Loose Ends


This has been a busy week! Mostly I’ve been cleaning, organizing and tying up loose ends so next week I can focus on Thanksgiving. Then our Christmas season begins. So exciting!
Oranges are tasting good right now. Citrus shouldn’t be composted but I don’t throw away the peels. The oils are naturally antibacterial and they smell so nice and fresh and clean. I spread them out on some paper and as they dry I add them to  white vinegar in a big jar. Soon this will be filled with the dried peels and in about 4-6 weeks, I’ll strain the peels out, put the liquid in a spray bottle and I’ll have a good, natural cleaner that won’t smell like salad dressing.
The tinctures I made this summer were all ready to be strained, bottled up, labeled and put away in the medicine chest. One of my favorites is lemon balm. It’s such a safe and gentle herb and it is said to have anti viral properties and be mildly relaxing. The tincture picks up that green, lemony scent. It’s delicious as a tea but it’s properties aren’t retained well in drying. It’s very easy to grow, kind of takes over really, but for some reason the tinctures and essential oils are  pricey in the stores. I think it would make an excellent cordial- another project for next year.

There’s going to be a lot of cooking, baking and holiday projects going on here. I arranged a separate work space for the projects because I’ll need my kitchen free. It’s been fun organizing my sparkly bits and pretty patterns and arranging it all together. Just looking at everything gives me so many ideas! The sewing machine will take up a permanent residence in the midst of it from the day after Thanksgiving until Christmas week. This is such a wonderful time of the year!!!

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22 thoughts on “Loose Ends

  1. Ah great work going on, I can sense your energy! A lovely idea about the lemon peels, I will try that out. Here it is the same, my large table is taken up by projects working towards Christmas presents for my grandchildren, great fun! And in the kitchen all sorts of things are being brewed up, such a nice time of the year this is. Enjoy, and thanks for your tips.

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  2. I used lime peels, only instead of drying them, I juiced the limes and froze the juice. Then I stuffed what was left over into a mason jar and filled it with vinegar. After six weeks, I strained out the water, and yes it makes a lovely cleaner. I never thought to dry it first.

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  3. When you extract the juices from fresh peels you get a better product. Your cleaner will have more scent and extract more of the essential oils. Stick with using the fresh peels. Humidity isn’t an issue in Arizona. The premise behind drying the peels is to extract the water from them to prevent mold. I love the smell of lime. I used to combine it with bergamot when I had the store to scent soap, air fresheners and a perfume oil I called ‘happiness’ because it was so bright and cheering. ( bergaptene free because it causes sun sensitivity)

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  4. Hi Derrick! From what I’ve read, the citrus oils are very anti microbial and antibacterial. That’s great for household and cosmetic use but not good for composting because microbes and bacterial are what break everything down. I guess a lot of citrus may slow down the process. I’ve also read that something in the citrus is toxic to earth worms. That being said, by the looks of your beautiful gardens…… maybe the citrus thing is all just conjecture. I would avoid it in worm farms and kitchen composters though

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  5. Thank you Cynthia. Our resident head gardener immediately recognised the truth of the oils effect. So, thank you. Compared with the mounds of garden compost we have produced this year, the odd orange is probably neither here nor there, 🙂

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