Monday, February 28, 2011

Me-Time Monday: Just Breathe Vlog

Here is my first attempt at vlogging.

Please excuse my lack of makeup.  At least there are no screaming boys in the background.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Janet Poston

Spring is right around the corner.  “Yes!”  It’s time to start tilling the soil for our garden.  In the past we have used our draft horse, Cash (pictured below).  He is an awesome Percheron horse who actually trained to be in an ad for Southern States before we bought him ten years ago.  However, he did not dapple out quite enough and was never included in the ad.  Who cares about a few extra spots, we don’t.  Ol’ Cash actually has lost more of his gray over the past few years.  He now is more white than gray. 

Will riding Cash; me holding Rett.

The nearby Amish still do all their tilling using draft horses.  To save on time, we no longer use Cash.  We now use two different sized gas tillers; a Troy-Bilt & a Stihl.  Up until last summer, Stan* tilled frequently to keep the soil in good shape.  *(My beloved husband of over thirty-five years, Stan, passed away last July 24.  He was, by no stretch of the imagination, a master gardener). . . So, needless to say, Stan is sorely missed (for a thousand different reasons), and our gardening skills won’t be nearly as sharp.  Tilling will have to be taken over by the rest of us.

Why till?
  • Tilling breaks up the ground into fine particles, making it easier to plant seeds and pull weeds, and of course the roots of the plants can grow quickly and easily. 
  • Tilling works in the added fertilizer.  We use only natural/organic fertilizers (from our chickens and cows).  We do use green-manuring, too.  This is simply tilling in leftover pea and bean vines, etc. from the summer/fall garden or tilling in cover crop such as rye grass, buckwheat, and alfalfa.  All this fertilizer is mixed up and stirred around in the dirt.  Hey, we know what’s in/on our food. -- We know our farmers!
  • Tilling also fights those dreaded weeds. 

Wright tilling in the background.

We know Stan will be smiling down from heaven as we continue on with something that was so dear to his heart!

The ground is still damp from our most recent snow, thunderstorms, and flash flooding.  Hopefully, it will be drying out soon.  The weatherman indicates that we should be drying out next week so that we can begin to till within the next few days.  If the soil is too wet, it won’t till right and the dreaded soil lumps will hinder plant growth.  But, as soon as the soil is ready, we’ll be ready to do our part.  The gardening is just beginning!

Even if you can only put out a small garden patch, it’s better than no patch at all and just think . . . while gardening, the sun will provide you with a source of much needed Vitamin D and you will be Toning your Mind, Body, & Spirit.  Hopefully, this is an activity you can share with your family or neighbors.  You'll not only grow your veggies/herbs/fruit you'll know what they don't have--say E-coli for example.  Best of all, your produce will be Fresh, Nutritious and Delicious! 

Wishing you happy gardening days!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oil That Squeak!

by Janet Poston
There is a reason for oiling.  Cars, doors, machines, tools, etc. function much better.  We do, too.  For us, oil is a necessity in life.  There are many essential oils, dating back to Biblical times.  As a matter of fact, there are 188 references to oils in the Bible.  Oils are the oldest form of medicine known to man and were considered more valuable than gold.  Remember frankincense and myrrh?  Frankincense oil contains very high immune stimulating properties.  Myrrh oil combats fungal and viral infections.

An assortment of Essential Oils.

Here @ SoJoy, we are launching new spa products in March taking into account the properties of many essential oils.  All oils have a very high frequency (the measurable rate of electrical energy flow that is constant between any two points).   A human body also has electrical frequencies, and much about a person’s health can be determined by its frequencies.  When the frequency drops in a person, the immune system is compromised.  Here’s where the essential oils can help fix the squeak.

According to Dr. Royal R. Rife (inventor of the Rife machine) every disease also has a frequency.  He found that certain frequencies can prevent the development of disease and that others would destroy the disease.  So, an important question is:  Can we make a difference and avoid disease by what we eat, breathe, and absorb through our skin?  Clinical research shows that essential oils have the highest frequency of any natural substance known to man, creating an environment in which disease, bacteria, viruses, and fungi cannot live. 

