Hoo boy, am I tired tonight!
I’ve been taking advantage of these last couple days of good weather before the week of predicted rains come. I’ve been drying lots of hosta leaves/stems and iris leaves – all courtesy of JosyT’s lovely flower garden. The driveway has been littered with old sheets full of green and brown leaves. The deck has also had its share of drying sheets.
It seems silly, in a way, to take the time to dry everything if it is only going back into water, but it really makes the cutting easier, the weighing more accurate and the amount of mold much less than otherwise.
After the leaves dried (or mostly dried!), they needed to be cut into 1-inch or smaller pieces. My trusty guillotine paper cutter does a grand job of chopping leaves and stems – only nicked my thumb once so far. It continues to amaze me how much time this part of the process takes.
Everything went into cook pots with soda ash and then into the beater: Siberian iris, bearded iris, hosta leaf stems and hosta leaves. The Siberian iris worked up nicely – no soapiness while beating – with the addition of a bit of abaca to help get things moving. IT was almost all pulp after cooking. The bearded iris was similar although there was just a tad of soapiness.
I’ve heard some people put the hosta leaves and stems together, but others say those two parts make different papers. Both of my pots had some of the other in it (some leaves in with the stems and vice versa). The stem pulp was almost all pulp after cooking. There’s a lot more bulk to the pot of leaves. I’m letting the stems sit in the beater overnight – will empty it out in the morning and put the leaves in then.
What really did me in at the end was the amount of rinsing both hosta pots required. Stooping over and lifting 5 gal buckets of water/pulp – my back needs a rest!
Haven’t pulled any papers from these batches yet. If the predicted rains come this week, the pulps may have to wait a bit.