The Disease of Busyness and the Detox Bath

It has been over ten years since I was this sick.  I am an herbalist.  I make the most effective medicine I know of.  I eat well and try to exercise.  I don’t get sick!  My body means business this time.  It wants me to sit down and listen, and hasn’t really given me much choice in the matter.  I have been having colorful dreams (maybe because of all the valerian), and the theme is pretty clear.  Hit them brakes, Sister.

lake

For as long as I can remember, I do as much as possible in a day.  It is my worth.  No one else is going to do it.  It is my job.  It is normal.  To-do lists and packed days of…the same housework, the same chores.  What, just what, would happen if a client came over and the kitchen floor was dirty?  Would they think poorly of me?  That my house wasn’t sanitary?  That I wouldn’t be able to do a Medical Intuitive Reading properly because I haven’t dusted?

journal

I do things with such intensity.  The same intensity that I put into gardening, pursuing a new venture, getting the housework done, is the same intensity that I put into having a cup of tea, or reading a letter.  Fast.  Get it done, check it off my list.  Why?  Because I can’t remember what it is like to just move at a slower pace.  Most everything I think has to be done is self imposed.

November was a very trying month.  Actually, autumn, was very trying.  A lot of death and loss.  I got weakened from stress.  If I wasn’t going to stop the insanity, my body would make me.  There are so many things I do to try to prove that I am a good mom, prove that I am good at my gifts and my work, prove that I am a good wife, prove that I am a good friend, prove that I got this.  I am every woman.

The past few nights Doug checks to see if I am still breathing as I sleep.

I have missed December.  I have had to cancel numerous consultations, a sleepover with my granddaughter, two weeks out of my new granddaughter’s four weeks of life, zoo lights, Santa Claus with my girls.  I feel beaten and bruised from coughing.

Something’s gotta give.  Listen, friends, we have to start listening!  We don’t have to do everything to keep everyone from being disappointed.  We don’t have to work so hard.  To drink our tea so fast.  This intensity, drive hundreds of a miles in a week, prove that I am worthy, to-do list madness must stop.  I don’t remember how.

Balance…elusive word.  Choose what I want to do and give plenty of space in between for tea and a bit of reading.  What can go?  What should stay?  “Every time you say yes to something, you say no to something else.”  I have been saying “no” to my peace of mind and my health as of late (or for decades).  I’m listening now.

The disease of busyness affects many of us.  I hope this will inspire some of you to put down the to-do list and re-evaluate.  We are worthy.  It’s time for us to settle down and smile now.

untitled

Feel Better and Out With the Old Detox Bath

While bath is filling with nice, hot water, pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of sea salt, a few drops of bubble bath or organic dish soap.  A few drops of rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender, and orange essential oils (or your choice, go easy on the “hot” oils).  A great drizzle of olive oil.  Light a candle, play some nice music.  Don’t rush.  This blend is very alkalizing and soothing to muscles and detoxes tissues.

 

The Farmgirl Bath; Before and After

This is one of those cases where paint really did save the day.  No fancy remodels.  Just paint and fresh towels.  If I could find a few vintage floral prints to hang up, that would really make the room.

To start, the bathroom was full of spiders and dirt.  Whatever kid lived here last had pizza on his fingers and left marks throughout the house.  The bathroom was dingy and plain.

bath-8

Now, I am one that would prefer to count blessings over wrinkles so I do not want bright white light with bright white walls.  A light shade of rose tones the space down and gives a glow of health and less wrinkles to anyone who peers in the mirror.

The key to making different colored rooms appear seamless is the use of a color throughout all the rooms.  In this house’s case, I am using that lush, dark brown as trim throughout.  It was also used on the bead board in the bath.  The dark brown instantly transports me to old hotels we have stayed in and makes the bathroom go from frilly pink to all grown up and slightly French.

After two weeks of packing, moving, rearranging my shop, and painting, I am ready to try out that new bath tub!

The Interim Room (and a recipe for a luxurious oil bath)

bath

I am sitting in the waiting room between the first part of my life and the second.  A space with cream colored walls and carpet and a fireplace run by a light switch.  It’s quiet here in this respite room as I wait for the universe to throw open the next door.  I breathe and listen to my own heart beat.  My lesson here is rest.  Learning to balance rest, work, and play. I am plenty good at the work and play part, not so much with the rest.  I am forced to learn rest before I can move on.  It is imperative to the creation and success of our next ventures.

farmers market

I will be forty-two next week.  I am thankful for each and every birthday as I know how precious they are no matter the age.  Perhaps I will be sitting on a beach or running about the San Diego zoo or strolling a really fresh farmer’s market.  I know not, open to adventure, we fly out Tuesday to stay with our friends, Lisa and Steve, who graciously opened their home to us.  We are taking the opportunity to travel some this year before we have to find farm sitters again!

yoga

I am really listening to myself in the silence.  I am highly sensitive person.  I have to be careful what I watch or read as it can completely change my heart rate, ignite fear, create chaos.  I close my eyes and meditate on nothing, or love, or acceptance, or peace as I look out beyond the crows to the snow bound mountains and the low lying clouds that embrace.  I stretch into yoga poses, more flexible and getting stronger than I have been in a long time.  I have written poetry and gratitude every day since the beginning of the year and my poetry collection is growing into an anthology of my life.  I recognize myself more, I embrace change, I look forward to the future, but I embrace today.  Even the dishwasher and dryer (which I still could do without).

meditation

The highlight of this beautiful apartment is the garden tub.  The first I have fit in at nearly six feet tall.  It is wide in girth and long and luxurious as I rest my neck against its back and meld into the warm water in the warm bathroom with candles lit.  My spirit resetting at each wave of water and each meditation prompt, and each yoga move, and each delicious clean dish served from my kitchen.  A lovely interim.

