Friday, August 31, 2012

Homemade on the Homestead: Deodorant and Apple Cider Vinegar

A few things have kept me from posting this week.  For one, Joseph has needed my help in the shop more than usual.  Getting more hours there is a good thing.  Our sweet pup, Guinness, had a bit of (routine) surgery as well.  He's not quite his spunky self just yet, but is doing very well.  There's a new item I've been working on for my shop, which I'll share once I've taken pics.

Thanks to generous neighbors, there are apples drying in the dehydrator, and a batch of apple cider vinegar started.  In the past, I've juiced the apples to begin.  Today, I'm trying this, using just the cores and peels.  I did add some of the "mother" from the previous batch, and will be adding more peels and cores to it over the next few days.  I was happy with the way the last batch turned out, but if I can do without using the juicer, that'll be one less gadget to clean, which is always a good thing.

This homemade deodorant has passed every test with flying colors.  Hot, humid days doing manual labor in the shop is about as much as I can throw at it, and it kept me non-stinky :o)  Can't ask for more than that.  The original recipe came from Heather at Beauty that Moves.  Her lovely blog has been a favorite of mine for a couple of years, so it's no surprise this recipe is now a favorite too.

Heather's Coconut Oil Deodorant

1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/4 cup baking soda
4 tablespoons coconut oil (the recipe called for extra virgin; I substituted regular)
10 drops lavender essential oil
3-4 drops patchouli essential oil

In a medium bowl, sift arrowroot and baking soda.  Add coconut oil and essential oils.
Using a fork, combine well (as if you were cutting butter into flour).
Next, using the back of a large serving spoon, press the mixture together to work it into a smooth paste.
Pack mixture into a glass jar (a 4 oz canning jar is perfect) and it's ready to use.  Store at room temperature.

To use:  Scoop a small amount onto your fingertips and apply to underarms.  Your body heat will almost instantly melt it and you can easily rub it in.    Note: there is the faintest hint of white when you first apply.

So many essential oils have antibacterial properties, I'm sure you could substitute others if you're not a fan of patchouli.  I'm thinking I may try sandalwood next time, possibly rosemary another.  It's such a good product, I've pondered adding the deodorant to my shop, for those who don't care to make it themselves.  I'd appreciate any input on that.  Have a beautiful, late summer weekend, friends!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

She Said What?!

I had to chuckle when I saw the pic of those bees on the sedum.  They reminded me of a couple of gossiping ladies.

Joseph saw the first blue heron on our pond this morning. He called to me, but by the time I got out there, it had flown off.  We've been planning our seating areas, and even a treehouse overlooking the pond. What a pleasure it will be to sit and look upon the wildlife that will visit.

An update on the homemade deodorant... this stuff rocks!  The final test will be tomorrow, when I'll be sitting outdoors at the Market all day.  I've worked in the garden, and worked in the shop, and it's far better than the natural, "boughten" brand I've been using.  I'll keep you posted. By the way, the flower in the 2nd photo is clitoria mariana, named for ummm... rather obvious reasons.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dance of The Butterflies

This morning, I wanted to share some of the activity on my favorite butterfly bush.

The bush is located along the drive near the shop.

So much beauty to accompany me while I've worked.

A hummingbird moth has joined in.

So much to enjoy on these sweet and simple summer days.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bonus Plants

You know how sometimes when you buy a plant, a surprise bonus shows up, along with the plant you purchased?  Don't you just love it when that happens?  I recently spied an interesting looking succulent, in among my portulacas.  If anyone has an ID for this plant (below), I'd greatly love to know.  While on the subject, I'd also like to know what the plant in the foreground of the bottom pic is. I'm thinking it was in a wildflower mix, as several have come up.  It's a new one to me.

