Talkin’ Shop

3 Feb

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As you know, I need a new kitchen for my company, Uber Herbal.  Last week I finally made a move to get one!  I put a deposit down on a space downtown Grants Pass and got the keys.  The familiar construction frenzy ensued.  The space became a buzz with activity.  And so did my life.  It. Got. Hectic.

I’d say that our family is adjusting to this new and busy flow.  We’ve had some growing pains, to be sure.  Most obviously because I have been a bit of a stressball.  Also because BE is in that birthday transition time: fully experiencing and expressing her power.  She’s about to be five and a force to be reckoned with!  And for all the surprises and challenges she presents, I know that I don’t want to miss a minute of it!  So it has been important to me to enroll her in this project.  We have chosen this path collectively.  We’re a mother daughter duo working this project and she’s pretty excited about it.  This morning she greeted me with this post it note saying, “See mom this is the space and the tea will be over here and….” 

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Be still my heart!  

So this is what the space looked like when we found it. That behemoth of a desk was built into the floor and (of course) that flooring is discontinued, so in order to get rid of the desk the whole floor had to go. #stupidhumans  

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 So out came the desk and the floor.  We also took out the far wall you see through the window above and we’re moving it to that line where the floor meets the carpet.  Behind the wall will be the kitchen and in front, the store.  Here’s how it looked Friday.

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Right now it is hard to picture it all.  We hit a plumbing snag last week with an unexpected new code that requires grease traps in all newly constructed commercial kitchens.  The project is on hold while we work this out. I am feeling SO glad it is Monday now because weekend waiting is excruciating!  In just one week there have been so many ups and downs that I kinda feel unattached to the outcome. Don’t get me wrong, if its meant to be, I’ll surely and gladly give it my all.  Yet I feel real clear that I do NOT want to be swimming upstream with this project. And that I have way more important things to do.  Like chase after this girl.

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So we’ll see where this code and our trusty plumber take us this week.  And I’ll be sure to let you know if its a go….

Think good thoughts for us!  Loopholes, guardian angels and the like.  Thanks!

 

 

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Letting It All Hang Out

19 Jan

Sounds scary, doesn’t it?  I’ve been looking at what lies underneath that fear and I’m here to say that If you are anything like me, its a very hard to get to but very sweet relief.  Let it ALLLL hang out!  Simple as that.  Riiiiight.

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This post is about getting back on the horse.  About how simple that sounds and how hard it is.  For me, getting back on the horse has been wrapped up in a thousand layers of getting over myself.  And it has been hard.  Real hard.

I’m a reemerging entrepreneur.  This experience is allowing me to realize that ultimately, I operate on faith.  And maybe, just maybe, that should be a capital F.  Now, I can’t explain faith and I sure don’t understand it intellectually.  But I can’t deny that if I had to put a word on that core fuel of my life’s fire, the absolute essence of my heart’s motivation…. its faith: faith in life itself and faith in my own life.

My first venture as an entrepreneur was a 9 year run with a tea company.  It was a wonderful, wild, extreme adventure and I loved it.  It crashed and burned hard in 2008.  The bureaucratic and financial convulsions of the company’s death still reach out and slap me from time to time.  Its. Like. That.

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So many of my essentials burned in the flames of that crash: my identity, credit, job, house, self respect … you name it.   And it altered many a friendship, like maybe all of them.  Because it left me questioning my self, my abilities, my worth, and what I’m bringing/have to offer. The investors in my company were people who know and love me, they lost their money by investing in my venture and this is undoubtedly one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced.  It weighs heavy in me and I have not been able to forgive myself this.  The results of this heavy over time are obvious: being closed to collaboration, seeing my ideas as a liability, the can’t-commit-but-can’t-quit dance, and a smattering of other small makings.  I’ve been holding this tight and I thank you for listening. **

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Look!  A Banana slug!

Ahem.

