Wednesday, June 30, 2010

At the Printers!

Today was a very exciting day for me and my business! Michelle, my designer/marketer and I drove down to Albuquerque Printing to do a "press check" of the sleeves for my lotion bar and soap packages. This was a great learning experience for me. As you can make out a bit, we were in a giant warehouse room with huge machines. Don, who has been the manager for my job, has been amazing to work with--making numerous mockups of the boxes, and just being so friendly and easy to work with. Joe was my printer, running this incredible machine, on which he was able to make small color corrections for Michelle (and theoretically, me) to inspect for accuracy. This was tricky, because it got to the point that I couldn't really tell any difference between an earlier color proof on glossy paper, and the printing on my cardstock. There were certain variations that made it difficult for me to compare the two: the paper proof was high gloss; the cardstock has a satin finish. Also when a color was adjusted say, for the soap labels, the lotion labels were affected too, as they are all on one sheet.

Ultimately, it was an incredibly quick and painless process, due in large part to the expertise of Michelle, and the professionalism and skill of Joe and Don. Let me just say here that I feel completely bonded with Don and Joe. To me, this is another local relationship that I have cultivated (thank you, Michelle), and that has been so nurturing for my business. I feel so lucky not to have send my work out to another state, or, god forbid, China. This is a local business, and although I am small potatoes, compared to many of their other clients, I felt like royalty, today, and their excitement about this first step with me, was a great gift.

I should have brought a bottle of champagne. I did bring soap and lotion bars (not enough!) and I got to go home with several sheets of my labels--a thrilling souvenir for me!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Barnyard Characters

Now that I am sharing a barnyard with my generous host, Louisa, there are many surprises that greet me when I arrive to milk the goats. In the past couple of weeks there have been two: The white chicken pictured here has been "broody" for what seems like at least two months. This means, she has been sitting on her nest, patiently keeping her eggs warm, expecting babies. Every day I go into the coop to gather a couple of eggs, there she is. Now, there is no rooster, so the eggs will never hatch. A couple of weeks ago, I went into the coop--and there were two baby chicks with her! Louisa had purchased chicks and so wisely put in a couple for Miss Broody to mother. And mothering she was. So attentive to their every move, just like, well, a Mother Hen. For a week or so they just kept to the coop, but now they are out and about the chicken yard, and it is such a sweet pleasure watching the three of them roam around, dig in the dirt, and peck away. As common and classic a barnyard scene of a hen and her chick is, I actually had never experienced that--it is absolutely so heartwarming.

The other surprise that greeted me recently was the unexpected arrival of a two-month old Nigerian Dwarf wether (castrated male) goat. He is absolutely so small and stout, and makes the cutest bleeting noise--he sounds just like a baby. It took a bit, but he is now completely a part of the herd with my girls, and though he serves no purpose (much to Louisa's chagrin), I think he serves quite well as comic relief, jumping about like a jumping bean, butting heads with the girls who are easily three times bigger, and just being in the way in general.

Such fun!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bees Bearding--It's hot!

Here's what my bees were doing this afternoon--isn't it amazing? I was concerned that they might be swarming, but in fact they are "bearding"--hanging out on the outside of the hive to get cool. Below is some great info I found about this on line, and the difference between bearding and swarming:

"Bearding is a form of hive air-conditioning; the bees depart the immediate brood nest area in order to help keep it at the desired temperature (too many busy bee bodies = too many BTUs). When you see all the bees outside the hive an hour before sundown, you'll also notice the following morning (early a.m.), most if not all, have gone back inside the hive because the outside air temperature (and thus the hive temp) has dropped - again, just a way they regulate the brood nest temperature. This is less likely to be observed in the Spring or early Spring when Swarming is at it's peak.

"If you have a hive that's on the verge of swarming, you won't so much see the bees "bearding" as you'll observe them actually departing the hive and yet not really leaving the immediate area of the hive. There may be a "small cloud" of bees hovering eight or ten feet in front of the hive and five to fifteen feet above ground level. And they may do this activity a few times before the main body of the swarm actually departs the hive. Eventually these false starts will lead to the final departure with the swarm queen - usually the old queen - unless your hive is throwing off multiple swarms, in which case, even a virgin queen can lead a swarm away (usually a MUCH smaller swarm). "

Whew! Glad to know they weren't packing their bags and looking for roomier quarters.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tuesday at the Market

Just another New Mexico day in the Railyard at the Tuesday Farmers Market. The Tuesday market is small, but intimate, with a leisurely pace that allows for lots of visiting, sampling, and just being at the Market. Come and visit on a weekday morning for breakfast or lunch.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Stunning Assistant

I almost don't need to say anything else. . . except that this is my incredible daughter, and not only is she a great saleswoman, but she has figured out how to count change back to customers, and is a great multi-tasker in the booth! I'm achingly proud of her . . .

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Perfect Shaving Soap

Another entry in the "My Beloved Male Customers" series!

This customer brought his shaving cup to my booth to see how my soap would fit--and it fit perfectly! I await his feedback on how my soap works for him as a shaving soap. I have several other male customers who swear by it already. Has anyone else tried it for shaving? I'd love to hear!