• Tina

Gardening is a lot of work. To be completely honest, it is work that I don’t generally enjoy. The list of things I don’t enjoy about gardening is impressively long. I don’t like: to sweat, have dirt under my nails, have poo on my hands or under my nails, be in the sun, bend over, dig holes, use a hoe, pull weeds, separate and replant, and water daily. I don’t like the fact that I take the time to plant something and then some rogue wild creature comes in and eats, pecks, or destroys everything I had to sweat, be in the sun for, bend over, use a hoe, dig a hole, get poo under my nails, weed, and water daily. I used to like chipmunks. Adorable little woodland creatures running about demonstrating just how cute nature can be. Now that I have planted a garden, the nefarious little buggers live to mock my existence. I imagine them sitting in their dark little holes, watching me work with their beady little eyes, and plotting how they will run into my garden en masse and destroy all the work I have put in to creating a chipmunk buffet. Apparently, I live to feed tree rats.

Crows, let us talk about crows for just a bit and then I will move on with my point. Crows are the scourge of the bird world. I planted sugar snap peas because my bean loves sugar snap peas. I planted twenty-five plants of sugar snap peas. As I gleefully watched them sprout, I imagined how the bean and I would pick our peas, she would eat something healthy, we would put them in the freezer and she could eat peas all year. For a week, I rode a roller coaster ride of gardening emotion. My peas that were sprouted the day before were gone, disappeared, simply vanished. This was a curse word worthy development indeed. One by one, all twenty-five plants simply disappeared. As I watched over the garden throughout the day to discover the offending thief of my sweet peas, I saw chipmunks running amuck, squirrels dancing about and then I saw the crows. Like airborne ninja thieves they would descend on the garden, make a beeline for the peas, and systematically go down the row and eat each tender new sprout. As I ran out with my broom in hand, the look out, oh yes, they are organized and methodical, the lookout would announce my approach and away they would go laughing and cawing as they went. I detest crows.

My garden was existing, not really thriving but I was trying to make a go of it. Then my friend, who is a master gardener, takes one look at my garden and informs me of what I am doing wrong. It turns out, I was doing a lot of things wrong. I was told, “You who are used to being the teacher, now must become the student. Your garden is dying, I will show you how to make your garden thrive.” My lesson began with the back breaking job of weeding. I hate to pull weeds. I expressed this sentiment and was answered with laughter and given a garden hoe. I don’t like the garden hoe either. The next step in making the garden thrive was feeding it with composted pig poo. I have an aversion to pig poo. Again, my aversion was met with laughter and I was handed a five-gallon bucket and a shovel. Note the list of things I don’t like to do included shoveling and pig poo. The hardest lesson, was when she pulled out all the plants I had bent over, in the sun, and sweated over to plant. They were relocated to more appropriate spots in the garden. This included more bending over, more digging, more sweating, and more time in the sun. If I questioned her ability, that doubt went right out the window when she took a tomato from the dinner table, just a store-bought organic tomato, carried it out to the garden, broke it open and planted it in the ground. It was my turn to laugh but I would not laugh for long. In a matter of days, that tomato sprouted a dozen or so little plants. Those plants have been thinned and replanted and are thriving. She is like the garden version of Miyagi in the Karate Kid. I now just go to the garden when she tells me to and ask what I need to do. I observe, make note, and watch my garden thrive. It is interesting to learn something new, hone a new skill, and watch a master at work.

As for the rodents and crows, my garden Miyagi informs me that we must take the good with the bad and share our harvest with nature. She tempers my inclination to go all Mr. McGregor on the wildlife and shoot the crows. Instead of yelling, “Arrrggghhh, rabbits!” I create a colorful list of curse words to describe what I will do to the chipmunks, squirrels, and crows…especially the crows.

As we proceed through these days, please continue to stay safe, stay smart, learn from the masters in your life, take the good with the bad and wash your hands…really well, with goats milk soap preferably.

What gives you inspiration? I take inspiration from all that surrounds me but my bean, the farm, our barnyard family, and literature inspire me the most. Believe it or not, when I make a new soap, it usually comes from some source of inspiration. My latest release, Moonlight Sonata, was inspired by The Titanic. I fell in love with the story of The Titanic as a child. I remember I was around 10 or 11 and being absolutely fascinated by the woeful tale of the unsinkable ship. I recall going to the school library and reading everything they had about the tragedy and the ship and being enamored with the opulence, the bravado, the classist attitude and mystery of its disappearance.

