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Behind the Scenes in the Summer

This week was much like my last. Lots of harvesting and lots of time devoted to giving my kids happy summer holidays. I squeezed in some work, too, which really means that I fit in some fun times just for me. I love writing all about what is going on in my mind, but this week it is going to be all about what is happening in my outer world.

Your Local Small Market was very busy last Saturday. The bustle made this the most fun market, yet. I met lots of new people and visited with old friends. This made for lots of fantastic conversations, smiles and laughs.

My daughter has always wanted to be in the Annual Fourth of July Parade in our small town. She was delighted to ride in Betty Lou. Thanks, Kathleen, of Ollie Otter Bakery for being up to having another kid along for the fun. When asked, my daughter answered that being in the parade was just as much fun as she thought it would be. This response made me smile.

My son, on the other hand, has no desire to be in the parade. He would rather be a bystander taking in all the original floats as they slowly roll by. Attempting to avoid spoilers, he made sure to keep his back to the road in order to prevent chance sightings of stray floats going down the parade route on their way to the staging area. I am with him on that. I love being surprised by new, unique floats each year.

We have a highly unusual parade due to our proximity to the Canadian border and because we are cut off from the rest of the US. It isn't the usual Fourth of July fare and you never really know what to expect. It is not a particularly patriotic parade and that suits most of our dual nation families just fine. My son's favourite in the parade this year was a vintage Canadian fire truck. I loved the group of Maple Beach Canadians who danced their way through the parades, twirling umbrellas. We got lucky. Although it poured rain the entire day before, the umbrellas didn't become necessary on the Fourth.

The evening weather was perfect, too, and we all had lots of fun, eating good food, dancing to (beyond) great music, and being together.

It has still been mostly cool and wet, with only a few hot days. Thank goodness we live so far north, with many, many hours of daylight this time of year. It is these long hours of light on the garden that are responsible for the flowers that are starting to bloom. Months late this year, I am grateful for each and every flower in my garden. They are all loved and appreciated, whether they bring beauty, healing, nourishment, or all three.

This time last year, I was putting together so very many bouquets each week. This year, with the intention of even more cut flowers to enjoy, I planted accordingly. Thank goodness that I did! Nature has her own intentions. If I hadn't have put in extra plants, there would not be much at all this year. I will have flowers in the Garden Stand on this Saturday, July 9th (only flowers). If you would like to order something else to pick up in the Stand, please let me know.

The calendula flowers are blooming away in the garden. Although I grow these blooms for all their goodness for skincare, I love trying out new varieties each year just because they are so pretty. In this summer's garden I am growing Orange Flash, Orange Button, a few Bronze Beauty, and a stunning yellow-coloured Calendula that seeded itself from natural cross-pollination. If I was in the business of creating new seed varieties, she would be a winner. As it is, this particular flower will cross pollinate with others and so I will be sure to fully appreciate this original coloration this summer, because I will surely never see it again.

I am harvesting the Calendula blooms daily and they are soaking in organic olive oil on my counter. From this oil I will create my annual batch or Many Plants Healing Balm and Organic Calendula Soap Bars. I also have some flowers drying and I will sip Calendula tea during the winter when the sun is no longer high in the sky.

I am also in full harvest mode of all the various other wild plants that go into this skin balm, and my counter is quickly filling up with plenty of herb-infused jars of oil. These packed jars are beautiful to look at while I go about my day.

I have made some soap this week, as well, using flowers that I harvested earlier this season. Even though I am busy outdoors, I have to make sure I keep up the batching indoors. Did you know that soap takes four to six weeks to cure? Olive oil based soaps take the full six weeks to cure. No cheating! If I don't continue to create soap now, I won't have any soap bars ready at the end of the summer. Curing is a step that can't be skipped. When soap is cured the bars are fully dry and the ph lowers to just the right level so that your handmade bar of soap is gentle and nourishes your skin.

On July 22nd (just in time for Your Local Small Market on July 30th), this Black Lava Hawaiian Salt Bar will be ready to use. It is a limited edition bar. I made only 40 bars and once it is all sold there will be no more. If you would like to reserve a bar or two, please send me a message to let me know.

I continue to harvest flowers and grasses from my garden and from the wilds, to put up to dry for wreath work and dried arrangements at the end of the summer. I am still taking so much pleasure from these harvests and I love the way all this crazy beauty strung from the ceiling makes my studio feel.

This week I intend to sit down to plan out my dried flower autumn and winter subscription, so please stay tuned.

For me, summer is the most special time of year. This is the moment that all the work in the garden is for. I have been making sure to have moments to sit on my garden bench and take in all the beauty, flower fragrances, and pretty birdsong that is all around.

I am wishing you a wonderful summer week ahead.


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The Shop at Slow Botanicals

Flowers will be in the Garden Stand on Saturday, July 9th. From 11am until all flowers are sold.

Your Local Small Market is Saturday, July 16th from 11am-2pm, outdoors at the Point Roberts Community Center. Come visit us!

Slow Botanicals are available at

Westham Island Herb Farm, Delta, BC

International Marketplace, Point Roberts, WA

Your Local Small Market, Point Roberts, WA

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