The last show of the season…

Well, we did it – Amelia and I ventured out in -35 and set up shop at the Moonlight Madness Market last night in Melville (40 minutes north of us – for those not sure where Melville is).  037

Coffee cup and thermos in tow, we set up shop and waited…and waited…and waited…

It would seem that there were not too many souls willing to brave the -30 some temperatures in a quest for Christmas gifts.

Rather disappointing really.


Ya win some, ya lose some.  Such is the way that these thing039s tend to go.


My crafting partner in crime, Amelia (E.A.R.T.H Jelly and Sisterhood of the Craft) is a real pro at these sorts of things and doesn’t let a bad night get her down.  Her hot pepper jellies (ALWAYS a hit) and the majority of last nights sale involved sock monkeys…usually, it’s the crochet caps that sell the fastest…go figure.

There are a few things that I have noticed over the last bit though – and keep in mind, these are strictly my own observations…

When it comes to the foods that are sold at these fairs…and there are ALWAYS tons fine local goods (from home made fudges, to cookies, cupcakes, canning…the list is almost endless…) people tend to ask a lot of questions.  Did you make this?  How much sugar is in it? Did you grow them yourself?

To a point, this is wonderful!  Quality ingredients, crafted with care and attention to the smallest ingredient. The customers are quite willing to pay top dollar (myself among them) for quality foods.  There was one lady in particular that eschewed trying Amelia’s jelly based on their sugar content…claiming she was trying to lose weight.  I found this odd – but then again, she most likely had a tin of diet soda behind her table thinking she’s going to make a difference in her health by consuming DIET everything…but, I digress – that is for another topic.

However, of the dozen or so folks that stopped to peruse Hippie Ways products last night – only ONE actually asked what was in it.  I found this somewhat sad.

To my Hippie mind…what you put ON your body is equally as important as what you put IN it.  Your skin is your largest organ.  It breathes, it detoxifies, it absorbs.   Pick up a package of pretty much ANYTHING in the average bath room these days and you will see list after list of things that 99% of people can’t pronounce, let alone fully grasp WHAT the ingredient is.

Bubble & Bee Organic  (a small Utah company) has an excellent article on commonly used ingredients – and why you should avoid them.  Here’s a quick rundown:

1. “Fragrance” can be one or more of 200 chemicals. Companies don’t have to disclose the actual components of each fragrance, under the guise that their fragrances are trade secrets. Fragrance has been known to cause many side effects, including headaches and allergic reactions.  The Environmental Working Group has an extensive database of cosmetic chemicals and their corresponding danger rankings. “Fragrance” recieves one of the highest rankings possible in their score system.

2. Methylparaben, or anything ending in “paraben.” These preservatives act like estrogen in the body, throwing off hormonal balance. Parabens have been shown to accumulate in cancerous breast tumors.

3. Tetrasodium EDTA is a preservative that’s made from the known carcinogen, formaldehyde and sodium cyanide. (see how) It is also a penetration enhancer, meaning it breaks down the skin’s protective barrier, going right into your bloodstream. Many companies trying to be “natural” will use Tetrasodium EDTA instead of parabens to preserve their products.

4. Diazolidinyl Urea readily breaks down in the product or on the skin and releases formaldehyde. It’s an endocrine disruptor, a possible neurotoxin, a known immune system toxicant, and has a possible link to cancer.

5. Propelyne Glycol, among other things, is a penetration enhancer, meaning it’s a carrier for other chemicals, bringing them into your skin and your bloodstream. It’s a known skin irritant, it has been shown to cause cancer in lab tests, a possible endocrine disruptor, and a possible neurotoxin. You can find it in over 3000 products, including lotions, deodorants, sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner and body washes.

I also find that a lot of “natural” body care companies use many of the same ingredients.  Personally, I think that’s dirty pool.

I’m exceedingly proud of these items I’ve crafted.  Here’s to hoping that the next round of “show season” will bring more questions, more answers and whole lot of information sharing.  One hippie at a time.

Home Life in General

On being a self-professed Hippie…

Since I was only born in the ’60’s and not actually RAISED in the ’60’s I get a lot of strange looks when I announce to those who ask that I am 100% hippie.   Hippie Chick

I’ll have to say that the majority of strange looks come from the younger folks I know.  Occasionally they will ask me what makes me a hippie since I don’t wear long hair, I do shave my legs, and don’t dress in love-child clothes and beads that sport peace symbols.

Older people (those 65+) tend to just smile and look at me as though they expect the lightning to strike at any moment.

I think that what I find the most entertaining is that the majority of folks I converse with on the subject of hippies and so forth are quite astounded to discover that I’m not just some grammar assaulting stoner.

If you read back a few posts, you will find the post entitled Mayonnaise and Philosphy .

