Archive for March, 2013

Waiting For Spring

Sunday, March 31st, 2013


I’m ready for spring.  I’m ready for warmth. I want to start poking seeds in the ground and get dirt under my fingernails, to start tromping in the woods, to see green, to start shedding my winter insulation.  I feel like I’ve been holding my breath, and desperately need to catch it. I feel like I want something, but don’t know what it is.  I haven’t felt like this in a long time. It’s weird, not bad, just strange. I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I always do. Thanks for humoring me… I needed to get that out. The picture above is of one of my sons and I tromping in the woods two springs ago. My other son was the photographer.

Box O’ Chicken

Friday, March 22nd, 2013


This morning I got an early morning call from my local post mistress.   She had some chicken I had ordered , and was letting me know it was ready to pick up.  This was not your typical bucket of takeout chicken, but a box of live Welsummer chicks sent from Cackle Hatchery.   I’ve been dying to own some of the birds, since I first saw their terra-cotta red eggs when visiting a local beekeeper last year.

My current laying hens are about 2 years old, so this spring it’s time to refresh my “flock”. I don’t think an half-dozen chickens qualifies as a flock.  Also, this year I decided that I was going to raise and process my own chicken for the freezer.  I normally buy from a local organic farmer, but thanks to last summer’s drought sending feed costs through the roof, I decided it was time to do it myself.  I was a teenager the last time I was involved in chicken butchering, so I’m going to visit my Amish neighbor for a refresher course when she does hers this summer.

So, back to my box o’ chicken.  Last week I made sure I had my brooder all set with a heat lamp for the chicks to arrive.  As soon as I got the chicks home from the post office, I opened them up and snapped a quick picture for you.


I removed each chick from the box and gave its beak a quick dip in the waterer (filled with warm water) before setting it down in the brooder.   Since the whole point of raising my own organic chicken is to keep my costs down, I put the brooder together using things I already had out in the barn. An old livestock watering trough, and a heat lamp which I’ve used for everything from chickens to baby goats over the years. I also already had a couple of mason jar waterers and a small feeder floating around in the barn.  The only thing I bought were the chicks and  a small bale of pine shaving bedding.


I’ll post an update in a couple of weeks, when the chicks will be a bit less cute, and quite a bit larger.


Hard Lessons & A Free Lotion Recipe

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

This is one of my rare posts relating to work, and a past business relationship that bit me in the butt.  Remember when we were kids, and were told to be careful about the friends we kept?  Well, that applies to business relationships, as well as personal relationships.  Several years ago, I maintained a business relationship in which the boundaries between business and friendship became very blurred.  Long story short – the association was doing damage to my business and my reputation in a very small niche industry with a long memory.  It took me quite some time to recognize what was going on, and when I finally did, I realized I was going to have to extricate myself from the situation.  It’s been more than 5 years, and occasionally I’ll run across a current online conversation mentioning the old association. Lessons learned 1) Try to choose your friends and associations wisely. 2) Always get it in writing.

In my blind loyalty, I agreed to allow some of the business’ intellectual property, in the form of original formulations, to be included on a CD.  It was a verbal agreement, nothing in writing.  Yesterday, when perusing traffic statistics for the website, I discovered an entry link with a familiar title.  What I discovered was a link to a full e-book for sale, which included my material, as well as material of a few other business associates.  Upon contacting one of these other businesses,  I found they had not made agreements for an e-book either.

After discussing it with The Essential Herbal Magazine  and Lancaster County Soapworks, we have decided to respond by making the formulas and recipes we contributed publicly available in a series of blog posts.  About 1/2 of the recipes in the e-book were contributed by theses two businesses. A lot of the other material contained in the book is public domain, easily found with a bit of searching on the internet. My personal opinion is that it’s not worth the $27 price tag, especially since we are going to give you 1/2 the recipes for free.

The following formula is one I created several years ago, submitted for use in the original CD, and now appears, without permission, in the e-book.   Over the last few years, some of the ingredients have been discontinued from my website, The Original Soap Dish.  I have plans to reformulate it with more readily available, and less expensive ingredients.  Once reformulated, it will be added to the formulary of free recipes offered on my website.

-Here is  The Essential Herbal’s first installment with a free recipe
-Maryanne of Lancaster County Soapworks writes, “If You Are Going to Steal My Recipes, At Least Get Them Right!”
-The second installment from Tina at The Essential Herbal blog, “handcrafted recipes -#2 Whipped Body Butter
-Number three from Tina,  Handcrafted Recipe #3 – Incense Cones
-Another from Maryanne, who also owns Torchsong Studio,  More Purloined Recipes
-Another from Tina,  Handcrafted Recipe #4 – Melt & Pour Remedy Soap


Multi-Performance Hydrating Cream – From The Original Soap Dish
Gentle enough for under eye use. Makes a good overnight cream. Can also be used like cold cream to remove makeup. cream

Part A
Behenyl Alcohol 1%
Emulsifying Wax 5%
Olive Butter 20.5%
Avocado Butter 20.5%
Evening Primrose Oil 8%
AquaEm 4%
PEG-7 Olivate 5%
T-50 Tocopherol 1%
Phenonip .5%

Part B
Water 29%
Phenonip .5%
Antioxidant Compound 4%
Fragrance 1%

Melt Behenyl Alcohol, Emulsifying Wax, Olive Butter, and Avocado Butter together. Cool to around 150 degrees. Add remaining Part A ingredients. Mix well.

Heat water to approximately 150 degrees, and add phenonip. Blend thoroughly with stick blender. Add Antioxidant Compound and fragrance. Mix well. Add Part B to Part A with mixing. Alternate cooling, and mixing with stick blender until mixture reaches around 110 degrees. Pour into jars and allow to cool completely.