Meanwhile I’ve been making teas again and selling them at farmers markets, running an itty bitty lil’ tea company called Uber Herbal Inc.  I also sell online at Etsy.com.  Business has been going pretty great.  I’ve been integrating the farm I live on into the products I sell with a Farm Direct line of tea blends, soaking blends and gift boxes filled with things like dehydrated watermelon, crab apple chutney, pickled peppers and smoked hot sauces.  The potential here is pretty great.  Here’s the kicker: the way I’ve been able to get back into business is by licensing the kitchen in my stuck-in-the-irons-of-foreclosure home that has yet to be seized by the bank. Talk about rising from the ashes, eh?  And here’s the thing.  I have GOT to get out of there!  It is high time to complete with alllll of the above.  And that means that it is time to get back on the horse.

So now and yet again, it boils down to faith.

There is victory in these words tonight my friends.  These are the distilled thoughts from a two hour drive time.  Here’s me realizing that I’ve been holding everything too close and that to move forward, I’ve got to let it all hang out!  That I’ve got to speak to the heavy till it is light, I’ve got to speak my dreams till they manifest, and then I’ve got to speak the new dreams too.  Tonight when I sat down at this machine, out flowed a 7 page business plan.  And when I sat down again, This!

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And once again, YOU!  Choosing to witness my process, that’s awesome!  Thank you.

** Yes, I have read the book ‘Great Failures of the Extremely Successful’.  Yes, I know how common it is for small companies and virgin entrepreneurs to fail.  Yes, 2008 was a hard year. Yes, I learned a lot.  Heartsong was a thing of beauty in so many ways… #habanerohoneybrewforever… best chai ever… I know, I do.  Thank you!  Seriously, thank you. 😉

Everyday Valentines

14 Jan

In these short days of sunlight and long nights of darkness, I’ve been cuddled by the wood stove in the evenings with my honey.  We’ve had quite a bit of down time this winter, what with snow and sickness.  So I’ve been sewing tiny hearts out of vintage fabric.  

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And stringing them like so.

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And soon I had a lot of them.

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And then I had more.

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So I opened a new store.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/everydayvalentines

It opened about 10 minutes ago and I wanted you to be the first to know!

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Just a goofy one of me before you go!

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Bully to Bullion

9 Jan

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This is Rammy’s heart.  It is outside his body now.  In the freezer, to be exact.  His mean streak escalated to the point that he began charging us and there is just no turning that habit around.

Of course his incredible destructiveness also contributed to his demise.  There’s this:

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and this:

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and this entire fence line:

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Rammy repairs have begun, these green T posts are the beginning of a new fence line. The barnyard creatures are establishing their new pecking order.  And most of the labor of processing his body is complete.  The hide is skinned, pinned and salted.  The meat is cut and frozen.  The bone broth finally came off the heat today.  It turned out beautifully.

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Here it is in the cookpot.  And here it is in the jar.

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We’re jerking all the back and neck meat with a Bresaola recipe from The River Cottage Meat Book.  Its one day into a five day brine right now.  I tried another, quicker recipe from said book, Spiced Hot Smoked Liver, improvising a bit on the spice blend.

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I rubbed the spice blend into the liver and it sat for 4 hours.

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Then I wiped it off and smoked it with maple wood for an hour.  I must admit I’m not a fan of liver but I do know it is a healthful medicine, so I wanted to try this but I wasn’t exactly thrilled to eat it.  I did try it tonight and besides tasting like liver, the spicing turned out really nice.  If you live local to me and you love liver, be sure to leave a comment and I’ll gladly bring you some slices of this latest work of art.

I can’t get my man to eat organ meat with me (yet).  But I have been reading a ton about it and experimenting a little.  Partially because I don’t want to waste any thing from these gorgeous creatures who died so that we may be nourished.  And partially because I believe the organs are incredible sources of power.  Last month when my child was sick and my man was really, really sick, I ate a lamb’s heart to strengthen my body’s fight to be well.  I think it was the strength I needed, I did not get sick.

And while we’re talking about organ meat, I am well aware that the source of Rammy’s destructive behavior was his nut sack.  Raging testosterone is what fueled his hours upon hours of head banging every object that stood between him and his girls.  It is what kept him at the top of the barnyard pecking order and it is what eventually turned him mean.  So I harvested them, yes.  But they have yet to hit the fry pan….. we’ll see. Here they are anyway, one straight out of the sack and one skinned.

