I (Terry) have been fascinated for a very long time with the ways in which we, as humans, have worked with plants to create what we need from the land where we live. How people developed ways of making and creating the very basic items needed for daily living, health, and healing, all from what was available to them locally. We were in deep relationship with the land and the gifts that each plant and being, humans included, had to offer. We communicated with all of life and it was through these intricately woven conversations that we came to learn the many uses of plants. It wasn’t some fluke or just trial and error. There was, and still is, a deep seeded ability within all of us to perceive and understand the language of plants. The language of life.
Moving to Nova Scotia and starting our farm has been such an immense gift, continually teaching me about living for the land, being in direct connection to my food and the difficult choices that come with those relationships, and the many ways that we can provide for our simple needs, all from this place. I have wanted to delve into working with plants in a more intentional way for a very long time, yet doubted my own internal ability to do so. And ever since we brought our first two dairy goats, Sophie and Sadie, to the farm four years ago, I have wanted to make goat milk soap. And then there are our heritage breed pigs, who have the most incredible fat for rendering into lard, which can be used as oil for a variety of things, like soap and salves…well, you get my point. So over this past winter, I began immersing myself fully in these long seeded dreams. Hair of the Hog Botanicals was born out of a love of simplicity, a passion for healthy, local creations, and the ancient teachings of folk herbalism and how Great Grandma used to do it!
One of my greatest passions is delving into all things local to create offerings that come directly from this place. What this means to me is that not only is the item made locally, but the majority, if not all of the ingredients or materials used in the creation of that item are also sourced locally. The global supply chain that so many of us have come to rely on is not only detrimental to the health of the earth, it also creates a fragile system by which the vitality of a community is completely reliant on external imports. And as we are seeing more and more, it doesn’t take much for this system to crash. This outsourcing causes a lack of interdependence on one another and fails to build resilient communities. There is so much to be said about dieting the land that you live with. You will care more about tending to your community if you can see what you are eating, how it is being grown, and where your basic needs come from. It isn’t some far off place that you have no connection to, a disconnect which makes it easier to turn a blind eye to sketchy business practices and the horrific treatment of local communities, plant, animal, and human, who live in these far away countries. The beauty of living in place is the intricate relationships that are possible with all beings who reside there. It is a beautiful thing to live in such deep love with your home.
Hair of the Hog Botanicals creates handcrafted, small batch, artisan offerings, such as soap, candles, salves, and balms along with many other items coming available as the season progresses. All of the oils used in our offerings are animal based fats sourced from our own farm or from other small local farms here in Nova Scotia. This includes fat from pigs, known as lard, fat from cows, called tallow, and could also include fat from ducks, goats, sheep, and wild game as available. We render all fat by hand, in small batches, either on our wood cookstove or in a slow cooker on sunny days as we are on a small off-grid solar system. Much care is taken in the sourcing of these fats if they come from off farm to ensure ethical practices are being used for a care of life and a high quality ingredient.
We then infuse the rendered oil with herbs and other plants, either locally wildcrafted or grown here on our farm, or use the oil as is without any additions for our bare-naked offerings. We also use ingredients such as oatmeal, honey, and beeswax that we source from other local growers and producers here in Nova Scotia. The decision to use only locally sourced ingredients was an extremely important choice for us. Traceability is key – we want you to know where all of our ingredients come from and to honor the many beings responsible for their creation. This year, we will be increasing our herb and flower gardens to be able to supply even more variety in our offerings – and the bees will love it too! There is something so completely magical and intrinsically powerful being in such an intimate relationship with the growing, harvesting, making, and sharing of these beautiful creations. Putting all of our love and attention into each single step.
As goes with all of our vegetables and animals raised here at the farm, you can be assured that all Hair of the Hog offerings are free of any chemicals and other toxic ingredients. We do not use preservatives, chemical dyes, or perfumes. What you put on and in your body is extremely important and we want it to be of the highest quality. We have also chosen not to use essential oils, which can be a quick way to create scent in any offering. Instead, we have decided to infuse the plants into the oils to fully impart their healing properties. As a culture, we are so inundated with scents and perfumes and other toxins that it was very important for us to provide alternatives that do not add to that sensory overload. It is also very dear to my own heart as I find, especially having lived in the forest for these past five years, that my body reacts very strongly to any chemical scents, even certain essential oils in too high of a concentration. Therefore, you will find that our offerings will have a more subtle scent, yet are packed with the full magic of each plant.
Hair of the Hog Botanicals will soon be available for purchase either directly from the farm or from our up and coming Etsy shop! We want to thank everyone for your ongoing support of our farm and look forward to sharing these and many more exciting offerings with you this coming season!