With the cane bundled into the tub, Jim Long fills his cut-off oil drum with water and brings it to a boil with a propane burner.

He begins cutting and mixing in walnut roots from a tree that blew down near his home.The walnut will produce deep-brown strips of cane for his students’ weaving projects. For other shades, he uses bloodroot and yellow root that he gathers.

Under a plywood cover, the stew cooks overnight with occasional tending to add more roots and to stir. The water turns a deep brown and, with luck, will stain the cane strips with the same shade.