I've never really had much to do with seaweed - swimming in the lakes around this area, it's a nuisance. I never really thought much about gathering it for any good reason, so just never thought much about it - until recently.
Because a couple of us from the college are preparing for a children's pottery workshop, I've been gathering 'stuff' to use for firing. Tools can be made from just about anything laying around, ice cream buckets make great storage and working containers, I have lots of newspapers for the tepee kilns and plenty of scrap clay to make slip to seal the newpapers, Denise has a source for wood to build the frames and for firing, a huge plastic container in my shop is filled with dried walnut and hickory husks and we'll no doubt have a good supply of used coffee grounds and orange peels and banana skins and all sorts of other 'stuff'. But, because seaweed can also produce some wonderful results (I'm told), I contacted a friend from the east coast. He graciously picked about 10 pounds of fresh Cape Cod Canal seaweed and sent it. It arrived in today's mail.
Are you with me so far??
Instead of drying this stuff, he sent it fresh - yep, I paid to ship water - but, because it hadn't been dried and traveled in plastic bags, when I opened it I almost fell over from the smell. Whoa!!!!!! EEEEUUUUW!! Blech!! Ptooey! Ack-ack-yuck. I should have known what to expect, because the box had a slight off odor to it - smelled like cooked peas gone bad. Each successive layer of plastic that I unwrapped allowed the stench to become stronger. Euw. Good thing I didn't open it in the house - the cats would never have forgiven me.
I guess the plan of attack is going to be to get a couple of the scrounged styrofoam produce flats down from the 'loft' in my shop and spread this stuff out in them (going to use rubber gloves for this part, I think) and set them outside where it will, hopefully, freeze dry enough that it won't cause a lot of stomach-churning when we add it to the combustibles while we're load the children's wares to the kilns.
If anyone has any better suggestions, send them on - I'm open to just about any solution at this point.
You see, we're trying to ENCOURAGE participation, not send them running home with stories of 'icky stuff'.
Wish me luck! I normally have a strong stomach, but this was an unexpected surprise. Whew!!
I think I've recovered enough from the surprise that I can get out there and get that seaweed taken care of - wish me luck!!