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Preparing ferns for the dye bath
Hidden Treasures

Every time I teach a fiber class, I find a hidden blessing. This Friday, I taught a Natural Dye workshop to five women. They spent the entire day on the farm learning about how to mordant yarn for dyeing and how to prepare dye baths using locally growing plants and flowers. The women were so enthusiastic and excited to venture into a new area.

Black Eye Susan dye
Naturally Dyed Yarn Sample Card

As we walked along the road and into the pastures searching for dye plants, one woman, who was very knowledgeable about herbs and native Vermont plants, began introducing me to the plants growing on my property which had gone unnoticed. She began finding St. John’s Wort along the road and edge of the field. I had never noticed this plant before as it grew here and there, scattered among the black eye susans and wild daisies. As we walked along, she shared with me the medicinal properties of St. John’s Wort. She then proceeded to tell me how to make my own tincture which I could store for future use. I could hardly wait to make my own tincture.

St John’s Wort

I needed one item before beginning my herbal endeavor. My husband often gets unusual requests while at work as the kids and I will often call him and ask him to pick up this or that at the store before coming home. Friday afternoon, I called him and left a phone message for him to “not ask any questions, but just bring home some vodka.” This was an unusual request as I have never drunk vodka before. Vodka would become the base of my St. John’s Wort infusion. My daughter and I walked up the road to pick the St. John’s Wort we had spotted earlier in the day. We

St. Johns Wort Blossom

packed a pint jar full of the plant and then filled the jar with vodka. I gave it a good shake and just stared at my new creation.
 

Adding the vodka

I have decided that making herbal tinctures gives me the same satisfaction as using plants for natural dyes. The process of finding and gathering the flowers and plants reminds me of how absolutely amazing God’s creation is. Everything He has created has a purpose and often multiple purposes. Our modern world has forgotten these hidden treasures of nature and we have no need for them in our busy lives. We do not appreciate the time involved in the process but instead look only for the products which bring us instant gratification. I hope that I will never forget God’s provision for all of our needs right outside of our doorsteps and that I will always value the effort and time put into using His creation for those purposes which it was intended.

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2 Responses

  1. Bullwinkle
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    Welcome to the herbal world!

    One of my favorite teachers told me to get to know 5 – 10 herbs really well. These would be my basics, the ones I rely on. Others could be added for unusual purposes, but really get to know one herb at time – grow it, process it, appreciate all it does and enjoy the wonder.

  2. gileadgoats
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    It’s funny that you just made your first tincture, since I’m doing that this week as well 🙂 I got the bug from our friend Heather, who is amazingly knowledgeable about herbal remedies and makes many of them over in Corinth. I’m thinking of having her come do a little workshop.