Sunday, December 27, 2009

Okay, so you already have four dogs and you get asked to "foster" another, remember, foster means no keeping. So who forgot to explain that to the dog? And from the dog's point of view, if you do not want to be a foster, what do you do? First, be kind to the elderly, second, crawl on the lap of the "foster" person, third, check out the couch for size, comfort, and fit, and finally, cuddle up on the bed of the elderly person with the smallest and most vocal of the original four. Does it work? Absolutely. Dad renamed him Buckshot, Buck for short, Monk made him his best friend and playmate, and the lap thing is a sure winner.

(yes, folks, it's official! Donna has adopted Bullet - now Buck - short for Buckshot. Also, this is Donna's first-ever blog post! yay Donna! - maggie)
The followup story will be on TV13 news, today at 5 PM. check it out! Also, John blogged the tv crew interviewing Bullet/Buck, check out his blog post!

Monday, December 21, 2009

We will be OPEN today from 1-4(ish) to pack and ship the last of the holiday orders! We are still accepting internet orders for holiday shipping until 3PM CST today! Not sure what to get? I'd suggest the "Best of Prairieland Herbs" set, a little sampling of all of our best-sellers, and only $35, INCLUDING shipping!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

So, as you may know, Donna and Maggie help a local organization with some pet foster/rescue. THis lovely fellow is Al/Bullet (we prefer to call him Bullet). He was shot by his owner, lived, and is now, fortunately, recovering and in fostercare at Prairieland Herbs. He spent his first night in a house (Maggie's house) last night, and did remarkably well, considering! Isn't he a sweet fellow? To read his whole story, go here: Bullet's Story. He is needing money to cover his vet care, so if you are looking to make a charitable donation this holiday, consider donating to cover his vet care! Some of our VERY generous friends and customers have already donated (thank you, FACEBOOK friends!) - it is MUCH appreciated!

So this morning I headed to work with my faitful Dobercompanion, Duncan, Bullet, and 3 foster kittens. Welcome to my world. :) Bullet is doing GREAT, working on housetraining, is TOTALLY great with the cats and dogs, utterly confused by the mini horses (what ARE those?, he says) and is perfectly behaved on the farm - no leashes or fences needed. So far, so good. Now he just needs to find his forever home.
Shopping across Iowa - 12 Great Places

Our friend Miss Effie wrote a GREAT article about shopping locally, and mentioned 12 of her favorite local shops. And we are mentioned! We are so honored! Thanks Miss Effie! Great article, check it out everyone!

Speaking of shopping, we are TOTALLY on top of the orders, and there is STILL TIME to place your online order for holiday delivery! We are working every day until Christmas, and will be shipping orders every day!

Not sure what to get? our Best of Prairieland Herbs set and our Treats for Feets set are perennial best-sellers!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sweet! The Radish Magazine did a great article about natural cleaning products, featuring Prairieland Herbs items and our favorite natural cleaning recipes. Check it out!

If natural cleaning is your gig, check out our natural home cleaning products, including our awesome natural laundry gift set, here.
We will be vending at the Downtown Farmer's Market (It's INDOORS, in Capital Square) this Friday, from 11-2 and Saturday, 9-1. If you'd like us to bring anything in particular, please let us know! We will be located on the 2nd level (skywalk level) across the hall from the sushi market. We look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tired of snow pics yet? Friday, we had to shovel out the waist-high drift from the sidewalk to the shop...there's now a sort of tunnel to walk through. :)

ANd then, we had to dig out the chest-high drift from in front of the classroom!

There was collateral storm damage....mailbox broken by the county snowplow :(

The drifts were so big, our normal snow removal guy (with a big truck and snowblade) couldn't dig us out. A back hoe was required.

And, while Karla was snowed in, she wrapped a few bars of soap for us. This might hold us until the end of the week. Then might not....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I have LOADS more pics to blog, but, for the moment, we are way too busy getting ready for tomorrow's SAMPLE SUNDAY! The roads are (fairly) clear and the event is ON! Slip on your best snowboots and head out to rural Wodward for an ASTOUNDING lineup of awesome local foods and gifts! You can find something for EVERYONE on your holiday shipping list here, we are quite sure! at Prairieland Herbs we have:

Whipped Shea Buters on sale - now only $10.00 each!
Free 2oz handmade soap with any purchase
FREE giftwrapping - Gift sets in all price ranges available!

