Updates & Adventures

This space is for musings on the writing process, epic art fails (and successes!), news about upcoming publications or art shows, and pics of my adventures. Anyone who knows me knows that my explanation for just about everything in life is, "I have a lot of weird hobbies!" I'm pretty sure that will appear on my gravestone (as a result of said hobbies, probably). In fact, let's solidify that here.
My epitaph shall be: "Here lies Jenn Pocock. She had a lot of weird hobbies. One or more killed her."

(Just kidding. I'm going to be recycled into a tree. I'll find a way to try new things as I spread my branches.)
No matter what, I'll show off some of the wild and crazy things I get into.

...But What am I Doing?


What happens when you go to a caving convention and can't actually...go underground? It turns out that it's still a great time, but you get a ton of FOMO as you watch everyone suit up for adventure--and then again when they post all of their pics and awesome bat videos the next week.


Ah, well. I guess I'll work on healing my stupid rotator cuff, and maybe not slice my hand open with a machete next time.

(Note to self: When attempting living room lumberjacking,
2: Listen to that inner voice that says, "Hey Jenn, your arm is getting pretty tired, maybe you should stop for the day."
3: Don't listen to the answering voice that says, "Sure, sure--just let me finish this one log real quick."
4: Maybe use a hatchet instead of a machete. Lower blade-to-flesh ratio.)


So, instead of mud, dark scrambles, cold-water wading, bats in my belfry, and towering plinths of living rock (sigh of longing), I settled for some rural lumberjacking (with gloves!) and mountain foraging.


I'm lucky to have some pretty dang cool friends. One of said friends gave another of said friends the wood from an entire American Yellowwood tree (Cladrastis kentukea). I happened to be there to take a chunk for myself. The tree is aptly named, with a bright, creamy yellow in the center of the log. Friend #1 mentioned that the wood had once been used as a dye by settlers.



Thus began a brand-new rabbithole obsession, and an ill-advised urban machete adventure.


The spring VAR (VirginiA Region meeting of the National Speleological Society) took place in Franklin, WV, not far from Seneca Rocks. I spent a wonderful afternoon in the spring sunshine chipping up the yellowwood into small enough pieces that I can boil it and expose the maximum amount of woody surface area to the dye bath.



THEN, a fellow DC Grotto member happened by and told me he had seen a huge patch of bloodroot--another plant used in natural dyeing--just one mountain over. Bloodroot is this incredibly cool-looking plant with just one funky-shaped leaf and a bright red-orange root.




So we tramped over a whole-assed mountain, and I almost fell off a cliff ("It might be on the steep side," he said. "That way the deer can't get it," he said. Mmmmm-hmmm. You can't lure me underground, so you shove me off a mountain?).  We gave up, as it was getting dark and the wind was picking up. On the way back to camp, we finally found it. The whole dang patch turned out to be at the base of the mountain, basically across the street from the campsite.


Anyway. I'm a forager now! I've only ever tromped after invasive garlic mustard before, which I then forgot about and slowly killed (along with every other plant that's ever entered my apartment) instead of turning it into invasive pesto. I feel better about this.


I took one plant for every four I found, collected about a quarter of a cup of roots. This could make a really cool color to go with my creamy yellow shirts!


Next time, VAR, I'll get underground. Until then, CHECK OUT THIS CHONKIN' FUZZY-ASSED TULIP TREE MOTH!!