of this house-ready summer. I thought I'd better stop in and dust off the neglected blog as well.
After days of cleaning and de-cluttering (and exhaustion) and now up-keeping and perpetual lawn mowing and constantly leaving the house for showings, we are getting in the grove of this particular summer. It's not our usual one by any means.
There are upsides to the house leaving at viewing times because we have gone for some lovely hikes along the Cataract Trail. We have also haunted air-conditioned coffee shops for times when after a long day on my feet in a hot kitchen I preferred to sit for a bit thanks, with my knitting or wifi, although I am driving-by blogs more than stopping in.
When I say knitting I mean a few rows at a time, or I bring my knitting bag and it sits beside me full of yarn and good intention. No, I have not completed the spring cardigan and yes, I realize it is no longer spring. Let's leave it at that for now. You know I'll show you when I'm done.
In between the pristine moments, I have messed up the kitchen a little:
The bug lotion and natural sunscreen were made, bug lotion being the most important in this rainy, humid, mosquito-infested summer. It feels like living in a rain forest. You have to be quite crazy to be out in the sun in this humidity.
So yes, the bug lotion is getting more use and I'm happy to say it's working well. Recipe at the end of the post.
There has been a lot of thunderstorm viewing from the porch.
Jam making. Rhubarb banana jam (not exact recipe) because it seemed like an interesting combination and the bananas were ripe and so was the rhubarb.
The usual bread and yoghurt making. Sometimes these have been left fermenting in unusual places for viewings and I have to remember where I hid them!
But I haven't been to the barn for throwing pots yet and it's JULY! Very sad about this. I keep finding more things to sort and clean, dang it. I'm seeing finger prints and dirt and dust and smudges everywhere! Come to think of it, the barn still needs more sorting and cleaning too.
My garden is in an unusual state this year. Last month our neighbour was going to buy the house, with a fast turn around time. I was at the seedling transplanting stage and thought that I would put most of the seedlings in pots to transport to a new location. However, that plan fell through and some got planted in the garden and some are still in pots and baskets around the garden. Not the most satisfying arrangement but not the worst either. There hasn't been a been a big enough block of time to do anything about it, which is my mantra these days.
I have a big stand of stinging nettle (what a big selling point that must be, ha!) that I have been making infusions with, along with mint leaves. This infusion has been very good for my allergies this year. I've also been drying some to take away with me although this is challenging in the humidity. The passive oven technique that I used last year is at work again.
I am (trying) to ignore the elderflowers but am waiting patiently for the berries. I'm not finished DIY-ing with this property yet! I got an idea for another project while photo-taking the other day at the pond. Any guesses? (the raw materials are in the photo)
I must go now and check on the laundry. It has been on the clothesline since yesterday, getting alternately poured on and heated up (but not dried). On the bright side - twice as clean!
Natural Bug Lotion
1/4 cup catnip-infused OLIVE OIL I left a couple of tablespoons of dried catnip in olive oil in a sealed jar in the sunny window for about two weeks, then strained out. Alternately, you can use catnip essential oil (10x more effective than DEET, also 10X more $$$)
1/4 cup COCONUT OIL
1/4 Cup SOYBEAN OIL
3 Tablespoons grated BEESWAX
3/4 cup filtered WATER
Bug deterring essential oils, about 20-30 drops:
(I used what I had but I realize I have a lot more than most. Any of these provide some protection, as do the oils above) Geranium is also a great one to use.
Citronella, Lemon Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Peppermint, Clove and Lavender
Place the oils and beeswax in a double boiler and heat gently until melted.
Place the water in a deep bowl and slowly drizzle in the oils, using a stick blender to emulsify. You can use a regular blender but it is much harder to clean afterward. Make sure all the water is incorporated. Stir in the essential oils until thoroughly incorporated.
Place into clean jars and lid when the lotion has cooled to room temperature.
Since the weather is hot, store in the fridge and use up this season.
About 2 cups