When my husband and I got married one of his favorite phrases was "Shit Happens." Well, my oldest was five at the time so I said, "Honey, you have to come up with something else. I don't want him suspended in Kindergarten." So he came up with Life Occurs. Well, life has been occurring all over the place in the last year. It's been a crazy ride. My husband changed jobs which is good but now he is gone for months at a time and lost all his vacation time. My eldest son who was going to keep the home fires burning while we were off hiking also changed jobs which is good, but he's not a farmer and finds it difficult to manage farm chores and his 6 day a week full time job. A fox literally wiped out our hen house, two of out three pets have died of old age and the one left is an 11 year old arthritic wolf hybrid. Keeping him going has become a full time job. The tractor is gone and my husband's car bit the dust. Needless to say I've had to put off my hiking dream for awhile but it's still a dream and my wolf and I manage to get in a bit of a hike everyday and for now that will suffice.
Happily, I do get to drive by the Trail often. My youngest son went off to college this year...in Indiana! Yep that's a long haul from Virginia. Earlham, a small Quaker liberal arts college, has proven to be a good fit for our evolving young man who is into to everything from physics to theater. It has also meant that I have driven through the Blue Ridge Mountains and right past the Trail several times. He doesn't have a car and with all his tech stuff it's just more economical to go get him and his stuff, then pay to fly him. Plus, I like the drive. 10 hours alone with my thoughts and podcasts in addition to all those mountains is kind of nice. I've found a few favorite places to stop along the way and I've met some really nice people and, you know, I always take a few bars of my soap to share. I guess my take on it all is, life occurs, get yourself up, knock off the dust and keep on going. BTW, I do make a soap for that.
Speaking of soap, I've been doing a lot of experimenting lately. My herb gardens are a mess but I still have them and they are producing some great plants this year. In a couple of cases I discovered it's easier to remove the plants than the weeds so I did. As Daddy used to say, "Work smart, not hard." Innovating thinking right? I love my Rosewater Soap but it's bland and a little too sweet but when you mix it with a bit of mint, it cuts the sweetness and adds a bit of bite. Great right? I also have been adding more herbs to my soaps. I was straining out the herbs from the infused oils to make the bars look cleaner but I realized it's herbal soap, You should be able to see the herbs! I love my herbs.
I've also been working on adding more local vendors. I know I can't do it all, but fortunately, I have been able to partner with so many great stores and farm markets to get my soap out there. I appreciate them all. Their help, advice and friendship over the past years has been invaluable. You should check them out, they are good people. They are listed under the retailers tab on our website and I'm always open to suggestions for more.
Today is Motivation Monday. I am now motivated to keep on moving forward. I'll keep you updated as we continue to change and grow. Right now I'm going to try and figure out how to change the Soap of the Season on the Home Page without pestering my busy kids for the umpteenth time. If that doesn't work I'll take a walk in the rain with the dog. He'll like that.
On September 24, 2016 I will turn 60 and I've decided to celebrate in a big way. I'm going to hike the Virginia portion of the Appalachian Train. There are a couple of reasons for sharing this with you, one is if I say it out loud it makes it more difficult to back out and two, I'm excited and who doesn't love a good adventure story, particularly one that I'm sure is going to be full of comic missteps.
The first comic misstep was deciding to tell my husband who quickly responded with, "You can't do that." I gave him my determined, "Just watch me" look and after a few days, my adventure became our adventure. So I guess that means he's going along. Now the thing is he's kind of done this before, when he was a boy scout, 40 years ago. I mentioned that there have been a few upgrades since then, like we don't need to take 50 pound backpacks and there are actually hotels every 40-50 miles along the route and I intend to visit quite a few of them along the 550 mile trek.
At this point I should mention that I have never done anything like this. I'm an herb growing, soap making part time assistant librarian. I do like to walk. I guess that's a plus. I can get my hands on several books that tell me how to do it and I basically know the difference between good plants and ones we should avoid. That's good right?
