Local Focus

Montemarte…Oh Yea!

As most are aware, I’ve recently taken to the “craft show circuit”.  I was initially a little apprehensive about this, never having presented much of anything to the public, other than my opinions on life.  It’s a great way to kill off a Saturday afternoon, and it gets my Hippie Ways brand out there in my community.

At the urging of Night Eiffela gifted crafter and good friend Amelia Thompson (Sisterhood of the Craft), I decided to take Hippie Ways to the road.

Today, we attended the Montemarte Craft Fair.  Montemarte is a cute little burgh in South East, Saskatchewan ( check out their page here ) .

What a great time!!  The local Army Cadets were there help the crafters load and unload their wares.  The cadets also putter about the show fetching coffee and food for the vendors.

MANY farm folks made a point of coming into town to do a little early Christmas shopping.  There were familiar faces and crafters, as well as many new faces.

I finally managed to meet up with Pam Miller of Miller’s Bygone Farms  (Bygone Farms ) of Whitewood, SK and managed to not only make a GREAT contact with a SERIOUS business in the local food scene…I scored some of her TO DIE FOR goat’s milk soap!!

All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon.  Many, many thanks to the organizers of the Craft Fair and I look forward to doing it again next year!




Life in General Local Focus

And now….we shop!

Well, it’s official – Hippie Ways Natural Body Care exists…

Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to finance this little operation.

Since I found myself rather suddenly unemployed in September (a story unto itself) I’ve been tossing around the idea of unleashing my creative dragons and actually doing something for ME.  I’ve been piddling away with the blogging idea – since I seem to have a LOT to say about life these days.  But that doesn’t really pay.  Eventually, I’m hoping it will – hell, they even make movies and books out of the writings of some folks like the girl that wrote the Julie and Julia.  Or Dan Pearce’s Single Dad Laughing. 

Hopefully Dan won’t mind my sharing his amazing blog!!

There are a great many things that I think are CRUCIAL to life these days and being as self sufficient as possible is one of them.  Take that line anyways you like to.  Some folks go all out to the point of Doomsday Preppers.  Others garden, support their local farmers, and really take their groceries seriously.  I’m a STRONG (can’t emphasize that enough) supporter of local economies and supporting your own community.  I source my ingredients from as close to home as possible (even if it’s a little more expensive).  I plan to sell my products locally as well.    030

So, here’s what I’mmagonna do.  I make lip balm, bathing salts, face & body and foot scrubs.  I have for years.  I couldn’t find the chapstick once, and in much the same fashion as the mayonnaise incident…I learned to do for myself.

One of my nearest and dearest friends, Karen (aka Redd) is building me a shopping cart for this site.  My technica048l ineptitude is rather showing, yes, I know.

Coming soon, is a shopping cart that will enable anyone to purchase what I make!  I will post good stuff for your skin.  I will NOT post crap that doesn’t agree with my “hippie ways” and with luck, I’ll be able to market what I believe is good, solid, no garbage062 skin care.

Keep an eye out for updates…little things can make a BIG difference.


Home Life in General Local Focus

Mayonnaise and Philosophy – The making of a hippie?

There’s a certain philosophy involved in calling one’s self a Hippie.  To some, it’s an entire realm of anti-establishment beliefs.  To others, it’s a movement – born in the 60’s, held over through modern times.

To me is a simple, natural, inexpensive way of doing things.

As a child of the 70’s with both parents being career minded individuals, my sister and I were pretty much brought up never having wanted for anything.  The life lessons that are usually passed from parent to child were present, but only in small amounts.

My first realization that I had missed out on certain things was standing in my first apartment, with my first room-mate, and looking at the large white box in the corner of the kitchen.  When I asked my roommate what “that” was, she looked at me like I’d lost my mind.  “It’s a stove, stupid”.

It was glaringly apparent that I had missed something along the way.

So, now that I had figured out that the family housekeeper does NOT come with your first apartment and that toilet paper did NOT miraculously arrive unbidden to the holder,  I had a little real life catching up to do.

Since then, I’ve made a point of never closing my mind to anything that could bring me information.  Learning how to cook was the start.  Learning how to survive has been the daily lesson ever since.

As with many,  life tends to get in the way of things.  Marriage, children, keeping everyone clean and fed on a daily basis takes over everything.