I have used many oils or combined them for:  relaxation & stress (citrus & lavender); stimulation (lemon, melaleuca, rosewood); anti-inflammation (basil & bergamot); infections (melaleuca & oregano); complexion (sandlewood, rose, geranium, grapefruit, lavender); digestion (peppermint);  muscle soreness & tissue repair (lemongrass), concentration (basil, black pepper & cypress), etc.  Some high-grade theraputic oils can be taken orally (please consult with your doctor first) or rubbed into the skin.  They can also be diffused into the air.  They freshen the air with natural fragrances, eliminating the need for synthetic, harmful air fresheners.  

Non-toxic cleaner that smells wonderful.

I have used oils for cleaning as well.  I simply make a spritz using spring water, distilled vinegar, steeped cloves, steeped cinnamon bark, lemon oil, rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, and a few drops of food grade hydrogen peroxide.  I add a little to my dishwasher, laundry cycle even my mop for cleaner floors.  This combination also makes an excellent spray to repel insects on flowers and plants.  Nothing synthetic or harsh with this cleanser!

Each of the essential oils we are using in Sojoy spa products has health benefits.  We’d like to introduce Sojoy’s new body balms available in March: Balance, Flourish, Confidence, and Timber (for men); Sojoy’s new toners: Blossom and Vigor (aftershave for men); and Sojoy’s new hand sanitizer: Clean.    All new spa products are handcrafted with many essential oils and other natural-ingredients for excellent health benefits, AND the largest organ (skin) in the body will benefit by feeling cleaner and softer.  It’s time to eliminate that squeak!

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

**Medical Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is intended to provide helpful and healthful advice from traditional, home-health & well-being practitioners (Not medical doctors) and should not be construed as medical advice.  Please consult your primary health physician if you have or may have any pre-existing medical conditions.**

Monday, February 21, 2011

Me-Time Monday: Style File, "Flight of Fancy"

by Jena Sanders

An excerpt of Flannery O'Connors using her words to describe the beautiful majesty that is the Peacock.

"The cock stopped suddenly and curving his neck backwards, he raised his tail and spread it with a shimmering timbrous noise. Tiers of small pregnant suns floated in a green-gold haze over his head. The priest stood transfixed, his jaw slack.... “Christ will come like that!"

Peacock, Turquoise Magnesite and Suede
My own love of the peacock's beauty grew when I drew a portrait, for my sister-in-law Mercy, of a peacock with its tail fully expanded.  Such a magnificent creature! 

For Southern Joy Jewelry's Spring 2011 line, the peacock feathers and colours are my muse.
In addition to the peacock feathers, I am incorporating other bird-esque components.  Spring Peeps wine glass charms, Turquoise Magnesite (known for its calming properties and known to aid in visualization and creative imagination) will become necklaces juxtaposed with warm, earth toned brass bird/nest pendants.
Fanciful Flight.

All different types of feathers make for light fashion, especially as earrings.  Inspired by Gwenyth Paltrow's pretty pink feather earrings in her performance at the Grammys, my sister, Jill came to me with the idea of creating our own feather earrings.

Fashionable feathers, neutral and bright, fun earrings will make.

Me, modeling my peacock feather earrings.

Lastly, I enjoyed making this Larait necklace with Malachite (known to help absorb negative energies by clearing electromagnetic radiation and creates harmony and balance in the body) clear swarovski crystals, feathers and camel coloured suede.  Great movement, a little native americany.

Complete Spring 2011, "Flight of Fancy" coming soon!  Stay tuned by becoming a fan of Southern Joy on Facebook and sign up for SoJoy's newsletter @ for well-being information and exclusive offers.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Father's Gardens

Homage to Dad
by Jena Sanders

As the long, cold winter months give way to warmer and slightly longer days, new life emerges.  Any among us who have ever gardened begin to feel the itch of planning for the new season.  Whether space permits only a few potted plants on the back porch, or we have a whole acre devoted to sowing seeds and planting, our efforts are rewarded by reaping fruits brought forth from our labour.

