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Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's Still Summer!

It's right around the corner and approaching much too quickly for me.  What is it?  Yes, autumn.  You see, summer is my favorite season, with warm weather, sunshine, and growing gardens.  I can get dressed and walk outside without deciding which coat or jacket is most suitable for the weather and my outfit.  I can watch gardens bloom, and let my dogs in and out with little worry about what they're tracking in.  Walking throughout my yard, and most pronounced at nightfall, I smell the symphony of floral and herbal scents wafting through the warm air.  

What's not to like?  Yes, I admit, it's hot and the grass and weeds grow faster than I can care for them.  It's only for such a short time, however, so I bask in the sunlight, and take shelter in the air-conditioned house when necessary, and attempt to keep up with the Garden of Weedin'.

My campaign is this:  while others are saying that it's autumn as soon as Labor Day ends, I will insist that it's summer, right up until fall officially begins.  Then, and only then, will I grudgingly admit that it is, indeed, fall.  Unless it's hot, in which case, I may not even admit it then.  Perhaps I'll wait until our first frost hits if it's after the first day of autumn.  Or maybe after the killing frost, when I can deny it no longer, I'll finally concede to summer's end.  Or not.  Depends upon the daily temperatures.

What's your favorite season, and why?

 I thought you might enjoy a couple of photos taken at Genesee Country Museum & Village from our excursion there just a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vacation!

Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon


It was time for our annual summer trek to our home town of Grand Rapids. We went to our daughter's home in the Chicago area first, however, because her kids are so cute. :-).
We then visited old friends, Terry and Renee', for a wonderful dinner in Indiana, finally ending up in Grand Rapids to visit more family.
We went to the gorgeous beach of Muskegon, MI one day to soak up the sun and cool off in Lake, MI.  Lake Michigan beaches are amazing!
Great nephew, Caleb

Sailboat on Lake MI
Can't resist visiting a garden center!  Emily took photos.
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August Sale!
How did August come so quickly? Marshmallow, Anise Hyssop, Catnip, and other late summer herbs are blooming here, along with Black-Eyed Susans, Japanese Anemone, and a few straggling daylilies. Gardening hasn't let up here, with more than adequate rain ensuring grass growth as if it were still June. I know you're all busy with your yard and garden work, also, getting your hands dirty and sweating in the hot summer sun. Feels good, though, doesn't it? The harvesting of all your efforts is rewarding, too.

Need a great soap to clean up with? We offer 4 varieties of Gardeners' soap so that you're sure to find at least one you like. We carry our Original, with ingredients to really help clean, but yet gentle to your skin. It contains skin-loving essential oils, too. Next, we have soap just for men in a masculine Cedar & Sage scent. Next, we offer Summer Path, a delightful blend of summer scents. Finally, we have a Gardener's salt spa bar that we call, Petal Power. It is a floral blend.

Get a set of all four bars for $24, shipping included! It's a great opportunity to try all kinds. Just email me and mention Blog Sale.
Gardener's Salt Spar Bar in Petal Power


Other soap scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, Spun Sugar, Daybreak* (spearmint & eucalyptus), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey in scented or no scent added, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Midnight Merlot, Peppermint Breeze*, Cucumber Mint*, Biergarten, and Rice Flower.

Not on my site:
Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00. In any scent listed above.
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

Order Today!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cucumber Recipes

I tried and tried to post several times, to no avail. Here I try again.

Remember how I promised more cucumber recipes? Well, here they are:

From Becky, a soap supplies vendor: Becky's Cucumber Cocktails: http://birdworms.com/2010/07/24/cucumber-cocktails/

Me, just in case you missed it previously: Beth's Cucumber/Watermelon Salad:
http://soapandgarden.blogspot.com/2010/08/cucumbers-cucumbers.html

Cindy, a soap and cosmetics maker, author, and product tester:
Cindy's Tzatziki: http://sagescript.blogspot.com/2008/09/cucumber-spread-tzatziki.html


Janiece, a fellow Soapmaker: Janiece's Tomato Cucumber
Salad: http://swisherhill.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/tomato-cucumber-salad-for-a-lazy-day/

Karen, with a great site and biz for gardeners: Karen's Cucumber Dill
Sauce: http://thegardenchick.blogspot.com/2010/08/cucumber-blog-party.html

Maryanne, wholesale soapmaker and jewelry maker: Maryanne's Creamy Cucumber
Salad: http://torchsongstudio.blogspot.com/2010/08/cucumber-blog-party.html


A renowned herbal shop and site in PA: Nancy's Chilled Cucumber
Soup: http://therosemaryhouse.blogspot.com/2010/08/cucumbers-culinary-blogging-party.html


Tina, publisher of The Essential Herbal, a great magazine for herb lovers:
Tina's Cucumber Lime Salsa: http://theessentialherbal.blogspot.com/2010/08/got-cucumbers.html

Let me know which ones you try and how you like them!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cucumbers, Cucumbers!


