Welcome to grubbygirl.com!

Makers of hand-crafted soaps, salts, oils, and scrubs using all-natural botanicals grown locally on Meeting House Farm.

Even though the last bit of snow from the latest storm is melting in the fields, I can feel the coming of spring. With the onset of spring at hand, I have created a brief survey to help me make Grubby Girl even better! Won’t you please take a moment to answer a few questions about Grubby? The bees are getting ready to get going earlier than you might imagine and the red maples that trigger their spring awakening are getting ready to bloom. It’s hard to believe that another winter is almost over and all the spring work is right around the corner!  Thankfully I have access to my Grubby Scrub! Enriched with honey and oil, it revitalizes my weather beaten complexion. I find myself reaching for it daily in the shower. And then, for those really punishing days,  using a soothing oil after to seal in the moisture.  Whatever the weather: Treat yourself well!

Meanwhile, I will keep on making soaps & salts & scrubs for you. And now: granola too!

For more than you ever wanted to know about growing up Grubby, check out our family memoir: The Kids are All Right.

 

For more information about Grubby Girl products or to order, please email me, or call: 540-270-5229. I look forward to seeing you soon!

–Amanda Welch


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You gotta Be in it to Win it!

Bee packages arrived last week! Beekeeping class had just started and several members of the class came out to the farm Friday to see how to install packages and take a look in the hives. The bees were pretty calm considering the weather was unsettled and threatening rain. No one got stung, except Eleanor :(  The dogs are usually good about keeping their distance but the prospect of being petted was too strong a pull and they got in the bee-line.

I am into week five of my CIC workshop and am excited for the future classes. As part of the class, we were all encouraged to enter the Tom Tom Festival Pitch Contest. I did not make the final cut, but several of my class-mates did! I plan to go the the pitch night and route for them! As I am on a role for putting it out there, I also applied for the Beekman Boys Mortgage Lifter Grant. My theme for both the Pitch contest and the Mortgage Lifter is: “More Bees, Please!”

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

And any suggestions for naming the three new queens are welcome!

 

 

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Eggs-cellent!

Spring is upon us, the fields are greening up. The bees are working and the hens are laying! They take a bit of a break over the winter and slow down on the egg production. The timing is good for us too. Without a market to go to, we can get a frig full of eggs pretty quick. Good thing we like eggs! And quiche, and souffle, and lemon meringue pie.

Lemon meringue PIE!

But with the start of Charlottesville City market April 5th, we should find lots of home for all the girls’ eggs!
Here is a new favorite recipe from a recent issue of Bon Appetit:

 

Company Eggs from Bon Appetit Magazine Serves 6
INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 bunches Swiss chard, thick center ribs and stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (about 12 cups) Or any greens you like. We’ve made it with kale & spinach and both versions were delicious.
1/2 cup heavy cream
12 large eggs
2 ounces sharp white cheddar, grated (about 1/2 cup)

PREPARATION: Preheat oven to 400°. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 8-10 minutes. Add chard to skillet by the handful, tossing to wilt between additions. Cook, tossing often, until tender, 8-10 minutes. Add cream and simmer until thickened and almost evaporated, 8-10 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Spread chard mixture evenly in a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, make 12 small, evenly spaced divots in the chard mixture. Crack 1 egg into each divot. Season eggs with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese over. Bake, rotating dish once, until egg whites are almost set and yolks are still runny, 15-18 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

When we were kids, our mom would make cheese souffle and biscuits with a salad and then lemon meringue pie for Sunday Brunch. SOOO good!

She used the New York Times Cookbook recipes for all three. I still have that edition (1961 Edited by Craig Claiborne)  and it is a go-to for so many of my favorites.
Here is the Cheese Souffle

Serves 4-6
1/4 Cup butter
14 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
salt
worcestershire sauce
cayenne pepper
1/2 pound of cheddar cheese (or other hard cheese)
4 farm fresh eggs- separated
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Melt butter over low heat, add the flour & stir with a wire whisk until blended. Meanwhile, bring the milk to a boil and add it all at once to the butter/flour mixture, stirring with the whisk continually, it should thicken right up. Season to taste with salt, worcestershire & cayenne.
3. Turn off heat and let mixture cool a couple of minutes. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Beat egg yolks in one at a time and cool.
4. Beat the egg whites until they stand in peaks but do not over beat. Cut and fold the egg whites into the mixture. Turn into a 2 quart casserole dish (greased or ungreased). I usually do not grease. And bake 30-45 minutes until puffed and golden brown.
ENJOY!