As springtime looms in the not so distant future, the comig spring is a bittersweet time.  This is the first year without my beloved father, who was and will remain forever in my heart as "The World's Best Gardener (and Dad)."

Dad and his helpers, Wright, Jack and Weaver

Like Thomas Jefferson, my father advocated an agrarian society; a community subsiding primarily by agriculture:  defined as the science, art and practice of farming; concerned with cultivating land, raising crops, and feeding, breeding, raising livestock and families. My father was an agriculturist; an artist, scientist and practitioner of farming.  By God's grace he was able to become an excellent one.

Dad tending his annual Asparagus, Blackberry bushes on the left.
As long as I can remember, my father enjoyed gardening.  I was born and lived my first two years of my life on a farm.  Our family would move 12 times thru seven states.  Residing in cities, suburbs, or rural country, my father would, while still working a full-time government job, make time to plant and tend a garden.  The gardens would range in size and in produce depending on where we were living at the time.  There always was a garden.   There was never an excuse for him not to have one, although there were plenty of excuses my siblings and i had to get out of the gardening chores.  Picking up rocks from the soil, and pulling weeds, someone has to do it, fun times or not.  And, besides, that's what children are for, little helpers, no? :)

Jack in the Beanstalks
As my father worked in the soil, he approached the gates of heaven in a communion of sorts.  There exists an intimate metaphor between God and the earth from which He made man and man's own creative work in the soil.
Mom and her three grandsons, Will, Jack and Rett

For my father, whether or not he fully understood the full effect of his actions, was able to nourish the ones he loved the most with more than just physical nourishment.  By his blood, sweat, tears and loving energy he provided nourishment for our souls.

 Rett enjoying fresh English peas off the vine.

By my dad showing us how to cultivate the land, he cultivated our minds; forever shaping the way we think and the way we strive to live.

 Community Garden Night '10

During the past three years, we (my three other siblings, my mom, husband and my three sons) wanted to help in his endeavors and established a family gardening night (after work hours).  This past year we had additional help from friends interested in learning gardening skills.  On these garden evenings we would come to be his helper bees, whether in the fields or inside preserving the harvest by canning.  We worked for several hours into the darkening evening, often sweaty, tired and dirty.  Together we rejoiced at the supper table for God's gracious provisions, sharing a meal freshly picked from the garden.

Simple, nutritious meal (for the boys)--Homegrown Sausage & Fresh Veggies
This year our garden will be quite different.  We amateurs trying to produce the beautiful majesty that was Dad's garden is a tremendous challenge.  But, as my father strove to provide the loving nourishment found uniquely by the fruit of one's own labour, we too, shall continue on.  Picturing my father cultivating a perfect garden within the gates of heaven, looking down on his legacy, I pray our efforts will be blessed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: Komubucha, A Health and Beauty Elixir

by Jena Sanders
Kombucha is heralded as an ancient "elixir of life" originating 2,000 plus years ago when the Korean doctor named Kombu, treated the Japanese emperor with fermented tea; "cha" meaning tea.  This elixir spread through Asia and many parts of Eastern Europe, particularly, Russia where it is still a traditional beverage made in many households.
Kombucha, for Well-being and Beauty
 Kombucha is making a resurgence in popularity as part of the green/whole foods/real food movement and with this post I invite you to partake of this detoxifying, energizing, living beverage. There is a lot of information on Kombucha, and if you are so inclined to read any books on the subject, I recommend Kombucha: The Miracle Fungus.

A synergistic combination of B vitamins, healthy organic acids and live enzymes, Kombucha boosts the immune system, detoxifies the liver, promotes a healthy balance in your digestive system, and calms the central nervous system, leaving one with sense of wellbeing.  It is panacea for ailments including (but not limited to) cancer, HIV, digestive problems, asthma, arthritis, high blood pressure, eczema, aids in weight control, diabetes and more.

