Sunday, August 12, 2012

It takes a Village - Aunt Linda's Apothecary Shop

So I'm sitting at my desk, in my perfectly modern, air-conditioned office, trying to write a press release and I realize that I am distracted by scratching some new rash on my arm. Who knows from what? I'm outside a lot, hauling hay, feeding critters, working in the garden, gathering wood, so who knows?
But, it's itchy and very distracting and spreading down my arm.

"I need jewelweed vinegar," I actually said out loud to the empty room and went running out the back door.

Linda Odom, the amazing lady who keeps us all
sweet smelling, shiny clean and itch-free.
I am so very blessed, because out the back door of my office is the most amazing village. A unique blend of modern and antique, the Craft Village at the Ozark Folk Center is hard to describe. It is a living tradition of Ozark ingenuity and craftsmanship. The architecture is so 1970's. The little hexagonal studio buildings each house a different independent craft business. My destination was Aunt Linda's Apothecary Shop.

Created, researched, developed, decorated, stocked and run by Linda Odom, with the help of her sweet husband Troy and the occasional very helpful apprentices (thanks Vicki Morgan and Leesa Thompson to name two), Linda makes soaps of many types from scratch. She does both the old-fashioned kettle-cooked lye soaps and the more modern, but still labor intensive and chemically intricate, cold-processed soaps. She also makes lotions, salves, creams, lip balms, blends teas and mixes a variety of cures from herbs in our Heritage Herb Gardens.

If you look around my desk, you'll find that I use many of her products. I have a lotion bar that I use not only to soothe scaly skin, I also use it to polish and maintain my boots. I have peppermint essential oil that warms aching muscles. I use her "Think" spray, a hydrosol of many oils, almost every time I sit down at my computer. And her coconut ginger tea is one of my favorite afternoon treats.

I burst through Linda's shop door saying, "I need jewelweed vinegar," showing her the rash on my arm. Much to her credit, she just smiled sympathetically, instead of saying, "Ooo, gross!"

Aunt Linda's kettle-cooked jewelweed soap. A sure cure
for poison ivy or any other itchies.
At that moment, she only had jewelweed vinegar packaged in quarts. I didn't need a quart, and I only had $5 in my pocket. But she does compound the most amazing anti-itch lotion. We use it at home for humans, dogs and angora goats. We've treated the scaly patches on Gizmo-goat's legs with this potion very successfully. Linda showed me where the tiny bottles of the anti-itch lotion were and I bought one to keep at my desk. While still in her shop, I slathered some on my arm, dropped the bottle in my apron pocket and then I went off into the village to check on some other park issues.

When I got back to my desk, I found this little bag with a little end cut bar of precious jewel weed soap. After a week, my itchies are all gone. Thanks again Linda!

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