The Great Outdoors

Lazy Summer Happenings

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Hey everyone! I debated whether or not I should post today…I’m getting a little lazy about blogging.

One of the reasons is that I’m devoting more time to my kids and family and to keeping my home in nice shape. It has been a good decision โ˜บ

I do miss blogging more than 1x a week, but my kids are still rather young and have a lot of demands needs at this stage in life.

Plus, you know, getting one post per week gives me time to brainstorm a good post for you guys. Everyone has been loving the food posts lately and I Thank-you for that ๐Ÿ˜„

Summer can be such a lazy time, but it can also be a time of high energy. When I think of summer, the words “lazy” and “productive” come to mind.

I’ve been both so far. I’ve got my garden and garden beds, my sewing and knitting projects, fun places to go, people to visit with.

Annndd..you know. Sometimes I like to be lazy, sitting on the couch with my knitting or a good book. I have to get up a million time to break up fights, get snacks and so forth. But whatever. Life with kids is mayhem sometimes.

Anyway…enough of my rambling. Here is a bit of what my family and I have been up to this summer.

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Making dandelion wine.

This was the last step before bottling. All of the ballons had to be flat for 24 hours before we could cork them. (Shows that the fermentation process is complete.)

We bottled these in early June, so they should be ready in early December. I can hardly wait! My husband and I have always wanted to try this and I’m so glad we did.

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Harvested this bunch of sheep sorrel from the garden.

I ate some of it fresh and some in a smoothie. It has a nice tart taste and tons of vitamins.

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These itty bitty radishes were so cute.

I was impressed with how fast they grew. They literally sprouted the day after I planted them and were ready to harvest in about 3 weeks.

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This little wonder is a garlic scape.

I harvested about 3 of them from my garlic plants about a month or so ago. I had read a post about garlic from two branches homestead that discussed how to grow garlic. One step is to cut off the curly garlic scape so that the plant’s energy will go toward growing the garlic bulb and not the flower. The light green part in the photo is where a flower would appear.

I cut up some of the scape, like a green onion and had it on my salad. It was good!

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Joy of joys, elderberry blossoms!

There are so many this year that I think I can safely harvest some to use in a recipe.

Last year, there wasn’t many, so I let the birds have their fill.

The flowers smell so beautiful! There should be berries in another month or so…you know I’ll share if I make something โ˜บ

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Most recently, I made these little treats for the 4th of July.

I used a tiny star cookie cutter to cut out peices of watermelon, then piped on a bit of almond yogurt, then a blueberry on top.

Magnifico!

(My daughter just liked licking the yogurt off. She let me eat the rest ๐Ÿ˜†)

What about you? Any lazy summer happenings of note where you are? Stay cool & enjoy this beautiful summer that He has provided. God bless!

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Natural Skin Care

Healing Sunshine Salve {with Calendula, Dandelion and Goldenrod}

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I made a lovely Autumn inspired salve yesterday and I had a lot of fun with it ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes I just need to create something. You know what I mean? It’s therapeutic. And its good to invest in hobbies.

In this diy I am combining several hobbies and passions of mine. Foraging, gardening and herbalism all come into play here. Plus a bit of aromatherapy as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Foraging: I found the dandelion in my backyard and the goldenrod in a family member’s yard.

Gardening: I grew the calendula ๐Ÿ™‚

Herbalism: What benefits will result from the infused oils used in this salve?

Why calendula?ย 

-it is gentle to use on children, helps skin heal and good for inflammation.

Why dandelion?

-it is good for sore muscles and rough, chapped skin.

And lastly, why goldenrod?

-it helps heal wounds and burns. It also helps with muscle aches and arthritis pain. And most interestingly, it is said to help with winter blues.

Step 1: Harvest and Prepare Plant Materials

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Goldenrod. I hung it upside down inside a small paper bag to minimize messiness.
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Lovely brilliant orange calendula.
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Dandelion flowers. These ones I foraged from my backyard last spring.
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Ready to make the infused oils!

Step 2: Prepare the Infused Oils

Sweet almond oil allows the delicate scents of the flowers to shine, without altering the golden colors.

I filled the jars with oil. The dandelion jar got about a 50/50 ratio of sweet almond oil to extra virgin olive oil because I ran out of almond.

To make my infusion I followed the “fast way”ย directions as per The Nerdy Farm Wife.

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Before infusion.
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After infusion, ready to strain.
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Coffee filters with canning rings worked well.

 

Step 3: Assemble and Prepare Ingredients

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Oils ready for measuring. From left to right: Dandelion, calendula, goldenrod.
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Other ingredients: lavender and neroli essential oil blend, cocoa butter, beeswax, argan oil.
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Cocoa butter, beeswax, infused oils and argan oil measured out.

Step 4: Melt and Pour

I don’t have any pics (of good quality that is) of this part. This is a fairly fast step. Melting the beeswax will take 5 minutes or so. The cocoa butter melts within minutes and it all comes together rather quickly.

Be careful and quick when pouring. Melted beeswax can be troublesome to clean up.

Step 5: Let Set

Here are some pics of the gradual cooling process. I love the change of colors.

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Healing Sunshine Salve {with Calendula, Dandelion and Goldenrod}

Makes: 4oz

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons+2 teaspoons calendula infused sweet almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon goldenrod infused sweet almond oil
  • 1 teaspoon+1/4 teaspoon dandelion flower infused sweet almond oil/extra virgin olive oil (I used a 50/50 ratio because I ran out of almond oil.)
  • 11 drops argan oil
  • 4 drops lavender and neroli essential oil blendย (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons+1 teaspoon+1/4+1/8 teaspoon cocoa butter
  • 1 Tablespoon+1 teaspoon+scant 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped beeswax

Supplies/Kitchen Equipment:

  • A medium saucepan
  • 2 glass jars, for cocoa butter and oils
  • A clean tin can
  • A wooden or metal skewer
  • An oven mitt
  • A small clean glass jar, for the finished salve

Directions:

1. Measure cocoa butter into a glass jar. Measure oils (all except essential oil) into a separate glass jar. Place the chopped beeswax into the tin can.

2. Fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and turn the burner on medium high heat. Melt the beeswax in a tin can submerged in the hot water. It will float so you will need to hold it with an oven mit. Stir with the skewer till melted.

3. Melt cocoa butter in a glass jar, next to the can of beeswax. Remove from heat when almost melted. (Some small peices will remain but they will melt.)

4. Add oils to beeswax. Stir and allow beeswax to re-melt before adding melted cocoa butter. Stir and remove from pan.

5. Stir well and pour quickly into prepared salve jar. Add essential oils quickly and stir well.

~~~

Cost:

It cost me $2.39 to make this salve. That’s about 60ยข per oz. The jar was gifted to me so that cost was excluded.

So yeah that sounds pretty cheap, right? But a salve like this is most cost effective when you collect the ingredients over time. All of these ingredients, minus the sweet almond oil I use for other things. I would have paid $31.33 if I bought everything all at once.

I loved it that I was able to save money by foraging and growing my own flowers ๐Ÿ™‚ It took a bit of patience to wait for the harvest, but it was worth it.๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’™

~Rachel

All photos are my own.