Adventures

Recent Travels: Syracuse

I’m going to split this post up into a few bite-sized chunks so it’s not photos galore so anticipate enjoying a few more photo-heavy posts in your near future.

These last few days have all been about enjoying friends, family and all that my location has to offer. A few days ago my mum, Ling Ling, and I took the short drive to Syracuse to enjoy the Central New York Regional Market and the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. The regional market is easily the largest I’ve ever been to. I’m so accustomed to vending at my mini-market in Saugerties that by comparison this one is absolutely ginormous! You can literally find everything: from handmade pasta, bread, cheese and veggie burgers to dog bones to herbs & flowers to kitchen tools to dvds to soap to clothes to wine & beer (Good Nature Brewing’s American Brown Ale is the stuff of dreams.)….you get the point. It’s a wonderland! Sorry I didn’t get photos but it was just too overwhelming for me to even try.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is always an enjoyable visit. During the summer of 1995, I worked as their veterinary technician extern and was offered the zoo vet tech position after I graduated (I turned them down because at the time they had a policy that all park employees had to live in the county and living in that big of a city was not my cup of tea). They fixed the zoo up since the last time I visited and let me tell you that the grounds and buildings are looking gorgeous! Plus, my sweet Asian elephants now have a brand-spankin’ new enclosure and exercise yard. It’s always nice to return to a place and see that it’s improved with time. I can’t say that in a lot of cases. Here are some photos for you to enjoy…

myself as an explorer
I’m safari ready.

White-lipped deer
lion

lion
Lazy lion
radiated tortoise
Chow time for the radiated tortoise.

Asian elephants
Asian elephants
Asian elephants

Some of you may be uncomfortable with zoo photos or the idea of zoos and I get that. Believe me, I had misgivings about working at a zoo for a little while but all zoos and situations are not created equal. I don’t enjoy petting zoos and I completely detest circuses. These exist merely for the enjoyment of humankind which I think is absolutely sick. Profit always seems to trump the health & happiness of the animals in these situations. On the other hand, most zoos participate in captive breeding programs, support native-habitat conservation efforts and serve to educate the public. That’s the difference. The more I know and the more we continue to pillage and plunder our natural world, the more I realize that zoos and refuges are the only and last hope for many species. Sad but true. I wish they weren’t necessary, but if people continue to cut down forests and poach the endangered, zoos will be the last place most species will be allowed to exist without threat. I hate that I even have to write that sentence. It’s shameful.

Making Crafty Magic

Hall & Oats-n-Honey

Today, I’m offering a peek into the creation of Hall & Oats-n-Honey Soap. This is the most gentle soap I make. It’s unscented and uses the most simple, basic ingredients one can find at a grocery store: organic coconut milk, oats, and honey (you could even use olive oil from the store as your soap base and call it a day). Coconut milk offers an assortment of vitamins and fats which actually help to clean your skin without stripping it. And we all know oats are soothing and fantastic for the skin…right? I just happen to prefer steel cut oats because they’re mildly exfoliating when added at trace. Honey has antimicrobial and anti-oxidant properties so it’s a fantastic healer. The only issue I have with it is that it’s a humectant so it absorbs and retains moisture which is great for the skin but it also makes for an oily feeling bar of soap. That’s no biggie but packaging sweaty bars can get a little tricky. Nevertheless, the results are worth it.

And without further ado, here are some soapy pics:

2013-11-06 12.25.07
In the process of making my most gentle, cold processed soap: Hall & Oats-n-Honey. Made with vegetable oils, organic coconut milk, and duh, oats and honey.
2013-11-06 12.28.25
The addition of the main ingredients. You don’t need a lot of either. Too much honey and your soap will feel very oily, even once it’s fully cured. Too many oats and the soap with crumble apart in your hands.
2013-11-06 12.30.42
This is what honey does once it’s added to your soap. Don’t panic. Just enjoy the cool color while you can because it will go away. Bummer.
2013-11-06 12.34.28
A soap with honey in it naturally needs a honeycomb texture so that’s where the bubble wrap comes in. Line the mold first, then lay down the bubble wrap layer so that it’s in direct contact with the soap. I’ve done this the opposite way and it sucked! I can’t go for that. No, nooooh. No can do!
2013-11-07 10.01.30
Unwrap 24 hours later and this is what you have. The dark spots are oily patches from the honey…nothing to worry about.
2013-11-07 10.03.41
Cut and cure, preferably for 4 to 6 weeks if you can manage it. I always cut off the raggedy ends and save them for myself. I have no problem using the thin ends after a week of curing. I enjoy getting first dibs.

My ponderings on honey…

First, let me preface this by saying that I am by no means a beekeeping or honey expert. I’m just passing along what I know and I freely admit that there’s much more to learn. Although I’m trying to go the vegan route in my products, I have no intention of giving up honey and beeswax. I have friends and acquaintances who are passionate, conscientious beekeepers. In fact, beekeeping hobbyists–along with organic farmers, scientists and apiculturists–are on the frontlines of preventing the total collapse of honey bee populations and I want to do what I can to support them. (Here’s a little factoid for yah: Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops, which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, are pollinated by bees.)