Besides numerous health benefits, it also has several beautifying effects (especially when applied topically), including: clear & luminous skin, thicker hair, wrinkle reduction, tighter pores.  Kombucha extract is cropping up on the beauty aisle as it is being used as the latest health tonic for skin.  Personally, when I have applied masks of a pulverized scoby, I have had excellent results; my skin looked radiant and felt tight with pore size diminished. 

My sister-in-law, Liberty, along with introducing me to Kefir years ago, more recently supplied me with a Kombucha starter.   It has become a staple in our household, with my three little boys asking, "Can I ("may I", as I gently correct them) please have some Kombucha?"  They love it!  Of course, I am thrilled to provide them with a delicious (think carbonated apple cider) beverage that is truly healthy for them.  On a side note, to date they have never been on an antibiotic, which I attribute to whole and fermented foods in their diet, and mild silver protein for any infections that may occur.
Fermenting Kombucha
 Kombucha is a fermented tea made from sweetened green and/or black tea.  To ferment, one places a SCOBY, an acronym for a symbiotic colony of beneficial bacteria and yeast, that looks  kind of like a flat mushroom pancake, along with a little bit of liquid starter into a glass or ceramic potIn This contained ecosystem, the scoby will replicate itself leaving the "mother" and new "baby."

To make one gallon:
  • Boil water and add 15 green and/or black organic tea bags.  Let steep, covered, for at least 15 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of sugar*.  Stir to dissolve.
  • When tea has cooled to room temperature add scoby and 1/2 cup of starter (kombucha tea).
  • If this is your first batch it is recommended to add 2 Tbs. of distilled white vinegar.
  • Cover with a porous, breathable material (I use unbleached coffee filters w/ rubberband)
  • Let ferment keeping out of bright light for 7-10 days.  Depending on the weather, it may take a shorter amount (warm weather) of time or longer amount (cooler weather).  The best way to gauge is to taste test during the process.  The longer it is brewed the more sour tasting it will become.  
  • After fermenting pour into air tight containers to maintain effervescence.
  • ENJOY!
  • Pass on the "babies" to family and friends, so they, too, can enjoy this healthy elixir.
*White, refined sugar is recommended for optimal fermenting.  I personally use organic, raw turbinado sugar.
Scoby replication
 Remember this is a living process, so each batch, scoby duplication, may vary.  I would recommend getting the basic recipe down before experimenting with herbal teas, and or various flavours.

**Medical Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is intended to provide helpful and healthful advice from traditional, home-health & well-being practitioners (Not medical doctors) and should not be construed as medical advice.  Please consult your primary health physician if you have or may have any pre-existing medical conditions.**

Monday, February 14, 2011

Me-time Monday: The Valentini, Essie and Avett Bros.

Happy Valentine's Day! 
by Jena Sanders
Chocolate covered cherries, anyone?  Well, how about the next best thing (or quite possibly even better)?  I stumbled across this delicious, super-easy recipe while experimenting in the kitchen.  Definitely worth sharing with your sweetheart, especially if they like cherries and chocolate.
Chocolate Cherry Valentini

Begin by pouring the following into a martini shaker or large glass filled with crushed ice.
  • 2 Jiggers (shot and a half each) of eco-friendly, 360 Double Chocolate Vodka*
  • Heavy pour (about 1/4 cup or to taste) of R.W. Knudsen Organic Just Tart Cherry Juice
  • Shake until the martini shaker becomes too cold to hold.  If you prefer stirred, stir until arm becomes tired.
  • Strain into two chilled martini glasses.
  • Get creative with your garnish.  I tried to garnish with chocolate chips, but they sunk.
    Perhaps Chocolate syrup around the rim?

This Valentini is the perfect balance sweet and sour--sweetish, chocolatey vodka juxtaposed with unsweetened tart cherry juice.  Yummy!  It really does taste like chocolate covered cherries.

