Misty Blue Farm Blog

  • The Burden of Beauty

    Kelley's Journal

    Who can say what leads us to certain points in our lives?  I am certainly no philosopher.  But when you need to make a change, sometimes you just know.  This is how I found myself a few years back, along with my husband, standing beside a two lane country road on an uncharacteristically steamy mid-September afternoon...

    Over the course of that summer, we had driven hours and miles looking at country properties all over upstate New York.  Nothing was right.  We looked at rocky hillsides, virtual sand pits, knock-down-drag-out falling down old places.  It was enough to drive us mad.

    But this day would be different.

    The real estate agent led us through the waist-high grass, meadow bees buzzing around our ears.  "No one had looked at this place in so long", he told us. 

    "Why was that?" we asked. 

    "You'll see", he said.

    We followed him under the tree canopy, and that's when we heard the roar.  He parted the dank green curtain of late summer vegetation to revel one of the most beautiful cascading streams I had ever seen.  Framed by verdant lushness, the stream roared along like a freight train, swollen to the gills by the remnants of Hurricane Irene, that howling bitch that laid waste to half of upstate New York and most of Vermont just the week before.  

    My husband and I glanced wide-eyed at each other.  I giggle like a giddy schoolgirl.  "There's more", said the real estate agent with a knowing grin.  He walked away to give us a moment.

    We stood breathless in the mosquito-infested brush, under the jade green canopy of trees, just staring at each other.  "Who would be selling this?" we asked ourselves incredulously.  "This cannot really be for sale", we insisted.  No, really.  This could not be for sale.  Yet it was.

    After a few moments of this, we made an attempt to casually saunter over to where the real estate agent had planted himself.  "Ok, what's the catch?" we asked. 

    "There is none", he replied. 

    "But you said no one has looked at this land in so long."

     "Oh yes, that", he said.  "Well, truth be told a place like this kind of scares people off."

    "That's ridiculous", we said.

    "Oh, but it happens. I've seen it with my own eyes", he told us.  "There's a certain responsibility that comes with owning a place like this.  A responsibility to not screw it up, if you will.  Some people can't deal with that.  As a matter of fact, a lot of people can't deal with that.  They see it as a burden, and they can't handle the burden of the beauty of it", he explained.

    I thought to myself this guy is either a zen master or one weird real estate salesman; yet something about the tone of his voice made his words ring true to me.  How many folks before us walked this same path down to this same stream?  And how many folks dashed their own dreams to death on these rocky banks because of their irrational fears?

    The burden of beauty - what an interesting concept.  Perhaps we had discovered a deep truth about the world right here in this tiny corner of farm country from this strange little man.  What beautiful burdens do we carry with us and just as importantly, which ones do we not take on?  Which ones are worth the price and which ones aren't?  We were about to take a journey together to find out.  

    We said yes, yes to the craziness of buying 50 acres out in the middle of nowhere.  It was 50 acres of beauty and hard work along with the crazy.  Besides that beautiful stream, we got some unimpenetrable fields and 30 years of underbrush growth for our trouble.  But the views down the Black Creek Valley were uninterrupted, like our dreams; and the pastoral setting we longed for was complete.  We now had our foothold in the Hills of Hebron.

    Are you ready to take the next step with us?  Join our Ladies Auxiliary and "Fresh from the Farm" newsletter to read more about our happenings here on the farm.

  • 7 Tips to Eliminate the Fear in Your Daily Skin Care Routine

    Skin Care Advice from Ben

    So, you're nervous now after reading the label on your legacy-brand skin cream - there's a lot of ingredients on there that sound scary, and you're determined for a change.  Or perhaps you've had a recent health scare and  you realized that your current luxury skin care brand isn't as clean as you'd like and may have been actually contributing to your skin concerns all along.  Either way, these products from the skincare industrial complex are doing your health and well-being no favors.  Well, bravo to you for seeking out alternatives! It's never too late to detoxify your skin and green up your skin care rituals with truly handcrafted, luxurious products.  Let me explain....

    It can be a bit daunting to detoxify your life.  One must be a veritable bio-chemist such as myself to wade through the mounds of information and research to determine what's safe and what's not, what's toxic and what's not, what's carcinogenic and what's not.  We know you don't have time for that, and large skin care manufacturers also count on you not having time to do the research.

