that lovely, easy life on the farm…and winds up in a sanitarium due to a mental breakdown! Way more work than he was expecting!
    I took a class in dying many years ago, using plants, etc. The teachers recommended “Wild Color” even way back then! But instead of woad, we actually got to use Indigo. Gorgeous shades of blue!

    Reply
  66. Thank you Teresa! That sounds wonderful and I’m glad you carried on growing your own veg. I’ve tried but I’m not very good at it – might need to go on a course to learn how to do it properly. My mother used to make blackcurrant cordial and jelly – delicious!

    Reply
  67. Thank you Teresa! That sounds wonderful and I’m glad you carried on growing your own veg. I’ve tried but I’m not very good at it – might need to go on a course to learn how to do it properly. My mother used to make blackcurrant cordial and jelly – delicious!

    Reply
  68. Thank you Teresa! That sounds wonderful and I’m glad you carried on growing your own veg. I’ve tried but I’m not very good at it – might need to go on a course to learn how to do it properly. My mother used to make blackcurrant cordial and jelly – delicious!

    Reply
  69. Thank you Teresa! That sounds wonderful and I’m glad you carried on growing your own veg. I’ve tried but I’m not very good at it – might need to go on a course to learn how to do it properly. My mother used to make blackcurrant cordial and jelly – delicious!

    Reply
  70. Thank you Teresa! That sounds wonderful and I’m glad you carried on growing your own veg. I’ve tried but I’m not very good at it – might need to go on a course to learn how to do it properly. My mother used to make blackcurrant cordial and jelly – delicious!

    Reply
  71. Many thanks Annette! I remember those ugly gym outfits – what a great idea to dye your shoes! Love the sound of your ‘social director’ cat LOL. Animals all have their own personalities don’t they. Hope you are well!

    Reply
  72. Many thanks Annette! I remember those ugly gym outfits – what a great idea to dye your shoes! Love the sound of your ‘social director’ cat LOL. Animals all have their own personalities don’t they. Hope you are well!

    Reply
  73. Many thanks Annette! I remember those ugly gym outfits – what a great idea to dye your shoes! Love the sound of your ‘social director’ cat LOL. Animals all have their own personalities don’t they. Hope you are well!

    Reply
  74. Many thanks Annette! I remember those ugly gym outfits – what a great idea to dye your shoes! Love the sound of your ‘social director’ cat LOL. Animals all have their own personalities don’t they. Hope you are well!

    Reply
  75. Many thanks Annette! I remember those ugly gym outfits – what a great idea to dye your shoes! Love the sound of your ‘social director’ cat LOL. Animals all have their own personalities don’t they. Hope you are well!

    Reply
  76. Oh I haven’t seen that film – poor Fred! Hopefully it’s not quite that traumatic in real life 🙂 I’m glad you were recommended that book too, it’s fab. And I love indigo blue! Woad is more subtle.

    Reply
  77. Oh I haven’t seen that film – poor Fred! Hopefully it’s not quite that traumatic in real life 🙂 I’m glad you were recommended that book too, it’s fab. And I love indigo blue! Woad is more subtle.

    Reply
  78. Oh I haven’t seen that film – poor Fred! Hopefully it’s not quite that traumatic in real life 🙂 I’m glad you were recommended that book too, it’s fab. And I love indigo blue! Woad is more subtle.

    Reply
  79. Oh I haven’t seen that film – poor Fred! Hopefully it’s not quite that traumatic in real life 🙂 I’m glad you were recommended that book too, it’s fab. And I love indigo blue! Woad is more subtle.

    Reply
  80. Oh I haven’t seen that film – poor Fred! Hopefully it’s not quite that traumatic in real life 🙂 I’m glad you were recommended that book too, it’s fab. And I love indigo blue! Woad is more subtle.

    Reply
  81. In my youth, I did a bit of tie dying. You would bunch together t-shirt material with rubber bands to get those circular patterns that everyone was wearing in the hippie era. I also remember buying men’s white dress shirts at thrift shops and dying them bright colors, using the little boxes of RIT dye. I also recall I was at a mycology conference where they had a workshop on using mushrooms as natural dyes. “Dying With Mushrooms” would have had unfortunate connotations, so they called the workshop “Using Mushrooms for Color”.
    I am familiar with using pokeberries to get a very bright pink color, but I don’t know if that plant exists in the British Isles.
    I haven’t dyed anything in years, but right now I have a basket which I made at a basket-weaving workshop, and I’ve been meaning to dye it a brownish shade, possibly using acorns or mushrooms.

