Art Journal

Nature Ramblings ~ Past Times Time Travel ~ Romancing Daily Life

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Checkered Past - Edgewood Checker/Chocolate Lily

Fritillaria affinis
Checker or Chocolate
Lily is my beloved

Are you more checkered or chocolate? Once the Lamishin people dug your roots and bulbs for supper. But they ate a lot of things I'm glad I don't have to.

I prefer just enjoying your exotic checkery blooms, that I see only occasionally along the Edgewood Nature Preserve's oak woodland trails in the early spring. I'm awfully glad I don't find the need to turn you into fritillary stew.

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If English isn't your first language. "A checkered past" refers  to people who have done improper things in the past - either unacceptable social behavior or illegal things - but now are somewhat reformed.
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Web Resources

Edgewood Nature Preserve

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Yerba Santa: Just What the Doctor Ordered? (Hiking Edgewood)

Yerba Santa, the Holy Herb, is once more in bloom,
 at the Edgewood Preserve

On the last two docent hikes I led, a lot of folks have been asking my questions about how Yerba Santa was used historically. The following is extracted from a report that I wrote for a CA native plant class. 

Yerba Santa has long been used in traditional medicines by people in California. This information, however, is for interest only. I have no idea if any medical research supports using Yerba Santa in any of this ways, or if the plant is safe to chew, swallow, or apply to your skin.

What do you call it? Well for starters, It's a Hydropyllaceae, a.k.a. That's the Waterleaf family to those in the know.

The plant itself may be called... Eriodictyon californicum Yerba Santa, Mountain balm, Palo Santo, Holy Plant , or Holy Herb . “Yerba Santa” translates from Spanish into English as “Holy Herb’. 

Yerba Santa has been used locally as a medicine, both by pre-contact (native) peoples, and the Spaniards who came after 1769.

It’s scientific name Eriodic'tyon comes from the Greek erion, "wool," and diktuon, "net", because the undersides of some of the leaves have a fuzzy look. The species name simply means it’s found in California.

Physical Description
This plant is an evergreen shrub that grows to about waist height at Edgewood, though it can grow to be 3 meters tall. When Edgewood Yerba Santa begins blooming, preserve visitors on my docent walks take quite an interest in it. They ask me, "Why is it all black like that?". The black part they're asking about is leaves have a faint odor and  are typically infected with a black fungus, HeterosporiumThe virus is not thought to hurt the plant, but it makes the leaves look ugly. 

Preferred Habitat
Yerba Santa is a typical chaparral plant. It grows profusely in this preserve on serpentine soil, in colonies that grow from shoots of shared underground roots.

Animal Uses including Human
Butterflies find the nectar of Yerba Santa very attractive.

“Yerba Santa was highly valued by many California tribes including the Salinan, Ohlone, Miwok, Pomo, and Yokuts who continue to use it for various medicinal purposes. The Spanish who came to early California were so impressed with the plant that they gave it the name Yerba Santa, meaning holy plant. Yerba Santa was introduced to the Spanish Padres 
at Mission San Antonio de Padua by the Salinan tribe and it became one of three major medicinal herbs used at the mission. The plants can be harvested at any stage, but are best in the fall when the leaves are sticky and aromatic. 

The Kashaya Pomo recommend gathering the leaves just before the plant begins to produce flowers. The leaves, stems and flowers are used . They are either eaten or made into a tea, decoction, or poultice. The flowers and the bitter, aromatic leaves may be used fresh or dried. The leaves and flowers were made into a “bitter or sweetish-soapy” tasting tea that was drunk to relieve headaches and other symptoms of tuberculosis. 

Infusions of Yerba Santa  leaves and flowers were used to treat fevers, coughs, colds, stomachaches asthma, rheumatism pleurisy, and to purify the blood. The Kawaiisu drank Yerba Santa tea instead of water for a month to treat gonorrhea. The Salinan used an infusion of the leaves as a balm for the eyes. Later, those at the San Antonio mission made eye balm by placing the leaves in corked glass bottles and allowing them to sweat in the sun.

Leaves were smoked or chewed to relieve asthma, coughs, colds, headaches, and stomachaches. Heated leaves were placed on the forehead to relieve headaches and other aches and sores. The sticky leaves conveniently stay in place upon the skin. Mashed leaves were applied externally to sores, cuts, wounds, and aching muscles. Mashed leaves were also used to reduce the swelling and relieve pain caused by bone  fractures . Yerba Santa, used alone or combined with other herbs, was applied to infected 
sores on humans and animals. The branches and leaves were burned in steam baths to treat rheumatism. 