But it’s the little things you collect along the way that truly count.  For instance, doing something out of dire necessity and then realizing that the end result is far better for you, your health and our world.  A prime example, mayonnaise.

Yes, mayonnaise.  Sounds right silly, eh? (there you have it, 100% Canadian)  I had run out of mayonnaise.  Two babies in the house, oldest child in Kindergarten, husband at work, no vehicle, lived in a house on the hill and the LAST thing I felt like doing was loading up a HUGE baby stroller and stomping all the way downtown to buy mayonnaise with the two dollars I had in my purse.  So, what to do?

While the little ones were sleeping (a grace period any parent appreciates) I took the opportunity to flip through old cookbooks that belonged to my grandmother.  Having learned ( a few years prior) how to the work stove, cooking had become a bit of an enjoyment and I’d taken to collecting recipes.  Lo and behold!!  A recipe for mayonnaise!

Eggs, oil, salt, sugar, dry mustard, lemon juice, vinegar.  That’s it.  Everything needed to make something I had never given a single thought to.  The first attempt, was not so great.  Bit of a soupy disaster, but I soon discovered that a hand-blender (just about everyone has one) is the key.  To get the mayo to set properly, you need to whip it at high speed.  It takes less than five minutes, all ingredients are generally in the cupboard at any given time, I know EXACTLY what’s in it, and I don’t have to go to the store to complete my tuna salad.

The point?  I already have everything I need.  I don’t need to spend more money on something I can do myself.  AND – here’s the really cool part.  It’s environmentally intelligent.  No output (car, time, cash).  No waste (more packaging to get rid of).  And for the truly die-hard anti-establishment types – no input to the corporate giants!

Little things definitely make the biggest difference.

All Things Kitchen Local Focus

Hold the Mayo? I think not!

Being the adept Facebook junkie that I am brings me WORLDS of information and insight along with my morning brew.  One of my favorite Facebook groups is a collection of folks that call themselves “Alternative Ways of Survival”.  They’re a heartfelt, outgoing, no-BS bunch that post all sorts of wonderful articles on topics such as gardening, survival strategies (in all types of situations), local foods, do-it-yourself projects and a host of other generally useful information.

If you’re the type that is hell-bent on seeing to your own in tough times, maybe pop by the group and surf around.  You can find them at

In a previous post I expounded on the virtues of Local Egg Salad.  See my Location, Location, Location post at  In order to be as local as possible, you will also need to have a small garden (or a few herbs in pots) for such perennials as chives, parsley etc.

In the course of conversation on a particular post regarding Spanish Mayonnaise, I decided to add my two-bits worth to the conversation in Alternative Ways of Survival.  The mayo that I’ve been making all these years is a little more complex and I did find that the technique of adding the oil has EVERYTHING to do with the success or failure of the recipe.

So, without further ado, I present to you the recipe for Hippie Ways Mayo – please note that I take absolutely ZERO credit for this recipe.  I found it in an OLD  cookbook.  The credit for this recipe goes solely to the Co-Op Cook Book of 1946 published by the Outlook Women’s Co-Operative Guild of Outlook, Saskatchewan, Canada.

I have tweaked the formula over the years , but the inspiration from the ladies at the Outlook Co-Operative (and this beat up little cook book) have put many a hearty meal on my table (for VERY few dollars!)

Hippie Ways Mayo

1 egg (get real ones, not that factory farmed crap)

1 teaspoon salt (REAL salt, not that iodized garbage – sea salt, high-altitude (pink-ish) or other good quality salt)

1 teaspoon sweet (you can use granulated sugar in any form or honey)

1 teaspoon of dry mustard powder (or a little prepared Dijon or German for something different)

1 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh or bottled – either will work)

2 tablespoons white vinegar (plain or pickling, doesn’t seem to matter)

1 cup of oil ( depending on what I have in the cupboard on any given day – usually canola – lighter olive oil works well too)  The only oil I have found that does NOT work is safflower – it’s too thin.

Method:  In a deep glass bowl, blend together the egg, salt, sweet, mustard, lemon juice and vinegar.  With a hand held blender, blend the contents until they are pretty much foam.


Here’s the tough part….while blending, begin adding the oils ONE DROP AT A TIME for the first quarter cup of the liquid.





This is the hardest part to master, since patience is not a real strong suit with me.  Once the mixture begins to thicken, you can add the rest of the oil and just work it around in the bowl until the desired consistency is reached and all of the oily appearance has disappeared.



