Dyeing in the Sun

A few years back I grew some marigolds. As the blossoms drooped I harvested them and dried them, but then stuck then in a cupboard and forgot about them. In a fit of boredom during the rains this year, that kept me inside more than I am used to, I discovered them and decided it was time to use them. I boiled them for a couple of hours until the water turned a deep golden brown, strained off the liquid and sealed it in a gallon jar.

Then came spring and summer with days of soaring temperatures that once again kept me inside. I spent some time spinning a fleece that had waited for me for several years. I plied a small one-ounce skein to see how I liked it and hit on the brilliant idea of using my marigold liquor to see what would happen. It was too hot to turn on the stove for this experiment so I decided to go solar. In a small jar just large enough to hold the skein, I dissolved a scant half teaspoon of alum in water and added a pinch of tartaric acid. In went the skein, on went the lid, and out it went to a table in the yard to sit in the sun for a day.
The marigold liquid had developed a layer of mold on the top, but it peeled of easily in one piece. The mordanted skein now went into this dye bath for another couple of days in the sun. And it seems to have worked.

marigold dye with wool in a one-gallon jar

Now on to the next step. I am not sure what that will be.

Wonderful Wood

Recently Gordon made an inventory of our surroundings and the many things he has built over the years. It is very nice to live among things that have been created by your own hands. Here is a gallery from our house.


Bathroom Remodel – April Showers

Although I failed to take a “before” picture, I am sure anyone interested enough to view this page can clearly picture it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bathroom demolished with cat "inspecting"Tuesday was demolition day. A new double-paned skylight went in to keep things cozy when the cold winds blow, but we were down to the studs with a hole where the window used to be.

Today the plumbers were here. Mimi, the cat, inspects their work.




Thursday, March 27, 2008

New windowThe new window is in. It is smaller and higher so that you can’t fall into it or out of it while you are in the shower.

Friday, March 28, 2008

View of bathroom with blueboard installedThe blue board is in. (Actually it is purple.) You might think we would want to keep this color–but no.

You may wonder how we are managing while our only bathroom is in transition. We actually now have two (well, really three) options.

Old toilet out by the drivewayOption One – Lawn decor?



Porta potty in the drivewayOption Two – dubbed “the palace”



Option Three – a great viewView of the mountain top



Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A hole cut in the half wall for the built-in magazine rackOne of the carpenters installed the half wall that includes a built in magazine rack and toilet paper holder. No joke.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Shower prepped for tileThe tilers came and put up the chicken wire base for the tile. This shows the work of the day.





What a difference a day makes

Tile covers the back wall of the showerBy the time I got home on Friday, the place was starting to take shape. Mimi and I inspected it. Guess I need to get the cabinets painted this weekend before they tile the counter top next week.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bathroom with towel hanging on temporary shower curtain rod and with rug on the floorYesterday was D-day (Done! Well, not quite) The shower went in and was measured for doors, the toilet was hooked up—

The built in magazine rack next to the toilet with the cat inspecting the room.–and the built-in magazine rack was installed and inspected by you-know-who. You may see evidence that someone has taken a shower. The blue tape on the walls indicate the location of grab bars and the shower curtain will be replaced with a glass wall and door.

Today I fininshed painting the walls and the cabinet interior.

The palace, still here, has been abandoned. The lawn decor has vanished.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A view of the finished bathroom complete with a small vase of flowersI finally finished painting the cabinet doors and–even bigger deal–got the new hinges adjusted so the doors close almost properly, a task I have managed to put off for a while. Here it is all dressed up to have its picture taken. There may eventually be an update if I ever get around to weaving the new rug I am planning for it and buying Gordon the new black washcloth he wants.

Out of This World

The stars are out, and it is a good thing. Sixty people, adults and children, have gathered on the lawn to consider things that are out of this world. Telescopes stand sentinel in the parking lot. In the twilight the group sits on blankets and tarps to listen to Ralph Libby, YSI’s astronomer extraordinaire, speak of space, of stars, of stories and time beyond imagining.

Four telescopes, as well as a pair of gigantic binoculars on a tripod, each a little different from the next, point skyward. There are the refractors, the long skinny tubes that most of us think of when we hear the word “telescope”. And there are short stout reflectors gathering and reflecting light with large parabolic mirrors. One has a built in computer that can be set to track points of light as they–or more accurately we–move across the night sky.

How extraordinary these scientific gadgets are that let us see back into time. They are fascinating to fool with, to understand, to look through. They transform the heavens.

We eat watermelon and wait for the stars.

Daylight fades. Points of light pierce the gathering darkness. First one, then five, then many, until the eastern sky is covered. A few bats fly erratically in the space between the fading light and us. We begin to fall silent, even the kids. The stars are working their magic.

A line forms at each scope. There is talk of constellations, of planets, of comets and asteroids. On this moonless night the Milky Way washes across the sky in a broad fuzzy band. A satellite moves quickly through the stars. What seemed like an incomprehensible sky full of stars begins to take form and shape. Patterns are discovered, colors discerned. The heavens have come alive.

Stars are as individual as the members of this group watching them.

There is the cluster. At some point in space thousands of stars, or maybe more, are grouped together. So dim any one would never be noticed, as a group they glow like an misty ball.

There is Alberio, the double star. Two stars rotate around each other in a spatial embrace–an elegant and precise ballet. One is truly red and the other blue.

Even stars are not forever. The Ring Nebula is sighted. This star exploded many light years ago leaving a dying core to live on. The explosion sent gasses far out into space. The layer of expanding gas was illuminated from within by the dying core and glows with eerie beauty forming a green halo around its fading source. Has this star burned out yet? Who will see its end, years hence, when the last light reaches Earth?

A few have not moved from their blankets. They lie on their backs looking up, lost in a realm beyond science. All of the stars belong to each of us–on this planet. They are part of our music, our dance, our architecture, our history, our stories, our science, our lives on this Earth. Do they belong to others on other planets as well?

The stars are out, and it is a good thing.