Last week Austin had its first frost of the winter as well as–surprise!–several inches of snow. I anticipated that this would mean the end of both my cotton & my indigo suffruticosa, but only the upper branches of the dye garden showed signs of frost-bite.
Nevertheless, I decided this would be a good time to make my first indigo harvest. I’m simply drying the leaves for now, following the instructions of Deb McClintock, a dyer in the nearby Texas Hill County.
I also did a general cutting-back, so some of the branches still had fresh leaves. I don’t have a good place to hang branches up to dry, so I simply stripped the branches and will let the leaves dry evenly before storing or using them.
I also harvested scores of rattly seeds pods. Deb has an excellent description of her process of winnowing the seeds, but I probably won’t have a chance to do that until after Christmas.
There’s something fitting about drying leaves & harvesting seeds during Advent. Both are works of patience, preparation, and hope.