August 18, 2012 by lytlejoc
Blandford is by far the most friendly and neighborly neighborhood you ever did see. We know just about every single person on our road now and talk to at least two or three folks every day, usually through the open windows of their cars as they pause on their way by. They all offer us hearty welcomes and well wishes, tips on who to call to have this or that hauled away, tidbits of knowledge about our little house and often things like showers, beer, extra bedrooms, etc. Scott invited our very favorite neighbors over for a drink the other night for his birthday, and they arrived bearing a warm and scrumptious chocolate cake, a cooler full of beer and a card. Later that night as we were all sitting around the campfire, a different neighbor drove by and shouted “Happy Birthday!” out the car window as he rolled past. Three days later, they brought yet another cake for my birthday. Couple this kind of goodwill with the dazzling scenery and I’m pretty damn sure that we are living in paradise.
Or maybe just at the edge of it. We are settling into camp life and although it is snug and cozy, we are still ironing out some little wrinkles. We had to replace the battery on our camper as it had pretty much kicked the bucket – a fact Scott discovered in mid-shower after a particularly sweaty and filthy demolition day – and because we are relying on solar power and the fridge needs juice to stay cold, the chill factor in there is questionable at best. However, our freezer is perfectly frosty and we’ve discovered that our local convenience store/restaurant has a tap out back that gushes forth frequently tested water that is free for the taking. We are also learning how to live outside in the rain or sneak around the trailer like thieves whenever Toby is napping, and I don’t remember a time that I’ve watched less tv or been offline for so long which is rather refreshing.
I sit now, with my laptop on the front stoop of the house, both doors yawning open behind me like toothless old men. Demolition is underway and the walls are mostly stripped of their plaster. Being made at the turn of the twentieth century, the house wasn’t framed the way houses are today, and Scott is finding that he will be putting new two by fours in to house the wiring that has yet to begin. If there is a ghost in the house, it has yet to make an appearance, but I think when I was taking these pictures I heard a mournful moaning sound. It could have been one of the guys yawning in the yard, but neither of them remember doing that. I’ll go ahead and believe that they did.
In terms of resources, the local flora is bountiful and I’ve gotten my paws on a book called “Nature’s Medicine: Plants that Heal” which I have every intention of using to fullest capacity one of these days. With all these flowers at my disposal, my interest in such things is – and you’ll pardon the play on words – blooming. The blossoms that I’m most interested in trying to make use of are the roses as there is a wild tangle of bushes surrounding the house and dotting the property. According to my book, the roots of the rose will “prevent the dire consequences of being bitten by a mad dog”, and while I am not going to rely on a rose root for protection if I ever meet a dog that’s foaming at the mouth, it also tells me that rose hips are an excellent source of Vitamin C and that the oil has astringent properties. I found the directions online to distill rose petals into a hydrosol, and I am dying to take a crack at this but you need to simmer the roses for two hours. Living on a limited supply of propane for cooking, I am going to have to wait until we are hooked up with a proper stove before I try this out, by which time the roses may all have withered away. Since I would rather make use of the petals before this happens, I decided to try adding them to my most recent batch of hand salve since the last one is all used up.
bee doo bee doo bee doo doo doop! Our DIY portion of the post today is bringing you the recipe for…
Lavender and Rose Hand Salve
Whether or not the rose petals added anything to this concoction, I’m not sure. But there is a faint rosie scent to this batch that I like, and my hands are healing nicely (though I have to admit that I broke down and went to the doctor for some corticosteroids. I can only be so patient.)
¼ cup olive oil
1 tbsp calendula oil
1tbsp sweet almond oil
1 tbsp shea butter
1 tbsp beeswax
1 tbsp rose petals
1 tbsp lavender buds
A few drops each tea tree oil, bergamot oil, and lavender oil (optional, but this masked the smell of the shea butter which I’m not really wild about).
In a double boiler (or a heat proof bowl set over a pot of boiling water), heat the olive oil, calendula oil, almond oil and shea butter until the shea butter has melted. Add the rose petals and lavender, heating until the petals have lost their hue and you can smell the lavender. Fifteen minutes or so should do the trick. Strain out the flowers and add the beeswax, heating through until it has melted. Remove from heat and add the essential oils, if you’re using them. Poor into a glass jar and let cool.
I added the calendula oil as it also has astringent properties and so the lavender, rose and calendula should all hopefully be helpful in healing the vicious cracks on my hands. The almond oil, shea butter, beeswax and olive oil should all work together to help with the dryness and while I haven’t used it long enough to see whether this is all just speculation or truth, I can tell you that this version of the hand salve soaks into your hands a little faster than the first batch and definitely eases the stinging when my hands have dried out too much. You can get calendula and shea butter at Rose Mountain Herbs, of course, which is where mine are from. Excellent website, that.
The limited power supply that we’ve been eking out with means that my laptop is pretty much always at the brink of dying and so I can’t post as often as I like. I will keep on trucking, though, and try to beg/steal/borrow a bit of power as often as I can so I can keep you all up to date on life as a pioneer, as I like to think of it. (I know that’s a little dramatic since we do have way more comforts than pioneers did, and I don’t work nearly as hard, but I’m sure you’ll allow me a little romanticism, yeah?)
So, folks, I’d love to know if you’ve tried this recipe or the previous one! If you’ve tried either, what are your thoughts? Did you like it? Does it work? Any suggestions for improving the formula are always appreciated!