Aug 23
by Maryclaire Mayes

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Ok so we don’t have lions and tigers here (although there are some mountain lions). We do have lots of big spiders, all kinds of snakes, including rattlers and copperheads and black bears. But so far our biggest problem is fighting with spider webs everywhere we walk outside. We have seen lots of harmless black snakes, but no poisonous snakes. One thing we are really not used to is seeing bears. We have seen them several times on our hikes and recently one even walking through our backyard. But everything we know about black bears is they usually mind their own business and as long as they don’t think you have food they pretty much run the other way. It is always exciting when we spot one, but I have to admit it is still a little bit scary!

Jul 23
by Maryclaire Mayes


We made a quick trip to to New York for Dean’s family reunion. His side of the family has one every two years and folks come from all over the country. The original plan was to host this years reunion at our little upstate farm. Fortunately Dean’s brother, ( thank you Brian & Nanette) who owns a christmas tree farm agreed to host this year for us. It was fun catching up with extended family and so much fun to see the all nine grandkids together again. Little Mr. Number Seven and Miss Number Eight have always had a special bond, I was happy to see they still wanted to be buddies. We made a long weekend of of, but the cousins were able to hang out for the whole week. It is true that family is where love grows.

Jun 23
by Maryclaire Mayes


Why do we celebrate Independence Day, the 4th of July?  Is it just the first holiday of Summer or another day off from work for a party? In the past it was always called Independence Day and there is a reason for that. Independence Day celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by delegates from the 13 colonies in 1776. The Declaration of Independence changed the course of history. It celebrates the experiment of a new kind of government. For the first time in history, the people, not kings or conquerors, would rule a nation. Delegates elected by the people would vote, representing the will of the people, because they declared it is a natural right for people to be free. This was a radical new idea that would allow people to pursue their own dreams and see their own hard work benefit themselves and their family. No where in the world before, had people been inspired to be independent and self sufficient.

After the vote, John Adams writes to his wife, Abigail: “Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which never was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony ‘that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, …This . . . Day . . . will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. . . . It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Was it perfect? No, but it was a daring experiment to throw off the yoke of class and let people govern themselves and strive to be better. America has been striving to be better since its inception.

So on this day, July 4th, Independence Day, celebrate… just remember what you are celebrating. I am celebrating the vision of our founding fathers and the brave men and women who have sacrificed to make us free, the right to worship God, love my family and friends, live my dreams, be independent and own my own business making our healthy skincare products! What about you? What are you remembering and honoring about the 4th of July?

May 23
by Maryclaire Mayes

She Smiles

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This is our granddaughter Miss Number One. She is so excited and proud to be 14 years old. She has overcome medical challenges as well as many other challenges. Born with defects in her heart, she had open heart surgery at 3 months old. The first surgery didn’t fix her leaky valve well enough and her surgeon felt her only hope was to try again 10 days later.

Many people loved and prayed for our little angel. We prayed that God would help the surgeon make a good repair. The surgeon wasn’t that hopeful after the surgery but said he did the very best possible on her tiny heart. The heart defect contributed to her getting pneumonia that was not responding to antibiotics and at times was very critical.

After over a month in the hospital she was allowed to go home on oxygen with a monitor. Her heart was able to work better and she was able to wean off of oxygen. At 18 months she had another emergency surgery this time to repair an issue with her intestines.

Miss Number One’s heart still needs to be monitored every 6 months. Her doctors aren’t quite sure why it is doing so well for her. I will never forget taking her to the lab for a blood test when she was about 3 years old. She held her arm out for the lab tech to draw blood as if she was just getting a kids cute sticker, never flinched. Then she smiled and politely thanked the tech when she was done.

It takes longer for her to learn new skills but through the help and determination of her family and her early intervention team of therapists, she learned to walk, talk, read and write. Through all the hurdles in her life, she smiles and loves life, her family and Jesus.

Apr 23
by Maryclaire Mayes

I Can Do That

After moving 800 miles south last Fall, we were able to set up to be able to take orders and ship to our customers very quickly. We were out of stock on a few things, like our popular Vanilla Lip Balm. In late March we were able unpack everything we needed so we could make a batch of lip balm. We wanted to get it back in stock before I had arthritis surgery on my thumb and would be one handed for at least 2 months.

After selling more than expected of the Shea body butter, Dean made them with the little help I could give him with one good hand. Probably the most important thing we needed to do was source goatmilk to be able to make soap here too. Dean did make a years supply of soap before we left NY, so we are ahead of scheduled so far.

I forgot to mention, while getting Alabu up and running Dean has been taking on small projects around the house (well, maybe not so small), like completely re-plumbing the whole house. Got to love his can do attitude and accomplishments! Right now we are taking a little breather and looking forward to seeing all the kids and grandkids this month. Wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.