The scattered Village – mint and more rose petals

I think many of us miss the “Village”. The sense of community that can be hard to find when you live in a city, or anywhere really.

Now, we find our communities if, when and where we need to. We live in a multi-dimensional web of interrelations. People flux in and out of each others lives like coming into and out of focus, often across years. I love having this cloud of family and friends around me. This is my “Village”.

I love that I can send out a message for mint and then collect mint from 3 gardens and rose petals from 2 gardens, and all of these will enter the alchemy that is the soap. And some extra rocket and basil!!

I now have rocket planted in my garden, and the basil was delicious.

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So last weekend, I made the mint soap, and then made another batch of rose soap, this time with rose geranium oil, and then another batch of lavender! With these soaps, I didn’t rush – got the temperatures right, and the mixture was as smooth as butter when I poured it into the mould. The shed smells divine!

Soap making may be good for the impatience inside me. You just can’t rush. You also can’t rush using the soaps – this 4 week curing period seems to take forever!!

But – excitingly, the first soaps were finally ready last weekend!


The soap is really moisturising, E says it is an excellent shaving soap. It doesn’t have a strong scent, but I think I definitely would try this oil mix again and contemplate an actual scent for it (I used a massage oil mix for this one – all I had on hand at the time). I have given it all away now, so moving on to the next batch – ready this weekend…

The first lavender – this soap feels really creamy, and has a lovely smooth lather, but I think the lavender oil is a bit drying for my skin. Maybe it would be good for an oily skin type. It smells great!

Last weeks soaps are looking and smelling amazing!! I added some mandarin oil to the rose and something (which I can’t remember right now, but I have written down somewhere) to the lavender, and they are shaping up nicely.

Yesterday, I made a lemon, lime and ginger soap – another experiment.

My next projects are (1) to find oils to make soap with that would be good for dermatitis when you told not to use soap, and (2) to find some seeds or something to add to some soap for my friend who wants this to stop the soap slipping out of her hands!

Which brings me back full circle to the “Village” – or the importance of community – no matter how scattered, or how often, or rarely you interact with your “tribe”.  When I asked for mint and rose petals, there they were, and in return, I will custom make some soap for others. Round and round it goes.

Yet again, I am reminded not to grieve for what is lost in this new, big anonymous world, but to embrace the changes – how busy I am is my own perception and surely to my own benefit (the day job may be uninspiring, but it pays the bills) To find my way in this big connected Village I find the thread(s) that I can navigate by.

It may well be that the soaping pot is my “yellow brick road” or my alchemists pot. From here, I can reach out to put in and reach in to send out.

Happy day to you,



Strange & bitter marmalade, pink soap unleashed, and whey to go for choc cake.

Well, I don’t think I will be rushing to pick any more green mandarines from the neighbours tree! On the good side, the marmalade set well, apart from the strings of peel rising up! And the big E says it tastes fine – to me to tastes like I’ve added quinine! The wriggly bits of green peel remind me of something that has escaped from the Little Shop of Horrors and I find them quietly creepy – like they might climb the stairs in the night… I will be checking those lids!


Some sweetness to counter the bitter is the delicious choc cake – made with whey instead of milk. This recipe (with either milk or whey) is the best chocolate cake recipe I’ve found! It’s the Goldilocks of choc cakes – not heavy like mud cake and not too light – just right.

And finally – back to soaps…

The strange soap from the other day came out of the mold nicely this morning, and looks good – although who knows what it will smell like when it’s ready in a month or so – it’s still quite soft.

And now, I am looking forward to not coughing in a few days, and to planning what batch of soap to make next weekend.

I think I will start soaking something in some oil, and use an infused oil – or possibly an Earl Grey tea batch (I have a recipe, will try to be more sensible and start with a definite plan, and without the dreaded lurgy clouding my senses).