20 January 2007

Parthenia is Pregnant...

with Ideas...

I see a theme rising. Even my frogs in their tank behind me are croaking their mating calls again.

Last summer, my friends Crystal, Tonya, and I operated a booth at the Greenfield Farmer's Market most appropriately called "Three Dreaded Ladies". Sadly Tonya dropped out midway, but Crystal, her business partner Julie, and I continued for the rest of the season. Tonya made jewelery, I do herbal products for hair and skin, Crystal, at the time, made cloth diapers and an occasional mei tai traditional Asian baby carrier. Julie and Crystal have parted ways and Crystal will be selling handmade clothes. I'm not sure if Julie will continue on as our one not-literally-dreaded lady, but they diapers would round out our booth nicely.

On top of all the other making stuff and idea generating (i.e. game writing), I'm revisioning my part ("Parthenia's Herbals") of Three Dreaded Ladies. I plan to focus bar soaps first, then bath salts, healing salves, balms, and herb infused oils (hair oil, massage oil, bug repellent). I will prepare fewer brewed herbals like aftershaves, skin toners, and hair rinses. Those are my favorites, but they don't sell very well. I will certainly have edible love potions, as those generate the most praise and positive feedback, and they make most everyone happy.

I've been thinking about offering other edibles like kefir and kombucha, but that would require a Board of Health permit. I could join the Western Mass Food Processing Center and move all of my brewing, mixing, cooking, and curing activities there. The advantages are I would have more room, better equipment, and a safer place to make soap and heat up oils. If I do soap at home in the kitchen, I need someone to keep an eye on the kids because I'm working with hazardous materials and can't stop in the middle of mixing or pouring to take care of boo-boos and arguments. The disadvantages are purely financial. Basically the farmers market last year paid for my herb preparing hobby and my Thai food habit, and that was fine with me. I'd like to expand this year. Kombucha and kefir are incredibly easy and cheap to make, bottling and labelling would really be my biggest expense. If they caught on and sold well they could cover the added expense of being a member of the Food Processing Center. Since there's already one local Kombucha producer, I would most likely do more kefir and herb drinks, and try to find a source for local milk. That's not hard at all. You can also put kefir grains into grape juice and make an interesting sparkling beverage. That could be fun, too.

The week after Ingrid's birthday I'll make the first batch of soap. If any of you local reader wish to learn how to make soap, I will show you how. The cost to you is your labor. In the next few weeks I'll also have spare kombucha babies and kefir grains. And I'm always looking for human guinea pigs to try my herbals. Email me and let me know what you're interested in. And the revised rules for Get/Steal Away Jordan should be done by the end of this week. I was so productive last night that I fell asleep at 3 am, sitting up with the laptop on my lap. Before I dozed off, I managed to type up everything I had handwritten earlier in the week, and simplify the rules and mechanics. Another self-awarded gold star for Parthenia (who is most certainly not physically pregnant)!

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