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  • Writer's pictureTina

As I sit looking out the large picture window in our living room, the sky looks like it wants to rain. I wish it would. Everything is so dry and in need of a good shower. I did not expect a dry summer after the wet spring we experienced. Nature is a balancing act. In the spring, our pastures were lush and green, but the ground was so saturated that our goats' feet did not have an opportunity to dry out properly. Now, our pastures are struggling to keep up and replenish. I wish we would get a nice, steady rain that lasts a week or so.

Not only am I over the hot, humid weather, but my goats are also. The girls spend more time in the barn than usual, trying to escape the hot sun. With the hot temperatures, nobody feels like eating, and milk production is down. The Bibbed Wonder has erred on the side of caution and separated the boys from the ladies. All the boys are now in the field across the driveway. The pasture is still plentiful there, the spring continues to run, and the surrounding trees offer abundant shade. There is also a comfortable hut with thick bedding for them to seek shelter, but rarely do they. The boys are far more adventurous than the ladies. They spend the majority of the time grazing in the back of the field. The girls like to hang out by the gate and fuss when they see us. They make their displeasure at being away from their barn quite clear. The boys couldn't care less and enjoy the pasture's various flora.

It's hard to believe that mating season will begin in less than a month. The girls who delivered early in the year will once again seek the company of the billy goats, and the cycle of life will start all over again. This summer is passing quickly, and I don't know where the time has gone. Soon, it will be time for our annual trip to The Shaker Woods Festival in August, and soon after that, my bean will begin a new school year.

I enjoy the relaxed schedule of summer. I love having my daughter home with us. Although our summer schedule is busy, the lack of daily structure makes it enjoyable. We eat lunch and dinner together as a family whenever we are hungry. There is no daily rush to get out the door to meet the school bus, pack a lunch, corral school supplies, and find the preferred footwear for the day. Sleeping in until six a.m., eating a simple lunch at two p.m., and having dinner at eight is okay. We can sit on the porch and enjoy the evening, chatting, laughing, and watching the fireflies. There is no rush to complete homework, make it to extracurricular activities, pack up for the next day, shower, and be in bed by nine so we can do it all again the next day. I like our low-key approach to summer.

Summer is not a three-month vacation. On the contrary, it is our busiest time. We spend the week in the soap studio preparing for The Ligonier Country Market, The Shaker Woods Festival, our fall line of products, and then the holidays. Often, we work until six, seven, and sometimes eight o'clock to get everything done. However, without the structure of the school day, we feel a bit more relaxed.

I must admit, summer is my least favorite season. Actually, autumn is my soul. If I could live in a year of Octobers, I would. I feel like I live for fall and spend the rest of the year longing for fall. I barely tolerate winter. Spring excites me, but only because winter goes away. Summer should be a steady 72 degrees with low humidity. This relentless heat and humidity makes me feel irritable and long for cooler days with longer nights. Each season has its beauty, but I am ready for a break from the heat.

It doesn't look as though that break will come any time soon. We will be at Ligonier, melting in the sweltering heat on Saturday morning. Sigh. I can't complain when the market lasts twenty weeks, and we are almost halfway through. It is flying by, and I need to appreciate all summer offers. There is much to look forward to; soon enough, the days will grow shorter, the temperatures cooler, the schedule more restrictive, and our time together less. It's time to practice mindfulness and appreciate the day and all it offers.

On this overcast summer day, stay safe, be smart, try to appreciate each day, enjoy the slower pace of summer, and keep washing your hands.

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We've got a few projects going on here at the farm. One thing I love about our lifestyle is that there is always something new and different to occupy my mind. I tend to lose focus and get bored quickly, but new projects inspire me. My days are filled with diverse activities; from writing to creating to blending new scents to working with the animals to projects on the farm, each day offers something new. Today, I'll share those new projects with you, dear reader.

I am thrilled to share that we are releasing a new scent of soap and moisturizer tomorrow. This soap is a very personal creation, and I gathered inspiration from various sources. The farmers who lease our land planted winter wheat this year. First, let me say that I am so pleased with how the Shanks care for the land. They add minerals and lime, rotate crops, and a new practice they have adopted is planting winter wheat to help with topsoil erosion. As the wheat grew, it turned a gorgeous golden hue. Each morning, as I walked my big red canine bestie, I would look over the fields and think how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place. It's true; gold is priceless. Sting, one of my favorite musicians, created a gorgeous, haunting song called Fields of Gold. As I walked, this melodious tune ran through my mind on repeat. The fields and that song inspired me to create a scent blend that captures the beauty of the fields of gold on our farm.