*360 Vodka (plain, double chocolate and other flavours), relatively new on the market, has become one of favourite vodkas.  The company is committed to eco-friendly practices, even including a pre-paid postage envelop for the purchaser to return the Grolsch-style flip top.  However, I have personally been recycling the bottles to hold my homemade Kombucha.  The flip top is perfect for keeping the effervescent, healthy, live, pro-biotic beverage.  (Kombucha post coming soon.)
The pretty Valentini Martini colour matches this new Essie shade, Wicked, borrowed from my sister, Jill.  Perfect shade for Valentines day and to round out the winter months.
My first thought for a music pairing for Valentines day was the Avett Brothers' I and Love and You off their new album.  Mr. Right suggested the song below by the Avett brothers with their sister performing in this one, Swept Away.
Worth the download time.  Very sweet song, perfect for your sweetheart, today on Valentine's Day.



Friday, February 11, 2011

Farm-time Fridays: Mind Your Beeswax!

Beeswax is an All Natural Ingredient
Janet Poston

Here on our farm we have our own bee hives.  Bees are indeed very unique insects.  Each hive contains one queen bee and hundreds of worker bees.  I would like to give you a glimpse of why SoJoy's whipped body butter and lip balm contains beeswax (aside from being an all natural emulsifier) but first a little segment on how beeswax is made. 

Some of our beehives.  Photo by Jena Sanders.

Production of Beeswax
Bees are busy and efficient workers.  They are responsible for the production of beeswax to create or repair their honeycomb.  Bees feed on nectar then convert it into honey.  Worker bees consume honey.  The youngest bees cluster in large numbers to raise their body temperature. Wax producing glands under their abdomen slowly secrete slivers of wax about the size of a pinhead.  Other worker bees collect these wax scales and take them to the part of the hive requiring the new wax. Bees then chew the wax, and the secretion from this process makes it soft.   The colors of the wax change (including white, yellow, orange, red and brown).  Bees use about six pounds of honey to produce one pound of wax.  Beeswax is just one of the fruits of their labor from which we benefit.

I heart Beeswax.  photo by Jena.
Benefits of Beeswax
Skin Softner --  Beeswax (containing vitamin A) is beneficial in soothing, softening, and rehydrating dry skin and in cell reconstruction.
Protector  -- Beeswax when blended into body butter and lip balms, forms a protective barrier on the surface of the skin. This barrier provides a film of protection against irritants while still allowing the skin to breathe. 
Skin Healer  --  Beeswax offers anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial benefits.  Beeswax inhibits the growth of the bacteria and fungus, making beeswax beneficial in the treatment of diaper rash and other bacterial skin conditions.

  {fun fact: Did you know Romans used honey instead of gold to pay their taxes?}

**Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is intended to provide helpful and healthful advice from traditional, home-health & well-being practitioners (Not medical doctors) and should not be construed as medical advice.  Please consult your primary health physician if you have or may have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: DETOX Bathing

by Janet Poston
Detoxification of your body through bathing has been around for a long time.  It is something that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Your skin is known as the third kidney, and toxins are excreted through sweating. A detoxification bath will help your body in ridding your body of toxins, as well as absorbing the minerals and nutrients that are in the water.

Here is how I prepare my bath.  I take this detoxifying bath on a day that I have at least forty consecutive minutes.  The first twenty minutes helps the body to remove toxins, and the second twenty minutes helps the body to soak in minerals and nutrients from the water.  I drink fresh water while in the tub and after I get out.
Photo by Jena @ Over the Top Cabin
This is what I do.
  • Fill tub with comfortably hot water.  (If you feel too hot, add cold water).  Even though I have spring water, I have a filter on my spout. 
  • Add two cups of Epsom salts and/or Celtic sea salt to the bath; dissolve by swirling.  Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate) helps relieve muscle aches and soothes the central nervous system by replenishing the body with Magnesium (a typical deficiency in modern times) and sulfates.  Celtic Sea salt (or other live, raw salt) contains several trace minerals that are absorbed through the skin encouraging revitalization.
  • Add one cup of baking soda.  This will help eliminate chlorine (if your water is chlorinated) and softens the skin.