Always shop local and shop small, especially when it comes to honey (eating local honey helps with seasonal allergies). I recommend buying your honey at farmers markets and craft fairs. This way you can casually inquire about their harvesting practices. Certainly make sure they are harvesting just the surplus honey. Bees need honey too. It especially sustains them through the colder months. Yet, many beekeepers will take it all (usually in the Fall when their biological need for it begins to increase) and replace it with corn syrup. Corn syrup is definitely not the same thing. Honey has anti-oxidant and antimicrobial properties, corn syrup does not. This, among a zillion other issues, has led to starvation and disease among colonies. And while you’re talking, you may also want to inquire about any herbicides and insecticides being sprayed nearby that may inadvertently find its way into the colony and into your honey.

*****************************************************

Disclaimer: Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease or substitute care by a medical practitioner. All recommendations are believed to be effective, but since actual use of this product is beyond our control and can vary from individual to individual, no guarantee as to the effects of their use can be given nor liability taken.

Uncategorized

A ripe weekend ahead

This weekend = me, you, and some large, tasty, juicy, ripe, delicious, scrumtrulecent tomatoes. Maybe we could wear matching tomato costumeTomato costumes and lose ourselves in the moment? Perhaps do some juggling? Let’s do it! I know you want to. The Saugerties Farmers Market is hosting their annual tomato taste-off. Awesome prizes will be given for the tastiest and heaviest. I can’t wait to see some of my beloved vendors get down and dirty trying to win this competition. Seriously, I can see Joe from Mangia Bene throwing down! Gosh, I envy that panel of judges. I want to win so bad but sadly I haven’t grown a single tomato this year. Next year, I’ll be a contender. Regardless, come visit me under my tent. I know I was sick last week so I promise to be there no matter what tragedies may befall me betwixt now and Saturday. Yup, I said betwixt. And I probably should refrain from tempting fate by talking tragedy. Oh well, tempt I shall. See you Saturday then? From 10 am to 2 pm. Oooh, I also have coupons for my coaching and reiki services to give away. $25/hour session. Not too shabby.

Life & Times

Among the rest of the animals

You can find me grazing about with the rest of the creatures this weekend at the Saugerties Farmers Markets’ annual Farm Animal Day. Last year was nuts (in a good way) so don’t miss it! I will have my regular sales going on (except I’m almost out of my $2.00 One Delicious Buzz soaps) plus I will be selling a whole slew of new lotions, butters, scrubs, liquid soaps, and body oils.

The sales are as follows: $1.00 soapy sticks, $2.00 bars of One Delicious Buzz and Benjamin Button, $4.00 glycerin soaps and $5.00 salves.

Oh, and I’d be a jerk if I didn’t mention that another wonderful vendor bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Shoving Leopard. This was week #2 of having fresh flowers given to me. I love the people I vend with. I just can’t say that enough. Here’s hoping for week #3 of fresh flowers…

 

 

2013-08-24 15.32.37 2013-08-24 15.32.49

Uncategorized

Busy weekend-ish-ness

image

image

image

It’s a bright and busy day here at the Saugerties Farmers Market. The conditions are the exact opposite from last weeks cold, wind & rain. I can’t complain today, except that my tent broke on me and I forgot my phone & wallet back home. Duh! Luckily, Cassie found my purse, figured I would want it and delivered it to me. Thank you! It took five people to help me set up my tent. Yikes! I have to set it up again tomorrow so that leaves me a wee bit worried. But these mini-disasters come with the territory.

Tomorrow is a very promising craft fair in Fishkill. Most of the Hudson Valley Etsy Team will be vending so it will be great to actually meet my team-mates in person. It should be a fantastic event but being surrounded by such talented crafters may prove too tempting for me. We shall see if my resolve remains intacted through the event. Come visit if you can and talk me out of making any purchases!

This will be my last weekend vending until August so if you need anything, please make it a point to find me. In the meantime, while I’m out being chased by bears, you can visit the stores that sell my products.

image

My mom, Ling Ling, will be selling her scarves in Fishkill. Even more reason to visit tomorrow!

Uncategorized

I’ve got goodies for you…

wpid-img_20130104_1642391
Gathering my soap ingredients. Where is the beer though? I’m guessing it’s probably in my hand. Old habits die hard.

Tomorrow is the monthly Saugerties Winter Farmers Market from noon to 4 pm at the Senior Center (207 Market Street). The theme of the market is upcycling. There will be sewing machines available and teachers there to show you how to mend your clothes or how to make them into something new, if need be. And I’ve got some fresh beer soap for you–Honey Ale–as well as new jewelry and perhaps some messenger bags if I can get around to finishing them today. First I must go sledding…priorities!

wpid-img_20130104_1642071
Trading off between stick blending and hand blending. A bit of old-school meets new-school.
wpid-img_20130104_1642161
Looks good, right?
wpid-img_20130112_1254161
Honey Ale all cut, cured, and ready for a new home!