Goldenrod flowers – for dyeing
There’s so much to do right now : harvesting and processing garden produce, building maintenance that calls for full days of dry weather, cutting grass, keeping the borders tidy(-ish), foraging for natural dyeing materials. And then there’s serving customers and hopelessly straining to replenish our fast-depleting stock of hand-spun or plant-dyed yarns, knitted garments, crochet articles …
But it’s not any of those things that cause us to linger in the evening sunshine, to take every task out in the garden that might be more conveniently done indoors, nor why the cats come in for the night (if it’s not raining) at the very last moment possible, after I’ve taken Tilly for a walk, and just as they know I’ll lock the door and turn out the lights.
With the currants and gooseberries down to the last pickings, our organized efforts have turned to harvesting the peas and, since a day or so ago, the broad beans too. That’s is how we know that summer’s early has given way to late (if there was a mid, we must have missed it!), and the year itself from waxing to waning. From here on, every moment counts – it feels we’re on borrowed time.
The cats know it. The sheep do, too, and of course the birds of the sky, the countless varieties of wild flowers, each and every blade of grass, and even the mites and earthworms in the soil. All of nature knows it!
Already, there’s that unmistakable scent of autumn in the air.
Goldenrod flowers – a natural dyestuff.
Goldenrod flowers harvested for dyeing wool. The Hebridean Woolshed, Isle of South Uist
Leaves from Lemon Verbena, ready for drying
Denise podding peas for the freezer
Lemon Verbena leaves, dried and stored for winter
Goldenrod over Alum, on Cheviot
Drying onions in the sunshine, outside the dyehouse.
View from Ludag, South Uist, across the Sound of Eriskay and the causeway, to Eriskay.
Trays of peas ready for podding and freezing.
Drying onions in the sunshine
Lemon Verbena in the sun and warmth of Greenhouse 2
Peak Summer Salad: Homebaked bread, everything else home grown.
Jonathan & Denise >
At this time of year, weather permitting, this is what we spend our afternoons doing!
Wellington XXX blackcurrants ; Leveller gooseberries ; Careless gooseberries.
Ribes nigrum Wellington XXX. Fine, juicy sweet flavoured medium to large berries. Vigorous spreading habit, heavy cropper, excellent for freezing. Self-fertile
Ribes uva-crispa Leveller. Mid-season dessert variety. Superb flavoured yellow-green fruit, heavy cropper.
Ribes uva-crispa Careless. A reliable and heavy-cropping Dessert/Culinary variety. Large, smooth skinned berries that turn a red colour when fully ripe. An excellent variety for cooking and jam making.
Ribes grossularia Black Velvet. Vigourous growth. The green berries develop first a pinky blush, and then turn uniformly purple as they ripen fully, when they are medium size, soft-skinned, juicy and with good to excellent flavour and sweetness. The berries are the size of seedless grapes.