And let me know how it turns out.

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You Gotta Be In It to Win It!

Bee packages arrived today! So there are three new Queens to name. Any suggestions?

Beekeeping class started last night and several members of the class came out to the farm today to see how to install packages and take a look in the hives. The bees were pretty calm considering the weather was unsettled and threatening rain. No one got stung, except Eleanor :(  The dogs are usually good about keeping their distance but the prospect of being petted was too strong a pull and they got in the bee-line.

The eight students are all enthusiastic about getting bees, a couple of them had tried a hive or two before but wanted to get a little more information about how their bees could be more successful. It is so much fun to share my bee experiences! The good and the bad, hopefully some of my cautionary tales will help this new batch of beekeepers to have a thriving apiary. For the new-BEEs, it was nice to be able to get into the bee-yard and experience that the bees are not aggressive and see first-hand how to work the hives.

I am into week four of my CIC workshop and am excited for the future classes. As part of the class, we were all encouraged to enter the Tom Tom Festival Pitch Contest. We’ll find out next week who the finalists are, I will be sure to let you know if I am one of them!

As I am on a roll for putting it out there, I also applied for the Beekman Boys Mortgage Lifter Grant. My theme for both the Pitch contest and the Mortgage Lifter is: “More Bees, Please!”

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

 

 

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Grubby Meet & Greet

This coming Saturday, March 22,  10-4, our local Charlottesville Whole Foods is having a local vendors fair.

So, come down and see me! I’ll have samples of my oils and scrubs for you to try and I just like catching up with folks and seeing people after this long winter. It will officially be spring by then! Let’s hope it starts acting like it. I know the bees are restless to get out and forage. Who isn’t?

Vendors are making a pledge of support to the Whole Planet Foundation to be a part of this event. The Whole Planet Foundation provides micro-loans to people in impoverished countries to help entrepreneurs pull themselves out of poverty. They currently have 330,000 micro-loan clients in 59 countries. So whether your out and about enjoying the Festival of the Book, or just taking care of your Saturday errands. Stop by and say Hi!



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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

And then warm and then cold again! Welcome to Virginia winter weather. It was in the single digits last night and over the weekend, it hit about 60 degrees. All this fluctuation in the weather can take a real toll on the skin. I have found myself reaching for the Horse-a-holic Bath oil almost every evening. And using my Grubby Scrub too!


BUT… Spring is COMING! The red maples are starting to bud (that’s the first nectar source for the bees and gets the queen started laying eggs that will turn into workers, and drones, for the coming year). Hopefully the snow that is melting now will be the last of it for this year. We were almost able to get the garden tilled last weekend, but we couldn’t get the tiller to start, so it is off to the repair shop, and will have to wait until the tiller is back and the ground is dry again before we can break ground in the garden for the spring plantings.

We have more bees coming this spring, by the end of the month we will have two more hives and start thinking about splits of some of the stronger hives. That decision is always a difficult one: Do we split the strong hives and maybe not get as much honey from it this year? Or see if that those will be the big producer and just hope they don’t swarm?

It really feels like the calm before the storm right now. I am trying to get prepared….

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Who Do You Love?

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I think about who (and what) I love.

I love my friends and family.

I love my dogs.

I love cozy days by the fire.

I love to cook for people I love.

I love watching the chickens.

I love working in the woods and the garden.

I love watching the bees working the flowers.

I love using the honey the bees produce, straight from the jar, in granola or in a scrub!

I love pruning.

I love crisp apples.

And of course, I love my Grubby Hubby.

There is much more I could add to the list, and I will try to remember to show that love all through the year and not just on Valentine’s Day.

