I just detest poisons and pesticides, and it’s getting to be that time of year here in Thornesworld. So far this year it’s not too bad with the cool, windy spring weather we’ve been having. But true desert summer is just around the corner and when it hits it’s gonna be serious.
Bugs, bugs and more bugs. You might remember that here in my desert home we have some big, scary bugs like scorpions and of course spiders like the Desert Recluse that bit me when I was sifting my wood chip pile from hell, but today I want to talk a little about your run of the mill, garden variety bugs and the hated flies, mosquitos and ants.
As I think I’ve told you all before, I live in a house that was built sometime in the mid to late 1800’s. Do I need to say that the places for bugs to get in are countless? And although covered porches rawk in the desert, helping to keep the house a little bit cooler, they also suck since they seem to be very happy places for insects to live. I’m constantly chasing the black widows and wolf spiders off of my porches (although my black widows are perfectly polite ladies, those wolf spiders sometimes chase me!), but the big issues for me are the flies. I hate them. I could spend all day swatting and still not make a dent, although I admit I have a blast with the zapper type swatters. I feel like the the legendary taylor “Seven at a blow!” And with a couple of young grand humans running in and out all day and often leaving doors ajar I’m about to add fly swatting to their chores lists!
Anyway, that’s how this recipe came about. I decided to do something about these bugs that are bugging me. I made a couple of completely organic pest repellants. I guess they are natural pesticides, but I think for the most part they drive the bugs away as opposed to killing them. I made one for our bodies and one for the garden. They both work really well!
For the body recipe:
Equal parts Water and Witch Hazel (4-8 oz ea depending on the strength and quantity you need)
15-30 drops each of the following essential oils:
clove (1/2 the amount of the other oils)
cinnamon (1/2 the amount of the other oils)
As soon as my Calendula (Pot Marigolds) bloom, I’m going make a water based infusion for this blend. Calendula flowers are a treat for the skin. Don’t get this in your eyes, it will sting like the dickens! (I also sometimes just make a Rosemary infused oil for the base instead of using the rosemary essential oil. As you can see in the photo above, I have plenty of rosemary!)
This recipe can also be made as a salve, with a little beeswax and oil (I use virgin coconut oil, but olive oil or the carrier oil of your choice will work, too). Or even handier than salves, are little Bug Off Body Bars, that you can easily mold like these little skulls I made from an ice cube tray, that you can rub right on and spread around. Here’s my Tried & True Body Butter Bars recipe, and I also offer a variety in the shop, for those of you who have neither time nor inclination to make them yourself, so please check back often.
For the garden I made an insecticidal soap
32 oz spray bottle 4/5 full of water
1/2 oz of green soap (or dishwashing liquid- I use Dawn)
40 drops rosemary
40 drops clove bud
100 drops cinnamon
100 drops pennyroyal
It works! I’ve rescued my strawberries from whatever was eating them! I’m on my way to the kitchen to blend a batch of Thorne’s Balm my Comfrey/Lavender salve that is wonderful for everything from soft tissue injuries, to aching joints and inflammation as well as cuts & wounds.
In Light and Shadow,
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