Mar

  • Needed more supplies for soaps

    After reviewing the initial recipe I wanted to follow and running it through a soap calculator, I realized that the little 15ml bottles of essentials oils that I had around the house just were not going to cut it if my plan was going to involve making almost 20 lbs of soap!  I needed many ounces of Essential Oils, not milliliters.

    I can sense that Bulk Apothecary is going to be a favourite site into the future.  I ran around Winnipeg hoping to find a good price on the Rosemary and Thyme that I wanted to add to my soap... and $15-$20 for a 0.5 oz was not what I wanted to pay.  Bulk Apothecary has the same size bottle for $3-$4, or 16 oz bottles (thirty times the oil) in the $40 range... hmmm, $15-$20 for a 0.5 oz or $40-$50 for 16 oz... an easy decision!

    This time, knowing that there should only be one box, I had the package delivered to Mike's Parcel Pickup.  While it cost $30 in gas, that was far cheaper than paying UPS $50-$70, and much quicker than waiting and running around to do the self-clearing.

    While I was placing an order anyway, I added some other oils that I want to try in the next soap recipe batches for their aromatherapy qualities, soap exfoliants (seeds), soap colouring sample kit (oxides), oils I didn't have to complete my own "thieves oil" blend, caps meant to get for my bottles from the last order, and some books on this new hobby.

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  • Some businesses just don't care about their customers, add Pinewood Lodge to your avoid list

    These pictures are of the ice at the transition between the sloped yard and the deck where I slipped and fell on my back while unloading the car into the chalet. They represent the before and after I asked for grit/salt to be laid down to prevent further incidents. I'm pretty sure the initial lady behind the counter was staff, but I ensured I made a second appearance and met who I believed to be one of the owners, and all I can say is that she came across very unapologetic and unconcerned. I guess the fact that I was standing in front of her instead of laying on an ambulance stretcher precluded courtesy and concern. Little did she know how much time I spent in the steam shower and jaccuzi to get enough comfort to be present. The chalet is amazing, but apparently the people... not so much unfortunately. Don't they know their liabilities? Maybe that's my purpose here... education...

    There are definitely some chiro/massage appointments in my future to help healing and lessen my aches and pains. I'll be sure to keep my receipts I think.

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  • Made my own drum!

    Had a great time at Darcy's Drum Making Workshop at Divine Clarity today!  I opted to use an elk skin on my drum, and asked for an 18 inch frame (over the typical 12/14/16 options).  The drum turned out great, and the experience of making one was so incredibly fun that I think i'll be taking the workshop again to make another.  All I need to do now is weave some softer leather/fabric through the back strings so that it is easier on my hands while holding it.

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  • My first water kefir batch

    Over the last few days, we've been slowly drinking the starter kefir batch I'd acquired, as it continued to ferment on our counter.  The kefir seemed to get thicker and more sharp as the days went by... so I was certainly exposed to a wide range of flavours as it fermented.

    Having consumed the last of the water, I followed the guidance and recipe found on growyouthful.com to put together my first brew of water kefir.  For my first batch, I decided to use 100% maple syrup as my sugar.  That and the molasses explains the dark rich colour.

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  • The Way of the Shaman

    I attended my first FSS (Foundation for Shaman Studies) workshop this weekend; sponsored by Divine Clarity. My attraction was to learning about (and doing) journeying, which I understood to be a form of meditation.  It also gave me the perfect opportunity to use the drum I had just made last weekend! (scroll down two posts)

    During the Basic experiential workshop, participants are introduced to core shamanism, the universal, near-universal, and common methods of the shaman to enter nonordinary reality for problem solving and healing. Particular emphasis is on the classic shamanic journey, one of the most remarkable visionary methods used by humankind to explore the hidden universe otherwise known mainly through myth and dream. Participants are initiated into shamanic journeying, aided by drumming and other techniques for experiencing the shamanic state of consciousness and for awakening dormant spiritual abilities, including connections with Nature.