This is most likely where the journey began…

I have found over the years that my choice to not use chemicals, to do what I can for myself and to simplify life by way of not getting overly hyped about all things consumer related is VERY misunderstood.

People tend to look at me strangely when I tell them that I make my own hair spray, toothpaste, dishwasher soap, laundry soap and granola bars.  I’m really not sure what they expect.  Do they expect me to dress in hemp sacks and sandals?  Are they perhaps expecting bad teeth, dreadlocks and body odor?

The way I see things is that one can be quite “hippie” and NOT sacrifice quality.  Think about it – the finest fabrics don’t always have a designer label.   I have recently discovered an absolutely SINFUL body cream…and guess what…it’s handcrafted from ingredients that are NOT harmful to your skin, the environment, or imported from far off sweat shops.

If one puts a little thought into their daily life, make conscious choices when it comes to what they buy, where it’s made, how it’s made and what’s actually in it…you’ll be surprised at how much of an impact it will have.

Take some time and really think about this…

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.

Things that just p*ss me off

Just watering the hippies….

I had a most interesting conversation with gent that I work with not very long ago on the topic of “hippies” and the different perceptions that people develop that apply to the term “hippie”.Protesters...
As most are aware, my Dad is the one that more or less labelled me “hippie” a number of years ago following a conversation on the evils of artificial ingredients in his chocolate almonds.

When given the choice, I make the decision to not consume artificial anything by way of foods, personal care products, cleaning products, etc. There are times when this issue can’t be avoided – such as, not everyone can afford organic Egyptian cotton sheets. Not everyone has access to hemp fiber sneakers or backpacks. This list gets rather long when actually put some thought into it.
But, what I found disturbing about this particular conversation was that this person (who is about 15 years my senior) was exceedingly proud of the fact that back in his day he and a group of his friends had rushed some “hippies”, dragged them into the lake and cut their hair while the local police stood by and watched.
I will grant that this particular era (circa 1970) was fraught with social upheaval and groups of people sitting on the beach singing Bob Dylan tunes to a beat up guitar, but my question here is what gave him (and his buddies) the RIGHT to jump these folks and do what they did?
Being at work at the time of this conversation, it was highly inappropriate to shout “you self-righteous ass!! what gave to the idea that what you did was acceptable?”. So, at the time, I didn’t really say much of anything.
In stewing in the conversation over the last few days, it has occurred to me that not only is this man from a different era but he is also a preacher of the christian faith.  I’m sure Jesus would be proud!

Maybe it’s just my middle aged mind thinking back to younger and wilder days, but really, I don’t honestly think so.  Sure, everyone has done stupid things in their youth.  We’re not always PROUD of the decisions we make or the outcome of these decisions, but in the end it’s all part of the learning curve.   I don’t ever recall being intentionally MEAN to someone else and thinking it was a good thing.

This person Very true...was PROUD of what they’d done.  He was amused by it.   He felt that he and his buddies had dragged these “hippies” out and cleaned them up.  Taught them a lesson, as it were.

To my rationale, this would make hypocrites out of them all.  To jump a group of people because they had long hair, drag them into the lake and cut their hair would be quite simply, assault.

There are far too many that believe themselves to be in the right and everyone else is wrong.  Sometimes they take forcing their beliefs on others to an extreme.

The way I see it – there is not enough individuality these days (and in years gone by).  School kids are taught that bowing to authority is necessary.  They are taught to not question what they are told, and if they do (which my kids did, and I got the phone calls from the school!) they are punished, or singled out, or shunned.

Creativity is not molded or encouraged, it’s directed into what the system believes is necessary to create good little workers.

How can this be fixed?  I have no clue.  Shall we all rage against the machine until it breaks?  Probably not a viable solution.  But what we can do, is our own thing.  We can teach our children to find their OWN way.  To understand that what they teach them in school is just the basics.  Readin’, writin’, ‘rithmetic.  Everything else, they will need to discover on their own.  We can encourage their curiosities and teach their minds to soar.  Help them find their own THING.  Be it writing, gardening, medicine…WHAT their thing IS, really doesn’t matter.  To have them grow up with a strong sense of self, self worth, and a driving wonder to make this world a better place IS what counts.

To have them grow up believing that you can force someone to “clean up” and see things way you do, isn’t what should be taught.  They shouldn’t be taught to just follow orders and do as they’re told.

They should be taught to think for themselves, on an individual level.  To rationalize in their OWN mind the difference between right and wrong.  To force someone to “clean up” is just wrong – regardless of how right you think you are.


How to be Hippie Life in General

Happy Hippies…

Have you ever noticed that “those hippie types” tend to be happier people than most??  I’m sure there be people who simply assume that hippies are happy because they are stoned!  To avoid starting a flame war on the pro’s vs con’s of the legalization of marijuana, let me make a statement.  I’m no stoner. 