I finally got around to making homemade deodorant yesterday.  Making it was quick and easy.  So far, I'm impressed.  I'll test it for several days, and if it passes muster, I'll share the recipe.  In the meantime, I'll share another recipe, this one edible.  One of my fellow nurses, during my years at Carolina Cardiology, gave it to me.  Low-cal, it's not.  But when tomatoes are beckoning from the garden, one sometimes has to make exceptions.

Amy's Tomato Pie

Approx. 4 large tomatoes
1 c shredded mozzarella
1 c shredded cheddar
1/4-1/2c mayonnaise (the original recipe called for 1c; I use just enough to hold the cheeses together)
handful of basil, chopped
chives, chopped 1-2 tbs (optional)
bread crumbs
pie crust

Slice tomatoes & drain in colander approx. 20-30 mins.  Preheat oven  to 350 degrees.  Put enough bread crumbs in pie crust to cover bottom.  This is to soak up any excess moisture from tomatoes.  Mix cheeses and mayonnaise in a bowl.  Layer tomatoes over bread crumbs, then herbs, then add cheese by spoonfuls to cover top.  Bake 30- 40 minutes until top is golden. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Meet, Greet and Bee

I'm gathering up ingredients for some serious soapmaking sessions.  The last of the Patchouli soap will be going to good homes today, and there are several other bare spots on my shelves.  Sirius soap is ready to be wrapped, and a batch of Cedar Lemongrass will be on it's heels. 

Today I'm preparing for the Lark Artists Meet and Greet, tonight at Betsy Browne Pottery.  Pondering if I should bring hummus or black bean dip... preferences, anyone?  I was happy to see I'd caught a bumblebee in mid flight, in the sunflower pic.  Have a sunny day, friends!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Recent Walk

I thought to take along the camera on a recent walk.


 I  enjoy many peaceful moments here on this bench.  Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Bohemoth in the Driveway & Catching Rain

One of New Earth's jobs at present is refurbishing this biodiesel demonstration unit for Polk County Schools.  The large, colorful trailer is pretty impressive.  I'd show you the other side, but they've dismantled it and it is quite empty at the moment.

We've been getting some serious rain this evening, and while it was still light out, we could see the pond visibly rising from our front door. Yippee! 

While at the hardware store yesterday, J picked up parts to make our rainwater catchment system automatic.  For all the years I've lived here, someone had to go out and open the cistern once enough rain had fallen to clean the roof, and begin collecting rainwater.  And then it had to be closed back up, once the rain had finished.  On the days no one was here on the homestead, no rain was collected.  Our new system is based on this design, which is a fairly standard one.  It's working perfectly!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


The weekend has seen dogs bathed, the placement of outdoor table and chairs to overlook the pond, some overdue house projects and serious house cleaning, in anticipation of a guest this week.  Things are shaping up rather nicely.  Soon we'll be off to peruse paint, for a couple of small jobs I'm looking forward to.  Happy Sunday, friends!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Multitude of Mushrooms

The recent rains combined with the heat have brought forth a multitude of mushrooms.  I notice many of them are being nibbled by our local wildlife.

Our seasonal creek is usually dry this time of year.  It's lovely to hear it gurgling through the rocks on our evening walks.  I wanted to share another pasta sauce from the garden I regularly make.  It's a combination a friend suggested when I was looking for good recipes for summer squash.  I  use tromboncino squash, but zucchini would work just as well.  The amounts are suggestions, rather than exact measurements.

Summer Squash Pasta Sauce

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
4-6 small to medium tromboncino or zucchini squash, cut in 1/2 inch rounds
3-4 smallish tomatoes
olive oil
3-4 sprigs rosemary, leaf removed from stems
handful fresh basil, chopped
pasta 12 oz (increase the amounts a bit if cooking a lb of pasta)

Saute onion in olive oil.  Put pot of water on for pasta. When onion softens, add squash and a pinch or two of salt.  Cook several minutes and add tomatoes.  When squash begins to soften, add rosemary and basil.  Cook another 5 minutes, and serve over pasta, with freshly grated Romano cheese.