December is approaching at break neck speed and the annual Victorian Market will be upon us in a matter of weeks, so this morning I popped down to the greenhouse to retrieve the pinecones Middle Mudlet had collected a few weeks ago, in order that I could start preparing them ready for her to paint.
“You’re not keeping them in the house,” Mud had grumbled when we had returned triumphant from our pinecone hunt, “They’ll be full of bugs and insects and we get enough of them in the house as it is!”
And so I’d left them undercover, in the largest greenhouse until they were needed.
Of course the problem of how to deal with the natural inhabitants of the cones was still an issue until one of the mums at Little Mudlets’ school gave me some advice on sterilising them. Which brings me neatly back to this morning, when the 80 or so pinecones were treated to a scalding hot bath in the butler sink. I left them to soak for 20 minutes or so before placing them into two large baking trays and slotting them into the Rayburn main oven for some gentle baking to dry them out again. They were then moved into the warming oven, where they stayed for several hours, drying out in the gentle warmth.
At least with pinecones you can tell when they are dry (the individual scales open back out) and you can see from the photo that these ones are well on the way to being fully dried, having closed up completely following their debugging bath. I’ll take some pictures of the finished cones when Middle Mudlet has decorated with them.