Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scratch Two, Bonus One, Add Another

I'm making much more manageable lists these days. The list from a couple weeks ago is down by two now.

Scratch Two
#1. I did make homemade bath salts using the very very simple recipe from the homesteading magazine...only I can't remember which one. It's said to be great for relieving acheyness after exercise or working in the garden and especially for taking the itch out of bug bites that come with that territory in the warmer months.

I do remember the ingredients:

1 part epsom salts
1 part sea salt or coarse kosher salt
few drops of essential oil of preference

Baking soda is optional, and there are plenty of sites online that suggest adding other things, such as coloring and glycerine. But I just kept it simple. The fun part of it is the addition of essential oils, so I went to the health food store, which carries a line of selections. It's really hard to judge by sniffing the samples, and essential oils come on pretty strong.

One of my bosses really loves the fragrance of patchouli and put in her request for that as a test scent. Not sure quite what I wanted until further experimentation, I settled on a vial of patchouli, another of clove, and a third of peppermint.

It was hard getting any droplets of the patchouli oil out of the container, so I shook really hard. Still, nothing. I then undid the cap differently and tried to pour a single droplet out. Nevermind that a fairly big Splat came forth. And cemented the learning curve. Patchouli, when in quantities of obviously more than a droplet reeks like a combination of week old body odor and burnt gym shoes...oh, er, I mean "powerfully exotic"?? (I'm positive that now, since pouring too much of the stuff out at one time, somewhere, in the wilds of southeast Asia, is a panther frantically searching for a mate.)

Well, long story short...the patchouli salts had to be tweaked, since I'd mixed a large batch and it was still too overpowering. I took a BIT of that, and bagged the rest, mixing the smaller portion with more salt. And did this process again. And yet another time. And then added sprigs of fresh rosemary, unsure just how much like gym shoes patchouli is supposed to smell. The rosemary gave it a nice herbal balance, and it turned out that the boss said she loved it. Let's see. I've asked for feedback after using it in the bath.

For myself, I mixed a batch of fresh salt and added MUCH less peppermint, and then some rosemary. It's really a pleasant smell, though the combination sounds odd. I'm going for the mint/herb pick-me-up sort of bath, with this one. I could have done with a single drop of peppermint, but that's fine. I'll dilute it with some more salt and divide it among several jars here soon. The fun is in the tweaking. I learned that with fresh rosemary, it needs to be removed after a day or two, because it darkens. We'll see if the scent stays, too. If not, I'll probably get some rosemary essential oil. I was trying to use what I had. The bath salts experiments will continue more, after we've tested these first in the tub.

The use for the clove oil is to combine with dried orange peel strips, and hopefully the outcome will be something along the lines of those pomanders we used to make when we were younger. We have an overabundance of orange peels right now, and they don't seem to decompose well in our compost pile.

So the Add Another is to look for a dehydrator so I can make my own orange and lemon and lime zest, if that's possible. We have a lot of it and I want to come up with something useful. And of course, we'll use the dehydrator for all those other necessary things as fruits and veggies come along.

#2. I finally got some seeds for growing edible sprouts: a packet of organic mung beans, and two other organic mixes that include alfalfa and other seeds.

This will be my first time to do sprouting. The seeds are having their initial soak as we speak and will be ready to be rinsed and jarred here shortly in a recycled spaghetti sauce jar. It should only be a few days, with rinses all along, before we can have some fresh and crunchy sprouts to add to our meals...yum!

3. And finally, a Bonus One
I made a home-mixed warm drink for colds and flu to help us over this cold season, since flu symptoms abound in our house just now. Here is the warm drink that has helped my husband recover...and that I'm sipping now that he's shared his ailment with me ;-)

Cold Care Concoction

Gypsy Cold Care tea bags (or other organic tea that contains echinacea; one or two tea bags steeped in an extra-large mug of boiling hot water)
Juice of 2 fresh squeezed lemons
1/4 cup or more 100% juice black cherry concentrate, enough to sweeten
Top off with an all-juice (no corn syrup) cranberry juice splash or two, if desired

Pour all together into container or thermos, cover and shake, and pour a serving and sip slowly. If it is too lukewarm, heat portion in a small pan till the desired drinking temperature. (Don't microwave! It kills the good stuff). You can adjust the proportions of ingredients to suit your individual taste. The lemon really works well on the throat and sinuses, and the liquid's warmth feels soothing. The ingredients are packed with Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Anyway, it seems to be helping; that and the chicken soup!


Maria said...

Oooh, this all sounds great! I love home made stuff! I made some peppermint bath salts once and wanted the smell nice and strong. But, after the feet, the next thing to hit the water is the 'dainty area', and that's when I knew I put way too much mint in the salt blend... I was tingly for many hours after!! Woooo!

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

My favorite bath salt scent? Lavender--always lavender. Mmmmm.
Hi Robbyn---hope all is well :-)