Limited Edition Holiday Items: Wonderful "Frankincense and Myrrh" handmade soap, and "Spicy" aromatherapy spray, perfect for creating a holiday mood in your home.

Large selection of handknit and hand-dyed silk scarves:

FREE giftwrapping!

Kittens for Adoption!! (No, we won't giftwrap the kittens...)

Guest Vendors:

Nikki Bado-Fralick will have her handmade silver jewellery for sale.

Sally Kilkenny will be vending her amazing award-winning jams and jellies.

Lynn Marie Parkey of Gauranga Reiki will be doing FREE reiki sessions.

Dawn Torrents-Suarez from Morning Rain Massage will do Ear Candling for $25, or $15 with a receipt from Prairieland Herbs or any Sample Sunday Vendors! Chair Massage available, $15 for 15 minutes. All barters and trades will be considered, so bring something cool/handmade/homemade to trade :)

Henna Tattoos FREE for kids, $5 for adults.

Compassionate Creations - yoga inspired jewelry

Angie Lambert with AKC Collections will have her pillows and crafts made from upcycled and repurposed wool, available for sale.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pictures Donna took this morning with her iPhone, and emailed to me to blog. Yay technology! The snow guy told her he "might" be able to make it out to her place in a few hours, far there is no sign of the county plow to clear out the road.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

big snow = lots of computer work. :) Our December Soap of the Month - Frankincense & Myrrh, is now online! It's SPECTACULAR! Terri used REAL frankincense and myrrh to scent this soap - not a synthetic scent. We have 40 bars of this fantastic soap - when it's gone, it's gone! I think this is a perfect item for stocking stuffers or secret santa gifts. The scent: heady, resinous, clean. Very unisex and quite luxurious.

ALSO! The December sale item - Whipped Shea Butters! By customer demand. Only $10 each! These are made with fair trade shea butter, and scented only with essential oils. That makes them the perfect environmentally friendly, socially conscious gift item. Plus, they smell great and moisturize like crazy. Stock up now!

Last but certainly NOT least, we are offering our holiday gift to you - $5 flat rate shipping from now until 2010! Great for shipping gifts to yourself...or to others! We gift wrap and include gift tags, with message of your choice, for no charge!

Snow update: it's CRAZY out there! Donna couldn't get out her back door, it was totally drifted shut. So she managed to get out the front and dig her way around to the barn. She reported waist high drifts, and it's still snowing and really blowing. She fed the horses extra, as she is doubting she can get back out there until sometime tomorrow. The shop cats are warm and cozy with lots of food and water (we won't be able to get into them until probably Thursday, but made sure when we left yesterday that they were okay for a few days).

The internet seems to be going a little glitchy here, but so far we have power and are safe and warm. Iowa DOT has pulled snow plows from several areas of the state - you know it's bad when not even the snowplows can get around. :( 20,000 people are reported to be without power so far....we are hoping they can all stay warm and safe. Windchills are to be as low as -10 tonight.

I have more pictures to post, but blogger seems to be glitchy, so for now here is one that Donna took from indoors.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

So. There is a giant storm happening here right now. An honest to gosh blizzard. I don't watch TV, but I've been told that folks from The Weather Channel, and various people from assorted news stations have been sent here to Iowa to cover this big-ass storm. National Weather Service forecasters have described our first major storm of the season as "epic and extremely dangerous". 8-15 inches of snow are predicted, and up to 50 MPH winds. 8-15 inches of snow is bad enough, but when it snows that much, then blows, we get extremly slick roads, and VERY high snowdrifts. We have at least 6 inces of snow now. it started falling this morning, and is continuing (and expected to intensify) overnight.

Maggie packed as many orders as possible this morning, BUT, Donna had to deal with some family-related health issues, AND the weather got bad enough at about 2 PM that everyone headed home. SO. if you placed an order with Prairieland Herbs on or after Saturday, December 5th, it HAS NOT shipped yet, nor will it until probably Friday.

Epic winds are predicted for tomorrow, and no travel is recommended. Thursday, it should be calmer, BUT, then we have to wait for 1) the county road crews to open up our road, and 2) our snow removal guy to open up our driveway. Given the immensity of the predicted storm, we are not counting on either of those things happening very quickly on Thursday. (Our farm is rural, fairly remote, and VERY prone to drifting). We will keep you posted, but until now, unfortunately, we are predicting to not be able to ship anything until at LEAST Friday.