ENJOY!  Bath Soak with dried lavender and chamomile flowers.  Add some fresh ginger too!
  • Add one SoJoy specially-made bathing bags with dried lavender and chamomile flower buds and more.  Additionally, you may want to add some fresh sliced ginger to the bag. Ginger helps to heat the body and allows it to perspire.  
  • I sometimes add a cup of food-grade 35% hydrogen peroxide (purchased from a local organic store).  This helps restore oxygen balance for healthy cell growth and function.
  • Briefly shower off before getting out and drying off.
  • Apply SoJoy whipped body butter or other natural, unrefined oils to your skin.  The oils & butters will penetrate your skin and replenish and nourish your body with nutrients that promote healthy, supple skin. 
  • Enjoy your day!  Keep drinking water throughout the day to further assist in flushing toxins from your skin.

**Disclaimer:  The information contained in this article is intended to provide helpful and healthful advice from traditional, home-health & well-being practitioners (Not medical doctors) and should not be construed as medical advice.  Please consult your primary health physician if you have or may have any pre-existing medical conditions.**

Monday, February 7, 2011

Me-Time Monday: Martinis, Manicures, Music & More

In the midst of winter, who can't use some happy?  I like mine in the form of this delicious, nutritious martini.  For a healthier (albeit less fun) version, you could eliminate the vodka making a virgin-tini.

Grapefruit is known for its uplifting scent promoting a sense of well-being.  It is rich in vitamin C and potassium and Grapefruit Essential Oil is one of my favourite E.O.s to use in natural body, health and home care.  {Please be advised, Grapefruit juice may interact with certain prescription medications.  If you are currently taking any, consult your doctor before consuming.}


  • Squeeze one whole grapefruit* into a martini shaker or glass filled with crushed ice
  • Pour two jiggers (a jigger is a shot and a half) of premium vodka 
  • Sweeten with a heavy splash of organic cranberry juice
  • Shake or stir (your preference) strain liquid into a chilled martini glass
    This recipe makes 2 drinks.
  • Add a sprinkle of Celtic Sea Salt to enhance the flavours &
  • Garnish with orange (pictured) or grapefruit slice

Enjoy your happy-tini while listening to Langhorne Slim's Diamonds & Gold,  "You've got to learn to get happy along the way."

*Recommend uses for left-over grapefruit:
1st) I like to rub on my face, neck, elbows and knees, let sit for a sec. then wipe off.  The organic acids and enzymes of the fruit work to naturally rejuvenate skin cells, leaving your skin feeling soft and supple.
2nd) Will use the pulp/rind as a natural kitchen cleaner (works particularly well on cleaning copper bottoms of stainless steel pots and pans)
3rd) Use leftover rinds as aromatic diffuser by throwing them into a pot filled with water and cinnamon and/or cloves.  Heat on low until water is mostly evaporated.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Friday!

Winter Wonderland Pictures from Our Farm
   Winter precipitation, snow and ice (albeit sometimes dangerous and always cold), beautifies the dreariness of the shortened winter days like no other.  Days most of us spend warmly indoors with a yearning for the fresh breath of life that Spring will bring.

   Here in middle southern Tennessee, our land is not graced with much snow; usually just enough to cover the ground until noon, when sure enough the sun comes out and the snow melts even quicker than it came.  This year has been different.  We got six inches! and it stayed for almost a whole week!  Not the norm.  Last year, we had an ice storm that left a sparkling crystals on all of God's creation.  Not to mention, left us without power and only the heat of our wood burning stove, candle lights and good times.  Below are pictures (from this year and last) on our farm that I hope capture some of the beauty of God's handiwork.

Isiah 1:18  "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. "

Scottish Highland Cattle

Creek walk with Honey

The only green--fresh watercress in our spring water

which way to go?  decisions, decisions.