Inge Leonora-den Ouden

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since May 28, 2015
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Accompanying the gardens (front and back yard) of my rented ground-floor appartment in the transformation to a miniature-food-forest, following permaculture principles (nature's laws) in different aspects of life
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Recent posts by Inge Leonora-den Ouden

Jennifer Pearson wrote:

Gina Jeffries wrote:Ugh, morning glory (bindweed). It's everywhere, I hate it with the burning fury of a thousand suns. It chokes everything I plant and there is no getting rid of it short of hiring a priest. (Unless one of you lovely people has an idea?)


I have an idea, but it's pretty much the opposite of getting rid of it. Look at it through the lens of "The Problem is the Solution"; morning glory juice was used in the processing of Mesoamerican rubber. You could try making your own rubber using morning glory juice to cure the latex into rubber! The traditional source of latex is rubber trees, but if they don't grow in your area latex can also be extracted from dandelions.

You're not necessarily going to have the same exact species of morning glory (or of dandelion) that the research was done on, but plants in the same genus usually share enough similarities that something is usually possible, just maybe with lower yields or lower quality. (Or maybe higher yields or quality; you never know, because not a whole lot of research has been done in these areas.) It could be a great research project, adapting natural rubber processing to plants that are well-adapted to your area. Might even be a thesis in it, if you are or know a graduate student. And there's a breeding project in it too, selecting plants (both morning glory and dandelion) to optimize for rubber production. Aside from the academic cred, this also has the potential to localize rubber production in case the distribution network breaks down (for the preppers), or just to minimize transportation emissions (for climate change concerns).


Okay, this is something you could do. There is that white sap in the stem of the bindweed. But to get a useful amount of rubber I think you need acres full of bindweed!

My way of using bindweed is: let it grow for a little (about a meter or longer), but then pull it out (weeding). Strip the leaves from the stem and then you can use that stem as a piece of string. There is a reason why it is called 'bind-weed'!

May Lotito wrote:I wasn't going to, but this thread made me so tempted to try. It is not ideal: I only have regular flax seeds bought in the spice section of grocery store; the temperature is going to be over 70F/90F or 21C/32C while the flax is growing.  I sow  a 1 m^2 plot densely to reduce branching and will watch out for the optimal timing to harvest for fiber use. But how about temperature, high in summer can reach over 100F /38 C? To what extent does the hot weather affect the quality of fiber? Should I put up shade cloth?


I don't really know. I know fiber flax is/was grown in the Netherlands, in Belgium and in Northern France. As far as I know temperatures here are never that high. Even in Summer often the weather is cloudy and there can be rain. When I see my small patch of flax it looks very happy now with all the rain ...
So a shade cloth could be of help in your climate. And you'll probably have to water your flax plants.
The 'optimal timing for harvest' is easy: when it's totally ripe. Then it has a golden yellow colour and seed-balls with seeds. For fiber the stalks are pulled out, with roots (these are removed before processing).
5 days ago
I added the final (third) part in the Nettle-A-Long thread. About sorting the fibers and making them into thread (twine, cordage) for sewing...
https://permies.com/t/80/50840/Nettle-Long-harvesting-stinging-nettle#2436820
5 days ago
There is more to continue about the stinging nettle fiber! When I had plenty of fibers I made them into thread (twine, cordage) and used that to sew 'leggings' (in the prehistoric way) of leather.


I sorted out the fibers. I needed long but fine ones. On this photo you also see a piece of the thread with a needle.


Long fine nettle fibers


Seams sewn with nettle thread in leather legging.
5 days ago
I posted my photos of processing nettles in this thread: https://permies.com/t/80/50840/Nettle-Long-harvesting-stinging-nettle#2435802
It's in two parts, in two consecutive posts.
6 days ago
Step 2 of the processing of stinging nettles.
You can let the result of step 1 dry, even keep it dry for a long period.
Then to go on you soak them in water.
Soaking


Scraping with an old (fairly blunt) knife (or a flint scraper)


More scraping, until the light fibers are as clean as you want them


To get the fibers even cleaner you can use a fine dog comb


Me dressed in stone age costume processing plant fibers at the Hunebedcentrum
(photo made by ?)
6 days ago
In a thread about flax I promised photos of processing nettles without retting. I think this is the right thread to put those photos in. I made those photos last year for the facebook-group about nettle fibers ... Now is the right time to put them here, because the season for harvesting stinging nettles styarts right now (at least in my climate, which is about the same as in England).

Harvest nettles


Crush the stems (wooden shoes are handy, but you can use different ways too)


Break the stem open


Remove the 'pit', the woody core


This is the result of step 1.
Will be continued in next post
6 days ago

Jay Angler wrote:

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote: I use dried flax stalks (they can even be many years old), crush them with a stone, then scrape (with a flint scraper) until the fibers show. I do a lot of moving, rolling, crushing between my hands. When I have some clean fibers I start twisting them into fine cordage (it is possible to make this as fine as embroidery thread!).


Inge, does this technique work with nettles? Have you posted pictures of this technique anywhere on permies? I was also wondering how sharp the flint scraper was?


yes, with nettles it works good too, but a little different.
I do have photos of the processing of nettles, not yet in a Permies thread ... If there is a thread about nettles I'll put them there, if there isn't I'll make one. And then I'll give a link here.
6 days ago

Roni Goodman wrote: ...
Inge, that is so cool that you work where they are demonstrating the old ways of processing flax! Done without retting and spinning? So does it just use fresh fibers and you spin or braid with fingers? Do you have any examples or links to resources for this process?

Also, I’m sure there are specific verities of flax that are better for fiber vs food right? Anyone know the best for both? I know with hemp there are some that are especially good for seeds and others for fiber and some for both. I’d love to have both for flax too.

I love this topic!!


Hi Roni. Myself I don't do retting and I don't spin flax/linen (others at the same museum do). I use dried flax stalks (they can even be many years old), crush them with a stone, then scrape (with a flint scraper) untill the fibers show. I do a lot of moving, rolling, crushing between my hands. When I have some clean fibers I start twisting them into fine cordage (it is possible to make this as fine as embroidery thread!).
More on making cordage/twine: https://permies.com/wiki/105498/pep-textiles/twine-PEP-BB-textile-sand
At the youtube channel of Sally Pointer you can see many interesting videos on processing plant fibers in (pre-)historic ways.

1 week ago