I work with a lovely little perfumery company and they shared a blend of essential oils that was the same blend of perfume given out to the A deck female passengers on the Titanic. When the remains of the ship were found at the bottom of the sea, one small bottle remained completely intact and the scent of the perfume clung to the bottle like a ghost from the past. I found it to be too intriguing to pass up. I usually keep my blends simple and clean but this was just too lovely to not try. The blend includes orange blossom, hyacinth, lily of the valley, gardenia, and osmanthus flower. The oils were pricey but their scents so pure and fresh, this truly is a special bar.

I took inspiration for the design of the soap from the movie as well as the classic painting by Ralph Albert Blakelock. I imagine the night to have been dark with just the glow of the full moon reflecting from the surface of the dark, cold ocean. Of course, the name came from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #14. It is one of my favorite pieces and I think a befitting piece for the story of The Titanic. Such beauty, opulence and timelessness from all perspectives, I could not help but be inspired.

I have an innate fear of water, I always have. I jokingly tell people it is because I think I was a passenger on The Titanic and I went down with the ship in another lifetime. That makes a much more interesting tale than the fact that when my feet don’t touch the bottom, I panic and am gripped by a crippling irrational fear that I will drown. Needless to say, my bibbed wonder was in charge of swimming lessons for the bean when she was a baby. I was fearful that I would pass my irrational fear of water onto her. No worries, she swims like a little fish.

I hope you find this soap, its scent, and the history behind the scent as lovely and intriguing as I do. The scent reminds me of days when manners were impeccable, clothing an art form, and opulence and wealth were ostentatious. Moonlight Sonata is meant to be a luxurious silk filled treasure of a bar to make you feel pampered and cared for. Just a suggestion, take a warm bath use Moonlight Sonata soap and moisturizer, put on the movie Titanic, and be transported from our tumultuous times to the world of Jack and Rose. I am a firm believer in escapism.

As always dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, escape from reality for a bit, and of course wash your hands.

In honor of summer, the Tuesday Spotlight is Toasted Marshmallow. Jordan is the mastermind behind Toasted Marshmallow. Originally, she was thinking about calling it, Give Me S’more but she decided upon Toasted Marshmallow because marshmallows are her favorite. Toasted Marshmallow reminded her of sitting around the campfire, telling stories, and toasting marshmallows with her dad. Backyard camping is Eric’s thing to do with The Bean. They set up a tent, build a fire, make hot dogs, mountain pies, and s’mores, laugh, play fun related math games, and stay up way too late. I do not participate. I am given a half-hearted invitation but I know it’s only to make me feel included. Instead I make a huge production of being left out, fuss about the lack of sleep, and try to get them to include something remotely healthy in their camp out snacks and then I go to bed and enjoy the peace and quiet. Camping is their thing. They need their own thing.

Toasted Marshmallow is a sweet yummy scent that smells exactly like marshmallows. It has notes of vanilla, brown sugar, and a hint of cocoa. It was the first scent Jordan ordered and she was very proud of her choice. When we began making Toasted Marshmallow, Jordan wanted it to look like dessert. We included organic cocoa which turned it a yummy shade of brown and we put a dollop of white on top as an accent. Over the years, we have gotten enough feedback that we decided to make a few changes. As it turns out, the brown soap is somewhat off putting for some people. I had one very funny lady tell me after washing she looked at her wash cloth, saw the brown and thought, “Well, now that’s not good. I wonder where that came from.” Another fun friend informed us that her husband is the one to clean the shower and he did not appreciate the brown streak the melting soap created. With that information on file, we decided to revamp Toasted Marshmallow and make it more white with a few brown accents.

Jordan was in charge, which is how she likes it. She decided upon a hanger swirl with a glitter top. It has just enough brown to create the “burnt edges.” It is the same wonderful soap, it just looks a bit different. We use our simple recipe of goat’s milk, coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, and canola oil to create a rich, high lather that is nourishing and moisturizing. Jordan recommends this to anyone who enjoys campfires and s’mores. She also thinks it would make a great hostess gift when one is invited to summer campfires. (Seriously, the way her mind works amazes me!) The Toasted Marshmallow soap and moisturizer are on sale on the website for 50% off this week.

As always, stay safe, stay smart, I hope your summer evenings are filled with campfires and toasted marshmallows, and continue to wash your hands.

© 2016 by The Smiling Goat Soap Co.

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