May is great month, second only to Autumn in my mind. It is a month of revitalization.Trees and perennial flowers are blooming. Gardening really gets going. This year for us it also includes being the lucky receivers of a permaculture plan for our property that our son is developing for a class. I find permaculture hard to define. It has many different levels to it but in a general sense it means working in harmony with nature while achieving resilience by using natural patterns. Because of his interest we have also been motivated to do some things we think about but haven’t seemed to get done. I have been inspired to finally start some perennial kale plants which is called Sea Kale. Once they are established they will come back every year. They fit into the permaculture model because they will come back over and over on their own and be a ready source of food. I am happy to see the new leaves growing.
A perennial kale called Sea Kale
Our son gave me an elderberry plant for Mother’s Day and planted it too.
Elderberry Bush May 1 2016
I like to measure dramatic things like the amount of snow during a big storm and found that when he put it in on May 1st it was 23″ tall. Today it was 28″ The reason it interests me to measure it is that it will get to be 10′ tall and 8′ wide . It is a resilient bush, won’t need help once it gets established and its berries can be eaten..
I grew up on the coast of Connecticut and for me there is nothing like water. I crave seeing it and luckily we are only 35 minutes away from towns on Buzzard’s Bay and another 10 from the Cape. But I want more of it in my life so I finally this May bought a small fountain after talking with our son about a water feature. I can hear it (right now) from a room in the house where we sit and read, and can hear it when I am working in the backyard. A silly little thing but I like it! The plant hadn’t started growing when we placed it there but it adds to the quirkiness of it.
He gave his permaculture presentation of our plan last weekend in Portland Maine at the inspiring spot where he took this course and one before it. Back among old industrial buildings there is a revitalization going on that we see in many towns throughout New England in spots that have been or still are down on their luck. The setting for his workshop is in a place called the Resilience Hub. Next to it we found the Maine Library of Tools which we had to see. This is a place that lets out tools that people may need for a project but don’t want to or can’t afford to buy. Not only were there chain saws and the like but also things like large kitchen mixers. Such a good cooperative idea. I was gratified to see spinning wheels on their wish list! I didn’t expect to see that.
Since we were there we went to the waterside of course since I couldn’t leave without time there.I like to make water pictures big so I can really look into them.
Portland Maine wharf May 2016
Of course not a day goes by in any month that I don’t do fiber related activities. As part of our Eagle Lake Fibers tiny business we took a free two hour workshop on Legal Considerations for New Business Owners.
It was offered by another commendable organization based in MA called the Center for Women and Enterprise. They offer on-line classes as well as those that can be attended in person. Many have fees but a few are free as was this one. Lots of good information was provided. It was held in their Central Mass office in Westborough in an old -you guessed it- revitalized mill building. Lots of charm. As we were leaving we went down a hall and came upon:
Spinning Wheel and Bobbin
I of course had to gently touch it and analyze missing pieces.
As far as creating goes this month, this is a table runner that I just wove on my rigid heddle loom using a cotton warp (the threads that go up and down) and my handwashed, handdyed hand combed and handspun yarn from Romney, Kerry Hill/Border Leicester and Cotswold sheep.Not in finished form here.
Handspun wool weft and commercial cotton warp
Gradient Spinning Batt
I have also been trying my hand at creating gradient batts which means the color of the fiber goes from light to darker. This one has rare Wendsleydale wool, alpaca and mohair in it and it is in our Eagle Lake Fibers Etsy shop.
Finally, a helpful retort found in a Portland coffee cafe and memorized: