double or triple duty

Category : Kitchen
Date : May 19, 2013

Lydia Maria Francis Child states in The American Frugal Housewife,

“The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost.  I mean fragments of time, as well as materials.  Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be…”

It is weeding time here on the colonial farm.  And I much prefer to practice double or triple duty, so a few of the many weeds have actually helped me along this week.

Loads of dandelions—I separated the roots, green leaves and flowers and will make a dye bath from each part for colors ranging from yellow to pink to brown.

Barberry—the dreaded prickly invasive shrub; all of the cuttings from this plant will make a lovely permanent yellow dye.  My fingers tread particularly lightly when working with this plant.

Rhubarb—the leaves of this plant are toxic, containing oxalic acid crystals; however, they make a lovely mordant (which binds color to fiber) for animal fibers.  Meanwhile, we ate a lovely dessert last night made from the stalks.

Lydia Maria Francis Child,  The American Frugal Housewife, first lines of introduction.  Downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg and first published in 1832.

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