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Join me at #HandmadeChat 2/28!

#HandmadeChat on Twitter

Every Thursday at 8pm ET, the Indie Business Network (IBN) hosts #HandmadeChat, a weekly Twitter talk show to coach, inform and inspire handmade and creative entrepreneurs. I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be next week’s guest!

Indie Business Network is a niche community of small and independent business owners in the handmade and artisanal health, beauty and lifestyle industries. I’ve been a member since 2006 and honestly can’t imagine how anyone like me survives the challenges we face without having IBN in their corner.

If you’re currently working as an Indie and or want to transition to Indiehood, join me and my fellow Indies at #HandmadeChat on Thursday nights for real world tips and actionable ideas you can use to grow your business.

Have a question for me you’d like answered at #HandmadeChat? Submit it here.

Not sure how to participate? Here’s a post from IBN’s founder, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, explaining how it works.

Connect with me on Twitter at

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Infotainment for herbanites

Paradise City Micro-Farm YouTube Channel

When the weather outside is frightful and all you feel like doing is curling up around the warm glow of your computer screen….

Here’s my take on “the best of the best” gardening and herbal videos on YouTube. Check out my Playlists for

  • Natural Skin Care
  • Herbal Profiles
  • How-to’s and Recipes

plus Favorites like “Why Permaculture Folks Love Comfrey” and “Amazing Urban Permaculture Food Forest Garden” at


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Herbal Lore: Basil



When I say “basil”, do you think “pesto”? Pesto made with sweet basil just happens to be one of my most long-standing addictions, but with over 50 different varieties (possibly as many as 150!) distributed around the world, basil is about much, much more….

Since ancient times, basil has found its way into our food, medicine and cosmetics. It’s antibacterial and antiviral, and a good source of vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, and calcium.

Basil has been used medicinally to ease headaches, sore throats, coughs, nausea, and to ease nervous tension. It’s also reputed to strengthen dry or brittle hair, restoring hair’s natural luster and shine.



One of my favorite hair rinses is a strong tea made of Basil leaves and Lavender flowers. You can pour it over your head and catch the runoff in a bowl to keep repeating, or do it lazy-style like me and just dunk your head in a bowl.

A twist on my recipe: substitute Holy Basil (Tulsi) for the Sweet Basil. For Brunettes: try a Basil and Rosemary blend. For Blondes & Redheads: try a Basil and Chamomile blend.

To make this aromatic, strengthening hair rinse, use 2 Tbsp of herb per cup of water and steep for at least 15 minutes.


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Down with Disease, the micro-farm story so far….



Hello! Hope Summer is treating you well!

I missed publishing my Summer Solstice Newsletter a couple of weeks back because I was ‘down with disease’. Yup, I’m now a member of the rapidly-growing Lyme Disease club (my husband, Hawkeye, became a member last year).

Near-drought conditions, extended-higher-than-normal temperatures, and being sick has made our ‘micro-farm kick-off year’ even harder than we anticipated.

Hawkeye has been managing the off-site garden all on his own, while I’ve struggled to keep our on-site garden even just limping along. The fatigue I had for weeks from Lyme made it impossible to do much more than get out of bed some days….


Garden News: Harvested a bumper crop of Garlic * Calendula, Marshmallow, Holy Basil (Tulsi), Self Heal, St. John’s Wort & Yarrow in bloom * Echinacea, also in bloom, is really spreading and looks ready to take over the garden * Soaking the logs to push the next Shiitake flush * The resident woodchuck has a new garden favorite to munch: Horseradish leaves!


Crafting News: Made White Sage-infused oil for the first time. Don’t know why I waited so long to try it! I planned to use it as an achy muscles massage oil (it’s said to be a good remedy for insect bites too), but it smells so incredibly good that I’ve been rubbing it on for no reason at all 🙂


For more on using White Sage, here’s an interesting blog post from, who also talks about why *not* to use White Sage.


And if you haven’t tried making your own herb-infused oils yet, here’s a great YouTube instructional video which shows both hot and cold infusion methods.


Happy Summer!

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Spring on the Micro-Farm

Chickweed flowering in Spring
Chickweed flowering in Spring

First year in the expanded garden is off to an amazing start! We took advantage of the unbelievably mild weather and got planting nice and early. Lots of seeds are already sprouting up: radish, hakurei turnip, broccoli raab, mizuna, peas.

The star of the show for me, though, is the Chickweed. She has spread from a few isolated strands in a corner to several little patches throughout the garden. And right now, she’s full of tiny white flowers. A glorious Springtime sight!

(The largest, most succulent patch is taking over one side of a meant-for-vegetables, big raised bed. Hawkeye keeps mentioning it’ll have to be moved. I haven’t told him yet I’m letting it stay. You can never have enough Chickweed, right? Plus, I figure if Chickweed is thriving there, it’s too shady for veggies anyway…. )

I depend on Chickweed for my bodycare, but today, all I can think about is pesto!

Chickweed Pesto Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh Chickweed
  • ½ cup fresh Basil (or Parsley, Cilantro, Arugula, Garlic Mustard, whatever green you’ve got)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp sunflower seeds, pine nuts or almonds
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup olive oil

My method isn’t too fancy. I add the seeds/nuts to the blender first and chop them up, then add and chop the garlic, then add the greens, salt and oil and blend it until it’s smooth.

(Warning, pesto can be addictive ;))

Happy Spring!

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Herbal Shampoo- My weekend D.I.Y. project

natural hair care

At the D.I.Y. Herbal Spa meetup last Sunday, we briefly touched on hair care, and Brittany mentioned she makes her own shampoo with liquid castile soap, herbal infusion, apple cider vinegar, and I forget what else.

Because shampoo is packaged in plastic bottles and because I’m getting pretty hardcore about getting plastic completely out of my life, I’ve been relying on my homemade olive oil bar soap to wash my hair.

It’s workable, but does take more effort, like needing a vinegar rinse. So I was really intrigued by Brittany’s recipe!

A quick search on Youtube turned up this easy D.I.Y. herbal shampoo recipe. The ingredients are:

• 1 tbsp lavender
• 1 tbsp nettle
• 1 tbsp peppermint
• 1 tbsp rosemary
• 3/4 cup distilled water
• 1/4 cup castile soap
• 1 tbsp witch hazel
• 1 tbsp sweet almond oil
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 7 drops cinnamon essential oil
• 3 drops ylang ylang essential oil


Watch the short video to see how she puts everything together. I’m going to give it a go myself this weekend 🙂