Willow Harvest — Autumn Edition

You know how it is when you’ve “always” done things a certain way. For 10 years or so, I’ve cut my willow in the spring. It was timing that worked for various storage reasons. But I’m going to be leading a trip to Ireland next April. So I needed to get my harvest done this fall.

Last summer, I was talking with a friend about all this, and we hatched a plan. Her youngest is out of school and last spring she retired from coaching high school athletics. With just one full-time job now, she’ll have more time to make baskets again. But her willow patch is small, and it takes a few years for new beds to become really productive.

This weekend, she and her husband came from Michigan to cut willow. With four of us cutting, a job that usually takes me about a week was done in less than a day.

With two extra pairs of hands and an extra dog to keep Scout entertained, a job I usually enjoy was more like a party. Just imagine a party where instead of dancing, people do hamstring stretches.

I kept as much willow as I’ll need, and sent the rest home with Carol. My guess is she’ll have 8 to 12 hours of sorting and bundling to do, but enough willow on hand now that she can feel free to explore a lot of the ideas she’s been working on in her head. And my willow beds are ready for the next growing season.

At the end of the day, the dogs were tired and so were we. But it was a good tired.

And now, let it snow!

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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin

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