Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Well, here we are in the throws of a snowstorm yesterday and an ice storm today. Good time to stay in and do some thing on the "to do someday" list. I moved here from California a year and a half ago and am still trying to figure out how to deal with this weather. Hmmmmmmmmm, organizing all of my herbs and things seemed like the best way to do this on these COLD winter days soooooooooo.........................

I went to IKEA and got some put it together yourself shelving (really quite easy) to place in the downstairs bathroom to consolidate all of my herbs that have been scattered and stacked all over our guest house (can't have any guests as I have Wayyyyyyyyyyy too much fun stuff stored out there. I spent the last two days filling and labeling jars and putting them on the shelves

That went so well, that I got a set of folding small shelves that I had to use for other things and put them on the other side of the room and have almost filled it with containers. Of course I have lots more but this is a start!!
WOO HOO - progress and stayed warm all at the same time. Sooooooo, now that we bought out IKEA of all of their jars it is time to find more. The large greenish fluted one was a gift to me from Italy a number (big number) of years ago that I have never really had a use for or a place to put - - found it in the basement while organizing down there and WALLA - filled with Rose buds and petals and what a GREAT use for it as well as it being decorative.

Now, back to making more wonderful things with all of my organized herbs. I am now going to see if I can find a sign that says Apothocary on it to put on the door - since it seems like the major function of this room seems to have changed its purpose recently (the still remains by the sink - ready for the next batch of............. who knows what is next).

Staying warm in PA.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007


OK, the still is still working and I am actually getting oil this time - I am soooooooo excited I can actually see it accumulating in the receiver - not lots but enough to see - so that is a GREAT thing. Here are a couple of pictures:

The first one is when it was ready to go yesterday with the mint in it and the second is of it working today full of Lemon Grass.
Hmmm, well I figured out how to get them in here but am not sure how to put them where I want them.
Oh well, progress


Well, yesterday morning I decided that it as time (since I received the missing part the afternoon before). I went out to the garden and harvested a large basket of Mint Julep (VERY fragrant) and I came in and got it ready to go into the still. I then realized that I had totally assembled it and had to almost totally disassemble it to insert all of the ingredients to distill. But not to be disuaded I got it all set up, turned it on and WALLA - things were good - I must have gone in there a million times to check on it (have it set up in my downstairs bathroom - looks like a mad scientist lab in there now). It all went well, and I had to empty the hydrosol container twice before it was done and I got 2 wine bottles full of hydrosol (wow - it smells soooooooo nice) but no essential oil (well maybe a drop?? how can you tell haha). I had no idea how long to let it "cook" so I just let it go until the water in the boiling vessel was about 1/4 of what it started out. Originhally it was a beautiful golden color but by the time it was done it was dark brown (turned darker as it cooled). I kept it as I am sure there must be a good use for it (I can't throw anyting I might be able to use away) so am hoping that someone will know the answer to that question.

This morning I went out and cut a large bunch of Lemon Grass (still tons of it left) and started it in the still so we will see how that will go - it has been going for about 20 mins and I already have a bunch of hydrosol so will have to watch that closely so it doesn't run over. I did go to the local corner store and get three bags of ice as I realized yesterday that my icemaker does not make enough ice for this process so we will see how that goes today.

Sooooooooooooo, I am off to make more blankets (have 12 more to make) and to keep watching the still. I still have lots of lemon grass and quite a few other things that I am hoping to get into the still before it is too late. Working on cleaning out the beds one by one and this is a great way to do it!! On my way in from the garden the carrots and beets where calling so I pulled enough for dinner tonight but in the next couple of days I need to pull all of them and put them up for the winter. Just one more thing to get done in between everything else.

This afternoon I am going to make the final plans for a womens show that I am going to participate in this weekend - giving Bowen Therapy demonstrations, so that should be fun.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Well, I have finally found a couple of minutes to get some updates made. On Saturday we opted to go to the Lebannon Street Fair instead of the Apple Festival and that may have been a mistake. We went to the New Cumberland Apple Festival last year and were sooooooooo disappointed as there were NO apple dumplings (I was so looking forward to them) and here were no apples to purchase for eating, sauce, butters, pies, etc. But. the Lebannon Street Fair was not very exciting - a few nice things but LOTS of political booths and mostly jewlery - most very much the same. Although one of the Jewlery makers who had some really neat beads and I started talking and she asked me if I made jewlery and I said no, that I was just looking for ideas to use the herb beads that I had been making. Well, that launched into quite a conversation - she was fascinated and asked me if I would be willing to bring them to her shop for her to see and if I would be willing to sell her some. WOW, that sure came out of the blue. So, we will see - when things slow down a bit I may go and talk with her.

Then on Sunday we went to the Spoutwood Harvest Festival (thank you Sara for letting us know about this) and it was a pleasure!! Lots of GREAT homemade things and lots to learn, good healthy food and wonderful people. music, etc. The weather was perfect and I even got to visit with Sara a bit and that was a true pleasure!!!! On the way home we ate at a wonderful Italian Restaurant in one of the close by villages (who knows which one - they all seem to run together).

Yesterday I made two fleece blankets and started trying to get organized as we are once again going to have a French Student starting the 29th of October but only for 10 days this time. And immediately after agreeing to do that my boss called and informed me that I need to work the week of the 22nd in Detriot Michigan doing some knowledge transfer. So I will only have a day or so when I get home to be ready for her arrival so things are a bit hectic again (as if there is any time when they aren't).

OK, next will be the Newest Adventure of this morning - FUN FUN FUN!!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


OK, I got all ready to work on my beads yesterday and suddenly got sidetracked by two fleece blankets that need to be complete in the next two weeks - for two young ones who will be having a little brother in about two weeks. Got them all cut to do rabit ears and one actually started and then .............. there was a loud knock at the door and I knew immediately that it was my favorite UPS guy!! WOO HOO - the still is HERe!!! Took all afternoon to unpack it - lots of packing, peanuts everywhere and bubble to last for weeks at least!! Took it all into the kitchen and started to set it up and whoops - hubby home and wanted dinner. Now that is a problem as there is all of the bead materials ready to go on one side of the counter and the still parts on the other side - hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm what to do. Lemon chicken on the stove top and warmed some of our fresh green beans in the microwave - OK, that was over and I had to take a nap before work!! soooooooooooo sad no finishing the still assembly or making beads.

Soooooooooooo this morning as soon as I got off work I started setting up the still - and I guess it is set up - doesn't look exactly like the picture but I think it is correct - but................... I made a horrible discovery - the teflon valve for the bottom of the receiver is NOT there. I went back and went through ALL of the packing materials and NOTHING there. I posted a question to a group I am in and Maryanne quickly responded (thanks Maryanne - you knew I would be sitting there waiting to hear) and YES there should be that valve so I have now sent an email to the place I purchased it from and am waiting for a response.

Now, how am I going to get any herbs distilled before the frost at this rate??? Grrrrrrrrrrr - hmmm maybe is it a sign that I am supposed to finish some of my other unfinished projects. I only have 4 or 5 in mid work right now - GEEZ!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, I am off to get something done now and hope that I get a quick solution from the supplier.


Monday, September 24, 2007

First Try

Hmmmm not sure what I am doing here but I guess I will just write this and see what happens. Sooooooooooo, instead of making beads or the Lavender wands I was going to make this morning I am sitting here playing on the computer!! It is Tina's fault but she hasn't led me astray yet (or has she hmmmmmmmmmmmm - before I knew her I had a lot more time to do other things). Oh well, I will close this now to see if it worked.