I hope that you enjoyed the links for the zucchini recipes, and that they helped you use the bounty from your garden. Now, it's time for cucumber recipes!

I'm posting one of my faves, and soon I'll post links to others' recipes.

Have fun!

Cucumber/Watermelon Salad

Although the combination of cucumber and watermelon might sound like a strange one, the result is delicious and refreshing.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 cups watermelon cubes
2 cups cucumber slices
One Vidalia onion, sliced thin

Combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir and cook until thickened. Cool. Add cayenne pepper. Place watermelon, cucumbers, and onion in large bowl. Pour syrup over and stir. Chill and serve.

I adapted my recipe from this one: http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~bcohen/cucumbers/recipes/watermelon.html


Cucumber Water
What a great way to cool off on a hot summer day! Just add slices of cucumber and ice to fresh water. Give it about an hour to infuse before drinking. If you'd like, you could also add lemon slices, mint, and/or anise hyssop. What can you think of?



Cucumber Soap

Using any soap formula you like, simply substitute pureed cucumbers for the water. I like to remove the seeds before I puree' the cukes, but it's not necessary.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Soapers Weekend & Legislation


I went to a gathering this past weekend of soapmakers and chandlers, most of whom were from New York. We had one from New Jersey, one from Pennsylvania, and one from Russia! It was so much fun to see old friends again and to make new ones. We had garage sales, watched product demonstrations, ate a delicious lunch, won prizes from our favorite suppliers, participated in an ugly soap contest, and enjoyed a couple of swaps. We sorely missed our friend, Kim, and spoke of her often, but managed to enjoy ourselves in spite of our sadness.

On another note, legislation has been recently introduced that, if passed as it stands, will place severe restraints on small cosmetics businesses. The requirements in the bill are onerous to small business, effectively forcing most of them out. It is my opinion that big cosmetic businesses are in favor of the law, not because it will make cosmetics safer, but because it will squeeze out competition. In fact, I believe that's why it was sought in the first place. The safety of the American people is not really even a concern, but just a ploy to get public support. If you'd like to read more and sign a petition against this legislation, please go to http://www.personalcaretruth.com to read more about the situation and to sign if you agree. My thanks to all who do.
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How did August come so quickly? Marshmallow, Anise Hyssop, Catnip, and other late summer herbs are blooming here, along with Black-Eyed Susans, Japanese Anemone, and a few straggling daylillies. Gardening hasn't let up here, with more than adequate rain ensuring grass growth as if it were still June. I know you're all busy with your yard and garden work, also, getting your hands dirty and sweating in the hot summer sun. Feels good, though, doesn't it? The harvesting of all your efforts is rewarding, too.

Need a great soap to clean up with? We offer 4 varieties of Gardeners' soap so that you're sure to find at least one you like. We carry our Original, with ingredients to really help clean, but yet gentle to your skin. It contains skin-loving essential oils, too. Next, we have soap just for men in a Cedar & Sage scent. Next, we offer Summer Path, a delightful floral blend. Finally, we have a Gardener's salt spa bar that we call Petal Power. It too, is a floral blend.

Get a set of all four bars for $24, shipping included! It's a great opportunity to try each kind. Just contact me and mention blog Sale.
Other soap scents include: Lavender*, Gingered Orange, Lilac Breeze, Groovy Patchouli*, Black Raspberries & Vanilla, Rice Flower, Mint Medley*, Sultry Sandalwood Vanilla, Fresh Clean Herbs, and Spun Sugar, Daybreak* (spearmint & eucalyptus), Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Midnight Merlot, Peppermint Breeze, Midnight Merlot, Cucumber Mint, Biergarten, and Rice Flower. *denotes essential oils only
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not on my site:

Herbal Bath Teas: Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey, Purely Herbal Blend, Four Milk Blend, and Relaxation Blend - just $2/ea.
Liquid shower gel: All natural. 2 oz. for $4; 4 oz. $6.00. In any scent listed above.
Lotion: Hand and body lotion - 4 oz, $7
Foaming Soap: Comes in the seasonal Apple Pie, plus Gingered Orange, Summer Tropical, and Lavender, plus the scents listed above. Just $7/bottle for 6 fl. oz.

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Did you know that many people in the world cannot afford the basic necessity, soap, and that many become ill and die simply from the lack of something we take for granted? We at Soap and Garden participate in efforts to provide people with life-saving soap. Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful week!


See me at http://www.soapandgarden.com or find me on Facebook: Soap and Garden.