No More Pencils, No More Books

Well, a lot more books, actually. But no more teacher’s dirty looks for sure. Thank goodness.

So far I’ve spent my free time on this bizarrely rainy first day of vacation:

1. marveling at Michael Taussig’s whacked-out, genius take on the origins of organic chemistry (in What Color is the Sacred?–amazing book. Read it.),

2. trying to talk myself out of re-reading Gravity’s Rainbow (somehow I feel like after the Taussig it’ll suddenly all make sense, but somebody please slap some sense into me),

4. bugging my Himachali friends with weird requests to save up berries and ashes until I get there in August, and

5. playing with lichens!

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These are turkey tail mushrooms, oak galls, and three types of lichens that Kim and I collected from under the oak tree where we ate lunch every day at shearing school. We’re going to try them on a fleece we got from a school sheep. We weren’t sure if the lichens are the right kinds to make dyes, but I figured it was worth a shot. I put them in a dilute ammonia solution to extract the color, and…

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Yes! It’s hard to see, but the one on the left is a dark orange. They’re supposed to ferment for a month before we use them, but I think it’s gonna work out.

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