    Reply
  82. In my youth, I did a bit of tie dying. You would bunch together t-shirt material with rubber bands to get those circular patterns that everyone was wearing in the hippie era. I also remember buying men’s white dress shirts at thrift shops and dying them bright colors, using the little boxes of RIT dye. I also recall I was at a mycology conference where they had a workshop on using mushrooms as natural dyes. “Dying With Mushrooms” would have had unfortunate connotations, so they called the workshop “Using Mushrooms for Color”.
    I am familiar with using pokeberries to get a very bright pink color, but I don’t know if that plant exists in the British Isles.
    I haven’t dyed anything in years, but right now I have a basket which I made at a basket-weaving workshop, and I’ve been meaning to dye it a brownish shade, possibly using acorns or mushrooms.

    Reply
  83. In my youth, I did a bit of tie dying. You would bunch together t-shirt material with rubber bands to get those circular patterns that everyone was wearing in the hippie era. I also remember buying men’s white dress shirts at thrift shops and dying them bright colors, using the little boxes of RIT dye. I also recall I was at a mycology conference where they had a workshop on using mushrooms as natural dyes. “Dying With Mushrooms” would have had unfortunate connotations, so they called the workshop “Using Mushrooms for Color”.
    I am familiar with using pokeberries to get a very bright pink color, but I don’t know if that plant exists in the British Isles.
    I haven’t dyed anything in years, but right now I have a basket which I made at a basket-weaving workshop, and I’ve been meaning to dye it a brownish shade, possibly using acorns or mushrooms.

    Reply
  84. In my youth, I did a bit of tie dying. You would bunch together t-shirt material with rubber bands to get those circular patterns that everyone was wearing in the hippie era. I also remember buying men’s white dress shirts at thrift shops and dying them bright colors, using the little boxes of RIT dye. I also recall I was at a mycology conference where they had a workshop on using mushrooms as natural dyes. “Dying With Mushrooms” would have had unfortunate connotations, so they called the workshop “Using Mushrooms for Color”.
    I am familiar with using pokeberries to get a very bright pink color, but I don’t know if that plant exists in the British Isles.
    I haven’t dyed anything in years, but right now I have a basket which I made at a basket-weaving workshop, and I’ve been meaning to dye it a brownish shade, possibly using acorns or mushrooms.

    Reply
  85. In my youth, I did a bit of tie dying. You would bunch together t-shirt material with rubber bands to get those circular patterns that everyone was wearing in the hippie era. I also remember buying men’s white dress shirts at thrift shops and dying them bright colors, using the little boxes of RIT dye. I also recall I was at a mycology conference where they had a workshop on using mushrooms as natural dyes. “Dying With Mushrooms” would have had unfortunate connotations, so they called the workshop “Using Mushrooms for Color”.
    I am familiar with using pokeberries to get a very bright pink color, but I don’t know if that plant exists in the British Isles.
    I haven’t dyed anything in years, but right now I have a basket which I made at a basket-weaving workshop, and I’ve been meaning to dye it a brownish shade, possibly using acorns or mushrooms.

    Reply
  86. Christina, see if you can hunt it up & watch it. Fred Astaire & Bing Crosby, some great hoofing & singing and the 1st use in a movie of “White Christmas” Always have to watch it during the holiday season, and sometimes in July!

    Reply
  87. Christina, see if you can hunt it up & watch it. Fred Astaire & Bing Crosby, some great hoofing & singing and the 1st use in a movie of “White Christmas” Always have to watch it during the holiday season, and sometimes in July!

    Reply
  88. Christina, see if you can hunt it up & watch it. Fred Astaire & Bing Crosby, some great hoofing & singing and the 1st use in a movie of “White Christmas” Always have to watch it during the holiday season, and sometimes in July!

    Reply
  89. Christina, see if you can hunt it up & watch it. Fred Astaire & Bing Crosby, some great hoofing & singing and the 1st use in a movie of “White Christmas” Always have to watch it during the holiday season, and sometimes in July!

    Reply
  90. Christina, see if you can hunt it up & watch it. Fred Astaire & Bing Crosby, some great hoofing & singing and the 1st use in a movie of “White Christmas” Always have to watch it during the holiday season, and sometimes in July!

    Reply
  91. Karin, depending on the color of brown that you want, use instant tea to dye it. That’s what I used, as recommended by the instructor, with baskets I made in weaving classes. Depending on the amount used, etc can be a nice deep brown, hint of gold in it.

    Reply
  92. Karin, depending on the color of brown that you want, use instant tea to dye it. That’s what I used, as recommended by the instructor, with baskets I made in weaving classes. Depending on the amount used, etc can be a nice deep brown, hint of gold in it.

    Reply
  93. Karin, depending on the color of brown that you want, use instant tea to dye it. That’s what I used, as recommended by the instructor, with baskets I made in weaving classes. Depending on the amount used, etc can be a nice deep brown, hint of gold in it.

    Reply
  94. Karin, depending on the color of brown that you want, use instant tea to dye it. That’s what I used, as recommended by the instructor, with baskets I made in weaving classes. Depending on the amount used, etc can be a nice deep brown, hint of gold in it.