Yes, there has been the odd time a hoot or two has been taken.  It’s been a VERY long time (February 2005 to be precise).  I find, for me personally, it’s the most effective sleeping aid there is.  Since sleep is not generally too much of a problem, there’s really no need to keep any around.  Suffice to say that although I don’t smoke it much, I AM a strong supporter of the movement to legalize it.

Being Canadian helps.  We tend to be rather liberal about a lot of things.

The concept of happiness will vary widely from one person to the next.  It’s difficult to define happiness since what brings JOY into your life is as personal an item as one’s relationship with their Creator.

What has probably had the single most profound effect on my personal happiness (and this sounds ridiculous) was a poster that was given to me in my late teens.  The title read:  “How To Be Happy, In Spite of Yourself”.

The border was bright orange and it was divided up into a number of squares.  Each contained small snippets and suggestions on simple things that could potentially bring happiness.  The poster itself was lost somewhere along the way, but the little tidbits of advice have stayed.

One section read:  “Learn to appreciate the little things”.

**warm, dry socks

**the smell of fresh nail polish

**wine, bread and cheese on a hillside (any hillside will do)

Another section was entitled:  “Devote yourself to something OUTSIDE of yourself”

**helping out at an animal shelter

**serving soup to others

**study the life and times of Dorian Gray

It took me quite a while to fully understand the Dorian Gray thing…I did eventually get it.

Another thing that will contribute greatly is health.  In general “hippies” tend to lean toward a VERY healthful diet and lifestyle.  We “hippie types” pursue organics as a matter of practice whenever possible.   We putz with gardening and like to know precisely what is in the food we consume.  For me, this will eventually result in retiring to my organic fruit and vegetable farm at Summerberry, SK  ( ) In the interim, its making a point of eating GOOD food.  Not complicating my life with chemical (household, personal care, etc).  Hippocrates said it best:  “Let your food be your medicine”

If you pay attention to WHAT you eat, you WILL feel better.  If you FEEL good, you’re generally a happier person.  It all works together.

Stress, or a general lack of it, will also play a major role in your personal bliss zone.  I have found that my overall stress level has pretty much vanished since making the move to small town Saskatchewan.  Grant you, MONEY stress is at an all time high, but the niggling worries have left me.  I haven’t locked my front door in over a year, I no longer require the car-alarm-from-hell.  The day-to-day frustrations that once plagued my day are gone.  POOF.  Just like that.

This was all a very personal decision.  The will to work on being self sufficient (see grew out of a need to feel better.  The need to feel better was driven by strange and irritating health problems.

I found that eliminating the cause (or what I believed to be the cause) and simply make better choices has had the biggest impact on my quality of life.

By improving diet, my body likes me better.  By making my body happier, I FEEL better.  Because I feel better, I am more energetic.  Because I have more energy I am able to embark on projects that say, five years ago, I would NEVER have concieved.

So, you see how this all fits together?

One little thing at a time.  Cause and effect.  Little bit, by little bit causes fall away and are replaced by the effect.  The end result being HAPPINESS.  It’s all a matter of finding the small things that make the biggest difference.

Now if I could just figure out a way to make money being happy!!

Rational, Positive, Creative!


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.

Life in General

OK, the rock part is under control…roll? not so much.

I was rather hoping to be doing the snoopy-dance-of-joy over having been accepted to the training program I’ve applied to.  Well, I’m still waiting…

Things seem to have been in a holding pattern for quite a while out here, and I’m really not sure why.  However, I do suspect that once things start to roll, all hell will break loose!

In the meantime, to keep things afloat I have managed to find a job!!  I love retailing, and since one day (yes, I’m a dreamer, even at my age) there will be a small shop on my farm I want to keep up the skill set that I’ve started to cultivate.  So, working at the local grocery store seemed like a logical step.

What a blast!  Run around like a crazy person stocking shelves, re-organizing produce and helping customers.  It’s tough stuff – the warehouse is stocked to the ceiling!  Sometimes, just getting a case of juice can be rather harrowing, but it’s all for the greater good.

Still I wait…hopefully, I’ll have some seriously good news to report on the Hippie Ways business ideas shortly!

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…


April 16, 2010 – Ask a Hippie…

I’m thinking I may just start up a communication column. Since anyone who really knows me, knows that I am exceedingly proud to be a flag-waving Hippie, and that being self sufficient is a primary goal in my life, I think that I may take this wonder called blogging, to a whole new level. Interactive blogging…or whatever you want to call it. If you have a question, ask it, if I can answer right away I will, if not, I will find out and get back to you. Pretty simple, rather like going for coffee with friends, but without travel, cash outlay etc. Rather an odd way to be social, but I think that since so many of us spend a lot of time in front of a computer (for whatever reason) it’s a quick and easy way to keep in touch and exchange information. Let me know what you think!!