As most of you know, Carolina Ellis is my next victim…er…I mean heroine to fall in love with a Banks brother. And if you’ve read all of my books from the beginning you’ll know she grew up on a plantation in South Carolina. Today, she has graciously agreed to come tell you all about what they grow on her family’s plantation as well as something else that’s growing…
You must mean the love between me and John!
Indeed. How transparent I have become.
Not at all. *flicks wrist* But if it’s all right with you, I’d much rather talk about me and John than the indigo we harvest.
Of course you would. But you agreed that you’d come tell my readers the details of indigo farming if I’d let you and John–
Very well! *flushes crimson* Before the Revolutionary War most people grew either indigo or rice. *grimaces* I am so glad Eliza Lucas introduced indigo as a viable crop or I fear we shall all have perished from malaria… That or itched to death from those annoying mosquitos that were so common with rice plantations.
Back to the indigo, Carolina.
Right, there’s really not much to it. We grow the plant, pluck the leaves, soak the leaves, then mix them with lye to make cakes. That’s it. Now, can I go back and–
No. While you gave a very nice summary of how we get the dye, you didn’t really explain it.
*sighs* Must I?
We grow this plant called Indigofera tinctoria then each year, we pluck the leaves that have turned purple and throw them in this giant tub to let them soak in some smelly solution. *wrinkles nose* Then when the leaves have lost all their color and the water is blue, we remove the leaves and mix the blue water with lye and then when they start getting firm, we press them into little cakes and dry them out.
Is that all?
That’s all I know.
Fair enough. I imagine you have very little to do with the process, being the planter’s daughter and all.
*a shadow crosses her eyes* That’s a fair statement. Most plantation owner’s daughters don’t know a lot about the crops or other workings of the plantations.
And would you say you enjoy living on the plantation?
Not especially. It’s rather tedious at times… Or it was. But now that John has come I’ve found plenty to do with my day.
I’m sure you have.
And does John find your new found amusements as enjoyable as you have?
Of course he has!
He’s just too prideful to admit it. But he’ll come around. Just you wait and see.
Oh, I can hardly wait.
Well, I can!