Coltsfoot Dye and Roadside Magic

Hello Dear Fae Folk!

The end of June! The sun is beating down on us with such relentless energy – something that my northern bones relish in every way. This morning, I took my coffee and journal outside to sit and absorb as much as possible before having no choice but to go back inside. It has been a wonderful month in many ways – the sky has gifted us with so much rain that the forest is happy as can be. The streams are flowing and my tomato plants are thriving. I hope you are as well in this ever changing world. I felt compelled to share with you what has been going on this month and a few plans for summer! My world has changed a lot in the past year. Today marks our one year anniversary living in the Kjipuktuk region, the Mi’kmaw word for Halifax meaning “Great Harbour” a name that holds so much more meaning than The earl of Halifax. Here, I’ve disconnected and have been living a meaningful life filled with seeing my family, swimming in lakes and wandering forests. I do miss the island and it will forever hold a place in my heart but Faes, change can be vital. Even if it can hurt, know that in the future you will be grateful you made a plunge into the unknown.

Petey lovin life

So the month of June! Beloved June, midsummer magic, birthday month of all wonderful growing things. Jamie has started a brand new job remotely so we’ve been undergoing a lot of transition this month. I’ve been finishing up a commission, working on the garden, reading books, visiting family, making homecooked meals (attempting to use up things only from the pantry). This is my first year container gardening which has been a lot of fun. I’ll share a post later in the growing season about it but currently I’m battling white fly on my tomato plants >.< Also developing the front gardens and planning our back. Our land is polar opposite to our island land which was flat without any rocks and a mosquito Mordor. Here, it is small, very rocky, sloped and covered in invasive weeds. I can actually sit outside without dousing myself in bug repellent! The challenge is exciting and I’ll be happy to share some progress as well, progress happens. Everything seems to happen inch by inch in my world. If I can manage to conquer the white flies on my tomatoes, i’ll share more this summer πŸ™‚

Last year, I purchased a book about dyeing textiles using plants from Nova Scotia. One of the plants that stuck out to me was Coltsfoot or Tussilago farfara, because I noticed it growing all along the railway. It grows in forgotten open places like the side of the highway, in cracks along the pavement and lining the railway. It’s an interesting plant that flowers first in the spring and then puts out its leaves. The leaves are supposed to produce an olive green dye. Last year I wanted to attempt to use the bountiful wallflower plant but waited for this summer. It came and I collected a bag full of coltsfoot leaves from the area where I beachcomb. Spotting other interesting plants wile down there like milkweed (and even a monarch on the plant) as well as white flower comfrey not to mention the regulars like wild roses and blackberry. Simmering the coltsfoot at home, I’m always daydreaming about colour extracted from plants. My iron mordant right now (that is iron soaked in vinegar to create a chemical solvent that will naturally adhere the dye to the textile) is an old railway tie sitting in a water vinegar mix. I don’t know why but I always go overboard with the mordant >.< and so what I thought would be an army green, turned out to be a stormy dark grey sky. I still like the end result and will try to not use as much next time! I also collected some copper while beachcombing to make a copper mordant – that will be interesting and i’ll share with you guys whatever may be the end result!

Where I beachcomb and forage
Coltsfoot and Iron as well as a wee painting

I want to thank you all for the supportive words on my last post as well as all the love shown to our handmade soap! We sold out quite quickly which really surprised and delighted me, I guess my mom and I will be busy making more soap while we visit! Unfortunately for me, I really screwed up the shipping – it’s SO expensive so moving forward with soap in the shop, I’ll only be able to offer 3-4 bars an order so that the shipping makes sense. I really wish I could do something about shipping costs. At times, I wonder if I should even keep the shop running due to how high costs currently are but I love running a small shop so will just have to raise the prices for shipping. The cost will be roughly 15- 20 dollars which I know is a lot, but it is the price at the post office currently with rising prices. Thank you for understanding <3

