Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Hudson Valley is one of the most beautiful places. Despite excessive development and big-box stores which seem to be mushrooming up with alarming speed, the valley retains small pockets of quiet earth which inspire many of our projects. We went up last week to pick up soap from the boss and acquire some grapevine and bittersweet for wreath-making.

Since I discovered bittersweet (or at least was able to properly identify it) two years ago I have searched for it obsessively every time I'm out in the sticks. Last weekend I came across an especially vibrant patch on a trip to a Sylvan Glen Park, an unreal place where you can hike through the ruins of a granite quarry which operated from 1890 - 1940.

Bittersweet is actually an invasive weed also known as staff vine or Celastrus orbiculatus. It is poisonous to humans but not to frugivorous birds who eat the tri-valve red berries once the yellow shell falls off late in the fall. I cut a slew of the stuff and hauled it back to Red Hook to make some wreaths.

Unfortunately I ruined my favorite wool shirt in the process (and almost lost a good chunk of hair) to some of the worst burrs I've ever encountered.

But whilst on the topic of bittersweet, I'll share this photo from the archives:

This was our window display in October '06 - its full of hanging branches of cut bittersweet. In the bottom right corner is a birds nest filled with Chai tea soaps. The telescope is pointed to the Chai soap that flew the nest if you will...

No comments: