Turtle Altar

Backyard Garden Project: Harvested Goods

The thing about yard clean up, the kind that involves cutting branches and hauling stones and pulling down fences, is that you end up with a lot of stuff. Most of it gets sorted into the compost heap, or rubbish bin, or stacked up for use later on. Some of it you look at and think, “I bet I could do something with that.” You might not know what, exactly, you could do. But you decide to set it aside just in case.

Dried Rosebush Branches
Branches from a wild rosebush we trimmed back years ago.

Since we had just a couple months before converted the garage into a workshop, I realized we had space to store some of those items, until I could find a use for them. To that end, I harvested a bucket full of curly willow branches with an eye towards making a wreath. And, as I cleared out the woodpile, I found several rosebush branches that had dried out into almost straight lengths. I wasn’t certain what use I could put them to, but they seemed too nice to throw into the fire pit. So into the workshop they went as well.

Curly Willow Branches
Curly willow branches harvested from the trimmed branches. Used for making wreathes.

As part of the philosophy of “Use what you have” and “do what you can” I have a list of skills I’d like to learn over the next year. One of those is weaving willow. I started with wreaths because the instructions looked easiest for a beginner. And boy howdy was it easy. I ended up making nearly a dozen wreaths just with the willow I collected. The curving nature of the branches helped.

Willow wreath
Wreath woven from harvested willow branches. Trimmed with cut ivy from the backyard.

The wreath looks really impressive in the picture on the left, though the ivy didn’t last very long. I’m going to try another tact to get the look of ivy, holly and oak leaves without risk of drooping, dead foliage. If I get it work I’ll post pictures and a tutorial here.

This was our final bit of backyard clean up and winterization. So far, we’ve raked once more to get the last of the leaves on the yard. But for the first time we’re ready for winter to hit. At least as far as the yard is concerned. Which, of course, means that it hasn’t snowed much at all yet. That’s okay. I’m more than willing to wait for the snowy, pervy hand of winter to make its appearance.

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roach (aka Raechel Henderson) is a dual class seamstress / shieldmaiden. She has sewn professionally since 2008. Over the years she has traveled around the Midwest region selling her handmade bags, skirts, coats and accessories at various events and conventions. Arachne hangs out in the window of her workshop reminding her to check the tension on the sewing machines. She writes about magic, creativity, living a life by one’s own life patterns, her family and books. Her first book, Sew Witchy, is due out December 2019 from Llewellyn.