How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Time Flies when you are having Fun!

I cannot believe that I have not updated my blog since Thanksgiving. Time sure does go by quickly. It is almost Valentine’s Day 2014. Amazing! So what have I been up to? I have been so busy trying to work both a full time job and start a soaping business. Since my day job is paying my bills obviously it has to be my priority. I had some very exciting news at the start of the New Year. Just before the holidays I found out that Bristol Myers Squibb was going to expand the sales force by adding 188 hospital representatives. That was the position I previously held for over 7 years. Two years ago we went through changes and they dissolved the hospital positions. My territory position also changed and I was then responsible for “Little Havana,” a very Hispanic area of Miami. This has been a very challenging territory. I speak very little Spanish! I spent a lot of time over the holidays preparing for this interview. Since I am a nurse I really feel most comfortable in the hospital position. The competition was very stiff and I found out a few weeks ago that I was offered the Institutional Sales Position. I am very excited and thrilled but concerned because this is a huge position with 21 hospitals that I will be responsible for driving sales. It’s funny because although I felt that I was the most qualified for this new position, my performance over the last year with my company has not been where I wanted it to be. My past performance however had been excellent. The question to be answered was how important was present performance going to be in their decision making?? I did my best to prepare for the interview, expressed my interest, but I really had convinced myself that they were going to offer this position to someone else. So I said to myself that I would continue to do my present job, strive to do the best I could, but continue to try to build my soaping business. My husband recently directed a play that was based on a saying from Woody Allen that states, “If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans.” It is so amazing because I think this is true for most everyone. We are always planning our lives, but somehow as John Lennon said, “life is what happens while we’re busy making other plans”. I had really convinced myself that this wasn’t meant to be and that I would just continue to prepare for retirement. My long term plan was that I had 4-6 years to build a soaping business. Oops…… They offered me the Institutional Position!! Wait a second that is not what I had convinced myself was going to happen! That is what I was striving for but…. not what I thought was going to happen. I was telling myself I should prepare for retirement and another path that life was presenting. Well I am so excited that I was offered this position. Like I said this is a huge responsibility, and since I am an over achiever, striving to do my best is always my goal.

So what is going to happening to my dream of building a soaping business when I retire? Well if you know me at all I will continue to try to do both. My soaping business is going very well. Since I posted last in November I was just starting to participate in local Craft Fairs. I participated in several and did very well. People seem to like my soaps. I am starting to get a lot of repeat customers. Most of all I am enjoying telling my story about my beekeeping and the importance of protecting the pollinators. I think I am educating people about that importance. I am trying to keep my product very pure and use what I can from my yard i.e. herbs, fruits, natural colorants, but I also find myself wanting to be creative and expand my craft. I think eventually I will have a Natural Line, and an Artisan Line of soap. I am trying to find my “Niche.” Since there are so many soapers out there it is important to find my “Niche” so we will see where all this takes me. I really do not like that word “Niche” but I know it is important to differentiate myself and my product. I have found that I have some best sellers. There are certain soaps that I just cannot keep in stock. My biggest problem is that I cannot keep up with production. I am not complaining at all! I am thoroughly enjoying the journey. I think my product is really good and being well received. Right before Christmas I had the opportunity to participate at a Community Farmers’ Market. There are many farmers’ markets around Miami. This was an excellent opportunity. Southwest Community Farmers’ Market is small and new in the community but is growing. I am proud to be a part of what it represents. It is part of the Urban Oasis Project and has a community feel. Annick one of the organizers spends a great deal of time educating people about the importance of planting a garden, the importance of Organic, Non GMO, etc. So this Farmers’ market is everything I believe in. I am not just selling my soaps, I also spend a great deal of time telling my story which I hope is educating people about protecting the pollinators, planting flowers that will attract pollinators in your garden and protecting our bees which are in trouble. Many times people will approach my booth and then they will thank me for telling them “My Story.” I was recently interviewed by a gentleman, Colin McPhillamy, who also writes a blog. He is presently performing in my husband’s production “End of the Rainbow.” He is from England and to me has that typical English sense of humor. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting him. He asked me why I would continue to keep bees since I was allergic. My response was easy, “the Bees are in trouble.” Here is the link to his blog. http://culturedbadger.com/ I am so grateful for what I am doing. I am really enjoying making soap and using all that my bees and yard give me. I am very grateful to my bees for their honey, and beeswax!

Here are a few pictures of my soaps and of me at the Southwest Community Market.





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