Category Archives: Thoughts

Community Projects

Wondering what you are supporting? There are a lot of community projects going on around here.

A formerly-houseless friend now has a house to rent. A nice quiet adobe fixer-upper in our nearby town. Another formerly-houseless friend who is now living with us celebrated another birthday. With a ton of food and the whole neighborhood. I’m still eating cake. There will be 4 birthdays this month. A traveler got a new sturdy hiking pack for his long trip south, and a puppeteer came to the farm to learn about beekeeping so that she can start an apiary as part of a community project in New York City. My little pony, Bella, has been giving all the neighborhood kids a ride around the yard, and we have a group from a women’s correctional facility coming out to learn how to start a beehive in the prison yard.  It’s true! In July, (with help from my neighbor Jen, thanks Jen!) we did a fundraiser for the local homeless shelter, selling lip balms and raw honeys at the park. We raised about $600 that provided warm meals and diverse assistance to people throughout the county of Socorro. At the end of July we took a road trip all the way up through 8 different states into Idaho, meeting lots of travelers and interesting folks along the way. There are always opportunities to give or share: a meal together, food, friendship, underwear, socks, and of course honey and skin care…

On another note, we have a new neighbor that is a gardener, and he’s been bringing us everything from climbing jade plants to lemon balm and bags of veggies from his garden. He knows all about herbs and tinctures, and has a library of plant reference books that would make a botanist jealous. This is an exciting development for me. I also started working with a blueberry farm in Washington to create a new organic product line, and it will be on the website later this week. Facials, mud masks and honey scrubs. It’s all delicious.

I’d like to think that one day we (you and me & everyone) will be able to gather together on pieces of land throughout the country and create more alternative lives that we love. Work with each other, our earth, our resources, our friends… Build, grow, heal, recover, restore.

Maybe somehow when we do all these little things, (like socks and meals and sharing)  really what we’re doing is practicing that dream. Making and giving gifts is, after all, an alternative to the independent theology of consumerism… Education is the greatest poverty prevention…. It seems as though all the solutions to the big ‘problems’ are going to spring up out of the little choices we make every day. So keep on spreading the love out there in all of your unique and different ways. The world will re-create itself with all of our bits of life. Let’s make it good 🙂

-Shay

 

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Thank Your Skin

Tonight I’m sitting at the kitchen table, talking and half listening to NPR on the radio. I’m thinking about the process of anointing myself with oil, and what it means for my body.

Skin: It’s the largest organ in our bodies.

I’m talking with my partner; just the two of us are at the table, and I’m putting small amounts of a body butter on my arms and legs. A little at a time. As I do this I’m thinking for a moment about each part of my body. My ankles, and what they do for me everyday. How they carry me around. I’m thinking about ingredients. And how this Lavender is such a soothing thing to put on my feet. I’m thinking about my calf muscles. They get sore when I stand too long or when I sit too long. I’m enjoying the massage and the cool touch of Aloe in this particular cream. I’m using just pea sized amounts and spreading it out, a tiny bit at a time. I’m thinking about my knees. About a car accident when I was younger and the leftover ache. I’m thinking about my scars, and how much my body has been through over all these years. I’m grateful. I’m thinking about the pointy elbows that embarrassed me as a teenager. I’m thinking about all the times that these elbows took a hit so that some other part of me wouldn’t have to…

There’s something about skin. Maybe I’m thinking about it because I’m on a journey that loves my body, and I’m trying to mirror that Love. It covers every inch of us. When I think about skin, I thank everything that lies underneath of it. What a remarkable gift, to have a heart that beats and moves my blood without my conscious thought! To have cells that grow and duplicate and heal while I remain unknowing… But I do know that whatever I touch and whatever touches me, will meet my skin along the way.

Earlier today I was mixing up a batch of my Lavender Recovery Recipe, so that’s what I was using tonight. It’s my favorite thing when I really want to soothe and nurture… The aloe is so amazing. I keep mine in the fridge, on the top shelf, and it gets hard. I take it out whenever I think about using it, and within a couple hours it’s soft and whippy. But when I’m impatient, like tonight, I just wash my hands really well and then dig it out of the jar, melting the chunks in my hands…

Because of this particular cream, I’m thinking about Luauna, a woman who inspires me constantly. I’m thinking about sending her another jar. I don’t think the last one had the Lavender in it. She is a beautiful soul. I’m thinking about giving this product to people who really need it. Good thoughts, while I take in the scent of pretty purple flowers, ceremonial herbs and ancient trees that stand strong in changing waters…

When we care for our skin, we can take the opportunity to think about all the parts of our bodies that are protected by this beautiful covering. We can massage the parts that are sore, we can water the parts that are dry, we can feed the parts that are trying to heal themselves… When we take that few minutes to care for ourselves, we’re better equipped to care for our world.

