Sunday, October 9, 2011

What a Tease

The weather continues to be phenomenal.  Warm, sunny.........aaah.  With the lawn freshly mowed it even smells like summer instead of fall.   After the three-plus inches of rain we had and now hot weather we're seeing some late bloomers strutting their stuff.  Here's a short but vigorous teasel in bloom, which some bumblebees are happy to take advantage of.

The king and his court

Teasels used to be cultivated here in the northeast for use in woolen mills. The large primary head was called the king and the others were also harvested, but considered of lesser value as they were smaller and not as stiff.  The heads were used to brush cloth and raise the nap.  There's an interesting article here from an 1893 American Agriculturist magazine about their culture, harvest and value.  An acre would raise an average of 100,000 teasels and at upward of $1.50 per thousand it was worth growing although the market was rather limited.  Now they're mostly just interesting wildflowers and a boon to the bees.

Our daily walkies found the milkweed pods on the lower farm opening in the warmth, but it's been so still today that none of the seed silks took flight.  The first good gust of wind will really send them flying. 

Milkweed fluff

Milkweed is another plant that has uses other than to make more milkweed.  Monarch butterfly caterpillars feed exclusively on it.  I have a friend who spun a very serviceable yarn with the fluff.  And during WWII the seed pods were collected for use in life jackets for soldiers having to traverse the Pacific.  We also saw two brave monarch butterflies gamely flitting south, but they were too high to get a picture. Good luck!

There's always an audience by the fence.

Hey, how are ya doin'?  Me, I'm good,  I got grass.

And back in the house I found this little guy on the kitchen floor - a ring-neck snake.  He wasn't getting much traction on the linoleum despite all the fur and dirt.  :-/   This is his normal adult size.  This particular individual didn't have the classic vivid underside of some, but was a pleasant pale yellow.   Good thing I found him before one of the cats did.  They'd treat him like a Twizzler and it wouldn't be pretty.

Sorry, wrong address, thought I was in Slytherin House.

I was able to get our Cotswold yarn posted today on the website for sale.  I'll work on getting the dyed skeins listed as I am able, but it just feels wrong to work at the computer during daylight hours when it's this nice out.  I also started putting a finish on the nice yarn display boxes Andy made and hope to finish that tomorrow. 

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Of course I'll stay tuned! Who would have thought that weeds could be useful?