Sunday, August 3, 2008

up yours, tidy bowl man.

so, as many know, i like to stick it to the man in nice, small comfortable ways. and by this i mean, if it's going to land me in jail, i probably won't do it, but if it saves me money and requires testicular fortitude, i might.

so, my house is a mess. i mean, really really nasty. i hate cleaning, i always have, my dad used it as a punishment when we were growing up. as such, my toilets need to look like something housing a creature from the black lagoon before i'm like, hey, i should probably go ahead and clean that. well, today we were out of pretty much everything we use to clean, minus some ms. myers counter spray, which we were running dangerously low on. i've got a book called, clean house, clean planet, and it's got all sorts of recipes for do it yourself cleaners, as well as tips for doing things naturally (you know, like washing your windows using newspaper for a streak free shine). so i whipped up a batch of "hollywood bowl" using castile soap (thank you, dr. bronner), baking soda, vinegar, water, and tea tree oil. cleaned the toilets better than commercial products, and it smelled nice (if you like the smell of tea tree. if not, sorry man). So, that's right, up yours, clorox. up yours, tidy bowl. my cleanser smells better and my kid probably won't die if he decides to eat it, although he might throw up. i made it myself, it was cheaper, it cleaned better, and it smelled better.

however, my cats might die. i made sure the lids on the toilet bowls were closed, and didn't clean the outside of the toilets with them. i'm wondering what good antibacterial EO can be usen in something like that that's not overwhelmingly toxic to my four legged friends (or enemies. depends on who threw up in the bed and who i've caught pooping in my garden.)

bonus? i've got a recipe for castile soap in my inbox. but it uses lye, and that's not something i keep around the house. someday soon, i'll get some and keep it in the garage.

let's see...what else.

united plant savers conference was awesome. herb walk with jim mcdonald, class on medicinal mushrooms with george vaughn, a lecture by althea northage-orr. i meant to go to the fermentation class, but was in the wrong building. whoops. overall, it was pretty great. watched what i thought was going to be a plane crash while out on the walk, i nearly lost control of my bowels. it even freaked wes out, and he doesn't get freaked out pretty much ever. it was SUPER low, way under 1,000 feet, and quite loud, coming in sideways. come to find out later, romeo airport was about 10 miles away. it was a 4 engine plane, we guessed a cargo.

today was busy - made some tea for my mom, went over to visit her for awhile. made a summer squash souffle, 2 loaves of zucchini cinnamon bread, the toilet cleaner, cleaned the house, changed the beds, planted fall veggie seeds, put up 4 tinctures, one of which was calendula, which i am sure i did wrong.

herein follows my horrible account of putting up tinctures with no practical experience, reliance on someone else's formula, and no in-person teacher.

dried calendula flowers are light as air. to make a tincture, it's a 1:5 ratio, wherein you need 1 oz herbs to 5 oz liquid. calendula needs 70% alcohol, so if you're using 100% ethanol (grain alcohol), you'd do 3.5 oz of alcohol, the remaining 1.5 oz should be distilled water. first, you can't get grain alcohol here, and it's illegal to ship alcohol into the state as far as i know. i picked up a bottle of polish rectified spirits, which is about 76% alcohol. so, it was about 4.6 ounces of the spirits, the other .4 oz were water. that's all good and fine, simple math. then you run into, is that oz by volume or oz by weight? because an oz by volume of rectified spirits is different than by weight? i did by volume, which is what michael moore of SWSBM says to do. here comes the problem. are you ready? an ounce of dried calendula flowers is like....80% of a quart sized mason jar. no lie. 5 oz by volume of fluid does nothing. it sits in the bottom of the jar like swamp water. ...wth? i wish i had a real teacher. i'm not nearly far enough into my curriculum at ACHS to have anything more than a basic recipe (1 oz dried herb to 1 pt fluid, which is not really a recipe, but more of a general guideline), and i routinely fail to make connections... man. i know people make calendula tinctures all the time, but i'm a fish out of water. i need help. i'm considering posting to the herbstudent list...but i hate looking like a douchebag. Gonna have to do it, though.

Tinctures should be ready in two weeks. they're for my mom's diverticulitis. good thing they last a year and a half, too. i'm sure she'll have another attack before then.

this week - finishing up the liver unit @ ACHS. harvesting grape leaves (pan fried grape leaves a la The Anima Center, oh yes). i HAVE to finish the vegetable garden book and make more tracks on the canning book. i need a pressure canner. raw food extravaganza. cooking with my sister.

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