Have you ever made paper? Went to a few lessons while we lived in Zürich. Soak the raw/recycled plant fibre overnight. Whiz it thru a dedicated blender. Don’t want traces of printer’s ink or plant toxins in your next pot of soup? Then the fun bit. Sieving out sheets of paper.
We were taught to use cardboardy sheets of raw paper fibre, specially sold for the purpose in Swiss handicraft shops. But, if you make a point of collecting paper for recycling, especially the heavy quality stuff – no longer valid business cards, extra wedding invites, coloured paper. Then you can produce wonderful handmade paper in subtle or vehement colours with interesting textures.
We used dried onion skins (the papery brown bits) – and that paper still smells of its onions, so many years later. And I tried the dry, wilted flower fibres from Pohutakawa, New Zealand Christmas tree (you could use a bottlebrush for instance). Soaked overnight, made a wonderful mellow pink paper, with wine red flower threads scattered thru it. One of our class mates was going to try with cow pats, which had been through the winter wash and freeze cycle. Here in
tourists can buy paper made of elephant dung. South Africa
Now imagine doing all that, in your mouth, with your teeth and jaw muscles. As the paper wasps do! Puts a new spin on – do you really need to print this out, on paper??? Also shows you how much water is used. And the waste water which is then contaminated with fibres and chemicals.
We had a large nest built behind the glass of the living room sash window. This is a wildlife friendly house and garden, so we left them in peace. And they only complained if we got too close for their comfort. Our bug book says they shut down in winter. Field guide to insects of
, by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths, Alan Weaving. New edition 2004. Published by Struik South Africa
So we waited, planning to remove the empty nest then. But they haven’t read their guidebook and went busily ahead building a basement granny flat. Enough is enough. So we moved the nest, away from the living room. Now they have satellite TV. Were relieved that they found the nest again. Or perhaps it is just the youngsters doing what grammar/genetics taught them.
There was a little nest on the outskirts of town. And the new main city is established in the safe, distant, outside corner of the window.
Pruned the roses relatively late, but now we can pick again. Laid back Pearl of Bedfordview and over the top Elizabeth of Glamis. Both generous floribundas, that keep the flowers coming!