Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Decant Herbs + Calendula, Lavender and Shea Butter Balm

     So about one month ago I made a small batch of some calendula infused oil and a herbal liniment. The liniment is a nice mixture of lavender, chamomile, rosemary, sage and a few other herbs I can't remember. They've been hanging out on the windowsill ever since. This is a good place for them--they get lots of sunshine and warmth and I'm reminded to shake them more, which is an important part of the process. 

The calendula oil is on the left and the liniment is on the right.
Calendula flowers!

     Herbal oils and liniments generally need to sit for 6-7 weeks, but since it's been so warm lately, I only had to wait 4. I had this recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs picked out for the calendula oil, since it's good for many summer ailments, such as rashes, bug bites, sore muscles, and in general any skin problems you might run into this time of year. It also smells lovely and will cure dry skin any time of year. I'm going to post pictures of the balm-making process, but you should really check out Mountain Rose Herbs' site as well since they were so kind as to post the recipe.

It's fairly simple to make and I had everything but the cheesecloth lying around already.

To decant the herbs, just cut an appropriately sized piece of cheesecloth. Mine were a bit too small, so if you're using the pictures for reference, keep that in mind. Pour your oil or liniment into the cheesecloth after you've positioned it above a clean jar or bowl, and squeeze out all the excess.

You've waited this long, why waste any? It's the same for both the infused oil and the liniment.
A close up of the calendula flowers. Aren't they pretty?
     Next, balm time!

     Put together a double boiler--my choice bowl was in the wash, so I had to use a metal one. Be careful if you do this, as they get really hot. You probably knew that already.

     Melt all your ingredients except for the lavender essential oil: the calendula infused oil, beeswax, and shea butter. I find it helpful to grate the beeswax.
Melted oils and wax
     After it's completely melted, remove it from heat and stir in your lavender essential oil, about 20 drops. If it smells awesome, you're doing it right. To finish up, pour into a tin or small jar and let sit until hardened. You should have a lovely, healing balm afterwards.
The finished product!
     As for the liniment, I like to store it in a spray bottle, but you can do whatever is convenient. The spray bottle is nice because you can apply the right amount and rub it in quickly. It works very well when your muscles are just worn out completely. I carry both these things in my backpack when I'm hiking in the summer and they are wonderful aids.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Oklahoma Women's Health Status Worsening

I'm afraid that this post will depart somewhat from the adorableness of the last. Thank you, Robert!

My friend Julia runs an awesome blog, Oh Fuck Oklahoma. Recently I sent her an article published in the Tulsa World and she did a great job of highlighting the best points, you should go check it out.

The article concerns the recent drop in female life expectancy in this state. It dropped! While Oklahoma has obesity problems, it aslo has a lot of what I like to flatly call "sexism problems":

Quoting state Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa, who has authored a number of unsuccessful health-care bills that would have improved health outlooks for women: “When women are treated as second-class citizens, then you don’t need to think about our needs as much.” She also said the top problem she has faced in trying to push such legislation is that the measures are seen “as an infringement into the ‘sanctity of the family.’

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Our Anniversary!

As of this posting I will have been with my girlfriend and co-blogger Amelia for a year. As you might have guessed from our blog title, this place is an extension of our relationship and the shenanigans we get up to. Sometimes when something goes exceptionally well when we’re out together we like to say that it was because of our ‘daywalker powers’. It’s silly, but in a very real way these daywalker powers are exactly what keep me so happy with our relationship. Amelia has a way of being so buoyant and charismatic that great things happen around her. She is full of energy; constantly vibrant and fresh.

A basket of kittens has nothing on the cutepocalypse going on right here.

Have you seen ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’? If you haven’t you’ve probably seen a clip – it’s an old movie from the late 80’s that had animation overlaid on a live action reel. When I look at Amelia I picture her a lot like that, everything surrounding her goes slightly out of focus and she shines. That’s how completely amazing she is. Everything is made better with her around me. She inspires me to do great things; around her I want to be kinder, healthier and more creative.

This blog is a great treasure for me because I have someone so wonderful to write it with. Every day I look at a picture or a letter that she has given to me and can see her energy through it and I feel able to face the day. She has taught me what a pleasure it is to have a relationship with someone that makes you feel like half of a super hero duo. It’s a great thrill to have such a dedicated teammate to mess around with in my garden or in the studio.

Happy Anniversary, Amelia. I love you very much.