What do you love?

 

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And now for something completely different

Sometimes the best thing to do is getaway.

Going to Cali

When an old friend calls and wants you to join in on a celebration, you should just go. Getting away from the normal can be just the ticket to spark creativity, recharge your passions and it’s FUN! So when I got the call to go to Joshua Tree for my oldest friend’s big birthday, I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t want to spend some of this January somewhere warm and dry? Besides, I’d never been. And I could ride with another old friend from LA, see her family and catch up all around. So many birds with one stone. Using Kayak, my go to website for all things travel, I did manage to get a great flight from DC to LA on Virgin America, maybe the best flying experience I’ve had. The skies were clear over the whole country. I was able to see America pass beneath us. And even though it was supposed to be a full flight, there was no one in the middle seat, so I had a little room to sprawl.

Landed in LA to meet my good friend (sexybitch) and get whisked back to her cool and comfortable Westwood home. The next day we hit the road to meet the rest of the gang in Joshua Tree. The house was lovely. A great find on VRBO, a cute, comfortable three bedroom cottage with a great kitchen, hot tub and outdoor fireplace aptly named ‘Sunset Terrace’.

Sunset from Sunset Terrace

We had a great afternoon planning our next few days and catching up. On tap for the next morning?

A Sound Bath. OK, I’m game.

So after  lovely breakfast of amazing Greek yoghurt and some of my very own granola, we head through the towards the Integratron. Their pictures of the structure are much better than the ones I snapped, so check out their website to see the observatory-like building where the sound baths are held.

 

We couldn’t help ourselves as we drove through the barren landscape, we had to stop and capture the moment.

 

I arrived at the Integraton with an open mind. It certainly does look cool. The grounds had a hammock area, seating, patio space. The building itself looks like an observatory. In the introductory remarks, before the giant crystal singing bowls are played, the construction of the building and the location are discussed. Apparently, the Venutians told the builder where to put it and how to construct this perfect acoustical space using no metal fasteners on top of a natural energy vortex and it’s supposed to regenerate your cells.

Once we settled in comfortably on the floor, and the bowls were played. It was easy to get lost in the tones. I did feel a bit of  electricity between my hands and my belly. Was that my cells regenerating?

We spent the afternoon driving around and through joshua Tree National Park, honing in our hiking plans for the next day. We passed some amazing rock formations. It looked straight of the scene from Galaxy Quest with the pig lizard and the rock monster.

ROCK! ROCK! ROCK!

The next day we hiked to 49 Palms Oasis. As I was telling my friends along the way about my teenage disappointment on a trip to the Grand Canyon when I was 13 when Ribbon Falls, the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert did not live up to my expectations. I was trying not to set my hopes too high for this oasis. We passed over several rocky hills dotted with cacti (red-barrel cactus was my favorite) and came around the  bend to see, rising from the dusty gulch a group of large palm trees in the distance. (We tried to count, but couldn’t tell if there were really 49). It was pretty cool. And a lovely hike.

49?

That evening we celebrated the big birthday, hot tubbed & enjoyed the firepit. I can really get a blaze going!

The next day was our last at Joshua tree. It went by so fast!

On our way back to LA, we crossed through Joshua Tree and stop at the Cholla Cactus Garden, saw completely different landscapes AND caught a glimpse of the Salton Sea from the 10. I had such a great time catching up with my old friends. I hope we can do it again soon!

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming….

Don’t forget to get you honey some Grubby for Valentine’s Day!

And how great is this sign!

 

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Reboot for 2014

Rebooting

I hope everyone had a fantastic Holiday Season and indulged in all that the Holidays had to offer. After spending time eating and drinking with friends and family, visiting cities and seeing concerts and plays for my year end blow-out, I find that I look forward to January. For the past several years, I have used January as a “Purification Month”: Eating super clean, avoiding alcohol and caffeine and trying to keep some kind of fitness regime to keep me in shape for the next gardening/farming season. As I get older, the transition back into heavy work in the spring is too hard if I don’t keep up my muscles over the winter.

