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Beginning of Spring - Back of the Pantry

The seasons finally feel like they’re changing here in NW Montana.  With the equinox this past weekend (Happy Ostara to those who celebrated!) the giant ice slick in my back yard and driveway has finally relented its hold and transformed into giant mud bogs instead.  It will probably stay that way for most of April.  Nothing has started budding out up near us, but the Oregon grape is cheerfully green as ever without its snow cover, and the moss & lichens are beginning to fruit with the abundant moisture and temperatures above freezing during the day.
Moss and lichen on a tree stump, happily fruiting with spring rain
We’re all soaking up a much needed bit of sunshine while we can!  
These past few weeks our meals and my dyepots have had a similar theme - welcome to the back of the pantry!  Use up what you have in your freezer!

As we’re all anticipating the freshness and newness of spring, especially around the Ostara holiday I usually find myself thinking of abundance, starting seeds & rooting clippings, day dreaming up plans for what might get a spot in Grandmas greenhouse, what can I container grow this year?  
At the same time we’re running into the end of the dried dyestuff from summer gardens and foraging, the last of the local squash and onions we’ve drawn out over the winter.  The final precious few dried mushrooms.  For our Ostara meal we ate the shanks from a ram we helped butcher with friends last year.  Now all the mutton is gone.  It’s the perfect and equal opposite to autumns last hurrah of “eat all the fresh stuff before you can it all!” That usually happens for us around the equinox as well.  
It feels good to use what we have, a kind of deep satisfaction in making it through the winter eating so much local food, and for me, churning out color from things gathered and saved by myself and truly beloved friends and family.  
Bundles of naturally dyed wool sit next to a cup of coffee with a rainbow from the window across itThe first in person vending event of the season was earlier this month and I dipped into the precious few dyes that I buy to help round out my color pallet, bright oranges from USA grown madder root & pinks and purples from cochineal.  But joining them were equally cheery yellows from saved marigolds, soft and lovely browns and greys from pearly everlasting harvested by a friend, pinks and golds from kitchen scraps, a precious dyers polypore yielding deep olive.  While not the colors that many typically associate with this time of year the range that I dyed up speaks to me of this cycle & my efforts to find my place in it.  
Here’s to the spring then, the turning of the year and the tilt of our planet.  Soon I’ll be out venturing in the mud, searching for nettles and other green things, putting my hands in as many fleece as I can get close to.
The freshly dyed rovings and yarns that I have left from Cabin Fever will be listed in my shop here shortly! Join my email list if you’d like a reminder.

1 comment

  • Will you be participating in Fiberfest in Eureka this year? I would love to see and buy some of your hand dyed wools.

    Cindi Stringari

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