The last month or so has been peak seed collection time for me. I’ve been wandering the neighbourhood saving seeds from council plantings and from previous generations of my own guerilla gardening. There are a lot of different salt bushes–this one I still have not been able to identify, but it is certainly thriving in our suburb.
Here are three successive years of planting in the same patch, the most recent one planted in the last few months. Just in case you wonder whether anything lives–it sure does! The second year plants are fruiting (see below left), but the much bigger third year bushes are not. Intriguing! I am not sure what specific saltbush this one is. Below, from top left, unidentified saltbush (feel free to help me out if you can), two images of bulbine lily (bulbine bulbosa), which has begun to self sow! Ruby saltbush (enchylaena tomentosa), ruby saltbush again (but with orange berries), blue bush (maireana brevifolia, I think), and bladder saltbush (atriplex vesicaria)
These seeds will mostly be dried and saved for propagation and guerilla planting in Spring. But I have also been direct sowing some, and have planted others that might sprout now. Seeds are the best form of magic ever.
So, I invested in some sock yarn a while back. It’s Onion nettle sock yarn, a blend of wool and nettle fibre, available in Australia through Say! Little Hen. It’s a totally plausible #tuffsock blend, though it is imported from Europe, so the fibre miles on this yarn, where I live, in Australia–are considerable. The colours are lovely and the yarn is soft and lovely to knit. These socks are my customary “whimsical cable”, knit to the length of the recipient’s foot. Here I am, knitting on them outside the watch house after some of my friends had been arrested doing civil disobedience at the head office of SANTOS. If you’d like to know, in brief, why we do this: this article summarises some of the reasons for people’s current opposition to SANTOS. As climate activists, we understand burning fossil fuels as a key driver of the climate crisis. I was waiting for the police to release my friends for many hours, so it was good to have a sock as one of my companions!
This pair eventually went to a fellow rebel and friend, who sent me a lovely photo of her feet snugly clad in wool and nettle fibre, in a skirt she’d made!
Sad to report, the nettles I harvested at another friend’s house a while back, I have finally abandoned. I failed to ret them successfully, and I have also read a dependable source (from Europe) whose assessment of the minimum size of nettles that it is worth processing is, well, more than twice the size of those I can usually find. When I was in Europe a couple of years ago and did a lot of walking, I could not help but notice that nettles were often growing by rivers and creeks. By this, I mean to imply that even by European standards, in parts of Europe with rivers and creeks that run all year round… they were well watered. I live in a very dry place and nettles are not growing wild by creeks where I live. Nor are soils here rich. So it may be I won’t be creating nettle blends from local blends, ever!
My beloved has her own unique sense of style. Surf shirts have always been among her favourites, and in recent weeks I’ve mended a couple of soft, well worn rayon surf shirts whose buttons have pulled right through the fabric, or have worn into holes in random places. In the past I made a surf short complete with an underwater scene includign sharks (needless to say, chosen by her good self). Her friend inherited a substantial quantity of fabric, and thought of Sal when she saw this high quality cotton fabric with its classic hibiscus and frangipani print.
This is my go-to short pattern, McCall’s 9579 in M. And if I might say so myself, my best ever attempt at pattern matching (the vanishing pocket). It was chosen as part of her outfit for a recent big celebration in her family. Need I say more?