Monday, November 25, 2013

Our New Cell Phone Sized Solar Powered Aquarian Bath Webserver Runs on 5 Watts

The new Aquarian Bath web store was recently upgraded and given a new home on one of these palm-sized machines which are built with the power efficient processors designed for smart phones. The open source Cubieboard ARM based integrated computer serves as the bare metal for a Debian Linux based web, database, and email server. Drawing just 3 Watts 5 Watts under load, it is one of the most power efficient computing platforms available, allowing us to run our new website on solar power, courtesy of industry leader SolarNetOne.  We upgraded our server since this article was published last week to include an extra hard drive which draws 2 Watts in order to keep up with holiday traffic, therefore the server draws 5 Watts instead of 3 Watts.

In comparison, the average video card in a gaming computer draws about 100 Watts by itself. Another 150 Watts is required for the main computer. 250 Watts is also about the average power consumption for a typical server. An average compact fluorescent light bulb draws 13 Watts, more than 2 times the power of our new e-commerce website.  

With this new hardware upgrade, we also updated the shopping cart, reorganized and categorized many of our items and sections. We hope you find it easier to navigate. You can now shop by the following main sections Soap (and Shampoo), Natural Skin Care, Herbal Products, Gift Ideas, Flaxseed Pillows and Reduce Plastic

For example, this Gingerbread and Star Anise 2013  holiday soap set can be found in the soap, Gift ideas, and Reduce plastic section.  Thanks for reading and please check out our new site.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Lucky Fisherman's Anise Soap

Did you know that according to fishing and herbal lore Anise seed oil is attractive to fish like catfish and trout?  We have a new Anise seed oil hard hand soap that makes a great gift or stocking stuffer for the fisherman or fish lover in your life.  These soaps were hand stamped and include saponified oils of Coconut, Shea Butter, Extra Virgin Olive oil, Olive oil and Pomace.  They were marbles lightly with French green clay and Rhassoul clay.  Check out the new Lucky Fisherman's Anise soap at AquarianBath.

The photos below are from our weekend trip to Weeki Wachee Springs.  What a beautiful view of the water from the tour boat.

The fishing here was completely for the birds!   

Cypress Tree 

The crystal clear blue water drains into the Gulf of Mexico, some 12 miles downstream. 

Just down the road in the Gulf of Mexico on Pine Island, the sea birds are sunning themselves.

We didn't try fishing, but I did catch this crab with my bare hands for fun to show the kids.

It took me a while to get up the nerve to do it. Twenty years ago I hunted Dungeness crab by hand in Washington. This is a female blue crab.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why Child Labor, Exploited Workers, and "Sustainable" Palm Oil Don't Belong in Your Soap

"Sustainable" Palm oil is in the news again this week in Indonesia. Palm oil plantation workers demanded that the RSPO stop certifying Palm plantations as 'sustainable' when they are exploiting workers. This occurred outside the 11th annual RSP0 meeting. Workers Give Message to RSPO: Don’t Certify Abuse! - Labor is Not a Commodity. RSPO stands for Roundtable on Sustainable Palm oil. It is a creation of the Palm oil industry, and primarily includes major players in the industry. There is no outside overseer who monitors the sustainable certification. In July Bloomberg exposed child labor and forced labor on RSPO certified "sustainable" palm oil plantations. Palm oil is not just in many handmade soaps and shampoo bars, but also food products such as most cookie packages at the grocery store.

Palm oil is used in many soaps because it makes a hard long lasting soap with a mild gentle lather. It can basically be substituted 1 to 1 for lard in old fashioned soap recipes. The vegetarian palm oil may seem more ecofriendly than lard, especially with the vegan labeling, but pristine rain forest habitat is destroyed in the process, endangering Orangutans and human jungle habitat as well as eliminating some of the highest areas of biodiversity on the planet.

Aquarian Bath is able to make high quality handmade soaps without palm oil, because we instead formulate our soap and shampoo bar products with a balanced blend of Shea butter or Organic Cocoa butter together with Extra Virgin Olive oil and Coconut oil. Our soaps require a larger concentration of more expensive Shea Butter or Organic Cocoa butter compared to 'sustainable' palm oil which is much cheaper. The majority of our soaps are vegetarian, and we are happy to report that as we expanded our business in 2013 with the help of increase in sales we converted 4 of our non vegetarian formulas to vegetarian in 2013. We will be converting our last non vegetarian bar to vegan in Winter 2014.

Thank you to our customers for paying a little extra to purchase our palm free soaps and shampoo bars. We are always looking for ways to lessen our ecological impact.  Look for more announcements on that topic in the near future regarding our new solar e-commerce initiative and a move towards certified Organic fabric with our Organic Flaxseed and Organic herbal neck pillows.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

An Improved DIY Dishwashing Detergent Recipe

Photo by John Nyberg 

We recently installed a used dish washing machine to help keep up with the dishes.  I was interested to find a DIY detergent recipe that could be used safely with the machine.  I tried a recipe which was suggested by  It was a great start, but I found that there was an awful residue left on all the glassware, even when I used the white vinegar rinse solution which was suggested to go along with the recipe.  With one addition, I found a way to make this recipe work

Dishwashing Detergent Recipe

1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1/2 cup Citric Acid
1/2 cup Sea Salt (fine or coarse)

Our addition.. the magic ingredient...
+1 tsp powdered Oxygen Cleaner per load in hot water (Sodium Percarbonate)

Combine the first 4 ingredients and store in air tight container.  This detergent will clump up a bit so I shake it up a bit in between use or chisel it a bit with a butter knife.  The clumping does not effect the functionality at all.  Use 1 to 2 Tablespoons per load  Next, the powdered Oxygen cleaner is what I found to be a critical for this recipe to work well.  The Oxygen cleaner is Sodium Percarbonate, branded as Oxiclean or Sun Oxygen Cleaner, etc.   Add 1 teaspoon of the powder to 1/4 to 1/2 cup of hot water and dissolve completely.  Add this to the bottom of the dish washing machine right before use.  It will not work well when added dry along with the other ingredients.  No other rinse ingredient, such as vinegar is required.  

Hope you like this recipe, and if you like DIY check out this DIY laundry soap recipe that we make with our soap scraps.  It is very simple and also includes ingredients from this dishwashing detergent recipe.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Set Aside an Hour this Sunday for your Health: Special Broadcast

I have not been making a lot of facebook or blog posts lately due to our current focus here on dietary and lifestyle changes required to reduce radiation exposure from food and environment. Today pronuclear engineer Michael Friedlander was quoted in Bloomberg today saying that the fuel rod removal that is starting to get underway at Fukushima fuel pool 4 this month is keeping him up at night with concern. I feel the same way. It will be a huge danger to the North America if the removal goes badly. You can take proactive measures for the health of yourself and family. Dr. John Apsley will be on Natural Health 365 this Sunday. (You can listen to the program for free on Sunday, and then afterwards there is a charge). Apsley is the author of the book Fukushima Meltdown and Modern Radiation: Protecting Ourselves and Future Generations. Follow the link below to get to the show on Sunday:

Fukushima Update: Action Steps and Solutions with - John Apsley, MD(E), ND, DC holds degrees in medicine, chiropractic care and nutrition. Dr. Apsley issues his most serious alert - to date - about the dangers surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant. With a comprehensive 4-step program, you'll learn how to protect yourself from radiation poisoning. If you live in the northern hemisphere - do NOT miss this program. Next Show! Sun. Nov. 10, 2013 Available 9:00 am - 9:00 pm (EST)