41C in Adelaide

It’s 41C in my town the day I am writing. Things are much worse in other parts of Australia–where it has already been above 40C for over a week. And here’s what I did to prepare for 41C.


Step 1: recommit to action on climate change.  This country (among others, some already going under the sea) will not be habitable for future life unless we succeed, and there are some rather specific signs of inadequate action both here and in other first world nations right now.  If in doubt, ask the Climate Council.  You know: scientists who know their stuff and know how to communicate.


Step 2: water plants deeply.  Freeze water for the worm farms.  Ensure ample water and shade for the chooks (hens).  Put water in the fridge.  Make sure cool air can get into the house, if there is any, during the night. Invite friends who can’t cool their homes to come over.


Step 3: wash fleece, because wool drying weather this good should be taken advantage of.  Dye fleece with heat-activated “cold pad batch” dyes and place in the right spot to maximise the heat it will get on the big hot days.  I have mixed up the last of these dyes I own and given away my fixative.  It’s been fun but I’m committing to plant dyes and just seeing out the chemical dyes I already have.


Step 4: harvest woad.  Could you tell that was woad steeping in hot water in the first picture?  Extract pigment.  That second image of the blue froth with a coppery blue swirl in the middle? The most exciting thing that has happened when I’ve tried to extract pigment from woad to date.  I’ve read high summer is the best time to get blue from woad, and–this is high summer.  Add woad to indigo vat.  Rebalance Ph.  Do your best to create conditions for reduction. Stir carefully. That’s where things are at in image 3. Image 4 is some hours later. Keep warm overnight.  Place vat in a sunny spot first thing.

And on the day… stay inside except when tending living things and hanging loads of washing.  Check as the temp of the indigo/woad vat rises to 35 and then 45C.  Enjoy the sound of the inverter for the solar panels as it cranks out power from the sun.




Filed under Fibre preparation, Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures

9 responses to “41C in Adelaide

  1. mstery

    Hi Mazzaus! Stay cool. We’ve missed the worst of the heat in outer Melbin this time, thank the gods. How do you test the ph of your indigo vat?
    Or do you rely on the look of the flower?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Also pick and cut nectarines to dry in the sun. Canberra also 41° today. Put out waterbowls for animals and a big bucket on the street gor passing dogs. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jenai Hooke

    Thanks for your leadership and strong stand on climate change. You inspire and create a call for action that wouldn’t otherwise happen.
    It’s our turn today, 40 degrees in South East Queensland, normally its very moderate here in the summer. The Indigo vats are very happy and I have been doing as much dyeing as my toleration of the heat will allow. The Indigo plants (Persicaria) on the other hand are burnt and shriveled. I will pick those leaves off in the morning and see if I can do anything with them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh my goodness, Jenai. I too have found out that I have to balance out how much time I can spend in the heat with how much dyeing I want to get done. I finished off my holidays with a post workshop indigo vat which went very well, and part of the deal was making a sheet tent under the clothes line so I could at least have shade when dyeing! I do hope you can get something from your persicaria plants. My rhubarb has suffered the most but so far–it is still alive. I did not get much colour from the woad. I think it just wasn’t enough pigment for the size of the vat, but… still learning!


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