The Luxury Bath

As the bath is filling, light candles.  Let there be silence, it is mesmerizing.

To water add a good drizzle of oil, such as olive, apricot kernel, avocado, sunflower, et cetera.

Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to balance the PH of the body.

Add 1/2 cup of fine sea salt.

Rest in bath and pour a bit of your favorite (not volatile or hot) essential oil under the pouring water.  I particularly love rose, lavender, jasmine, and/or orange depending on my mood.

Breathe and rest completely.

san diego beach

Rest, I am learning, is as important as work and play.

(You can type “A Walk in the Vineyards” in the Search and find our week of adventures in Napa Valley and San Francisco with Steve and Lisa from a few years ago.)

Soapy Girls and Their Lyes

IMG_0462 IMG_0467

Nancy and I have always wanted to learn to make soap.  I have looked at soap making ingredients and have talked with soap makers and after hearing every warning under the sun about blindness, explosions, and eating through skin, I thought in my innate clumsiness that perhaps working with lye was not for me!  Yet, the customers keep asking for soap.  The homesteader in me wants desperately to know how to do everything myself.  Soap making is just one more thing we needed to conquer on our quest as farmgirls.

IMG_0468 IMG_0469

My friend, Kathi, innocently put up a picture on Facebook of the soap she had made before Christmas.  I don’t think she expected the barrage of “teach me!”s that came her way.  Among those was me, and Nancy and I signed up for a class.  We were as giggly and excited driving down to Colorado Springs for our class as we would be the first day of school.  Instead of spiffy new shoes and clothes and a book bag, we wore old clothes, stained aprons, and a bag of accoutrements like a scale, and milk cartons.  We also opted to take our own essential oils rather than use fragrances.  I was ready to make cedar, pine, and balsam soap to mimic a soap I pay entirely too much for.  Nancy chose lavender and rose.

IMG_0476 IMG_0478

We measured and scooped, not much different from how I make lotion but with many more exact measurements.  The goat’s milk was frozen to slow the cooling of the lye.  We added the goat’s milk and a little water into the pitcher.  We carefully measured the lye. It did not jump out of the cup and raise havoc as I expected.  My skin was still intact and my goggles were a stunning fashion statement for these photos.  Nancy looks pretty hot too.  Outside we went to put the lye in the pitcher with the goat’s milk so not to have the ammonia-like fumes filling Kathi’s house.  It was a gorgeous, clear day and Pike’s Peak in the distance was lovely and grand as we stirred our explosive mixture.  We left it outdoors to cool.

IMG_0480 IMG_0483 IMG_0482

Back indoors, we measured out our coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, and castor oil.  We melted the collaboration.  Using a handy dandy laser temperature checker we were able to check when the oil and the lye solution each reached 105 degrees.  Then it was show time.  We poured each together and using an immersion blender, whisked the hot combination together.  I promptly lifted my blender too high and sent lye all over Kathi’s counter.  (I told you there was good reason I shouldn’t play with lye!)  Ever calm, Kathi simply wiped it up with a paper towel.  As soon as lines started dancing in a circle around the top we added our essential oils.  We whisked those together and poured them into the mold to set.  The molds were ready to transport home wrapped in a fluffy towel.  We went to grab lunch and a beer.  We were celebrating our new skill!

IMG_0484 IMG_0486 IMG_0488

Back home the next day, I impatiently waited for the clock to strike fourteen hours after our endeavor.  I carefully unwrapped the cardboard.  Then got more tough and pulled the rest off.  The knife sliced through the soap beautifully as it was still quite soft.  The aroma is of Christmas trees and vacations in a cabin by a lake and I was instantly transported.  Nancy’s is a flower garden, sweet and soft.  We have to wait four entire weeks now before we can try out our luxurious, didn’t blow the house up, soap.  I’ll have some in my shop soon and Nancy and are planning on making much more!

IMG_0489 IMG_0494 IMG_0491 IMG_0495

Of Sea Salt, the Art of Bathing, and Writer’s Block

IMG_0363

One of the great pleasures in life is the bath.  It is often overlooked for its relaxing abilities.  It is basically a gift to ourself!  I, personally, have a great deal of trouble relaxing.  I feel like I have to go-go-go all the time.  I have lists of lists to do and I must fill every moment doing something or I get antsy and quite grumpy.  I promptly fall into bed at 9:00 and sleep great.  However, I think a little balance is due.  I am not a super young person and though I love to keep busy and I will be even busier on my next homestead, my body, mind, and spirit could use a little break.  I practically have to trick myself into relaxing!  A bath is just the ticket.

