Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Day!

After a strangely dry start to this winter Montana has received a healthy dose of Jack Frost’s best fluffy white stuff.
Yesterday morning we awoke to a fresh 2 inches of fluff. Just enough to freshen a dreary dead landscape.
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The goat’s weren’t too put off by the snow.
snow 004In town, the trees took on an eerie quality. Their branches a high contrast jumble looking like dancing serpents.
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And the snow kept falling all day. By the time we got home a good 8 inches had fallen on our neighborhood. We had to shovel a spot for our car before we could park!
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When I woke up this morning, the snow had stopped falling. There’s over a foot of snow on the ground... and on our picnic table, and on the grill, and on the everything. So sorry, the barbeque has been canceled So has school and work. (shucks!)
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It’s snowing again now. I wonder how high that pile will get? And what am I going to do with myself today? Time to play!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Blue Zen

I have been reinventing myself lately.

Figuring out what means the most to me and what I want to focus on.

Mostly, that's been my family, my home, and my health. I've had some issues from back pain, fatigue, skin issues, and infections that won't go away and I am on a mission to get this all straightened out. I haven't given up on making art. But, right now, there are more important things to focus on.

I have been working on our garden. I want to grow as many herbs and veggies as I can for my family. Landscaping our home and making it a retreat for us and our friends has been a focus as well. I want my home to be my sanctuary.

I've redevoted myself to yoga. It has been really helping with my back pain and energy levels.

I started studying up and found out how to make soaps and lotions that were gentle and actually healing to the skin.

I started that because I was finding no relief from the gawd-awful eczema I've been getting on my hands and feet every summer. I've figured out it's an allergy. I know I can't handle SLS (sodium laurel sulfite) which is the foaming agent in most commercial soaps. It makes a nice lather, and a nice red, itchy rash on me. And I know I am allergic to knapweed. Knapweed is a noxious weed that grows ALL OVER this lovely land called Montana. It's even all over our property. Battling it every summer has made my hands get tough, crack and bleed and scab up. It's really fun.

I really believe in my creams and soaps so I made a etsy shop for them. So far, I'm making hand balms,  lotions, soaps and lip balms, but I have a feeling I will find more fun things to make in the future.

I started a batch of goat milk soap back in the beginning of December and it’s finally ready. I know that seems like a long time to wait for soap, but believe me it’s worth it.
I use the cold process method. That means I don’t cook the soap to death to get the lye in it to neutralize right away. It takes about 3 weeks of curing time to get a good hard, neutral bar of soap.
But my secret is double processing, also known as French milling, which takes longer. (I guess it’s not a secret because I just told you) I make a plain, unscented batch, let it cure for 2 weeks, then chop it up into little pieces, and melt it back down again and add glycerin for extra gentleness, essential oils, herbs and mineral color. Then it has to set for 3 more weeks. But, the result is a fabulous soap that cleans with a soft lather, smells wonderful, and is extra gentle on my sensitive skin.

If you would like to try some for yourself I sell sample sized jars. (above next to the lotion bottle) Like I said, I use it every day and I really believe in what I've made.