HOWEVER, we are absolutely willing and able to work overtime to catch up on soon as we can get back into the shop. :) We will keep you posted! Stay warm and indoors, everyone!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

If you like to make your own holiday gifts, here are a few ideas. Tina, from The Essential Herbal, has a GREAT tutorial for making your own spiced pomanders. You just need a few simple ingredients from the grocery store and a bit of time.

Homemade biscotti is one of my favorite gifts to get and to give. We have a few recipes on our website: Lavender Honey Biscotti and Chocolate Orange Biscotti. They age well, travel beautifully, and are delicious dunked in coffee, hot chocolate, or red wine. :)

I made a big batch of Apple Pie Hooch last weekend - it's shelf stable, and, packged in pretty recycled bottles, makes a wonderful gift for your friends and family that enjoy adult beverages.

Along the same theme, I made spiced rum for a gift last weekend. It was ridiculously fast and easy, and looks and smells beautiful! :)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A bit of a personal update. My grandpa is not well. My mom is his main caretaker, and her duties have drastically increased basically overnight. We are doing our absolute best to keep up with everything, however, being one woman short on our busiest time of the year is certainly a challenge. We promise to do absolutely everything to keep the packages shipping out as fast as possible. We thank you for your patience and understanding.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

15% off EVERYTHING on the website, now until December 1. PLUS, Free shipping on orders over $75!

2 new gift sets listed - our Lavender Set (above) is a wonderful selection of our bestselling items in our bestselling scent. And our Relax Pack (below) is an affordable, delightful gift for anyone who needs a bit of rest and rejuvination!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We have KITTENS available for adoption! The are about 3 months old, and are spayed/neutered, microchipped, have age-appropriate vaccinations, have been treated for fleas and worms, and are ready to go home! $65 adoption fee payable to Panora PETS , you must sign a no-declaw agreement to adopt these beautiful babies.

They have been living in my home for the past 2 months, and are used to other cats, dogs and even a bunny. :) They're cute, cuddly, litterbox trained and utterly delightful! They will all be at Prairieland Herbs available for adoption on Friday and Saturday of this week. If you are considering adopting, please bring a kitty carrier, as these guys are ready to go home! :)

Tabitha (female)

Ohio (male)

Miami (male)

Jack (Male)

Colby (Male)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ALSO! Prairieland Herbs will be open regular hours (10-5) Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week. Look forward to seeing you! bring your family members out to tour the 3 farms on Friday and Saturday if you're looking for something fun to do!
NOW is the time to be making holiday gifts that need to be infused, tinctured, or otherwise "soak". Yesterday I whipped up a bunch of jars of vanilla sugar. The vanilla beans will happily sit in the sugar (I used raw turbinado sugar) for a month, flavoring the sugar....mmmm. Basically I just cut vanilla beans in half lenghtwise, put them in pint and quart jars, and filled the jars with sugar. But this blog post describes the whole process much better, and has pretty pictures to boot. And, by the way, buying vanilla beans in the store is sooooo expensive. If you want a bunch for baking, cooking, or making your own vanilla sugar or vanilla extract, I'd recommend calling Ameriherb and ordering some. They're delicious, plump, and reasonably priced.

Friday, November 20, 2009

There is NO SUCH THING as "therapeutic grade" essential oils.

Let me say that one more time, just to be clear:

There is NO SUCH THING as "therapeutic grade" essential oils.

I explain this to people alot, but I get the sense sometimes that they don't believe me. I understand. Other compaines are claiming that their essential oils are therapeutic grade, and charging more for it. Trust me when I tell you that I know FOR SURE that there is another seller (no, I won't name names!) who purchases essential oils from some of our same sources, labels them as therapeutic grade, and charges an arm and a leg for them. Which I think is silly.

Here is an excellent blog post with more facts.

I only tell this so that you aren't mislead or decieved by other companies. That's all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

We will be vending at the Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market this Saturday, November 22nd! Our booth in on the 2nd level - skywalk level - on the west side of Capital Square, near the sushi restaurant. If you'd like us to bring anything in particular for you, please let us know by tomorrow afternoon. :)
it's SAMPLE SUNDAY time already, can you believe it?! Visit the updated Central Iowa Small Farms website for complete details! We have AWESOME sales on gift sets, as well as fantastic guest vendors:

Sample Sunday Specials: Pampering Foot Gift Set - Reiki treatment gift set PLUS Prairieland Herbs "Treats for Feets" gift set, only $50! (Regular value - $60)
Gift Sets on Sale!
* Pamper Packs only $10! (Regularly $12)
* Best of Prairieland Herbs only $25 (regularly $30)
* NEW! Lavender Gift Set - $35 (regularly $40)

Limited Edition Holiday Items: "Spiced Rum" soap, and "Spicy" aromatherapy spray, perfect for creating a holiday mood in your home.
FREE giftwrapping!
Kittens for Adoption!!

