Thursday, August 25, 2011

Life is just a bowl of ...


Yesterday, we decided it was time to brave the copious thorns of the rose rugosa and gather the abundant rosehips that glow like rubies in the lush greenery of the plant.
We started out with about twice this many hips, since we decided to take pictures halfway through!
We basically peeled the hips to get all the juicy outside while avoiding the seeds and tiny hairs inside.
Finally, we laid the juicy skins on a window screen to let them dry. They may eventually wind up in the dehydrator if they don't dry quickly enough.
I can't wait to see how they dry. I suspect they will be much more vibrant than the rosehips we purchase already dried. That seems to be true of so many herbs.

Along with other wonderful, natural ingredients such as rose water, biodynamic cream, real essential oils and rose clay, we use rosehips in our new Rose Milk soap .

Whenever we can, we like to use herbs that we grow right here on the farm.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

For the Outdoors

In the summer, when we are outside and enjoying nature, there are a few little things that can really "bug" us! Over the years, we have worked to perfect a great recipe to discourage those things and have finally come up with what we think is the best all-natural formula we have ever used.
Our Git Stick and Git Spritz are effective and safe to discourage all sorts of buzzing beasties in the outdoors. Both contain catnip essential oil, which has been found in studies by Iowa State University to be 10 times as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. They also contain rose geranium essential oil which is said to repel ticks along with a variety of other all natural oils chosen because of their traditional repellent qualities.

The nice part is that the combination of oils is a rather pleasant scent for the human nose!

The little Git Stick is small enough (.35 oz.) to carry in a pocket or purse and slip out to run around wrists, ankles and neck to discourage "things" trying to slip inside clothes! The base of the lotion bar is a combination of great, moisturizing tropical oils with a bit of beeswax to hold it all together.

The Git Spritz is a nice 4 ounce spray bottle and has a bit of cedarwood oil added to the basic blend. The cedarwood seems to help with those pesky gnats! We like to spray it all over and especially, lightly on our hair. The base of the Spritz is distilled water with a bit of denatured alcohol to act as a preservative and dispersant. A bit of Polysorbate 20 is added to keep the whole thing well mixed.

Just in case, though, something should get through this defense, or you should stumble into a patch of poison ivy (remember: leaves of three, let them be!) we have a wonderful all natural soap to help.
We call it Happy Wanderer and to our basic soap, we add a slurry of fresh Jewelweed and Plantain.

We learned about Jewelweed and mosquitoes many years ago when we camped with the Girl Scouts in a swamp! Jewelweed really helps with the itch and we suggest the suds should be left on the skin to dry out and then washed off, hoping to dry out mosquito bites and to remove all traces of the oils from poison ivy.

Plantain is so soothing, we have watched a baby who had closed its little fist around a bee (ouch!) go from screams of pain to surprise and calm after plopping a fistful of mashed plantain in its little hand.