Sunday, May 03, 2009

Linen Flax planting

Yesterday we planted the flax field getting ready for our linen festival on August 8th -- when we will harvest it with our visitors.

First we needed to ripple the flax to get the seed off of last year's fiber flax (linen). To accomplish that we placed a Tartar comb (The Doukhobors brought this design over from the Caucasus Mountains to use for combing wool)inside the bathtub that we use for retting flax and softening willow.

Then we separated the flax bundles into smaller groups and whipped the bundles through the teeth of the tartar comb. Most of the seeds were caught inside the bath tub.

After rippling all the bundles of flax we swept the seed boles into a huge pot and pounded them with two pine saplings, until the majority of the boles had released their seeds.

Then we took the whole pot down to the flax bed in the garden to winnow the seed in the breeze. Kiwi got covered in flax seed as the wind swirled around us. But after an hour of pouring the seed back and forth we ended up with about 1 kg. of flax seed -- twice what we planted last year.

Then we scattered the seed in the prepared linen field and stomped it in. It rained last night so the flax is well watered in and should sprout in about 2 weeks.

Flax is so pretty as its growing and it blows gracefully in the breeze. It doesn't even mind cold summers with occasional frost.

Now last year's linen flax can be retted, which will be accomplished in the old bathtub over a week or two -- one bundle at a time.

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