It’s August and it’s cold and windy here in the Barossa. Our little house on the hill is being buffeted by wild winds and we are glad to be inside with hot cups of warming soup for lunch.
And while it is wonderful to be inside, I am preparing to head out with the small ones for a little foraging, because it is this time of year that we can collect the pruned grape vines. And there is something wonderfully envigorating about being buffeted around, children squealing, cheeks rosy and cold, all gathering good things for future use.
There are two things I have in mind for these vines, but the first and easiest is to make wreaths. Nothing comes quite as close to a hand made Christmas wreath, decorated with locally foraged succulents and dried flowers, and in the hot Southern summer nothing survives quite as well either.
My other use for our gatherings is a little more complex. The ash that results from burning vines, when washed of impurities and dried, can be used as a component in ceramic glazes. It is a lengthy process but in my mind more than worth the knowledge of where your materials come from. Kate and I currently still use some glaze ingredients where this is not the case, and look forward to the day I can say with certainty we do.