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Signs of Spring

spinach and chickweed

We have a big patch of green in the middle of the foot of snow in the backyard- a bumper crop of chickweed growing in our cold frame with the spinach I planted last Fall.

Hawkeye still kindof thinks of chickweed as a nuisance, but for me, it’s a favorite!

One of the first plants to appear in Spring, you can eat it like spinach and it’s a very helpful medicinal. Awesome in bodycare too, I love using soothing chickweed in oils and salves for irritated skin.

Learn more about chickweed the way I first did, from herbalist Susun Weed: “Chickweed Is A Star

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Shiitake Soap Surprise

Unveiling my first-ever batch of Shiitake hand-milled soap. These cocoa butter soaps are palm oil-free, made with our farm-grown Shiitake, and naturally scented with Bay, Amyris, Ravensara, and Lemon essential oils*.

(*I think this blend was inspired by some recent island hopping in the West Indies- It occurred to me as I was cooking the soap. I’d originally planned a sage/cedarwood kind of thing.)

Soap takes several weeks to cure, so I have a bit to wait before I can start one of the best parts of my job: product testing!

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Good Soap.

Lettuce and Lavender Hand Milled Soap

 

When I’m not in the garden, I’m in the studio crafting vegan bodycare with herbs and veggies. Here’s my latest: ‘Lettuce & Lavender’ cocoa butter soap with poppy seeds for a little scrub and lavender, fennel, and marjoram essential oils for an intriguingly herbal scent. One of seven new blends coming soon!

Gentle, creamy, softly aromatic, handmade with natural ingredients. And palm oil-free. My idea of a good soap.

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Hand-Milled Soaps Returning

 

Now that the weather’s turning colder and the farm is slowing down, I’m able to get back to work in the bodycare studio…

Our hand-milled soaps are returning, with new ‘flavors’ and a new blend of oils that will stand up to your shower (I LOVE my old 100% Olive Oil soaps, but they do have a tendency to melt… ).

My new blend still uses Olive Oil, but it’s combined with Coconut Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Cocoa Butter, and Castor Oil, giving a firmer yet very gentle soap that won’t melt in your shower. They still have a luxurious lather (a little more bubbly than straight Olive Oil, I think), are scented naturally with essential oils, and really importantly, are *palm oil free*.

I’m cooking ’em up now – They’ll be ready in time for holiday gifting 🙂

  • Carrot & Calendula, with a herbal-citrus blend of wild carrot, petitgrain and clementine essential oils
  • Lettuce & Lavender, with a herbal blend of lavender, fennel, and marjoram essential oils
  • Cucumber & Mint, with a fresh-mint blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, and lavender essential oils
  • Shiitake & Sage, with a woodsy-herbal blend of sage, amyris, and frankincense essential oils
  • Green Tea & Lemongrass, with a lemony-herbal blend of lemongrass, lemon, and palmarosa essential oils
  • Oatmeal & Elderflower, with lavender essential oil
  • Chocolate, superfatted with extra cocoa butter ( *seasonal blend, available Winter only)

 

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Digging in, Sprouting up

Apothecary's Rose
Apothecary’s Rose (Rosa gallica officinalis)

The bulk of our planting is done and everyone is digging in and sprouting up. It looks like a garden out there again!

I’ve started harvesting heirloom roses, but don’t have a plan for them yet. Maybe a glycerite? A perfume? Definitely some infused oil!

Rose petals help smooth and soften dry, wrinkled skin, so I like to use the infused oil in face and eye creams. It also makes a great addition to an all-purpose healing salve for its antiseptic and irritation-soothing properties.

I once made an incredible batch of incense with roses– I think it had myrrh and orange peel in it too. Wonder if I’d ever be able to find that old recipe in my piles of notes….

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Read any good labels lately?

If you’re a compulsive label-reader like me, you know a good label is hard to find! Even natural brands succumb to the necessity of synthetic preservatives to protect their water-based products from contamination.

Most annoying though is when ingredients aren’t fully disclosed. (Hiding preservatives under the name ‘parfum’ is low, and hiding essential oils under the term ‘proprietary blend’ is not much better. I get that makers are worried their special essential oil blend will be copied. I just think it’s more important for the user of that product to know *everything* that’s in it in case of allergies or other sensitivities.)

And what about ingredients that weren’t grown organically, harvested ethically, or traded fairly?

These are the things I worry about, and I know you do to. It’s why I take extra care when sourcing ingredients for our farm-made skincare, working with a few select suppliers and growing many herbs myself.

You’ll always get the full monty here. When the skincare is natural, handmade, full of herbs, and 100% vegan, it’s a label that makes for good reading.

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