Other Uses
The Ohlone wove the leaves into skirts and aprons. I wonder if they included those pretty purple flowers into the designs :-)

Wildlife: Bees visit the flowers of Yerba Santa, which make a deliciously spicy amber honey. Seedlings and young plants are relatively nutritious and palatable but the bitter compounds in mature Yerba Santa shrubs discourage most large herbivores. However it is an important forage crop for black- tailed deer in the winter when other food sources are unavailable. Birds and small mammals eat the seed capsules.

Livestock: Goats will sometimes eat the leaves and stems. Cattle will avoid Yerba Santa in favor of more palatable plants, which can be a problem in highly grazed areas where it can become the dominant plant. Because of it's nature preserve status there are no longer livestock here, but the Spanish certainly grazed cattle in local meadows.

Yerba Santa can be used for rehabilitating and stabilizing disturbed areas. The seeds germinate readily in disturbed soils. The shallow, spreading root system can help to stabilize areas subject to erosion caused by runoff. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Hiking Edgewood:Western Bluebird Succeeds

 Before the 1940's, Western Bluebirds were a common sight in places like Edgewood .
After WWII, large-scale building development seriously impacted the ability of these avians to reproduce. Back in the 1960's and 1970's, it was rare to spot a bluebird around here.

 In the 1970's people across the western United States, began efforts to bring bluebirds back. Edgewood is one of a number of places where nesting boxes help this effort. There are currently twenty three nesting boxes for Western Bluebirds in the area of Edgewood Preserve. Bluebirds nests are monitored by Friends of Edgewood volunteers in conjunction with the Sequoia Audobon Society. In 2013, 77 baby bluebirds were born in nests their parents built in park bluebird boxes. 
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 Wikipedia: Western Bluebird - 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ench By Sew-018 Boning Up on Bustiers: Part 1

I printed a bunch of this image
on postcard stock to make
bookmark/luggage tags I
slipped in big bags and pattern bags
associated with this project
The latest Enchanted by Sewing Podcast has been published!
Two Ways to Listen
Option I)You can listen to the show right on the web by clicking on this link 

OR ~
Option ii)  Click on this link to iTunes  to download this and other Enchanted by Sewing shows to your mobile device (iPhone, Android, etc.) free from iTunes
Did I miss any links mentioned in the show? If so, please post here and let me know, or else email me EnchantedBySewing AT gmail DOT com
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A bustier is an alluring garment, one many women would like to wear - if they dare. When I began to notice that women of all shapes, sizes and ages sewed and wore their bustiers with pleasure and pride, I decided to take a chance and learn to sew this very structured garment, that can be designed to flatter a wide variety of figure types.

- FIRST What is a bustier? It's not a corset, for one thing.
 • A soft torsolette is a bandeau
A long torsolette is a corselette

   Class I’m taking is from Lynda Maynard, an instructor at Cañada College, San Francisco City College and also an instructor at Craftsy.

Lynda’s “Fit” Class on Craftsy, which I plan to take.

This posting I wrote for Me Encanta Coser, includes a number of links to
other bustier posts I wrote about this project, in the Web Resources section

- NEXT Pensimientos Primero:  Who might wear a bustier? Who do I want to create one?
- ENTONCES/THEN Where I am,  in the process of creating one. How long it’s taking me
- FOLLOWED BY Technicos: Cut, Cloth, Construction

o CUT Pattern Selection and Alteration
Simplicity 5006
Can’t skip the muslin stage
Fit  No 1 the pattern
The squish factor – add one inch, ¼ inch up from waistline to new pattern
New paper I’ve found  for pattern paper – not tissue now but artists tracing paper. Mostly Transparant .
          Not Tissue. Kind of like waxed paper. I use it with a soft lead pencil (#1?) – also an artist supply.
Staedtler Artists/Draftsperson’s Sketch Paper Rolls,
    Also found a brand by Bee

 o Cloth – 4 kinds of fabric, some choices – definite types, NO WOVENS

Review warp and weft
Why warp and weft are especially important for Bustiers
Stay stich – Why not just skip it?
The layers
What each layer is
Why certain fabrics are important

1) Lining (bottom layer) must be super soft on your skin comfortable. You don't wear with an undergarment
My Lining is vintage Liberty of London Tana Lawn
I love Tana Lawn so much, I have a Pinterest Board just for that !