Jim tells me there are a few things that I will need to learn how to adapt to, like living with the creatures that were there first and peeing without a seat. Let's start with the critters since that's where the soap comes into it. If there is a biting insect within a twenty mile radius it will find me. Guaranteed, you can bet on it. So we are taking my Deepwoods soap, it repels biting insects. It has actually already been trail tested by my friends Joanne and Susan who took it with them on their last hiking expedition. It is made with eucalyptus infused olive oil (see the picture of my eucalyptus plant) and citronella, mint, lavender and many other bug repelling essential oils. We are not taking any chances here. If you want some check the website store. I made a big batch yesterday. I might even make a spray for easy use on the trail.
The soap I will be using tonight is the Wintergreen. You see, in order to prepare for this big adventure I have been taking little everyday hikes. I'm up to about 5 miles a day, my goal in ten before the end of the summer. The problem, which I hadn't mentioned before, is that I have two bad knees and a bad back, on the upside my shoulder was replaced about fifteen years ago so that should be good to go. I don't hurt while hiking but as soon as I sit down I can feel it so as of tonight I'm going to let the healing foam of my Wintergreen soap settle on my sore joints and see how it does. I'll let you know.
That's enough for starters. I'll let you know how it's going. I wonder if I can make a snake repellent soap? This seems to be a banner year for them...naturally.
A great time to catch up on things,
making soap, planning gardens and taking care of critters. Spring is right around the corner. We are ready!
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Happy Shopping everyone!
We make a lot of soap. I think it's all really good but sometimes it doesn't sell very well, like our Calendula. Calendula is a wonderful sensitive skin soap that is often recommended for use on babies. It looks great, smells good but it didn't sell well so it has made itself to the Clearance Section. The same is true of of Beeswax Soap, another nice, sensitive skin soap that for some reason people don't buy.
There are also the "factory defects." These are perfectly wonderful soaps that aren't very pretty. We have some Chamomile that smells good and works great, but when we added the botanicals they kind of spread out funny so the bar doesn't look right. Into the Clearance Bin it went. The Vanilla came out kind of bumpy and we have some Beeswax that also cured with a big dent in the middle. Poor Beeswax, it gets no respect.
Then there are the soaps that have some age on them, the scent isn't quite as strong so it's time to let them go to make room for new stock. Also some of our seasonal soaps sort of fit into this category, Wintergreen, Deepwoods and Pet Soap. We don't need to worry about mosquitoes right now and the fleas are heading into hibernation so we can let those go into "the sale". However, they would still make good holiday gifts.
My least favorite group are the special orders, these are soaps that I made for a customer who changed their mind. That's how Sandalwood got there. So check out the "Clearance" section and Happy Shopping!
We have fresh sage, thyme and rosemary now available for your holiday cooking. Supplies are limited so order early. Each bag (imagine sandwich size) will be shipped within a day of ordering.
We got our first frost of the season this morning. Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is looming and Christmas is not that far off. It's time to turn our thoughts to family, food and all things warm and caring. We have all kinds of things to ease you into the season. How about some fresh herbs for that holiday cooking? We have fresh sage, oregano, thyme and rosemary. We have assorted seasoning salts, Italian and Poultry Seasoning Salts. How about Sage or Poultry Seasoning Infused OIls? We've got them. Let's not forget our soaps. Bayberry, Orange Cinnamon, Peppermint and Applewood...all made from homemade infused oils. What about any of our floral scents to remind you of the Spring to come? Jasmine, Rosewater, or Lavender with a hint of healing tea tree oil. Today is a new day and it's time to spend more time enjoying what's in front of us instead of moving at hyperspeed. Let us help you with that. Check us out on Facebook and our new soon to be improved website!
We'll be out selling our soap on June first at the Petersburg Trading Company at 5927 Boydton Plank Rd. Petersburg (but really the North end of Dinwiddie), VA in the Flower Section. We look forward to seeing you there!
James and Christy Wooddy
Hi! I'm Christy Wooddy. Part time librarian, part time Gardener (in training), part time crafter and full time, wife and mother. I love to learn. I love to teach and I'm constantly seeking new ways to do old things.