Walking on Pearl Street Mall Saturday afternoon.
Spot this “bronze” figure. Walk by, take a double take. Wait a minute….
did his hand just move?
and a wink we walk on
For all my friends and family who wondered if we had gotten any snow! O yes, we did! On Alaska Road we got between 24 and 30 inches (depending on who’s telling the story).
First big snowfall came – wet, heavy and nonstop.
Lost electrical power – generator powered up.
Food supplies held up (thank God we did not have to dig into the dreaded MREs).
Jerome, the mighty snowplow, reported for duty and plowed three times – what a champ!
Snow days found me digging into the family records. Totally absorbed into sorting out the family genealogy.
Have arrived in Seville, Spain, circa 1535.
Would you like to know more? I certainly do. Bleary eyed, the search continues!
Here are some “after the snowstorm” pictures I took from our car.
Last April a group of friends and fellow soap makers – we call ourselves the Seasons – met in Arvada, Colorado for lunch and to visit our favorite shops. We formed a caravanserai and trekked on to Penzey’s Spices. It was my first visit to Penzeys and I must say I felt as if I were in spice heaven! If you have never been to a Penzeys spice store I urge you take a trip to your closest one. Their web site – www.penzeys.com – will direct you to the closest retail store in your area. You can, of course, order online but you will miss out on seeing and smelling over 250 spices. Actually seeing the artfully displayed herbs, and smelling the astounding scents first hand is an experience you must experience. The difference between one genus is both subtle and sublime. We sampled over 12 different cinnamon types which ranged from Ceylon cinnamon, recommended for steeping or for cream sauces, to Penzeys own blend of four different cinnamons (which I must say is simply divine).
The staff is both friendly and helpful, yet never infringe on your sniffing fun!
Members of the Seasons – from left to right
Tamara Dawson, owner of Tamarali Tree Soap Co.
Jane Letsinger, owner of Sad Cat Farms, http://www.sadcatfarms.com/
T.S. Elliot said that April is a cruel month, and it certainly is, but autumn is the “via dolorosa” – a season which gives us sunny days followed by mist and vapors, that when parted reveal a soft landscape sculpted out of snow.
On Tuesday the storm was approaching – breezy, cold and grey – warning us to prepare.
Ever had a hungry bear invade your home while you were sleeping? This year Colorado has had an abundance of bear sightings. The picture on the left, which I took last year after a bear invasion, shows you the damage that one one hungry bear, in its pre-hibernation crazed hunt for food, can do. We were fortunate — the humans and kitties avoided a frightening encounter with the hungry, much bigger bear! This year, on top of Alaska Hill, David and I were thrilled to view several bears and cute cubs outside of our home. My friend, Kay Bright, sells the very best tallow in the whole world. She kindly shared some of her hand rendered bear tallow with me. I thought that with so many sightings it would be a good thing to make some bear tallow soap. I was hoping to “communicate” with our roaming bears that we should both respect our mutual spaces (seems like I might have succeeded – so far they have stayed outdoors!).
I used a recipe by Cyndi Muller (Muller’s Lane Farm) – her recipes rock so I expected it to be great. I am very pleased with the performance of Little Bear. It is a long lasting, creamy bar with tons of lather. The scent may well be the most successful soap scent that I have been lucky to have created. It is a marvelous combination of essential oils and vetiver and amber resins. Energetically this bar is a ten!
I have learned that bear medicine gives “introspection” and better yet – “the ability to heal,” and is associated with the healing plant, Osha (Ligusticum porteri). Osha is the only plant that I brought with me from New Mexico to Colorado. Native New Mexicans consider this a sacred, healing plant – this is the first year that it has flowered since I have been tending it.
If you are interested in purchasing some bear tallow you can reach Kay by emailing her at: email@example.com
Happy soaping! And remember, don’t feed the bears!
At times our progress seemed so slow and tedious, but in the end we created our sweet and colorful courtyard. I have to admit that during this project I did not get much soap making done. I refuse to feel guilty about it as I have an enormous sense of accomplishment and satisfaction every time we walk out and enjoy the serene beauty of our new space. It is a cozy and pleasant place to read, have lunch or just hang out with the kitty-girls, MiniMe and FridaLina. They love it!
In addition, it seems to have created the illusion of making my soap lab appear larger. On sunny days I can see myself teaching a soap making class, setting up my massage table and receiving or giving an outdoor massage, or simply inviting friends and neighbors over for a cup of tea or one of my dangerous margaritas!
Henry made some garden boxes and in the spring I hope to try my hand at square foot gardening. It will be wonderful to once again have fresh, homegrown veggies.
I promised some new pictures of my soap lab to show how it has evolved way back in my March 1, 2009 post, “Come on in and sit a spell.” It has taken me too long to keep my promise, but soon I will share the latest pictures of my soaping haven with you.
My husband David and I, in conjunction with Henry Raibourn, our handyman-extraordinaire decided to build a courtyard attached to my soaplab. I wanted to create a little piece of New Mexico where I could enjoy the outdoors and be somewhat safe against the lions and the bears (yes, really). This became more time consuming and far more expensive than we expected!
In the first picture you can see the frame that Henry constructed — the courtyard’s bones.