Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lemon rose geranium makes me giddy

I can't believe five weeks have passed since my last post. At times it feels like one dreadful Saturday is just merging into the next. It's impossible to explain how much grief losing our beautiful baby girl has brought, but the days keep passing and the garden keeps growing. It feels like it's time for me to keep growing again too. I went months without missing a daily post last year and I really enjoyed it so I'm coming back to it.

The garden is my refuge and one of my favorite plants within it is our crazy lemon rose geranium. It smells just like heaven to me.

Here it is in early April, all pretty and blooming although just a bit leggy. There's a nice sized strawberry plant to the right and a lime tree.
A few days ago I got an incredible urge to chop it all down. The blossoms had withered and the plant was unmanageable. Farmer D had been complaining that he couldn't reach the mail and it was threatening to take over the entire garden. Once I chopped it down I realized I had to process it because simply composting it was never an option.

I brought most of it back to my patio.
And I started clipping off pieces for plants.
I am hoping some of them will root in water but most likely the stems will only rot. I planted a lot of small pieces in coconut fiber with a little bit of worm tea for their first watering. I will keep them in bright, filtered light and be careful not to water them too much while praying they all take root. I'm told the stems are prone to rot, which is why I'm not holding out a lot of hope for rooting them in water.

I have about 70 new plants and hope at least half of them will live. We'll see.
Here's a look post pruning, Farmer D's mistress is much more visible and it is much easier to reach the mailbox.
Playing with all of this lemon rose geranium over the last few days has made me happy. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting its use in balancing women's hormones but I'm not sure it's ever been tested in "legitimate" clinical trials. It should be.

Processing so much of this resinous and odoriferous plant gave me an immediate happiness high. I think it is my most favorite smelling thing on the entire planet. I often find myself going to it, crushing a bunch of its leaves in my hands and then inhaling the heavenly smell.

I used 1 cup olive,  1/2 cup jajoba, 1/4  cup almond, and 1/4 cup coconut oil to extract some of the oil from some of the leaves.  
I took this picture too early and forgot to take another one.This little crock doesn't have a temperature dial so it was getting too hot and I needed to add more product. I added the cup of olive oil after this picture was taken and filled the crock to the top with more leaves and added even more when those settled.  I had to monitor this closely and keep unplugging and re-plugging the crock to keep the temperature consistent.  I tried to keep the temperature consistently medium warmish for about eight hours. I strained the oil twice with cheesecloth and bottled it for future use. It is so yummy.  

If I had done a better job of planning I would've purchased more jojoba, almond and coconut oil to process the rest of the leaves with.

I am extracting more of the oils using a good quality but not expensive olive oil that I had on hand and the sun's magic.
I will leave this for 48-hours and give it a good swish whenever I think of it. When it's done, I'm going to strain it into dark colored glass bottles for storage. I plan to use it directly on dry skin and add some to unscented body products of all kinds to give them a lemon rose geranium scent. 

Gidget is overjoyed to have her photo taken again finally. We'll see how long that lasts. 
We're planning to be back at the market on June 16 with some basil plants, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, potentially passion fruit and possibly a pepper.