The egg should be COLD.  Don’t let it get to room temperature, or the mayo won’t set at all.

As you can see, I tried Xylitol in this round.  For those not familiar, Xylitol is a plant based (lesser evil for diabetics) sweetener.  I found the mayo didn’t set as well as I would have liked, but the taste was certainly spot-on.

So, one day in the not too distant future, when you happen to be in the grocery store thinking you need mayo – think like a Hippie.  You don’t actually NEED mayo from the grocery store.  It’s not some sort of mystery-miracle in a jar.  It’s a few simple ingredients that you most likely have in the kitchen already…all you need is five minutes and an apron.

Trust me on the apron thing!  This recipe doubles VERY well, and will make less mess if you make a double batch.  I find the single batch method splatters beautifully with the hand blender!  The only real DOWN side to mayonnaise making is that without the use of a hand blender, you would have to use a whisk.  I have experimented with the whisk method and the recipe still turns out as it should.  However, you will have cramped up pecs like you’ve never experienced!!

Rational, positive, creative…even on your sandwich!





All Things Kitchen Local Focus

Location, location, location!!

It’s a bit of a buzz-term for a lot of things.  Really, I think location has to do with pretty much EVERYTHING these days that is pertinent, intelligent and mindful.  I am inspired today to NOT change my LOCATION in my quest for food.  Project du jour….egg salad.

What does this have to do with anything??  It’s quite simple really.  Maintain a LOCAL FIRST policy with all things.  How is this accomplished, you ask?  It all fits in with my Hippie way of being, and making conscious and intelligent choices when it comes to parting with my money.

First things first:  how to make egg salad.  Boil up a few eggs, and peel them.  Chop them up with a little parsley, chive (or green onion) maybe a little celery and carrot.  Blend with a little mayonnaise and ta-da…luncheon is served.  Takes all of about 10 minutes and you have a fresh feast at hand.  Now, for the tricky part…local first.

Item One: make your own mayo.  I do, it’s simple, I’ve written about it before and if you’d like the recipe just ask.

Item Two: Parsley, chives, bunching onions (the little green dudes), celery and carrot are ALL ridiculously easy to grow in your own backyard, patio, windowsill, etc.

Item Three: Local Eggs??  Short of having chickens in your own backyard, this is tough one for a lot of folks.  I will eventually have my own chickens, but in the interim…I buy from a local farmer.  I find the farm eggs to be FAR better than the factory farmed-serial numbered eggs that you find in the grocery stores.  The farm eggs actually TASTE like something.  You can even water poach them (anyone who like Eggs Benedict knows what I’m talking about) and NOT end up with a pan full of tasteless foam!  I purchase my eggs for $3.00 per 18-pack ($0.65 cheaper than the local grocery store) and the eggs are SSSOOOOO much better.

The best part of this is that I know exactly where the eggs come from, whose farm they are raised on, how the birds are treated, and so forth.

Item Four: The base of all decent sandwiches….BREAD!!  Pretty much EVERYWHERE has a little bakery within a decent walking distance.  The next time you buy bread, here’s a cool idea – read the label.  If it’s on a store shelf…it had to come from somewhere.  How many miles are on your toast before you ever see it?  Take your daily bread seriously…

Frankly, I don’t really give two hoots about “food safety”.  Common sense, although less and less common these days, still rules my decision making processes.  To my mind, it just is more intelligent to purchase my food items from someone that I KNOW rather than trust my government to look after me.  I do get the occasional odd look over my choices, but here is my rationale:

Would you trust a food source you could neither see or touch?  I don’t.

Would you trust a building housing upwards of 200,000 birds to provide you with clean, wholesome eggs?  I don’t.

Would you be inclined to eat something that had spend X-number of days sitting in a warehouse?  I’m not.

Would you be inclined to eat something that had then spent X-number of days in the back of a reefer truck?  Nope.

Well, there you have it.  If you are going to stuff it in your face, a little common sense would tell that you should know where it came from and exactly what it is.  Remember your Mother yelling at you??  “DON’T PUT THAT IN YOUR MOUTH!!!  YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE IT’S BEEN!!”

And for the record…my egg salad had ZERO miles on it, no carbon footprint, no diesel-market ratios or other statistical anomalies, and no other green-washing necessary.

The best part…my location didn’t have to change one bit.  🙂


Life in General Local Focus

Rolling? Nah….more like putzing along.

