Sunday, May 1, 2011

Looking Out My Back Door

The back door of my studio looks out on three willow beds I planted on the site of our old farmhouse. In 1991, we chose another site on our property and built a small home we can actually keep warm and mouse-free. It took a lot of wood to heat that old farmhouse. Just beyond the third willow bed is where we had logs brought in to split for firewood. One year, along with the wood, we got dogbane -- a.k.a. indian hemp.

It's not a huge stand of dogbane. The plants are much shorter and branchier than what I've seen grow in other parts of the country. Still, this dry, sandy soil can produce plant fiber.

I'm fascinated by the techniques our ancient ancestors developed for making fiber. Even more, I'm amazed by how many online videos show that other people are fascinated, too. Here's one I found on making hemp cordage.

If you have a few more minutes, you might enjoy watching this World War II era documentary on hemp production in the United States.

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