Saturday, January 17, 2009

In the mad computer kerfuffle, I FORGOT ABOUT FREEBIE FRIDAY! I'm so sorry, everyone!!

Last week's winner was Gloria Y! Gloria, drop us an email at shop at prairielandherbs dot com, and let us know your mailing address, and what type of body butter you'd like!

This week's Friday Freebie post is going to be a bit long, so bear with me. I'm going to shamefully promote our Shampoo Bars.

Last week, I was in the Mall of America. Now, folks, Donna and I are not shoppers. We'd rather tear our own hair out, and/or roll naked in the snow, rather than spend an afternoon in a mall or shopping center. Despite that, I ended up spending rather a lot of time in the Mall of America, and happened to visit a few, well....I won't say competing stores, because, that's not really accurate. Let's just say I visited a few other stores that sell bodycare products. And MAN, was it an eye-opening experience!

It's pretty common for folks to email us and say "I used to use Lush/L'OCCITANE/Burt's Bees/Etc. but now I am in love with your stuff because it's truly handmade/a family owned-company/rocks my world/smells great/costs half the price and is twice as good/etc.". And that always makes us smile to read that, because we happen to agree. :) However, because I don't shop too much, I hadn't REALLY realized how incredibly true that statement is. I was appalled to see how much the other stores were charging, for what is clearly (to me) a less-quality item.

Forget the $45 (!!!!) body scrubs they were hawking.

Forget the CLEARLY not-even-remotely handmade super-stinky synthetic melt and pour soaps.

I zeroed in on the shampoo bars. Because, frankly folks, there are LOADS of bad, bad, BAD shampoo bars in the world. I know this. Which makes us all the more proud of our fantastic ones!!!

Here's a picture of 1) one of our shampoo bars (left), and 2 shampoo bars from other stores - Lush and Basin.

Our shampoo bars are a minimum of 4 oz, and cost $5.50 ($5.00 each if you buy 3 or more).

Their shampoo bars each weighed in at UNDER 2 oz each (1.9 oz), and cost $7.00 for the creamy colored one , and $8.35 for the green one. Making them nearly THREE TIMES THE COST of ours.

I will refrain from further review (because I tried to write more and just couldn't be kind about it) other than saying - just as you can see from the photos, these are clearly not handmade,but smashed together from extruded soap bits. Which I think is weird. There's so much fantatsic handmade soap in the world - why settle for synthetic, overpriced stuff?? Go handmade. It rocks.

Now that you've survived through my shampoo bar rant, let's announce this week's Friday Freebie!

We're offering TWO SHAMPOO BARS OF YOUR CHOICE as this week's Freebie. We well more shampoo bars than just about anything in the store, and regularly ship them all over the world. They are FANSTASTIC. If you'd like to try them, now is your chance to do so for free!!

These are amazing for traveling, camping, and can be used as an all-over head to toe bar, if you so desire. They can safely be used on color treated and permed hair. Most folks who use them report: Shinier, healthier hair with more body, AND, most people have no need for extra conditioner after they shampoo. (yes, you read that correctly). We have and unscented version for people with sensitive skin, and a coconut-oil free version for folks who are allergic to coconut oil. We've got all bases covered!

If you'd like to win these shampoo bars - you must leave a comment on today's blog post.

1) One entry per person.
2) You must have a registered ID to post - if your post shows up under "anonymous", we don't know who you are, and therefore you can't win.
3) You have until the next Thursday at midnight, CST, to enter your comment.
4) Winner will be announced the following Friday - you must check back to see if it's you!
5) International folks are welcome. We ship Prairieland Herbs items all over the world, so we'll ship our "Friday freebie" anywhere too!
6) Each eligible post will be assigned a number, and we'll use a free online random number generator to determine the winner.

Friday, January 16, 2009


A rousing "WHOOP" of joy was heard all across the land, as our computer was FINALLY restored!! It's newer, faster, and better!!! Now, we promise - our only priority for the next two days is getting ALL those orders processed, packed, and ready to ship on Tuesday. We are SO sorry for the delay, and than you once again for your patience!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sample Sunday - Sun. Jan 18th, 12-5

Our monthly "Sample Sunday" is just around the corner! We
're stocking the shelves and clearing the walkways. What's new and exciting here at Prairiealnd Herbs? Our sample basket is chock-full of moisturizing milk baths - perfect for dry wintertime skin. We have loads of moisturizing body scrubs, body butters and body oils - isn't EVERYONE having dry itchy skin with this weather? This time of year the hardworking farmers in our area send in their wives to pick up our fantastic Healing Salve, to heal their cracked, dry hands and feet. PLUS, we'll have a nice selection of these gorgeous Valentines Candy Bouquets (only $12!)
As well as cute, warm handmade fleece hats, neckwarmers and scarves!
Here's what' s happening at Picket Fence Creamery:

