Spinning, Knitting, Crocheting, Organic Gardening, Living off-grid, and chasing sheep - because- I'm, like, NOT SANE!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Spoonfuls of greasy, healing love!

Heh - I thought I'd be here a couple of days ago. BRRR! It's been, uh, TOO cold here for the last few days - even for Maine! So, things (including me) move a little slower. I blame it on the lack of mobility caused by excessive layering. If you don't have a 9 year old in your house, then you may not be privileged with the goofy but hysterical things that 8-10 yr. olds say. Thing 3 is in all his glory of being the CUTEST LITTLE KID EVER! Lately, he's been saying the funniest things.

Thing 3 hates to be forced to stay indoors, no matter how bitter and nasty the weather. He finds excuse upon excuse to head down to the barn and feed the horse a carrot, take the chickens a piece of bread, or just sneak off to play for a while and claim he's doing a chore (smiles cuz we moms always really know what they're up to but play along with the foolery anyway because it's so fun for them). So, the other day, when the wind was howling and the cold was biting and I had convinced him that outside play for any length of time was simply out of the question, we had a talk about sensible dress for cold weather. I reminded him to layer and layer some more and he promised to only stay out for wee bits at a time and come in to warm up by the stove and have a cuppa hot chocolate. He kind of took the layering thing to an extreme and, later, whilst in for a 'warm up', was sporting a grand sweat and red face. I mentioned that the layering may have been a bit much and he replied, "yeah, must have been because I think I'm having a hot flash or something!" After I got up off the floor and stopped laughing hysterically I asked him if he knew what a hot flash was. Of course, he did not but realized after I explained it that he indeed was not experiencing a symptom of menopause and was, in fact, over dressed. I love this kid!

bloggie thingie 006So, I was supposed to come here and talk about salves, and I will. First, I must introduce to you the object of my affections. You know, things have been a little rough so I did what any sensible woman would do. I baked alot, knit and spun alot, and catered to my desire for something to sit in my lap and purr (my big kitty thinks he's too old for that, now) and got myself a kitten. Well, I'm sharing her with everyone but Thing 3 and I are pinky wrestling over her nearly every day. Meet Tatiana - our little Maine Coon Cat. She's a terror, I tell ya - but you gotta love something this small that can have the entire house bent over laughing with her antics while confusing the dog and exhausting our older cat, Boulder, who has taken to mothering her and seems completely worn out by that awesome responsibility! He's all like, 'dang, I need a nap on my favorite stair and you bring me this crazy kid to train?' It's so funny. When she gets too out of hand he tackles her, gives her a thorough bath, and tricks her into falling asleep.

Now, onto the salve!

I've been making this salve for about as long as I've been using herbal remedies - around 13 years, now. Comfrey is a magical plant, if you didn't know. Culpepper raved about the bone healing virtues of this plant and, indeed, it's been called 'bone knit' in folk remedies because of it's ability to mend bones so quickly, it is as if they are knitted back together (you like it already, don't you?). I love it because it is so easy to grow. In fact, it is hard NOT to grow so, if you plant some, put it where you don't mind it stretching out it's legs a while. It does make an excellent soil conditioner but, should you get the bright idea to plant it right in your herb garden because you've read this, and two years later you are spending your whole summer pulling up baby comfrey plants 10 feet away until, exasperated, you give up and fence the pig into the garden to root out all the seedlings that are taking over, you will think twice before doing it, again. Just sayin'.

In my opinion, the knitting of bones is pretty spectacular. But, even more impressive is how this spiky leaf can knit skin. Seriously! My salve comes with a warning to NEVER, EVER put it on a deep cut. The reason is that comfrey proliferates the skin cells, which is a good thing mostly. Only, it is so devoted to making new skin cells and knitting them together that, for a really deep cut, the outer layer of skin can heal so quickly that the deeper wound is still underneath - causing infection and ouchy sorts of pain. We love the magic salve, here. I can't tell you how many times I've slathered it on a scraped knee that was the result of a bike mishap or a fall from the swing set, covered it with a cool band-aid and, by the next morning, just a faint piece of pink skin is where the boo boo was just the day before. For burns and chapped skin, ditto. Cold sores? Gone! If you're going to grow one herb and try to get the most practical used out of it - comfrey is a serious contender. I use the crushed, dried leaves for the ewes, too, if they are slow to heal from lambing.

bloggie thingie 001The salve is super easy and, over time, I've added some 'special' ingredients of my own but you can just experiment and find what works for you. If you don't have comfrey, or can't grow your own herbs or, for those supplies that help you make your herbal goodness, I can't recommend Mountain Rose Herbs enough. I've been buying organic herbal care ingredients and other nedessities for years and I've always been impressed with the quality of their herbs, oils, and specialties. Here's my recipe

5 parts olive oil infused with fresh comfrey*
1 part beeswax
20 drops tea tree essential oil (it's a great antibacterial for cold sore, scrapes, etc. and cools burns like a peppermint would)
1 tbsp goldenseal root powder (again, an antibacterial/antifungal)

* to infuse the oil - place 2 cups dried or 4 cups fresh chopped comfrey in a pot with 5 cups of olive oil, warm, slowly, at low temp. for about an hour. Set overnight, strain the next day and - voila! You've got some magic comfrey oil!

Then, melt the beeswax in the comfrey oil on LOW HEAT. Remove from heat when the beeswax is completely dissolved. Add the tea tree oil and goldenseal powder and stir thoroughly. Then, pour into your favorite jar (baby food jars are excellent as are small jam or honey jars) and label - it's amazing how easily you'll forget what's in the jar so labeling really is a good idea.

bloggie thingie 019This also works great on chapped lips and, without the goldenseal and tea tree oil and with a few drops of rose oil added instead, you'd have a great under eye and wrinkle cream.....this stuff makes your skin look great. If you don't want to make it, but would love to use it, I'll have a few jars listed in the shop for the Black Friday weekend sale next weekend.

Have fun....play hard - that's our motto here at Chez Kneebumps Don't Scare Us! How about some spinning and soap making next time, hmmmm???