The scent is a soft, gentle coumarin scent of freshly mown hay but with a softness and earthiness that is both warming and comforting. I blended the coumarin scent with oakmoss's musky, earthy softness, and I am in love. For those familiar with our Christmas scents, coumarin is the base for our holiday seasonal Comfort and Joy. Depending on how well my soap family receives it, I am convincing The Bibbed Wonder that this needs to be a full-time scent. All orders will be gifted a new Fields of Gold soap bar today. The soap and moisturizer will be released to the public tomorrow and showcased at The Ligonier Country Market this Saturday. I hope you love this scent as much as I do.

I am also excited to share that I have progressed with my book. I finally sat down and took the time to assign an ISBN to my work and applied for a copyright. I am learning so much about the writing and publishing process. If I am to be transparent, detailed paperwork is not my forte. It is a chore for me to complete paperwork and record keeping. However, it is part of being a responsible adult, and let's be clear: I sometimes struggle with being responsible or adult-like, even at fifty-one. With the help and encouragement of one bib overall wearing wonder buns, my book now has an ISBN and barcode, and the copyright is well underway. As soon as the copyright is complete, I will send it to the printer for publication.

I may not do paperwork well, but my attention to detail on creative projects is laser-focused. Much to my husband's chagrin, I have changed, reworked, added to, and edited this project to death. I believe we have achieved the high-quality, polished, and professional look I craved for my little story. Because I desire perfection and view this story as my literary child, I will hire an experienced editor to refine the text and ensure it is error-free. At this point, why not? I am also considering sending my story to professional publishers, but I fear rejection and harsh criticism. Thick-skinned, I am not. I need to muster the strength and overcome my fears before this happens. I will keep you posted.

Next, I share with trepidation that The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean have convinced me to do a podcast and monthly vlog. My daughter convinced us we should record and share our evening porch chats with the world. Gah! To say I am apprehensive and uncomfortable is an understatement. We have spent the last two evenings practicing being in front of the camera, and oh, dear reader, it is not going well. The Bean has taken the lead on this project. She has ordered cameras, microphones, lights, and editing software to create professional-looking videos. She insists we give her at least an hour of "content." She also directs us with a not-so-gentle approach. Mostly, she rolls her eyes and yells at me for being "stiff, silent, and looking like I smelled something bad." Sigh.

The Bean instructs me to do fake, tic-tock-y, annoying things like use an overly-enthusiastic voice, smile too much, and lose my RBF (Resting Bitch Face). I keep telling her I am not an annoying influencer and she will not get that reaction from me, but she keeps trying. My RBF is my face. I'm sorry; it's just how my face stays. My face is also an open book. I cannot hide my emotions at all. When I have had enough of her eyerolls and harsh criticisms from behind the camera, I show it on my face and then she really yells at me. I am struggling, dear reader.

I asked why I couldn't run the cameras, and The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean could be in front of the camera, but they rudely ran through the list of my technological shortcomings and told me I was an Atari girl in a Playstation world. So rude. My kid loves being the center of attention. She knocks it out of the park in the annual school musical, does videos, and looks great on camera. She truly shines and sparkles in front of the camera. On the other hand, I have no desire to be the focus of attention. I prefer to be in the background bossing people around. I'm unsure how this will go, but I will try it for their sake.

However, I can get on board with the monthly vlog, and it excites me. I can add text over video and do a voice-over. There is no need for me to be in front of the camera. I have a collection of lovely photographs from the farm, videos of the animals, and ideas for monthly themes. Incorporating this into my daily blog posts adds a new level of creativity and gives you more insight into farm life. I look forward to working with The Bean on this project.

So, dear reader, those are the projects we are currently working on. Most of it is exciting, some of it is frightening and uncomfortable, but all of it is a labor of love. On this hot summer day, stay safe, be smart, work on getting out of your comfort zone, or be prepared to be pushed, do things that excite you, and keep washing your hands.

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Welcome to the Tuesday Spotlight. This week, our classic Peppermint soap and moisturizer are front and center. This is the perfect week for Peppermint to be on special. In hot, humid weather, I like to keep a jar of peppermint moisturizer in the refrigerator to keep cool. Peppermint has a refreshing, cooling tingle that feels amazing on tired legs and feet. The bright, crisp scent is relaxing and a wonder for the senses in the morning shower.

I like to use Peppermint in the summer because it is cooling and refreshing, but it also aids in fighting odor and repels insects. Cooled Peppermint moisturizer feels particularly good on my feet in the evening. I often apply it while we sit on the porch and relax after the day ends. If you know someone who works long hours on their feet, this is a lovely and thoughtful gift. Stocking up on a favorite or trying something new is also a good week. No promo code is needed; the savings will be applied at checkout. As always, orders totaling $50 after the discount ship for free.

On this hot, humid, steamy day, stay safe, be smart, enjoy the savings, keep cool, and wash your hands.

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