Well, much to my great disappointment, I was not accepted to the program that I had applied to.  The assessment was long and rather in-depth but the essence is:  my ideas have great merit, I harbor tremendous passion for my work, BUT (there it is…) I carry too much personal debt to make a go of right now.

What this means, really, is that it’s just going to take longer to get to where I want than initially thought.  I can live with this.   As much as I was hoping to be able to hop on the body care product production bandwagon, this just translates to “slow down idiot, you have a lot of things on the go”.  And truly, Karma is right.

I have the organic farm we’re building ( I’ve been invited to teach skating this winter at several different clubs, I have a job as a clerk at the local grocery store.   Staying organized is going to be a challenge.  BUT…(love that word) I can do this!

Gardening season is coming to a close so then it will be a matter of breaking out the skating manuals and attendance sheets and trying to remember which days I have to be on the ice and which days I have to be at the grocery store.  In the interim, I think I’ll just blog about the daily life of a sworn Hippie.

In my morning ceremony of drinking coffee, checking my Facebook and reading any bits of e-mail that popped up, I found an interesting bit on the Mother Nature Network today.

Photo: JPhilipson/FlickrThe article is entitled “Get On Board The Non-Consumption Train”

It’s a good article that outlines and VERY simple method for mindful spending of your hard earned cash.

If everyone who shops (girls too!) took a moment when they are standing with that MUST HAVE item in their hand and really put some thought into answering the following questions, I think that things would change very quickly:

1. Is this purchase something I need?
2. Do I already own something that will serve the same purpose?
3. Can I borrow one instead of buying new?
4. Can I make something that will serve the same purpose?
5. Can I buy a used one?
6. Would someone be willing to split the cost and share this with me?
7. Can I buy or commission one made locally?
8. Can I buy one that was made with environmentally responsible materials?
9. Can I buy one that serves more than one purpose?
10. Can I get something human powered instead of gas or electric?
11. Can I compost or recycle it when I’m done with it?
12. What is the impact on the environment of the full life cycle of it?
13. Does the manufacture or disposal of it damage the environment?
See, not that big a deal to think about these when you are about to part with cash.  Here’s a link to the article:

I do hope that I am getting this “credit where credit is due” etiquette right.  I’m sure eventually I’ll figure out the details of the technical end of things.

Just a couple of other bits that I think should be added to the Non-consumption passenger list….

A.  Is the item locally available?  I believe that supporting businesses in your own backyard is crucial to the survival of many towns and even neighborhoods in big cities.

B.  IF I have to venture forth for the item in question, is it REALLY worth the trip?  Is driving for a half tank of fuel really worth the trip if a local business can order it for half the cost of the gas to go pick it up?

Just a few little things to think about BEFORE you get to the check out.

How to be Hippie Life in General Local Focus

Getting the blog-roll rolling…

Hippie:  define hippie….call ’em what you will, personally I’ve always be rather proud of the label.  You don’t need to take a vow of poverty or swear off shaving your legs.  You don’t need to burn bras, or attend Green Peace rallies.

My father, suit and tie extraordinaire that he is, is the one that called me “one of those hippie types”   a long time ago.  I had questioned him on something involving artificial ingredients.  I had said that all natural ingredients would be better for one’s health and there you have it.  I’m a hippie.

I don’t consider myself to be a “hardcore”.  Yes, I shave legs and my vanity will not allow me to just age gracefully – I color my hair.  I also have a distinct advantage.  I don’t run in circles that require me to dress for success everyday.  Therefore, I rarely bother with make up or hair “products”.  I don’t need to.

I am unbelievably blessed in so many ways.  I live in a small farming community in a garden variety house with a 100 x 100′ lot.  The “town house” as I call it serves as shelter and is also the research and development department (R & D) for my burgeoning organic farm ( – link’s on the right).

Base Camp (or as my son James calls it – Headquarters) is evolving into a study in urban agriculture.  These adventures will be posted on the farm site blog (  As an ardent student of Permaculture much of my life centers around developing my own brand of food security.

As Hippie Ways evolves, it will develop into a cottage industry natural body care line.  As I noted earlier, I’m working on rustling up some funding to get it rolling.  I believe VERY strongly in my body care line.

Your skin is your largest organ…why would you grind (or slather, or rub, or soak) chemical based anything into your skin?

I’ll save this for future bits…