January Greetings from Picket Fence Creamery!
Here's wishing all of you a Happy New Year and hoping you are working toward your 2009 goals! So, what's happening around the farm? Let's see.. "mooving" snow and cows having calves, and mooving snow and thawing out cattle waterers, and mooving snow and mooving snow and mooving snow!!! And, it's all STILL GOOD! After all, January is almost half over, and the days are getting longer. With that in mind, we'll take this opportunity to invite you to break out of your cabin fever mode, and stock up on great foods for the big games at our...
"January Thaw"
Jan. 18 Noon to 5 p.m.
Admission is FREE!
Yes, it's supposed to be in the lower 30s this weekend, so let's celebrate! Bring the kids to see our barn full of bottle calves, take a peek at the cows (inside, safe and snug), and eat your way through our store with dozens of local food samples!
(This event is being held in conjunction with our neighbors to the north, Prairieland Herbs, where you'll find the finest bath and body products in the world!)
By the way, Dallas County has done an excellent job of keeping our roads cleared. I had a customer this morning say our roads were better than the ones in Des Moines! By the way, our snow removal team here at the farm (Jeff and his skid loader) have been doing an excellent job, too!
Local Food Samples: Chocolate cherry ice cream, fresh cheese curds, Waukee's Taste of the Town Salsa, elk sticks, buffalo summer sausage, tortellini, Neva's famous cheese ball, fresh peanut butter, pumpkin butter, creamed honey, creamed cinnamon honey, "Elvis" muffins, and gouda, brie, Swiss, and sharp cheddar cheeses.
Guest Vendor: Tim will be here from Prairie Moon Winery, Ames. Try five varieties of their fine wines!
Kids! Check out the 17 bottle calves in the nice, snug barn! Enjoy a bag of freshly popped and Picket Fence buttered popcorn for 50 cents.
"Game Day" Super Deals!
*Buy a jar of local salsa, get a bag of fresh tortilla chips for only $1!
*Our own 90% lean ground beef, $3.49/lb. with 10 lb. purchase (Reg. $3.99/lb.)
*Apple crisp and quart of ice cream - $10
*Homemade cinnamon twist rolls made with our cream - $4.49 for a large plate of 4
*Hulless popcorn - only $1.99/bag
*Cheese, glorious cheese! Sunday only - get a bag of our fresh cheese curds for 3 bucks!
*Buffalo summer sausage, elk sticks, elk ring bologna, Pella bologna, Pasquali's Pizza, Pella beef jerky, buffalo jerky, snacks, chips, Neva's cheese ball, and Iowa wines!
New! Sasparilla, black cherry, grape, root beer, and orange cream sodas from the Kutztown Soda Works, Kutztown, PA. Only 99 centers for a 24-oz. bottle!
Just arrived: Corn salsa, black strap molasses, corn grits, muesli, fresh biscuit mixes, corn chowder soup mix, fresh pancake mixes, real maple syrup, Two Sisters mahogney pound cake mix, pumpkin chocolate chip bread mix, beer bread mixes, dips, cheese cake mix, and soup mixes, and fresh candies including Boston baked beans and French burnt peanuts!
Coffee: We have a good selection of Cafe Diem coffees (Ames) including caramel crunch, snickerdoodle, and Jamaican-Me-Crazy (rum). We also have Two Sisters cappuccino mixes: chocolate raspberry, chocolate mint, chocolate cherry, French vanilla, and cinnamon vanilla.
Fresh pancake mixes: Buttermilk, blueberry, and apple cinnamon pancakes make a great breakfast any time! Coupled with some creamery butter, real maple syrup and Dreesman's maple link sausages, you're set!
Yes, temperatures in the 30s are just around the corner! It's time for ice cream! Choose from these 25 flavors in our cooler: vanilla, cherry vanilla, vanilla chocolate chip, vanilla cookies and cream, caramel, caramel apple, apple cinnamon, maple cream, rum raisin, luscious lemon, key lime pie, orange pineapple, egg nog, mint chip, pumpkin, strawberry, strawberry banana, very berry, chocolate, chocolate chocolate chip, chocolate cookies and cream, chocolate raspberry, chocolate cherry, chocolate malt, and mocha. Whew!
Puppies! A friend is bring his "farm-raised" Jack Russell/rat terrier puppies on Sunday. They are adorable and will be $15 each, or 2 for $25! Kids, you'll have to check them out!
That's all from the farm for now. Feel free to forward this email to anyone in your address book who would enjoy and nice afternoon in the country! If you can't make it Sunday, stop by Saturday instead...we'll have the sample table ready!
Your friends,
Jeff, Jill, Jenna and James Burkhart
Picket Fence Creamery
14583 S Ave.
Woodward, IA 50276
EGADS it's cold.