Lynda Maynard likes silk charmeuse for lining bustiers

2) Coutil provides support for boning
Where to buy coutil

o Richard the Thread - Mail Order. Our fabric came really fast
Rumors - Minimum order 5 yards? Will they sell you less if you call?
o Brittex - Field Trip To Brittext
o Lacis -  Field Trip to Lacis

3) 100% cotton flannel protects against bones pushing through to top layer
4) Fashion Fabric (top layer). What people see. Denim for me! Duchesses Satin?
Silk Dupioni? Men's Wear Woolen? Find the perfect fabric.

One of these images I"ve pinned on Pinterest may give you ideas for that perfect fabric

o Construction
Dem Bones Gonna Walk Around - Focus on Boning
Thanks to my study partner "Dave" for providing the music :-)
NEXT MONTH I will summarize construction more

- Completion and goal setting tie in with other non-sewing projects
- Less temptation to stray :-)
- The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter  by Susan Wittig Albert
"Many a little makes a mickle, many a mickle makes a mile"

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Edgewood Rocks! (Geology)

Geology is key to the diversity of habitats and the success of Edgewood as a nature preserve.
Because of the specialized geologic makeup of this 467 acre site, rarely seen native California wildflowers and other plants have maintained a toehold.

Because of Edgewood geology, animals dependent on plants that grow in this specialized area find a home.

Because of Edgewood geology's contributions to rare and endangered plant and animal communities, local citizens preserved this area as a natural space for future use by plants and all animals (including humans)

Key Components of Edgewood Geology

  1. Tectonic Plate* Boundary
    • The North American Plate
    • Edgewood lies along the western edge of this formidable slab of rock, that floats over the Earth's mantle in much of North America.
    • The Pacific Plate
    • This plate is the largest of the tectonic plates. Though it's not beneath Edgewood, it does provide a foundation for the Santa Cruz Mountains, which can be viewed from the western side of the park.
    • The San Andreas Fault
    • This fault marks the border between the North American and Pacific plates. Evidence of this junction can be seen in the valley covered by the Crystal Springs Reservoir, beyond the 280 freeway on the western side of Edgewood preserve. Many earthquakes in the area are due to movement of these two great plates along this boundary.
  2. Rock Types
  3. All the rocks at Edgewood started out on the ocean-floor. They arrived in the preserve via subduction**, the movement of one tectonic plate beneath another, and were later recycled as continental crust. Much of the rock within the park is part of the Franciscan Complex.
    1. Serpentinite/Serpentine
    2. A particularly significant rock in the Franciscan Complex when it comes to the success of Edgewood meadow and chaparral plants, and the survival of the Bay Area Checkerspot Butterfly. Serpentine rock, and the soils and plants it contributes to, are found on the Clarkia and Serpentine Loop Trails. Only 1% of CA rock is serpentine. It breaks down into soils that produce masses of flowers, and other plants adapted to it's unique composition.
    3. Other Rocks in the Franciscan Complex
    4. These rocks include greywacke, melange, and greenstone. They contribute to soils, and therefore plant and animal life, in the central ridge (Ridgeview Trails) area and upper oak woodlands of the popular Sylvan Trail.
    5. Whiskey Hill Formation
    6. This sandstone occurs in the woodland area of Old Stage picnic grounds. It extends into areas beyond the preserve, notably in Pulgas Ridge Open Space (Dogs not allowed at Edgewood are permitted at Pulgas Ridge!). Handley Rock , a popular local rock-climbing site and an intriguing view from Edgewood, is composed of Whiskey Hill 

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Web Resources

*What is a tectonic plate?
Geologic Timeline of Western North America
The North American (Tectonic) PlateThe Pacific (Tectonic) Plate
Friends Of Edgewood: This site is an excellent source for everything from docent hike schedules to Edgewood wildflower search (Use the Photos tab in the upper right hand corner, to figure out what kind of flower you saw).
Edgewood Quick Facts

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Feels Lichen You Are Givin' Me the GOLD Eye (Hiking Edgewood)

Edgewood Gold Eye Lichen
Teloschistes chrysophthalmus
Freddie Fungus and Alice Algae took a lichen to each other.
It was an old-style relationship.
Freddie provided the house.
Alice made all the food.

* * *

Fungus can't photosynthesize, but they can make structures.

Algae are great at photosynthesizing, converting  solar energy and carbon dioxide into food. They need a place to hang out.

Lichen, like the Edgewood Gold Eye above, are a combination of fungus and algae. The fungus provides a place for the algae to live, and the algae makes nourishment for both of them. 

It's symbiosis at it's best.

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Web Resources
Really good Explanation of Lichens and discussion of the impact of pollution and toxins on them