    I truly found it to be a fantastic workshop. My most incredible (and convincing) experience was using journeying to find out more information about the issue I've been having with my knee than doctors (using x-rays) and chiropractors have been able to tell me so far. In less than 10 minutes of journeying, I found a test (simply rolling the skin) to perform on my knee that proved the issue was in the skin (likely a nerve). It's not joint (arthritis) or ligament pain; simply a sensitive spot on/under the skin that really lets me know it's there when I happen to bump or apply pressure in just the right spot.  If there was ever a reason to doubt journeying in any way, this experience just obliterated it!

  • Update on my first Water Kefir batch

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    Two days in and I can already see that my first batch is more active (more bubbly) than the starter batch I was given. In fact, it almost looks like they've grown too.

    I know I used a different sugar, but I predict that adding molasses was the big difference; they just love the added minerals!

    Of course both these things also have changed the taste significantly. I think the molasses is a keeper, but maple syrup reminds me too much of pancakes. Going to leave this batch on the counter to continue fermenting and see how the flavour changes over time before I decide for sure though.

  • Update 2 on my first Water Kefir batch

    Five days of fermenting on the counter has lead to a rather vinegary batch. I must admit that I've left it out too long for my taste.

    I strained out the kefir grains and started batch number two.  This time using cane sugar over maple syrup, and keeping the molasses.

    Sorry about forgetting to take a picture of this batch, but batch two really doesn't look any different when compared to the picture I took back on Mar 7; other than realizing I only used half the water the first time... so the jars are more full.

  • Water Kefir batch two has gone crazy!

    Four days in (having a nice sharp taste, just before vinegary) and I'm just noticing that the kefir grains have tripled!  The grains are definitely happy, healthy, and multiplying.  I think they agreed with me on switching maple syrup for cane sugar.

    I never would have imagined that I'd be starting batch three with making twelve jars... incredible!

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  • Shamanism, Dying, and Beyond

    Attended my second FSS (Foundation for Shaman Studies) workshop this weekend; sponsored by Divine Clarity. So excited after the first workshop that I could hardly wait for the next one offered.

    Participants learn how to deal with the issue of dying and the destiny of souls from a shamanic perspective. The workshop is both for those who wish to learn for themselves, and for those who wish to help others who are in terminal situations or who have already passed on. Experiences to be undertaken include learning how to become experientially familiar with the after-death realms, tracking a person using shamanic journeying, completing unfinished business, helping a person to cross over, and classic psychopomp work.

    I wasn't initially as wowed by this workshop as I was the first. I think mainly because it seemed to be slanted towards things I would do for other people, and I was still hoping to focus on my own self improvement/exploration; a shift in my expectations. In the end I came to some well needed realizations about life, death, family, and friends; and I am grateful for the healthier perspectives.

    Also learned psychopomp!

  • Learning new tricks with water kefir batch three

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    Three days into batch three (Mar 19th), my kefir was bubbling like crazy, and I could already tell the grains were still growing.  What I obviously needed to learn quickly was how to only make as many batches as I could drink; which would also mean figuring out how to keep/store the grains that I didn't need to use for fermenting.

    The first answer/lesson was, simply, use the fridge.  The basic premise being that you still need to feed the grains, so you start a new batch (make the grains food) but put the jar in the fridge to slow the grains down.  So I put my three day ferments in the fridge so they could continue to ferment more slowly.  As I got close to emptying each jar of liquid over the next few days, I poured the grains into the next jar, delaying the need to start any new batches.

    The second answer, equally simple, was to entertain the idea of making them available to others like Kijiji/Jody had done for me. If you live in/around Winnipeg and are looking for a happy water kefir culture, let's make a trade for a freshly made batch.

  • Expanding my Cast Iron cooking options

    Back in late January when I was contemplating getting a 13.25 inch Lodge cast skillet, it was one that d. a. Niel's had previously ordered to bring in for stock... but it never arrived.  They did have a 12 inch that had arrived, and looking at it made me realize that really was the biggest I could hope to use on myr stove top anyway.  Only issue was, they didn't have a lid for it.

    So I did a little digging and found that the 7 Quart Dutch Oven came with a 12 inch lid that would fit our pan.  It didn't take much calculating to realize that $80-$90 for a lid was a worse deal than $140 for a lid with a pot... that's like a buy the lid and get a pot for $60, or less.

    It took a while for our special order to arrive, but I'm looking forward to getting some good use out of my new 12 inch skillet, dutch oven, and lid!

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