Infused oil as a moisturizer

I have been having fun making my gardening useful to me. I have been dehydrating mint and lavender and as I trim them, they grow more.  Which is wonderful until you run out of space for them.  I purchased a large container of coconut oil at Costco just a few years ago and I have really enjoyed using it as a moisturizer for my dry and itchy skin year round. I have a great deal of allergies to the stabilizers used in lotions and have struggled for many years with my hands swelling and breaking out in hives.

I have wanted to find additional ways to use the lavender besides in my tea.  I looked up how to infuse my coconut oil on Pintrest.  The process is super simple and only takes two to three days.

I used a pint mason jar and lid.  I trimmed the spearmint and peppermint fresh.

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I rinsed off the leaves, but have found through the process that next time I will end up patting them dry before popping them into the jar.

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The coconut oil that I have is a solid until about 74 degrees.  So in the air conditioned house it is a solid.  It needs to melt in order to infuse the mint into the coconut oil.  Simple fix was a candle warmer.

I scooped in coconut oil until the jar was filled to the shoulder.  The shoulder of the jar is the top of the jar before you get to the threads where you screw on the top.  So the very top 1/2 to 3/4 inches was not filled.

I noticed when I infused my lavender I did pack the jar tighter with flower tops then I did with the mint leaves.  Thus I got more coconut oil in the jar with the mint leaves and in turn more infused oil.

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I kept the jars of oil at a liquid state for two days.  Also I covered them with a black dish towel.  To keep the light out.  I gently shook the jars back and forth maybe 10 times, 3 times a day, for two days

After 2 days I strained the flower tops of the lavender out and after two days I strained the mint from the infused oil.

The infused oil has gone back to being more of a solid since I took them off the candle warmer.  It has a light fragrance added, not strong or over whelming.  Which is perfect for on my dry skin before bed every night.

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You can see the lavender infused oil on the left, I had started the lavender process one day before the mint infused oil on the right.  I took the photo directly after I had strained the mint infused oil while it was still warm and in a liquid state.

We purchased these cute 3 ounce containers to keep the oil in.  Easy to pass out to friends or sell at a craft fair.  I chose 3 ounce containers, the max that is allowed on a airplane.  Perfect for traveling.

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RickabaughReviews approves of infused oil.

Gardening in June of 2020

It is very hard to work full time, part time and try to homestead as well.  We have made many orchard type additions this year to our little patch of land.  We have a total of 6 blueberry bushes in one of the flower beds, now known as the blueberry patch.  I have 4 different varieties.  I have four very small twigs- which are very affordable.  $10.00 a piece, but you have to be in it for the long haul.  The will probably not produce for at least another two years.  Then I splurged one day and got 2 full grown- already with a ton of blueberries loaded onto the bush.  At $27.00 a piece and with how well they are doing it was a great investment.  Unfortunately the two full grown blackberry bushes that also had berries and flowers on them and were purchased at the same time for the same price are completely dead.  With the whole virus lock down I am not sure if the nursery I got them at will accept them back.  I need just an hour to do a little research.

We visited my brother and his wife and switched flowers for starts and seeds.  I gave her lillies and cone flowers and spider wort and bee balm.  And she gave me loofah seeds, thyme, raspberry starts and sour dough starter along with much more.  Only one of the raspberry starts survived.  So the new berry patch is not doing the greatest, but there are other plants that are doing great this year.  such as my lavender.  It is going crazy!!!  I cut and dry at least once a week if not twice a week  and we are not talking one little tray.  For example, yesterday I nipped off one tenth of the flowers and it was 4 trays of just lavender tops drying.  Great for in soaps and sachets.  I have been giving some to the neighbors and they love it.

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Two years ago we moved to our current house and it had 4 fruit trees already semi-established.  What I mean by semi established, is that they were several years old when they were first planted , and have been in their current spot for several years now.  Our first summer we got zero fruit from any of the trees.  My husband said if they don’t produce net year they all get chopped down.  Thank goodness for the pear tree on the end.  Last year it gave us five pears.  I did a bunch of trimming, several times the last two years, the four trees were very large and not trimmed.  Since I really wanted more fruit trees I took the time to get some education. This included watching a few videos of how to prune to increase possibility of fruit.  What we didn’t know was that my random tree trimming actually gave them all a chance.  There is a trick to trimming fruit trees so that they produce more the next year.  It is not an instantaneous type of project.  You have to be able to have and enjoy the long game.  This spring the husband and I worked hard on trimming according to what we had learned.  When you find a sucker (a branch that shoots straight up) go to the bunch of leaves and count three leaves up and then trim.  We have a total of 13 pears on the one tree.

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None have been found on the other pear tree this year but I am hopeful for next year because there was three bunches of flowers on it this past flowering season.  I did some research on the two apple trees – of course they will not produce with each other, they are the same type of apple tree and this particular type of apple tree needs a third party pollinator.  So I have been trimming them accordingly and we purchased three fruit tree babies this year.  A golden delicious apple which is a self pollinator as well as a well know third party pollinator.  The baby trees that we purchased are about three to four feet tall right now and are doing great.  We are being very realistic and knowing that it might not be next year that we will get flowers on the baby apple to cross pollinate with the two other well established apple trees, it might be the year after.  All we can do it keep everybody in good shape and hope for the best.

With our three new fruit tree babies we are doing an apple, a bing cherry and a dwarf peach.  It was also suggested that we try the Espalier style of growth and care.  We love the concept and have already have all three on wires.  We have read that this style of growth and trimming is very time consuming.  From what we were dreading it would be hours every day.  It is not!  Yes I spend thirty minutes watering every single new fruit that we planted this year twice a day if it does not rain, but I expected that going in.  We have spent maybe three hours every other Saturday specifically on the fruit trees.

Today I spent a total of an hour trimming down a good bit of the four established trees, the only reason it took so long is because they are not Espalier style where I can reach them all well.  I have to pull one branch down at a time basically fighting it while I trim with the other hand and then step back see which branch I trimmed and then get a game plan for the net branch go in grab it and try to pull it down with out snapping it.  But within that hour I got two full armloads of suckers cut off.  Hopefully next year we will get some fruit on those little fruit shoots I just prepped.

The beets this year have not done that well, nor the bell peppers or lettuce, but the aphids have not been too awful and now that the sugar snap peas are producing I have been able to pick a few every morning.

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We have been getting one or two blueberries as well as a few strawberries.  The sage and oregano have tripled in size this year.  The spearmint and peppermint have gone gang busters jumping out of their small enclosure.  I have been able to dry so much mint this year that I ran out of room in the quart jar I use, its now in a paper bag, and I should probably cut some down tomorrow.

The Elephant Ears as well as the Hostas are perfect for concrete casting right now but with all craft shows canceled for the time being I am slightly hesitant to spend money and time on casting leaves right now, I will have to see how busy our weekends get as places start to open up.

Spending time on Gardening, RickabaughReviews approves.  I really have been taking advantage of the Covid slow down and have been enjoying putting my gardening goals into action.