How cold? Check out a pic of our neighbor's* thermometer this morning!

So the projected HIGH today is -5. It's approximately -15 right now. as soon as I finish this blog post I'm going to pile on several layers of clothing and attempt to start my van. BECAUSE *drum roll* Donna just called and said her driveway has just been cleared. So we can get to work! and hopefully get the computer set up with a minimum of swearing.

I'll let you know when we're up and running. Meanwhile, bundle up everyone.

*Miss Effie actually lives several hours away, but in the "country" sense, a neighbor is anyone you are neighborly with - or neighbor with. (Yes, it can be a verb. trust me.) Also for the purposes of the international internet community, she is our neighbor in that she lives in the same state as us. Heck, I consider our customers in Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc. to be neighbors too. So, howdy neighbors!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mercury is retrograde. *sigh*

So, here is the most important thing you need to know: Our computer crashed and we're snowed out of or shop. SO, rest assured - we will get back to normal tomorrow (We think) but if you have emailed us in the last few days, we are NOT ignoring you, we just are having some temporary technical difficulties, and we thank you for your patience!

Now, the long-winded version of that announcement.

Tuesdays are always busy days for us, because we are closed Sundays and Mondays, so we have lots of orders to process and pack, phone calls to return, emails to answer, etc. So it was quite a shock to our system to show up on Tuesday (yesterday) to find that our computer had mysteriously stopped working.

Now, it probably shouldn't have been a surprise. Our Gateway is 4-5 years old, and is a WELL-USED machine. See, our business runs pretty much entirely with that machine. We use it to pull orders, answer emails, process credit cards, and print labels. Without it, we grind to a halt pretty much immediately.

So, we spent the morning trying to trouble-shoot, and fix the durn thing. (Those of you who know Donna and I are now laughing hysterically at the idea of us trying to fix a computer. We can use the things just fine but fix them - um, no. Lots of "um, errrrr"''s were muttered, heads were scratched, toes were scuffed, swear words invoked.

A note: The weather yesterday was dreadful. COLD, and we had had loads of snow and blowing the day before. We had to brave snowdrifts up to our butts (yes, literally) to tromp through to get from the house to the shop. (Necessary, because house has food and a bathroom and our shop does not).

We eventually decided to give it up, and just buy a new computer. So the search ensued. We figured out what we wanted to spend and poked around online, then decided Maggie should just drive to Des Moines and buy one.

Off I go in my van to Des Moines, to visit 3 different stores. Meanwhile, it starts snowing. ALOT. and then some more. Oh, and look - the wind is picking up! Great. By the time I visit 4 stores to figure out what we want, and actually make the purchase, we have a little mini-blizzard going on. I head home. Wine was consumed.

This morning, we woke up to big snowdrifts. For those of you who haven't visited our farm, lemme 'splain. The setup is thus: we have 2 acres (almost) of land. Donna's house is on the land, as well as our shop and various outbuildings. It is on a gravel road, surrounded by cornfields, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The part of Iowa we live in is very, very flat, and when we get blowing snow, we can easily get drifts several feet high, making it impossible (impassible?) to get around. So even a few inches of snow, combined with high winds, can REALLY screw things up.

So, Donna is currently ensconced in her warm house, surrounded by large snowdrifts. The winds are still howling. The HIGH temperature for the day is 2 degrees. The low? So glad you asked. A balmy -14. The winds are holding steady at 15 to 20 mph with some gusts up to 29 mph, giving us a delightful windchill factor of -20 or so. Eventually, the winds will slow down. At some point after that, the county trucks will plow out her road. And at some point after THAT, our nice snow guy will come plow out or driveway so we can get to the shop.

Until then, the new computer waits patiently in my van, 30 miles away, and Donna waits, not at ALL patiently, for her new computer to show up. You folks have NO idea how much it is bothering her that she can't fill your orders and answer your emails!

So until then, stay warm y'all.....we'll be in touch with tomorrow...hopefully......

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My sister Marjory has just started her etsy store, and is stocking it with the CUTEST stuff! Her fleece hats (above) are super-warm, soft, adorable, and SO affordable. I got one for Christmas, and it is no exaggeration to say that I get comments and compliments on it everywhere I go. Even the guy who changed the oil in my van last week loved it. (lol). She has loads more, and can do them in any sizes or fabrics. Watch her etsy store for future listings!

She is also doing these super-cute (and again, very affordable) Valentines Candy Bouquets! You can order them online, or, we will have a nice selection of them available in our shop starting next week.