Thursday, March 28, 2013


We're travelling to my niece's wedding and have made a few stops along the way.

Here is a cypress tree growing in The Great Dismal Swamp, yes, that is the actual name. The Great Dismal Swamp sprawls from Virginia, over the border, and into North Carolina:

Here is a live oak on Roanoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Roanoke Island is the where the first English colonists landed in 1897. They are now known as the Lost Colony because they disappeared completely and were never heard from again. This particular live oak grows on the northern end of the island, which is the end of the island where the colony was located, and it is old enough that it is believed to have been alive when the colonists were on the island: 

Virginia Dare is famous for being the first English colonist born on these shores. She disappeared along with here mother, father, and all of the other colonists, but here is a rendition in marble of what she may have looked like as a young woman. She wears the jewelry of a princess among the Native Americans of the area at the time, holds a fishing net around her, and has a heron by her side. This statue resides in the Elizabethan Gardens, an expanse of gardens on Roanoke Island which were very beautiful, even with only a few things in bloom at present:
This is the Bodie lighthouse on Bodie Island in the Outer Banks:

And here is a shot of one of the beautiful shores along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a protected and natural stretch of island and shoreline:

Sunset from one of the islands:

We will be taking a ferry to the mainland tomorrow, a two hour ride, and then on to the wedding!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dyeing Cormo wool with dried and frozen marigolds

I recently got my hands on some Cormo wool top. Cormo sheep produce a nice, soft wool and I've been dying to get some and spin it up.

I had a small amount of dried marigolds, and a large amount of frozen marigolds from my garden and I decided to use some of these to give about four ounces of the wool a nice marigold yellow color (you can see another, more in depth, post about dyeing wool with marigolds here). Here's the wool in the dye pot:

And here it is right out of the dye pot before rinsing:

It looks like there's still a lot of color in the dyepot, so I think I'll mordant four ounces of Polwarth wool and toss it in there to take up what's left. Polwarth is one of my favorite wools - soft and cushy. I'm planning on someday making a cardigan for myself out of Polwarth. I haven't found the exact right pattern yet, though, and I'm still thinking about the colors - I think walnut brown will be in there for sure.
I'm thinking that Cormo will become a new favorite, too. Here are the two rovings hanging up to dry, the Cormo, first in the pot, is on the right, and Polwarth, taking up the last of the dye in the second dip, is on the left:

It's always nice to have dyed rovings waiting to be spun. With these two, I think my total of dyed rovings waiting to be spun comes to somewhere around seven.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Johnson Woods State Nature Preserve, an old growth forest

Last weekend my husband and I went for a walk through an old growth forest. This particular portion of land had been set aside by the family of farmers who owned it because they wanted to preserve the large trees. Some of the trees in the forest were saplings when the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, which would make them over 400 years old. The trees on the forest floor, fallen over from storm damage or dead-fall, were very large.
There were lots of interesting things, like these colorful lichen (click on any of the pictures to see them larger):

Here is a tall tree, taken with the panorama mode on my iPhone:

 Here is a picture of the same tree, taken from the top down, instead of from the bottom up, like the previous photo:
Here is one of the fallen trees, covered with moss, which shows that when the canopy is in leaf, not much light makes it to the floor (be sure to click on this one):

The previous picture, and the one below, were both taken in panorama mode with my iPhone. Although the boardwalk pathway was straight, the effect in panorama mode makes it look like it comes to a 'V' where I'm standing to take the picture:

Some moss on an old log swimming in a vernal pool:

Here are some interesting roots:

A large fallen tree in a vernal pool, salamanders will lay their eggs in these vernal pools (click to see larger):

Walking through this old growth forest was different from walking through other forests. There isn't much in the way of underbrush because not much light makes it through the canopy, and there are many more large trees. It was a pleasure to see it, but a little sad that at only 200 acres, Johnson Woods State Nature Preserve is one of the largest old growth forests in Ohio.