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Happy Spring!

garden tools and flowers

We’re celebrating the first day of Spring by starting our planting today. (Indoors only! There’s still snow on the ground.)

Kale is first on the list, and in a first a for us, Lemongrass.

Every year I swear off tender plants that have to be overwintered in the house, but I’m making another exception for Lemongrass.

We fell in love with Lemongrass when we saw it growing wild on the island of Dominica. It was everywhere! Blew our minds to see it growing like, you know, grass on the side of the road, instead of the hothouse plant we know it as.

And if you know Hawkeye, you know Dominica has become the place that’s first in his heart. He can’t wait to get back there. Until then, we’ll keep practicing a stuffed breadfruit recipe, drinking rum with lime juice, and catching some sights of the West Indies on these fun sailing channels on YouTube:

Wishing you Caribbean sunshine and a very Happy Spring!

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Soaping on Schedule

handmade herbal soap

Boy, for one crazy minute there while pondering how to get done everything that needs doing this year, I decided to give up on soap-making.

That was scary! I am so enamored with hand-milling olive oil soap, it made me kindof bummed that it was gone. Soap takes about a month to fully dry and cure though, so I have to plan out my soaping schedule in advance to make sure it gets fit in.

And I can only make so much, so I have to limit my choice of blends.

the definites for this year are:

Rose, with Rose petals, Marshmallow root, and Geranium essential oil

Lavender, with Lavender flowers, White (Kaolin) Clay, and Lavender essential oil

Lemongrass, with Lemongrass, Coconut Milk, and Lemongrass essential oil

Sage, with Garden Sage, White Sage, French Green Clay, and Sage and Lavender essential oils

Calendula, with Calendula petals, Oatmeal, and Tangerine essential oil

also pondering:

Elderflower, with Elderflower blossoms, Mango Butter, and Palmarosa essential oil

Linden, with Linden flowers and leaves, Green Tea, and Ylang Ylang essential oil

maybe Lettuce or Cucumber or Seaweed? Something green….

 

“Wild Carrot” is a notable omission as it’s one I’ve always made (fresh carrots with the scent of (Wild) Carrot Seed essential oil- love it!), but I thought I’d take a break to give me the chance to try something different.

Have I missed any of your favorites?

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Bathtub Therapy

bathtub therapy

Stressful day? Try some “Bathtub Therapy” (or, when the going gets tough, the tough get into the tub)!

Baths can be so soothing, both for body and mind. When I’m feeling fritzed, there’s nothing better than sinking into a big tub with a cup of tea and good book.

I like to soak in herbal teas as well as drink them! San Franciscan herbalist and aromatherapist Jeanne Rose calls herbal baths “the organic antidote to impure air and harsh water conditions”. She recommends taking a herbal bath 2-3 times a week to smooth and hydrate the skin, and keep it healthy and young looking.

I tend to have lots of different herbs on hand, so can make lots of different bathtub teas to suit my mood. Some of my favorite blends are:

  • 2 parts red roses, 1 part jasmine flowers, 1 part patchouli leaf
  • 2 parts lavender flowers, 1 part comfrey leaf, 1 part marjoram leaf
  • 2 parts calendula flowers, 1 part lemon balm leaf, 1 part lemongrass leaf
  • 2 parts chamomile flowers, 1 part catnip leaves, 1 part lavender flowers

But you don’t have to have a huge herbal apothecary- Common kitchen ingredients like apple cider vinegar, oatmeal, and sea salt are perfect for turning your bath into a therapeutic spa experience.

Vinegar and salt (½ cup-1 cup) can be added directly to the tub as it’s filling, but oatmeal and herbs I put in a muslin bag before tossing into the tub. An easy substitute if you don’t have a bath tea bag is to use a washcloth. Wrap a large handful of herbs up in the washcloth and tie it with a string.

(I let the bath tea keep steeping in the tub with me while I soak. Often, I can get a second bath from the same bag. But when the herbs are spent, into the compost they go. The tea bag itself can be reused.)

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your soak. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your luffa!