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.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Medical Mission to Dominican Republic

Life is truly amazing! I have been given another opportunity. Several physicians in the Miami community have been involved in a Medical Mission to the Dominican Republic. This will be the 11th year that these physicians, medical students from the University Of Miami School Of Medicine, and high school students from Carrollton High School will be making this 5 day trip to the Dominican Republic and helping the people. Several months ago, knowing about this medical mission, I asked one of my physicians if he needed any donations. I went on to explain to him that I had an unusual hobby of making soap, I didn’t mention beekeeping. He was extremely interested and knowing that I was a nurse he wanted me involved in the mission. So the next thing I know I am going to the Dominican Republic to teach the women of the different villages to make soap and to also work as a nurse, which I haven’t practiced as in over 15 years. What have I gotten myself into?? All I really wanted to do was make a little soap for the Doctor to bring down to the people! I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed and in over my head. Actually about 5-6 years ago I almost went to Guatemala. I was concerned about the language barrier. The students from Carrollton actually will translate for us, so I am definitely excited and nervous. I am sure everything will fall into place and I will find this to be a life changing experience.

The trip is taking place March 29th through April 5th. Here is the link and information. http://www.medicalstudentsinaction.com/ Right now I am in the process of trying to raise funds for the trip. It will cost me approximately $1500-$2000 for the trip just for personal expenses. I also need to buy all the materials for making soap. The 5 villages that we will be going to do not have any running water or electricity. Making soap without these two luxuries will prove to be challenging. I need to purchase very basic materials such as gloves, goggles, lye, all my oils, olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, lard (Manteca), molds, spoons, stainless steel pots, whisks, etc. I have written letters to various wholesale Soap Making companies. So far I have gotten little response. I have a personal page on Go Fund Me http://www.gofundme.com/6270d0 I was feeling very discouraged, and thinking maybe this trip was not going to happen. On Friday I received a call from Marla Bosworth from “My Back Porch Soaping Company.” I was beyond thrilled. She spent time talking to me and gave me invaluable information. Her time was so greatly appreciated. Marla has been involved in working with the women of Haiti for the past several years. She and Amanda Griffith organized efforts in Haiti after the earthquake to teach the women there the trade of soap making and hopefully how to start a successful soaping business. Here is information about “Beauty in Haiti”. They named their group OFEDA (Organisation des Femmes Devouees en Action). http://www.soapqueen.com/business/beauty-in-haiti/ Marla’s information can be found at http://www.backporchsoap.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=1, she teaches classes in all aspects of Soap Making in New York City, Boston, and Jackson Hole, WY. I dream of taking classes in either her NY studio, or Boston. Right now that is not a possibility because of finances. With Drew still in college and my daughter Katie getting married this year there’s no way I can afford such a luxury. That is why funding for this trip is also imperative.

The reason I feel so passionate about this cause if that on these medical missions, physicians and volunteers go down and provide medical care to the people for 5 days, but after that nothing changes for these people. By teaching them a trade hopefully I can change their world just a little bit, and provide them the skills to start a soaping business.

If you can afford to donate toward my cause in any way please consider http://www.gofundme.com/6270d0 Any amount and every dollar helps. If all my friends pledged a dollar that would be greatly appreciated and really help. Every dollar counts. If you cannot afford to contribute please ask your friends and family. Thank you so much I really appreciate your help. Oh and I forgot to say that for every $25 that you donate I would be happy to send you one of my beautiful handmade soaps of your choice as a token of my appreciation. Here are some photos from "Beauty in Haiti" that I found online and wanted to share:





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