Monday, September 21, 2009

"Make God Laugh - tell Him your plans!"

Last night we left Boulder, headed to nearby Longmont, for a visit with a professional associate, to be followed by three days visiting Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Trail Ridge, the Continental Divide, our opportunity to see all the native creatures we've missed so far...Elk, Mountain sheep and goats, lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

After a short drive, and a night spent in a hotel that, in my opinion, deserves -1 star, we awoke to find that 4 or so inches of snow had fallen in the Rockies, the entrance to Rocky Mountain park was closed, all the higher mountain roads were closed by snow, it was gray and rainy in Longmont, and our plans were...not going to materialize. I am NOT fated to see the beauty of the mountain tops this year.

But we had scheduled a visit with Cindy Jones, of Sagescript. I got to know Cindy through various Cosmetics Chemistry lists. She is,among other things, a microbiologist who tests products for contamination. If you make homemade creams, lotions, and other products which are subject to contamination, Cindy can test samples for you, and tell you if they are, at least, starting off "clean"... She can also do challenge testing to see if your preservative system is effective. (Yes, I know many of my friends make and sell "natural" toiletries products. I have received some...that grew green nasties in no time at all. In my professional opinion, proper preservation is a requirement for any toiletries product you are selling.)
Cindy has shared her knowledge generously, and has tested some hydrosols for us. To the best of my knowledge she had a lab somewhere, and we were going to go see it. So much for my assumptions!

The directions took us on what should have been a 15 minute drive. (It took 45 minutes because we went in the wrong direction on the wrong road for a LONG long's been that sort of day.) We finally arrived...tired and grouchy and disheartened... in a corner of heaven!
Cindy's warm welcome was the first glimpse of sunlight on this gloomy day. This is the view from the back porch of Cindy's rambling farm house. Don't know if you can see the snow blanketing the mountains. We visited, drank tea, ate her son's chocolate chip cookies, talked about our respective businesses, and the challenges of raising teenagers, then went outside to visit her garden. She apologized, because this is only their second summer in this house... but there are rows and clumps of organic herbs everywhere I looked.

Clumps of deep orange Calendula, for infusing and distilling:

A clump of feathery Russian Sage

and rows of thriving Lavender plants...for hydrosols, dream pillows, all the uses of dried lavender.

Onward to the converted barn that forms her workshop. Past bottles and jars of dried herbs, infusions, drying herbs, boxes of handmade soap...(WHY didn't I take pictures of the soap!!!)...she gifted us both with bars of Rosemary/Eucalyptus/Shea which my traveling companion has claimed as his own. ;)

Bottles of lotions and creams, tiny purse sized hydrosols... I had forgotten Cindy's "other business"... Colorado Aromatics. She gifted me with a small bottle of her Rose Hydrosol, distilled from aromatic roses in her garden. I wasn't able to sample the bottles of lotion, waiting for labeling and slated for the Farmer's Market...they were Lavender, and I'm sensitized to Lavender.

At the back of the workshop, the Lab where Cindy tests both her own products, and those of her clients.

I am reminded that, online, we sometimes see only one dimension of a person. That we miss the fullness...all the other dimensions.
When we were finally able to tear ourselves away I told Cindy that she had totally turned around what started out as just a dreadful day. In the car heading south, my traveling companion and I discussed the two visits...the two wonderful women who had welcomed us into their homes and their lives...and agreed that even tho the trip to the mountains was a total bust, the trip north was so very much worth it!
This evening we are back in Canon City. There is much to be said for a hotel with *five* hot tubs!... and trying to decide where to head tomorrow. The local weather forecasts snow as far as the Colorado/New Mexico border. (We had hoped against hope that this front would move off, and we could head back north...but the weather is against us.)
"Each day a new adventure"....

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