Archive | April 2014

Lemon Verbena Candles

Well, that’s it. Another magical day in paradise is in the can. (Like a film can, not a toilet) Spring is definitely here.  The Little Girls and I spent the day in Wenatchee. Bean wanted a kite and since she’s been fashioning kites from notebook paper in preschool all week, I figured it was time to get her the real deal. So we stopped into Go Bent Bikes and Kites and picked one up.  It’s kind of a bummer that we have all that space in the lavender field just crying out to fly kites, but power lines are on two sides. So the next best thing is to go fly it on the irrigation ditch road thru the field across the road where we can get safely away from the lines.

 

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Another thing that’s been going on recently is that I’ve started playing tag again. I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right. It looks just like it sounds.  But Bean likes it, so I play. An immediate consequence is that we spend a fair bit of time flopped on the grass giggling which gives me cause to stare up at the beautiful blue sky with the blossoms from the ornamental plums up against it. Which leads me to my camera and some springy photos.  And the dirt booger on the sensor of my digital camera.  So I’ll have to spend some time cruising the internet looking for a how to on cleaning the sensor.  I miss the days when you could just clean your lens and be done with it.

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I also got to spend a small part of the afternoon on Saturday pouring soy candles.  Lemon Verbena soy candles. Heaven. Just Heaven. I love that smell. Maybe that’s what I’ll call them.  Just Heaven Verbena candles. Yeah.  That sounds like a winner.  I ended up with some travel size, tumbler size and an apothecary size.  The apothecary candle is mine. I don’t think I’ll be sharing that one.  Or selling it for that matter.

The product testing for the tarts and massage candles continues.  While the fragrance amount in the tarts was just right for candles, it just wasn’t smelly enough for the tarts. That’s an easy fix, I think. As for the first try at the massage candle, it smelled fantastic (cocoa butter) and would make a terrific lotion bar, but just didn’t have quite enough slip for a good massage oil, according to an aesthetician I asked to test it out. That’s going to be an interesting challenge. How do I get enough slip to make a nice massage oil, but enough hard oils to keep the candle from being liquid all the time?

I also heard another good use for beautiful soap this week. The salon owner in town said she was using one of my oatmeal, milk and honey bars to fragrance her RV.

Sunday afternoon was soap day. Four batches made, so I proclaim success! Lemon verbena to match the candles, yellow with poppy seeds and a pretty textured top.  Lavender Orange, scented with essential oils and poppy seeds added for texture. It’s also my first batch with my cylinder molds.  Also a pale pink and green apricot freesia batch and finally peppermint, pink grapefruit and sweet orange essential oils.  Those batches should make their debut at the Fancy Farmgirl Vintage Market in May.

Rainbow over Rock Island

Rainbow over Rock Island

Weed control in the raised beds

Weed control in the raised beds

We’ve decided to ease our weeding chores this year, both in the lavender and in the vegetable garden. We have weed barrier remaining from last summer, so Fixer laid it down in the raised beds for the Brussels sprouts and broccoli.

If it seems like there isn’t much talk about lavender these days, you’re right. We’re stalled right now waiting to burn a giant brush pile that’s right in the middle of the next stage of lavender planting. Burning didn’t happen this weekend, so we’re hoping for midweek burn so we can disc up the rest of the sod and get going.

So the weekend is now at an end. So I’m going to have a beer and a steak for dinner and brace myself for the week. I hope yours is fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Year, New Garden

It’s tax time again. It’s enough to take the wind out of the sails of even the most positive person. I’m all for rendering unto Caesar and all that, but as I was telling friends this weekend, I feel like I’m rendering also to Hadrian, Constantine and a dynasty worth of Ptolemies. I guess there’s no use crying about it too loud or too long. It doesn’t make a bit of difference.

It softens the blow considerably to be out in the garden with the children and Fixer, getting ready for the year. We cleaned out the strawberry patch, which was looking considerably worse for wear after last winter, and planted garlic. Fixer started pulling out sod for our relocated root garden and laid out the irrigation for the tomato patch.

After the haircut we gave the plum tree in February, it’s unlikely we will have any plums this year while the tree recovers. Frankly, that’s ok with me. We’ve been overrun the last couple of years and it will be nice to be able to focus my attention on the peaches this summer.  Those have been pruned up nicely the last two summers, so if we can stay up with the thinning, we should have some very nice fruit to eat fresh and to put up for the winter.

Last weekend, Fixer also gave the grapes a nice haircut, so I’m looking for a fantastic grape harvest this year.  The hops have recovered smashingly from what I predicted was a fatal irrigation failure last fall, so Fixer should be brewing like a champ once that harvest is in.

We planted a little over 100 lavender babies later than we planned last fall, so we allowed some weeds to grow up around the babies to shelter them from the harsh winter weather.  I’m pleased to report that it was an effective tactic and nearly all survived.

Probably the best part of the weekend occurred not many minutes ago when Lilliputian experienced her first run thru the sprinklers. It’s unforgivingly earlier for that kind of activity, but she had her little tongue poked out and her finger in the water, so when the sprinkler head rotated, she just stood there and smiled…until it soaked thru her Osh Koshs. So we shucked her out of them like an ear of corn and she went right back in for another round.  Classic.

The soap kitchen has been kind of quiet these last couple of weeks. Our line of soaps are now in stock at Balsamroot Boutique, a fantastic new shop in Cashmere, Washington specializing in high quality handcrafted goodies from the area.  The owner, Sherry, has been making fantastic jewelry for a number of years and selling at boutiques, farmer’s markets and art shows around the area. The brick and mortar  store opened last week.

I’m working on a line of candles which should be listed on our Etsy shop shortly. I also have massage candles and wax melts currently in research and development (doesn’t that sound important?)

The last thing that I’ve got cooking is a jewelweed salve and probably a soap to go along with it.  Jewelweed is used as an anti-pruiritic for poison ivy, bug bites and other skin irritations. The FDA won’t let cosmetic manufacturers claim those kinds of treatments, so I’m not, but I’ve got a bit of an irritation going on myself, so a friend sent me some  from her personal stash. I’ve currently got it packed in a mason jar infusing in olive oil for my next project.

The ornamental plums are about to bloom. I’m not 100% sure, but spring may be my favorite season. What’s going on in your garden?