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Rammy was one of the first sheep we got, he was three months old and we named him Gendry because we love the Game of Thrones book series.  We watched him grow into his manhood and become a force to be reckoned with.  We could jovially tell you all of his courting rituals and many a hilarious story about his manhood.  We had him just over two years and we have loved him beyond reason (obviously!  what real farmer would allow so much property destruction?)  When the day of his death came, he knew.  He’d been chained up like a junkyard dog for two days, giving everyone on the farm a much needed break from his dominion.  The day was perfect!  A chilly morning that gave way to a glorious winter day.  Here is a silly shot of our livestock guardian dogs that morning.

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From my facebook page: “Some things cannot be counted in a straight line. Like going from one kid to two kids, its an exponential growth and not easily calculated. Turns out butchering a ram rather than a lamb is similar. We got started at 9 am yesterday and I was still cutting meat at midnight! Today we are sore and spun, but satisfied. I keep thinking about it and the word that sticks is Beautiful. That might seem odd, but its my truth. We spent lots of time with him in the morning, brushing him and thanking him and recollecting, it was deeply sweet. His death was resigned and easy. D cuts the throat, no guns involved. We held him and loved him as he passed. I love him still. Raising animals like this is a labor of love and requires great stamina… heart, mind and body.”

I am so grateful for the opportunity to raise animals, harvest them intentionally and turn them into medicine for people.  I am touched by each animal born here and each life we take.  And I am forever improved for having raised, known and slaughtered our Rammy.  RIP and thanks for the snacks!

Wrestling With Rammy

17 Dec

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Though I’ve been silent here in the world of blog, on facebook I’ve been talking about our Ram and his obsession with the girl sheep.  And about our challenge to keep the fences up when he keeps smacking the posts.  I’ve also been talking about the pneumonia & bronchitis combo that invaded our home and took my man down hard.

It is garbage night here on the farm and D very much wanted it taken out.  I went to do it at 11 and oddly, the rooster is crowing. Snowball the dog is there sniffing around the coop.  That’s strange.  Snowball lives in the other field.  The field with Rammy and the boy sheep.  Sure enough, He’s finally squashed the fenceline!  Sheep are everywhere.  Girls in the boy’s field.  Fugggggah!  The dogs are crazy excited, the girls are spooked and I can’t tell the sheep apart in the darkness.  Rammy is following one mom who, baby by her side is darting here, there and everywhere. He’s got his head low, his lips curled back, and his sniffer fully activated. It cannot be left this way till morning.  My man is down for the count.  I figure my best bet is to contain the ram.

The strap of my headlamp plays a key role, and yes, I do eventually get to straddle him. Dragging a bull by the horns is every bit as difficult as it sounds, especially on ground all squishy wet with melting snow and ice, mud & sheep poop.  The dogs are doing that excited-confused- nearby-with-tongues-out thing that dogs do, not helpful.  It was a ferocious, prayer filled, determination that did it. With he ram between my legs, I’m moving him with my knees, holding him by the horns and forcing him toward the barn Inch by inch.  And all the while I’m begging the dogs for help.

Rammy’s in the barn now and shut up tight.  The rest can sort itself out when daylight comes.  The garbage can is sitting at the curb.  And there is a definite tickle in my throat.  Here’s hoping it is from yelling at the herd.`

Oh and also?  All I can smell is Ram.  #whattabeast

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So Much Living Gets In The Way of Blogging….

10 Jul

 

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It seems so simple that I could live and then have a short lil summary to blog about.  Though as you know, there is a space and silence between my blogs.  As much as I want to keep things simple, my writing is deep and only flows when it flows.  I have many an attempt in the drafts folder, but few that get published.  Anyhow.  It is summer now.  Happy summer people!   Dive into the goodness of your friends, adventures and gardens!

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Like all of you, we have been busy, busy, busy!  The farm is bursting forth with the fruits of our labor.  Somehow, in year two here, we are still discovering new fruit trees in the orchard and mourning the loss of a few that are slowly dying.  We know so little about stewarding orchards and wish we knew more.  The trees I pruned this spring, which got a raised eyebrow and a muttered “hack job” from my man, have leafed, flowered and fruited quite nicely.  The apples are ready and delicious!