One of the great things about this house is the claw foot tub.  Oh mama, it’s wonderful.  I am nearly 5’10” and the ordinary bath tub doesn’t cut it.  I love its curved back and circular bath curtain.  I can hide from the world…at least until I get bored!  So, I include a few implements to keep me in the tub for a bit.  A great glass of wine, a book, sugar scrub (see earlier post), a candle, and a wonderful soap.  My girlfriend, Deb, brought over a few bars of delicious soap.  Despite my being vegetarian she insisted I would love them (they are made from a bit of her cows).  Sure enough, it is like slathering on lotion.  They are heavenly bars of soap!

IMG_0364

And tonight being New Year’s Eve, we are going to a hotel with Rodney and Pat and swimming in the pool, soaking my very cold muscles in the hot tub, and then ending the evening with a swing dance.  I cannot wait! There isn’t likely a claw foot tub in the hotel room, but I am loading up my bath stuff and am going to enjoy every second of the hotel bath.  A little pampering to start the new year.  I am going to trick myself to relax!

Sea Salt Bath

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into the bath.  Baking soda balances the PH level of the body while pulling out toxins.  (A great way to get rid of chlorine out of the skin if the kids are avid Flippers.)  The baking soda leaves your skin very soft as well.

Then add 1/2 cup of sea salt.  I know most people use Epsom salts but they are large and hard to dissolve.  The sea salt dissolves wonderfully, also pulls toxins from the system, and relaxes muscles.

A drizzle of olive oil all the way across the tub (for heaven’s sake, don’t slip!) to moisturize the skin.

Essential oils to transport you.  Do not use volatile oils like rosemary, mint, tea tree, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, etc.  They sound tempting but you will burn your skin! (Been there, done that.)  I personally am taking rose, jasmine, lavender, ylang ylang, and a touch of cedar.  Citruses are uplifting, florals will take you on an instant vacation.

Sit, sip, read, relax.

A quick thank you as we wind down this year.  I have had a terrible case of writer’s block for years.  I wrote three cookbooks to fill the time.  Only an occasional poem would come forth.  This blog has broken through the barriers and I am writing like a friend.  I hope to chronicle our journey while inspiring and teaching (and learning from) all of you.  So, thank you for reading.  What are your dreams this year?  What do you hope to create and achieve?  I am listening….

Love, Katie

 

Sugar Scrubs and Breaks from Normalcy

All this farmgirl stuff started spiraling out of control on a plane to Vegas if we really wanted to pinpoint a moment.  Isn’t it amazing how a seemingly small event can make such an impact down the road (a country road in our case.)?  I picked up a book on natural beauty to read on the plane.  As an ex-model I was always very concerned about how I looked and I am afraid a bit of my identity was wrapped up in my face (I am better now!) so imagine when in my late twenties acne became my new accessory. Ignorance is truly bliss, but I suppose knowledge is too.  I found out about all the toxic, cancer causing, unidentifiable, petroleum based ingredients in my beauty and bath products, and what I was putting on my young children’s skin!  www.cosmeticsdatabase.com did the rest.  I was done for.

When we got home from our trip, out went a huge trashbag of beauty and body products and in went all organics.  (A trash bag of cleaning products and pharmaceuticals!)  Well, the organics were pricey and they still had ingredients in them that were not exactly non-toxic.  I started on a mission to make all our own body products.  I made lotion first, which I am still slightly famous for and available at http://gardenfairyherbal.com , then came sugar scrub, salts, shampoo, hair spray, deoderant….everything.  Oh, I was on a roll.  A monster had been made.

We started out in a cookie cutter suburban house that cost way too much, in a not very interesting suburb, working ridiculously hard to pay for things we didn’t get to enjoy.  Stressed out and making more money than we ever had, we paid our debts (wealth really is an illusion,  isn’t it?) and thought this was a normal life. What saved us was Dave Ramsey University and a farmer’s market.

A farmer’s market where I took all the body products and the ten or so herbal medicines I had learned to make in a Certified Herbalism Course.  We make a lot more medicines than that now but it was those first years of farmer’s markets that allowed us get where we are.  So, when Doug finally had that nervous breakdown over servers that never came back up, we took our cue and left the “normal life.”  It was a risk, but we did 6-8 markets a week and moved to a smaller town not far from where we were.  We cut our bills in half. We found a shop just over two years ago.  The rest is still being written.

As a gift to you for Christmas (and perhaps a gift from you to all your friends!) I want to share my sugar scrub recipe.  So lovely and simple.  Happy Holidays!

SUGAR SCRUB

In a 4 oz canning jar, pour sugar in leaving 1/2 inch head space.

Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla essential oil, and 1 teaspoon of orange essential oil. Only use essential oils!

Then pour rich olive oil up to the very rim and let soak in.  Replace lid and shake vigorously.

Experiment with other essential oils too.  I love this blend for the holidays, it smells like a creamsicle!   This leaves your skin amazingly soft and glowing.