    It's enough to drive one mad, and it makes for a skin care routine potentially fraught with fear.  It strips the joy out of these small snippets of the day we take for our self-care, and we certainly don't want that to happen.  Your daily skin care rituals are vitally important time you need to spend with yourself, so let me guide you away from fearmongering.

    There are but a few simple tenets you need as a guide to navigate the purchase of natural luxury skin care products and restore the joy in your daily skin care rituals:

    1.  More is not more.  Less is really more.  Yes, this old adage still holds true.  Does what you are using have 15 ingredients or less?  Are each one of those ingredients there for a very specific purpose or are they there simply for marketing "puffery" or to fill up the bottle?  You seriously need to question whether you need to be putting more than 15 different ingredients on your face and skin every time you use a skin cream.

    2.  Some common skincare ingredients have been shown to be potentially bad for your health.  For example, parabens are an effective class of skin care preservatives, but there is evidence to suggest propylparaben and butylparaben particularly may have negative health effects. Phthalates, toluene, and formaldehyde are some other ingredients that may potentially be questionable for your health.  Until fuller scientific studies are done, it is perhaps best to avoid these ingredients when possible.  There are others to worry about, as well, but the above ingredients are found in many non-green skin care formulations.  However, they are thankfully easier to avoid than ever nowadays with the plethora of new green skin care brands that formulate without these ingredients.

    3.  A preservative is essential for any skin care product containing water.  Now, while some traditional preservatives are known to be potentially unhealthy for you (see parabens above), not all preservatives are bad, and there are quite a few that are actually Eco-Cert approved for natural skincare products.  If the product contains water (including hydrosols, floral waters, aloe vera juice, witch hazel, etc.) it needs a preservative to keep it fresh and free from mold, bacteria and yeast.  There is no debate on this.  If your water-based product does not have a preservative or preservative system listed on the ingredients and/or the manufacturer cannot explain to you how the formula is effectively protected against microbial contamination, you should be concerned that you might be purchasing an unsafe product.

    4.  Some ingredients may not be bad for you necessarily, but they might be bad for the environment. This would include silicone-based ingredients such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone, which get rinsed off and end up getting washed into rivers, lakes and our groundwater.  Petroleum-based products such as mineral oil and petroleum jelly are byproducts of the refining industry, and as such are not good for the environment.  They are considered cheap fillers and should never appear in any luxury skin care formulation.

    5.  Avoid micas.  Yes, they are naturally-derived, but mica is mined by children in some of the poorest regions of the world, and no one knows what the long-term health effects of this mining has on those children, so it is best to avoid micas entirely.  And since mica is heavily processed to get it into a state in which it can be used in skincare products, it really does not resemble the naturally-occurring mineral it once was by the time it gets into your makeup and skin care.

    6.  Avoid palm oil or palm kernel oil unless it is organic and responsibly sourced.  The world's demand for palm oil has created an ecological disaster in places such as the islands of Indonesia.  Yes, palm oil is a wonderful natural skin care ingredient, but the environmental costs of harvesting it are too great to bear.  If a product contains palm oil, make sure it is sourced from West Africa, where it is sustainably grown.

    7.  And finally, purchase from a brand you trust.  Eco-Cert and Leaping Bunny certificates are all well and good, but they are marketing tools nonetheless.  Companies can buy them even when their company practices are less than perfectly green.  So, don't just look at labels or beautiful magazine spreads.  Dig a little deeper.  Reading a company's "About us" page and blog posts and customer reviews will give you a far better idea of who you are buying from than a short snippet in a glossy magazine or a beautiful ad.

    Now you're ready and armed with some knowledge!  Go ahead and feel good about taking control of your skin health and banish the fear.  Are you ready to take the next step and glide into the world of luxurious handcrafted green skincare?  We here at Misty Blue Farm Botanicals would be pleased to assist you on your skin care journey and help you discover the benefits of our collection of American grown skin care.  Please visit our "About Us" page to continue the conversation or email our client concierge at hello@mistybluefarmbotanicals.com to make an inquiry.





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