And by the way, if you or someone you know is going through radiation treatments or chemotherapy, has severe skin damage or a serious skin condition, I believe they might benefit from this particular product. Contact me ( SheaByShay@gmail.com) and we’ll get them a Giving Jar. 

Spread the Skin Care Love & Enjoy your Day,

Shay Kelley

Just for comparison

A friend of a friend mentioned a product she was using, and I looked it up. It’s the internet age, these things are two clicks away…. Right away I took a look at the ingredients list. I actually had to expand it, and then zoom out to fit it all on the screen for the shot.

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Personally, this freaks me out. And they were charging $40 for less than 2oz of product. Here’s another example:

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This is the back of a bottle of product I used to use on my face! Yikes! I checked some of the ingredients on this one. Here’s the verdict. Mineral Oil and Petrolatum are both petroleum byproducts that cannot be absorbed by the skin, they just sit on top of the surface. Practically useless. Cetyl palmitate is the ester derived from palmitic acid and cetyl alcohol. Cetyl Alcohol is an emulsifier, used to get the oil and the water to mix. Glycerin is essentially a byproduct of soap, and Glyceryl Hydroxytearate and Stearic Acid (which used to be harvested from the stomachs of farm animals and from the bodies of euthanized cats and dogs, but I think they’ve turned to more synthetic production methods) is also an emulsifier, used to make oil and water mix. I skipped down at this point because I was curious about that DMDM Hydantoin, and sure enough, it can potentially cause cancer and is rated a 7 out of 10 in toxicity (highly hazardous to health) by an environmental working group called Skin Deep. Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate is rated moderately hazardous because it can cause organ and tissue damage. The polymers haven’t been studied too much in America, but some production companies warn that repeated use can cause dermatitis. They are manufactured with Benzene, and some of that is proven to linger and be absorbed by the skin and into the blood, particularly in this specific polymer. Benzene is a known carcinogenic chemical, also found in our food. And our skin is the largest organ in our bodies.

Feel free to browse my ingredient list. Do some research. Make a decision that’s right for you. I’ve linked them all to websites that will assist you in getting more information, and some of them might even offer to sell you the ingredient or some other product. I don’t care! Buy it if you want it. My stuff is better for me. It uses all of these ingredients in combinations that heal, cleanse, moisturize and protect my skin in amazing ways. And they all come directly from the plants that have been healing us for eons. Ancient civilizations, indigenous cultures…

The root of all people grows in the earth where it was planted. Intuitively, people know what to do with these plants.

And I’m committed to learning. Every time you purchase one of my products, you are testing my intuitive sense of chemistry. It’s why I love feedback.

And I love these ingredients.

Unrefined, Raw Shea Butter. My primary ingredient. The foundation of my products. It has my name. It’s spectacular. Rich in vitamins A, E, D, F, and K. If you only read about one product, read about this one!

Raw Mango Butter. Found in two products, the Mango My Morning Cream and the Summer Day Skin Drink. Shea butter has more minerals and vitamins, but the absorption rate is faster with Mango, and it leaves a satin finish. There is no oily feeling, and it smells sweeter than Shea. They work fabulously together. Read More.

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Aloe Vera Juice. Found in the Lavender Recovery Cream, the Summer Day Skin Drink, and the Royal Jelly & Aloe Eye Cream. From a plant that grows plentifully in our farm store, and is propagating at fantastic rates. You can find it for sale at most garden stores, and it’s a great plant to have at the house for a summer sunburn. Read More.

Coconut Oil. Avocado Oil. Sweet Almond Oil. Jojoba Oil. Apricot Kernel Seed Oil. Grapeseed Oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Safflower Oil. Castor Oil. Sesame Seed Oil. Camellia Seed Oil. Evening Primrose Oil. Calendula Oil. Argan Oil. Emu Oil. Meadowfoam Oil. Raw Honey. Beeswax. Royal Jelly. Organic Comfrey Leaf. Vitamin E. Essential Oils & Absolutes

All of theses oils are cold-pressed and organic. If you have any other questions, feel free to email me.

