You know that feeling of surprising delight you get when browsing a random shop and stumbling upon a clever gift for someone on your list? We do, too. And in our version it happened after spotting a bag of felt dryer balls. No goosebumps? Allow us to escort you to our level enthusiasm.
On a recent trip to Asheville, NC (two thumbs up, by the way) we went off course to visit Villagers, an “urban homestead” inspired store that most intrigued us for its classes and workshops: Creating a Winter Apothecary; Wooden Spoon Carving; Chocolate Alchemy; and How to Make Bone Broth, among others. Though some of these might sound intimidating, the store offers all the necessary supplies to support such thoughtful home-ec activities. And if your spare time (what’s that?) is sparse, thankfully Villagers boasts some really cool, practical goods. For example: The Drunken Botanist which persuades with recipes of plant-based booze, making us feel better about consuming our greens; the humane mousetrap, because we’ve rescued a few of our own here at the Outside Rein HQ; buttery-soft goatskin garden gloves plus Hand-Aid healing balm; and the Exquisite Skin Botanical Face Spray that simultaneously cleanses, tones, and heals with anti-inflammatory essential oils, antiseptic comfrey, and soothing chamomile.
Then, because an ORer’s four-month old pup confused a friend’s rubber dryer ball for a chew toy, this all-natural alternative radiated from the shelf like a beacon of atonement. Eliminating the waste of single-use, chemically questionable dryer sheets, these hand-felted wool dryer balls help cut down on static, wrinkles, and drying time by 30%. <raising-hands emoji>
Don’t be fooled by Villager’s nondescript storefront. The interior is chock-full of color (Turkish kilim rugs), texture (succulents planted in local pottery), and the fragrance of a hearth-healthy lifestyle. But if a trip to North Carolina to learn acorn processing or woodland medicinals isn’t on the agenda, Villagers has an online shop, and even offers some web-based courses.
Whether you are tending to a windowsill of store-bought herbs, or harvesting honey from your backyard, Villagers is a reminder that we are all disciples of Mother Earth. So take her lead and toast to nature’s bounty with exquisite skin, dry balls, and a stiff drink.