Guest Vendors:
Nikki Bado-Fralick will have her handmade silver jewellery for sale.
Sally Kilkenny will be vending her amazing award-winning jams and jellies.
Lynn Marie Parkey of Gauranga Reiki will be doing FREE reiki sessions.
Dawn Torrents-Suarez from Morning Rain Massage will do Ear Candling for $25, or $15 with a receipt from Prairieland Herbs or any Sample Sunday Vendors! Chair Massage available, $15 for 15 minutes. All barters and trades will be considered, so bring something cool/handmade/homemade to trade :)
Henna Tattoos FREE for kids, $5 for adults.
Angie Lambert with AKC Collections will have her pillows and crafts made from upcycled and repurposed wool, available for sale.

Here are Jack and Colby (aka "the cheese boys") - 2 of the adorable kittens available adoption from P.E.T.S. They and their siblings will be at Sample Sunday, hoping to find new homes! They are about 3 months old, litterbox trained, neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, etc, and good with other cats, dogs and bunnies. :) They are available for $65, to indoor homes (and you must sign a no-declawing contract).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Last night John and I attended a fun open house at Art 316, a huge building full of assorted art studios. We got to tour 15-20 artists spaces, view their artwork, and check out their fantastic tools and raw materials. I don't know much about art, but it sure was fascinating just to take a peek at their workspaces, catch the "flavor" of the behind-the-scenes everyday workspace of all kinds of artists. Now, I don't consider myself an artsist, but it sure gave me an appreciation of how much fun it is to view someone else's workspace! Now I know why people always want to peek in the Prairieland Herbs kitchen! :) So, I've assembled a few pictures of our everyday workspace, so those of you who aren't here can catch a flavor or OUR workspace. I hope you enjoy! All of the nice product shots you see on our website are John's work. His studio is a room in the basment (shown above), or our living room (shown below).

Donna and Maggie aren't afraid of garden machinery....or of getting dirty. :)

Our yearly calender, above, is ESSENTIAL. Without it, we don't have a clue what we're doing!

The shopping list is also key! There are always supplies to be ordered.....

Our office is tiny, but we do well with the space we have. The brown file folders hold all our labels. We often have "help" in the office....

Donna and Maggie built the shop, with help from a retired carpenter friend. We hired guys to pour the concrete and do the drywall, and enlisted some help with the plumbing and electrical installtion, but truly we had our hands in nearly every bit of building our shop. And, neither of us had any CLUE about building a building, before this adventure. It sure was an education!

Various and assorted pets roam the farm. Our dogs are always with us, cats come and go as they please, and you may see fowl or miniature horses wandering around too.

We teach classes here on the farm. Above, Donna is teaching a gardening class. Below, we see Karla teaching a soapmaking class in our classroom.

Our antique cash register, above, is a source of much comment! It's beautiful, we love it, and yes, it really works. Below is an interior shot of our shop.

Above, soy wax candles are cooling, and you can see beeswax loaves - the local beeswax we purchase has to be melted and filtered (cleaned) before we use it. Below is a whole bunch of patchouli shea butter balms, these were made as samples to be given away.

This is Maggie's kitchen. Oils are above the sink, essential oils to the left. There are also huge bins of salt, sugar, milk powder and herbs, buckets of shea butter and coconut oil, and tons of packaging, all carefully arranged to maximize the amount of stuff we can fit in a very small space.
These fridges hold our herbs, essential oils, and hydrosols.

Our still, set up outside the shop.

One of our main herb gardens.

THis is our packaging area - we have everything we need in a small area! Bags, tape, bubblewrap, many sizes of boxes, labels, shipping scale, etc.

Sometimes, the weeds get out of hand. (Okay....REGULARLY, the weeds get out of hand.)

The UPS guy visits us REGUARLY. This is a large shipment of assorted raw ingredient and packaging supplies.

This is the type of raw materials we get, in fairly large quantities. Above, 50 lbs. shea butter. Below, 11 lbs essential oils.

Sometimes, we have a bit of wine at work. :)

And here is where we dry our herbs, in a converted chickenhouse. :)

This would be a fairly typical day's worth of shipping.