May Newsletter / Late Night Ramblings

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I have a fondness for the month of May - Lily, my daughter, was born in May.  Soon after the birth of Lily I became committed to “The Art of Personal Ritual,” and crafting pure, Botanical skin care.  If not for Lily, Mountain Spirit Botanicals would not exist, so I’d say, “This is a special month to celebrate and offer gifts”.  But before we celebrate, I want to ramble a bit, keep you up to date on my “shenanigans.”  (Remember, you signed on). Here in the Hudson River Valley, May reveals that “winter is over” and Hallelujah! I made it through another cold snap. Just when I believe that I can’t take another second of being cold, green buds appear.  Overnight the meadow went from brown to green.  Lilac is in bloom; Wild Ramps are up; Fiddle Head Fern, Dandelion, and Plantain are ripe for plucking and infusing.  This week I’m infusing Dandelion flowers in Apple Cider Vinegar (no Sue, you can’t have any); Ramp Kimchi is brewing on the counter; this evening’s dinner will be sautéed’ Fiddle Heads with pasta.  I love foraging and eating wild foods – there’s purity in this, a connection to the land that brings intimacy and sustenance.  Foraging reminds me to be grateful – most significantly, for the simple gifts that life bestows on us.  It is the moments of simplicity, of quiet, that have a profound affect on one’s character.  No matter where you live, if I may encourage you for just a few minutes each day, to sit quietly and observe Nature (even if you live in a city, observe a tree, a shrub, or your garden).  “Observe” with senses other than your eyes.   Listen and smell, and I assure you; you will be delighted and “see” things you’ve never before seen.   With practice, we can bring this stillness, this observation, to all of our interactions. By now I’m sure you know that I’m pretty connected to Nature (and I spend more hours than I will ever admit, talking to trees, fiddle head ferns, birds and my brother’s dog Otis), but just the other day I saw something that I had never seen before.   I have lived in these mountains for six years now, and my land is also “home” to Wild Turkeys (they look nothing like Thanksgiving dinner) and various wild animals.  I’ve let a portion of the meadow “grow wild” and it fills with grasses, medicinal herbs, flowers, and God only knows what else.  I do this because it creates a habitat for wild-life.  Wild Turkey “scratch around”, deer sleep there, birds feed on the seeds, the Groundhogs eat there / stay away from my Potage’, and Otis chases bugs in the wild grasses.    Yesterday I was sitting up on the hill when a family of Turkeys came strutting by.  (They didn’t notice me; they were “going about their day” as if no one was there to witness their behavior).  There were two females and one male, when “out of the blue” the male turned, “fanned his tail feathers” and I was left completely awestruck.  (We’ve seen the depiction of this on greeting cards, or when our child celebrated “thanksgiving” at school by doing drawings on paper, but nothing prepared me for seeing a full blown “fanning of feathers” by a Wild Turkey).   I’m still left with “finding the words” to describe this Natural beauty.  Yes, there were the colors of gold, brown, orange, etc. – but it was the magnificence, the dignity of this “wild thing,” as he strutted across my meadow that left me spellbound.  The only experience that came close to this was perhaps 20 years ago when I took Lily to Parrot Jungle (when it still existed in South Miami).  We were taking a break, sitting on a Coral rock wall, when a Peacock walked in front of us, turned to us point blank, and spread out its tail feathers.  I remember the moment as if it were yesterday; Lily and I were at a loss for words; the beauty was incomparable.  What I remember is that Peacock, like the Wild Turkey, was reveling in its own beauty, its own authenticity.  We have a lot to learn from Nature and things that are wild, eh?  May we all carry our “Inherent Beauty” as well … Late night rambling is over, on to business:  Now that spring is here, our wardrobe will change to lighter clothes and shorter skirts. I’d like to write about the healthful, as well as “the beauty” benefits, of “dry-brushing the skin”.  Before I begin to detail the benefits of this technique, I’ve decided to keep the Sisal and Bath Brush, as well as Sugar Blossom Body Buff discounted for another month to encourage you to indulge in this glorious ritual.  Dry skin brushing only takes a few moments before showering, but the results, with continued use, are truly extraordinary.  A quick side note:  I know a woman who was determined “to get rid of her cellulite”.  She “dry brushed her skin” in the spots where her cellulite “hung out” (trust me, she was “determined” and scrubbed herself silly until her skin glowed).  End result, she has no cellulite.  That’s how simple, and powerful, dry brushing the skin is.  Please note:  Our bodies make a new top layer of skin every 24 hours.  “Skin brushing” removes the old top layer, allowing the clean new layer to come to the surface, resulting in softer, smoother skin. Here are the facts and benefits of dry-brushing your skin: You assist the Lymph System to clean itself of toxins that collect in the Lymph Glands; you improve the surface circulation on the skin and keep the pores open, encouraging your body's discharge of metabolic wastes; tightens the skin by increasing the flow of blood (which moves toxins & lessens the appearance of cellulite); stimulates circulation; increases cell renewal; removes dead skin layers; strengthens Immune system; stimulates the hormone and oil producing glands; tones the muscles; improves function of the Nervous system.  Amazing stuff, eh?  And it takes only a few minutes a day … May Specials:  As noted, dry-skin brushing implements are discounted; close-out special, “Fruit and Soap Bowls” (accessory page) which I am discontinuing.  And to introduce you to “Floral Hydrosols”, all hydrosols are discounted for the month of May.  Annie, in the state of Washington, distills these precious blends on a Copper still from freshly harvested plant material.  The season determines which blend is available, and availability is limited.   Hydrosols may be used throughout the day as a “spritz” to refresh, hydrate, and tone the complexion.  They may also be used as a “toner” after cleansing to tighten and refine the facial skin.  If your hair feels “dry and lifeless” you can also “spritz” your hair for a “pick-me-up”.  You can also add 1 Tb. to a glass of water and “sip” as though you’re drinking a cup of tea.  If you work in an office with “artificial air and lighting,” these hydrosols will help combat the affects of these drying conditions.   (I always keep a hydrosol on my desk, next to the computer, and one in my car for when “I’m on the fly”).  They have saved the day / helped me to be presentable on numerous occasions. Note:  “May Specials” are not configured into shopping cart – I apologize for this “technical difficulty” and will adjust pricing with shipment of your order.    “Soap Bowl” = $3.00, “Fruit Bowl” = $4.00 Hydrosols = $10.00 Spring blessings and abundance to you all  …

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