Rather than set a resolution for the year, I just try to reboot my system for the month. It is a less daunting task to maintain the rigor for a whole year, and I am less likely to fail. I joined ACAC, a gym in Charlottesville in May and have been pretty good about taking classes every week. I regularly take Nia and Barre Strength so it should be easy to keep that up and increase my exercise for the winter, maybe try some new classes, add in some more cardio & yoga and develop an individual routine.

I usually go vegan for January, but I can’t give up our fresh eggs the girls keep producing all through the winter, but I do give up other dairy. This morning there were two eggs frozen solid in the nest box (as well as 11 that were not frozen).

Frozen eggs this AM

We are having quite a cold snap right now. The cold weather inspires me to make soups and beans and grains, the crock pot will be in almost constant use this month. We had steel cut oats from the crock for breakfast, YUM! Perfect for a this cold and wintery morning.

It’s also time to clear out the last year’s paperwork, finish the year end accounting and organize my office and shop (no easy task!) I will be busy getting new hives ready for spring, making soaps and improving my products (especially focusing on packaging this winter). My brother gave me a stern talking to about improving my labels, so I am going to take that to heart.

Stay warm and healthy everybody!

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Have a Handcrafted, Homemade Holiday

Even if you aren’t up to channeling your inner Martha Stewart, you can have a handcrafted holiday at the Charlottesville Holiday Market. Every Saturday until Christmas local farmers, cooks  and craftspeople will there from 8 am to 1pm.

Here are just a few ideas:

Combine a couple of market items for a unique gift or create a sampling of delicious treats.

A handcrafted bowl with some Great Day granola.

Gardenista soap and these funky plant labels from Curbside Pickins

 

A lovely soap dish from Maggie's Pottery and some Grubby Girl soap.

Pears and apples from Sunset View Farm

Award winning cheeses from Caromont Farm

Delicious candies from Cville Candy

Dips, herb blends and teas from Forrest Green Farm

INSANITEAS from Fairweather Farm

Handcrafted holiday ornaments and decorations.

There are also vendors with wreaths and greens. Here are links to some of the vendor’s websites:

Grubby GirlForrest Green Farm, Curbside Pickins, Maggie’s Pottery, Cville Candy, Fairweather Farm.

There are many more, come down and see for yourself! Jewelers, jam-makers, bakers, and there are still some produce and meat vendors. Something will surely inspire you!

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Thankfully

At this time of Thanksgiving, I have the urge to rant like the old guy who had to walk five miles barefoot through the snow, uphill both ways, just to go to to school:

What is it with the Christmas Holiday creep?

It comes earlier every year. Last year, I happened to be in a big box store on Halloween, and I saw they already had inflatable Santa in his helicopter, the lit up nativity scenes and animatronic Bumble out for sale. This year, it’s even worse, a full week before Halloween it started.

The War on Thanksgiving

Can’t we enjoy these holidays as they come and not rush through just to get to the next one?

And the sales over the Thanksgiving holiday, don’t get me started on that. It used to be that the kick-off to the Christmas shopping season (and decorating) began on Black Friday, now it starts the weekend before Thanksgiving. Some un-grateful stores are even open on Thanksgiving Day!

Don’t get me wrong, I like the Holiday Season but I don’t like when the entire focus is on Christmas and the deals, deals, deals.

I love Thanksgiving. A holiday devoted to family, friends, food and history. Let’s give Thanksgiving its due and wait until after the turkey is at least partially digested before running to the stores. Or better yet, take Friday off to enjoy your friends and family, go for a hike, play a game, relax by the fire, make gifts for the holidays. Then all go together to shop on Small Business Saturday from your locally owned retailers, farmer’s markets and, of course, Grubby Girl!

Charlottesville Holiday Market

This year Hannukah intersects with Thanksgiving, which should make for some interesting dinner menus. I’d love to hear about your favorite dishes of the day. We’re having a quiet Thanksgiving this year here on the farm with some friends. Still honing the menu, I’ll let you know what we decide on fixing.

Happy Thanksgiving & Hannukah everyone!

See you at Holiday Market

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