    Reply
  95. Karin, depending on the color of brown that you want, use instant tea to dye it. That’s what I used, as recommended by the instructor, with baskets I made in weaving classes. Depending on the amount used, etc can be a nice deep brown, hint of gold in it.

    Reply
  96. Lovely blog, Christina. I used to try dyeing cloth when I was a teen, and I have to admit that reading your book piqued —repiqued?— my interest. Mostly I used onion skins, and I think maybe beetroot, and some other plants. It was fun (though mum thought it was a bit too messy ) I never tried it on wool, as I’m not a knitter.
    As for spinning, when I lived for a short time in a village in northern Greece I learned their traditional way of spinning fleece using a very simple spindle. It was fascinating, and quite easy, though it would take more practice to get the fine yarn the old ladies spun.
    One thing I’d be worried about with the self-sufficiency thing is foxes. My friend in inner city Melbourne had a fox slaughter her five chickens — while locked in their pens!

    Reply
  97. Lovely blog, Christina. I used to try dyeing cloth when I was a teen, and I have to admit that reading your book piqued —repiqued?— my interest. Mostly I used onion skins, and I think maybe beetroot, and some other plants. It was fun (though mum thought it was a bit too messy ) I never tried it on wool, as I’m not a knitter.
    As for spinning, when I lived for a short time in a village in northern Greece I learned their traditional way of spinning fleece using a very simple spindle. It was fascinating, and quite easy, though it would take more practice to get the fine yarn the old ladies spun.
    One thing I’d be worried about with the self-sufficiency thing is foxes. My friend in inner city Melbourne had a fox slaughter her five chickens — while locked in their pens!

    Reply
  98. Lovely blog, Christina. I used to try dyeing cloth when I was a teen, and I have to admit that reading your book piqued —repiqued?— my interest. Mostly I used onion skins, and I think maybe beetroot, and some other plants. It was fun (though mum thought it was a bit too messy ) I never tried it on wool, as I’m not a knitter.
    As for spinning, when I lived for a short time in a village in northern Greece I learned their traditional way of spinning fleece using a very simple spindle. It was fascinating, and quite easy, though it would take more practice to get the fine yarn the old ladies spun.
    One thing I’d be worried about with the self-sufficiency thing is foxes. My friend in inner city Melbourne had a fox slaughter her five chickens — while locked in their pens!

    Reply
  99. Lovely blog, Christina. I used to try dyeing cloth when I was a teen, and I have to admit that reading your book piqued —repiqued?— my interest. Mostly I used onion skins, and I think maybe beetroot, and some other plants. It was fun (though mum thought it was a bit too messy ) I never tried it on wool, as I’m not a knitter.
    As for spinning, when I lived for a short time in a village in northern Greece I learned their traditional way of spinning fleece using a very simple spindle. It was fascinating, and quite easy, though it would take more practice to get the fine yarn the old ladies spun.
    One thing I’d be worried about with the self-sufficiency thing is foxes. My friend in inner city Melbourne had a fox slaughter her five chickens — while locked in their pens!

    Reply
  100. Lovely blog, Christina. I used to try dyeing cloth when I was a teen, and I have to admit that reading your book piqued —repiqued?— my interest. Mostly I used onion skins, and I think maybe beetroot, and some other plants. It was fun (though mum thought it was a bit too messy ) I never tried it on wool, as I’m not a knitter.
    As for spinning, when I lived for a short time in a village in northern Greece I learned their traditional way of spinning fleece using a very simple spindle. It was fascinating, and quite easy, though it would take more practice to get the fine yarn the old ladies spun.
    One thing I’d be worried about with the self-sufficiency thing is foxes. My friend in inner city Melbourne had a fox slaughter her five chickens — while locked in their pens!

    Reply
  101. Oh yes, I did that rubber band type dyeing with a tshirt too! It turned out really well. Haven’t heard of pokeberries and it looks like they are native to the US but I’m sure there are lots of others here that could be used. Love the sound of making baskets and hope you get it the colour you want!

    Reply
  102. Oh yes, I did that rubber band type dyeing with a tshirt too! It turned out really well. Haven’t heard of pokeberries and it looks like they are native to the US but I’m sure there are lots of others here that could be used. Love the sound of making baskets and hope you get it the colour you want!

    Reply
  103. Oh yes, I did that rubber band type dyeing with a tshirt too! It turned out really well. Haven’t heard of pokeberries and it looks like they are native to the US but I’m sure there are lots of others here that could be used. Love the sound of making baskets and hope you get it the colour you want!

    Reply
  104. Oh yes, I did that rubber band type dyeing with a tshirt too! It turned out really well. Haven’t heard of pokeberries and it looks like they are native to the US but I’m sure there are lots of others here that could be used. Love the sound of making baskets and hope you get it the colour you want!

