Drought Wins Out Over Big Jar

26 Jul

We have major heat and drought here in Central Texas. I cannot justify running my Big Indigo Jar this year due to the looming water restraints. Although the 110 gallons lasts all summer there is also the rinsing with water. That’s water that is needed elsewhere. We are on well & rainwater, both are limited resources this year. I am sad to not be using this 100° heat this summer but it has been relentless, starting in early May and cranking up to 104°+ in June. Major heat that high usually does not start till July. Prep was physically uncomfortable without a rainy break to cool things down. Did I mention we are in an exceptional drought as opposed to an extreme drought? I can’t even remember how many days we’ve broken 100° but it has been at least more than 20, with no rain, Stupid Hot.

So, I have spent spring pulling my indigo mud out of my jar and vinegar washing it to clear the calcium carbonate. To add insult to injury we only had 3 days of 100+ temp last year. Last year’s clean mud was ready to mix with fresh indigo from Stony Creek Colors and Botanical colors. Fructose and Calcium Hydroxide were at the ready as well but will hold till next year. So, I am setting aside the store bought indigo and drying my mud for storage for next year. My Dudas filters work well for mud drying as well as washing with vinegar.

My alternative this year is to turn to wax batik and silk painting with pigments and dye. It will definitely be cooler and another skill to practice. I have different tools to use for wax application. I need the practice. And it will be indoors, with AC!

6 Responses to “Drought Wins Out Over Big Jar”

  1. John Walker – Mackay Property & Management Services July 26, 2022 at 2:07 am #

    Hi Deb
    Thanks for the update
    Is always tough when the system that has worked for some time, changes.
    My wife and I have had to reinvent ourselves several times when different circumstances have changed.

    Kind regards
    John Walker

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shiborigirl July 28, 2022 at 5:04 pm #

    Haven’t grown indigo for ages here because of water issues.
    I applaud your mud process!
    What happens to the indigo if you don’t wash the CH out?
    I may throw down some indigo seeds next season if it looks like we might get rain. Won’t be the “right” season but who knows what season it is anymore?


    • debmcclintock August 2, 2022 at 4:36 pm #

      hey, sorry for the delay, had some guests (prep & entertaining) ! The fructose vat that I use with calcium hydroxide eventually ends up with calcium carbonate sludge, which is the result of the water and air exposure of the calcium hydroxide. Basically it will leave residue on your cloth, bulk in your vat and do no good to your PH adjustments. I wash my mud with vinegar just to get rid of the bulk and dry it for next season. Rinsing the calcium carbonate makes the indigo softer the next year so you can paste it more easily. It is sorta like the flocculation process in the first processing of indigo, you make a choice whether to keep active paste or rinse with vinegar. Over time you will end up with calcium carbonate sludge. And inevitably you will use up all the indigo and should just toss the sludge. But in the meantime….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Joyce Tromba August 1, 2022 at 10:35 pm #

    Hi Deb, I’m sorry if you are receiving this email twice, I think I sent the last one to an old email address. Your last post really piqued my interest to use what I was getting ready to throw out from my old indigo vat. I have recently cleaned out a big vat and I have saved the “mud” from the bottom. I have fresh indigo in my garden and I am wondering if you could share the technique (or point me to a resource) of how to use that stuff from the bottom to make a new vat. Thank you in advance for any information Best Regards, Joyce Tromba


    • debmcclintock August 2, 2022 at 4:39 pm #

      Sorry for the delay, I had guests and no time to respond. I have not seen instructions anywhere on how to reuse your vat mud. I learned it from the White Hmong in the Sapa area. They add their mud to the next seasons vat. They use wood ash for their PH manipulation which leaves very little bulk in the vat. I use a fructose LARGE vat 110 gallons which is a lot of calcium hydroxide at the end of season. See my response to @shiborigirl elsewhere in the comments as to why I rinse with white vinegar. I assume you found my blog entries on how I rinse.


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