SheaByShay@gmail.com

Thank You Comfrey

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About a year ago, on a patch of land in the southern mountains of Colorado, I was introduced to a plant named Comfrey.

I’d never seen it before, but something told me to reach out and touch it’s leaves. They are fuzzy, covered in little white hairs, and feel almost prickly to the touch. It’s an unforgettable texture, and I’m a ‘texture person’ so it was easy to remember despite my typically frustrating inability to keep track of plant names and details. That same summer, I was introduced to another fuzzy plant called Mullein, which is the softest plant in the world as far as I’m concerned, and every camper’s best friend when nature calls.

So after that first hand-shake with those fuzzy leaves, I forgot all about Comfrey, honestly…. Until the one day that my friend Steve badly bruised his ribs.

He’s an older man, somewhat disabled, and he had fallen down the stairs. His bruised ribs were making it difficult to get up and go about his day, and the pain was making him miserable. Worried about him, I told a friend about his ribs  and asked if I should give him an herb called Arnica, that I’ve used with great success on a bruised shoulder. This wise friend recommended that I go to the herb shop in town instead, and ask about a Comfrey Salve. I remembered the prickly plant from Colorado, but had never heard of a salve.  After an hour long discussion with my local herbalist ( a brilliant woman named Ember that I hope to introduce you to via the internet at some point along this journey ) I had been informally educated about the bone-knitting, muscle healing and cell-regenerating qualities of this particular plant. I was also armed with 2 small jars of an amazing (albeit quite expensive) Comfrey Salve. It was green, smelled lovely, and was made right here in New Mexico. I took one to my friend Steve’s house right away. He agreed to apply it to his ribs every day when he got out of the shower, and he told me that he could “tell by the way it smells” that it was good medicine.

I went home and studied the ingredients list on the Comfrey Salve with my computer open to the google homepage. I started doing some research, with the thought in mind that I knew where to find at least 7 organic Comfrey plants the next time I took a trip up to that remote canyon in southern Colorado….

A week later I went to visit my friend Steve. He was standing up straight when he opened the door. Sitting at his kitchen table petting his roommate’s little dog, Blanca, he told me with excitement about applying the salve every day after he last saw me.

“I woke up on the 4th day,” he said, “and the pain was gone.”

Completely? “Totally. Now every time something hurts, I just go get me a little bit of that miracle (stuff),” he says, “and I put that on there, and it goes away.”

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So when I took a trip up to that canyon in Colorado a few weeks later, it was a no-brainer. The plants were huge, bright green, lush and propagating. There were three more of them growing up around the others. I harvested enough large, fuzzy leaves to infuse a quart of oil. And that oil became the base of my first Comfrey Salve.

I sent out 10 jars to friends and family who had sore feet and muscles. Everyone in my house was using it on all of their sore muscles and bruises with wonderful results. And a couple months later I was back up in that same canyon. The Comfrey was starting to flower. I decided on one more harvest before I leave them alone for the summer. I waited for the right time, and infused again. I did it a little differently, with a different oil base, for a different amount of time at a different elevation. The infusion is amazing.

The sunshine in the mountains is incredibly intense, and the weather is so lovely that the hills and forests are irresistible. I blistered my forehead with a severe sunburn that weekend, climbing up the rocks to get the gorgeous views of the valley. As soon as I realized what I had done and how bad the burn was, I opened the jar of my infusion and applied the oil directly to the burn.

The skin literally grew up around the blisters within 3 hours and the burn that covered my entire face had turned to a tan in 12 hours flat. It was incredible.

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I used this oil, a tincture, another amazing plant called Calendula, and a combination of sage oils to create my Sacred Sage & Comfrey Salve. I’ve sent out more of these in the mail to friends and family who have suddenly been injured, broken a bone, or have persistent muscle pain and bruising. I have two more jars of oil infusing right now… and there will be another harvest this fall.

But it’s not an infinite resource in my world, because I want to be gentle with the plants and ensure their continued growth.

I will not over-harvest. I’m grateful to have the privilege of utilizing such an amazing medicinal herb; for me it is an awesome manifestation of divine love & healing that grows right out of the ground we stand on. Entirely complex; amazingly simple.

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If you want to read more about Comfrey, try a quick google search. And if you stumble across any good articles, send me an email or post them on my facebook page. If you have an experience you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about it. And if you have an ailment or a severe condition that would benefit from one of my products, send me an email at SheabyShay@gmail.com and I will see if I have a jar for you. Much Love and Gratitude,

Shay