    Reply
  105. Oh yes, I did that rubber band type dyeing with a tshirt too! It turned out really well. Haven’t heard of pokeberries and it looks like they are native to the US but I’m sure there are lots of others here that could be used. Love the sound of making baskets and hope you get it the colour you want!

    Reply
  106. Thank you, Anne! Your stay in Greece sounds fascinating and I’m glad the spinning isn’t as difficult as it looks. One of these days I’ll get round to learning.
    Regarding foxes, yes they are a problem so I guess you’d have to be extra vigilant and make sure they couldn’t get into the hen house. Probably easier said than done! There were foxes in the mews behind our house when I lived in London – they seem to be everywhere.

    Reply
  107. Thank you, Anne! Your stay in Greece sounds fascinating and I’m glad the spinning isn’t as difficult as it looks. One of these days I’ll get round to learning.
    Regarding foxes, yes they are a problem so I guess you’d have to be extra vigilant and make sure they couldn’t get into the hen house. Probably easier said than done! There were foxes in the mews behind our house when I lived in London – they seem to be everywhere.

    Reply
  108. Thank you, Anne! Your stay in Greece sounds fascinating and I’m glad the spinning isn’t as difficult as it looks. One of these days I’ll get round to learning.
    Regarding foxes, yes they are a problem so I guess you’d have to be extra vigilant and make sure they couldn’t get into the hen house. Probably easier said than done! There were foxes in the mews behind our house when I lived in London – they seem to be everywhere.

    Reply
  109. Thank you, Anne! Your stay in Greece sounds fascinating and I’m glad the spinning isn’t as difficult as it looks. One of these days I’ll get round to learning.
    Regarding foxes, yes they are a problem so I guess you’d have to be extra vigilant and make sure they couldn’t get into the hen house. Probably easier said than done! There were foxes in the mews behind our house when I lived in London – they seem to be everywhere.

    Reply
  110. Thank you, Anne! Your stay in Greece sounds fascinating and I’m glad the spinning isn’t as difficult as it looks. One of these days I’ll get round to learning.
    Regarding foxes, yes they are a problem so I guess you’d have to be extra vigilant and make sure they couldn’t get into the hen house. Probably easier said than done! There were foxes in the mews behind our house when I lived in London – they seem to be everywhere.

    Reply
  111. Wonderful post, Christina, and brought back memories of the 70’s. I heard a lecture on dying with plants at Sturbridge Village, a re-created New England town in Massachusetts. I too found onion skins produced the brightest color. In America we can buy bayberry candles, hand dipped from bayberries. The candles are sage green, but the actual juice of the berry is pale lavender. I was looking for the juice, but I discovered that vast quantities of berries only produced a few tablespoons of wax. A reminder of how many hours of labor it took to produce the necessities of life in centuries past.

    Reply
  112. Wonderful post, Christina, and brought back memories of the 70’s. I heard a lecture on dying with plants at Sturbridge Village, a re-created New England town in Massachusetts. I too found onion skins produced the brightest color. In America we can buy bayberry candles, hand dipped from bayberries. The candles are sage green, but the actual juice of the berry is pale lavender. I was looking for the juice, but I discovered that vast quantities of berries only produced a few tablespoons of wax. A reminder of how many hours of labor it took to produce the necessities of life in centuries past.

    Reply
  113. Wonderful post, Christina, and brought back memories of the 70’s. I heard a lecture on dying with plants at Sturbridge Village, a re-created New England town in Massachusetts. I too found onion skins produced the brightest color. In America we can buy bayberry candles, hand dipped from bayberries. The candles are sage green, but the actual juice of the berry is pale lavender. I was looking for the juice, but I discovered that vast quantities of berries only produced a few tablespoons of wax. A reminder of how many hours of labor it took to produce the necessities of life in centuries past.

    Reply
  114. Wonderful post, Christina, and brought back memories of the 70’s. I heard a lecture on dying with plants at Sturbridge Village, a re-created New England town in Massachusetts. I too found onion skins produced the brightest color. In America we can buy bayberry candles, hand dipped from bayberries. The candles are sage green, but the actual juice of the berry is pale lavender. I was looking for the juice, but I discovered that vast quantities of berries only produced a few tablespoons of wax. A reminder of how many hours of labor it took to produce the necessities of life in centuries past.

    Reply
  115. Wonderful post, Christina, and brought back memories of the 70’s. I heard a lecture on dying with plants at Sturbridge Village, a re-created New England town in Massachusetts. I too found onion skins produced the brightest color. In America we can buy bayberry candles, hand dipped from bayberries. The candles are sage green, but the actual juice of the berry is pale lavender. I was looking for the juice, but I discovered that vast quantities of berries only produced a few tablespoons of wax. A reminder of how many hours of labor it took to produce the necessities of life in centuries past.

    Reply

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