A walk in June

Last weekend, we spent time in rural NS and I brought home with me the last batch of soap my mom and I made together. The weekend was wonderful, full of seeing family, walking in the fog and admiring all the wildflowers Nova Scotia has to offer this time of year. Wild rhododendron, lupins, paintbrushes, daisies, clover, sheep laurel… all in forgotten places providing so much joy for us as well as insects πŸ™‚ Jamie and I hop in the car and drive around one of the most rural counties of Nova Scotia, turning down any dirt road we can, looking for off the beaten path beaches, sea glass hunting and generally day dreaming. I love doing this, listening to music and forgetting about much of anything. The song I included for you here is a black sabbath cover that I adore, it often accompanies us on these drives (might come as a surprise that I love, love Black Sabbath while simultaneously loving Gregorian chants and traditional Celtic/Acadian music among SO MUCH ELSE! <3 ).

Dark, stormy night – Coltsfoot and Old Rail Ties <3 A few forgotten things

Well, it is the end of the month, I hope so much you’ve had a nice June wherever you may be. I’ll be checking back in with a shop update next week and over the course of the summer, we will finally have many (the most we’ve ever had) handknit sweaters<3 Blessings friends, tread lightly and be curious.

Winding roads of Nova Scotia in June
Marking my birthday with a photo

6 thoughts on “Coltsfoot Dye and Roadside Magic

  1. Blessed New Moon Greetings to you Julia! Belated Happy Birthday! On my monitor the Coltsfoot dye looks more like a warm greyed-green. Very pretty! So happy you are experimenting with natural plant dyes. I ventured into that realm 30 years ago. Haven’t done it in awhile, but one never knows when the energy will take me there again πŸ˜‰. I’ve been enjoying my new life fully – meeting new people, exploring the local library and all the nature preserves around here. But my favorite is to just observe the birds, animals, plants and trees on my own land. They all have so much to teach us humans, if we would just sit quietly, watch, observe, and listen. πŸŒΏπŸŒ±πŸŒ³πŸŒΌπŸ¦ŒπŸ¦πŸ‡πŸΏπŸ¦πŸ¦…πŸ¦‰πŸ¦ƒπŸͺΆπŸŒ‘

    1. Thank you very much Bonnie!

      That is so wonderful that you’re finding a soul home in MN! The nature areas must be wonderful and all the wildlife. You must have so many birds and creatures finding refuge in your property. I also love watching birds so much – can make my day to see a bird I don’t usually! Or even to just hear some birdsong β™₯️ totally agree, we can learn so much from their ways.

      Blessings this July! Hope you enjoy your weekend!

  2. I think there are some people in this world that just exude a certain peaceful, whimsical feeling that I always crave to be around. I think you are one of those people for me πŸ™‚ Your words and pictures always fill my day with such joy. A moment of calm for me today, for example, as I take a break from work to eat breakfast after a chaotic morning in the hospital lab where I work. So thank you so much for that!

    I agree that shipping is such a pain! We are trying very hard to save money to buy land in Northern Wisconsin so I am trying very hard to stay away from buying yarn from overseas this year since the cost to get it to me is the same cost as the item itself it feels! The internet is such a tease because you have the most wonderful handmade goods from the world over at your finger tips but with such a huge shipping price tag πŸ™ Hopefully it will become a bit more reasonable in the future!

    I hope your July starts out wonderfully and I look forward to your next words!

    1. Thank you so much Pine Fae! That means a lot – I feel like whimsical is a really endearing term which I so identify with especially when growing up it was often the word “weird, but in a good way” πŸ˜›

      Thank you for doing important work and I’m really happy that my words or pictures can provide you with a little dose of calm <3

      And yes, shipping is crazy right now! I have pretty well stopped buying wool - it helps that I have a fairly reasonable stash that I can fall back on and that I'm not using it anywhere near as much as I use to. I actually find it really rewarding to use what I have rather than buy more, especially because the price for not only shipping but wool has sky rocketed over the past few years.

      July was wonderful if not a blur now that I think of it! Already August is half finished and we are headed into some of my favourite times of the year, the end of summer and the transition to fall.

      Blessings!

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