I’ve made it. I’ve arrived in Tucson for the 2014 Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild Conference. It’s very exciting to have a community of likeminded artisans to mingle and network with. I’m looking forward to some fantastic professional training and also to be able to take the HSCG certification tests. Tomorrow evening I’ll be able to take my basic certification test and (assuming I pass) on Wednesday I’ll be able to take the advanced certification test.
We spent yesterday afternoon in the lavender, weeding. Because, you know, weeds never stop. I also noticed that several varieties have buds already, which means our first harvest just isn’t that far off.
Last week Fixer and our nurseryman disced up the next section of field for our next phase of planting. There’s still trenching to be done so the next section of irrigation can go in. I haven’t made a thorough assessment of winter kill yet. It looks pretty good in some areas of the field, but some varieties look like they’ve experienced some damage. Growers all over the country are reporting significant plant loss and I’m very grateful that we weren’t similarly touched.
I also recently participated in my first market event, The Fancy Farmgirl Vintage Fair. It was a very cool event and I’m really looking forward to doing it again. I learned some great things about merchandising and had a fantastic time talking to people. I also met some lovely vendors, including another soaper. I’m making it a project to meet as many of my online acquaintances face to face as possible.
While I was at the market, I bought this very neat repurposed chicken feeder that was planted with strawberries. We plumbed it into the drip lines on the front porch and when I checked it last night, the berries are starting to ripen. Can you believe it? It’s not even June yet and berries!
Last month I made a lovely infusion of jewelweed and olive oil, courtesy of my lovely friend Beth. Jewelweed doesn’t grow in my part of the country, so Beth was kind enough to mail me some of her stash. Jewelweed is thought to ease itching from poison ivy and similar irritants. I’ve been having a little bit of a rash, so I made an infusion and then used the infusion in my soap recipe. I haven’t had a chance to use it yet because the soap is still curing, but it will be an interesting experiment to see how it works.