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Uber Herbal has been fabulously and creatively exploding!  We’ve got tons of new products, many direct from our farm.  I feel like finally my vision is clear, I’m super excited about what I have to offer and I love the way the product line is being presented and received.  Now I need to spend some time on the Etsy store…. loading up all our new, seasonal goodness.  Keep an eye out (but give me a week).  I have not put products into stores like I planned.  Mostly because I am juggling my time and this avenue needs more attention than I have to give right now.  And so it becomes a winter project.  I’ve been doing my best to give everything I choose to participate in my all.  It has been richly rewarding!

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Incredibly, in the excitement of Uber Herbal hitting stride I’ve been able to keep perspective on my life priorities and spend incredibly focused time on the farm and adventuring with my family.  Last week we had the awesome opportunity to spend two nights camping at Squaw Lake and it was incredible.  This weekend I’m taking BE to the Oregon Country Fair.  And I’ve accepted the invitation (and challenge) to attend the Burning Man Festival with some of my favorite women in the world.  My sweet friend Dana keeps assuring me that if I want it all I can have it all….. we will see!  I leave you with a photo of BE and me, taken at midnight when she suddenly emerged from the sleepy time kingdom to firmly let me know that it was high time to cuddle.  I hope all of you are enjoying the blossoming of your hearts and the fruits of your focused intentions.  Happy Summer!

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On Squishin’ Roses

7 Jun

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Yea, well.  I declared sabbatical.  And I called the manager of the farmers market to tell her.  And I couldn’t.  I didn’t.  Instead I told her I’d start May 18.  And I did.  

In two weeks, I pulled it all together.  I made some big changes.  I stopped brewing chai and elixirs for cafes until I have a better kitchen space.  This really freed up my energy to focus on all the stuff I’ve been wanting to bring forward. Namely, the Farm Directs: teas, dried fruits, herbal soaking blends and Metal Herbals. I am really freaking excited about this product line, new things in the works, the alliances building with cafes to serve the loose teas, local stores that want to sell the products and the tremendous reception I’ve received at market this season!  I’m in full swing with this Uber Herbal thing and I’m LOVING it!  Check out our current offerings here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/UberHerbal!

This crazy stuff is Gulkand, also known as Rose Squish.  It’s a solar powered version of rose petal jam.  Layers of rose petals and organic coconut palm sugar in a jar, set in the sun everyday for 6 weeks.  I’ve got several batches going and am 3 weeks in on batch one.  I will go further into this process in another blog, just had to share the beginnings with ya’ll now.

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Here is a link with info about the health benefits: http://ayurveda-foryou.com/archive/gulkand.html.  These pink petals are wild roses.  The red ones are from roses here on the farm.  And here is a picture of my fingers last night after harvesting rose petals for a few hours.  

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I am obsessed with roses right now.  In addition to the Gulkand I have been making herbal soaking blends with plants from the farm, packing them in cute little cloth teabags for instant enjoyment.  Roses are, of course, one of the main ingredients.  I have also been making Metal Herbals.  They are hearts made from recycled screen, hand sewn with copper and filled with roses and other flowers.  This one has a streak of marigold.  I started making them in 2012 because so many of my loved ones were hella challenged in their lives: break ups, loss, trauma…. and I wanted to offer something tangible to them as they lived with and worked with their grief.  The Metal Herbals emerged from this desire.  I feel they serve as a beautiful representation of beauty and pain.  The roses bite when I pick them and the screen bites when I work it, so both things demand my presence, care and intention. I think they are a perfect gift of love and support for someone “going through it.”  I also think they have the ability to be pretty darn romantic as well.

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The harvest season for roses is drawing to a close here.  A good thing because so many other plants are nearly ready!  Next up, sour cherries and from them our second annual production of Sinatra’s Secret: Sour Cherry Power Elixir.  Which really is as exciting as it sounds!  Till next time I leave you with a photo of us today, heading out to the field to plant our family garden.  In Joy Friends!

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