Homemade hand and face cream. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Using COVID-19 downtime in the garden

David will quote an old Farsi saying: “Lick up the honey and ask no questions.”

By Mary Lowther

David will quote an old Farsi saying: “Lick up the honey and ask no questions.” The timing of this present enforced isolation period coincides nicely with a busy gardening season, so I’m using this shut-down as an excuse to spend most of my time in the garden.

Although Country Grocer plans to keep their shelves stocked as much as possible, I won’t be going there or anywhere else for awhile, so my biggest concern is getting fresh vegetables onto our plates. Fortunately I’ve saved pea and bean seeds, squash, canned tomatoes, pickles and jams from last year as well as seeds that I can sprout. Pea shoots and sunflower sprouts make dandy greens when grown in flats of soil in a sunny window. We still have leeks, spring onions and overwintered kale and what looks like cabbage growing in the garden.

Wild greens like dandelions will be sprouting soon, but I think I’ll grow my own this year and sow them again in the fall with a few other greens like spinach and see if they sprout early next spring. Slugs don’t seem to like dandelions.

Studies have shown that digging outside in the dirt exposes us to immune-boosting friendly bacteria, and the fresh air and exercise can only make us more resilient to disease.

In the meantime, since many of us cannot leave our homes for groceries, an online farmer’s market will do their best to deliver food to your home, using a sliding scale fee based on the ability of customers. Customers place orders from Friday at noon until Tuesday at midnight, and on Wednesday orders are harvested. Please contact Cow-op.ca for more information.

I make my own face and hand cream to use after gardening, and these days since I’m washing my hands more frequently, I use the cream after every wash to prevent skin breakdown. Here’s the recipe:

Hand and face cream

1 ¾ cups oil (I use a combination of various oils)

¼ cup grated beeswax

2 tablespoons glycerine

1 ½ cup green tea

2 teaspoons borax

¼ teaspoon oolichan grease (see note) or other fish oil

½ teaspoon lecithin granules

30 drops of your favourite essential oil (I like grapefruit)

Directions: Heat the oil, beeswax and glycerine in a double boiler until beeswax is melted. Remove from heat and stir in lecithin. In a separate bowl dissolve the borax into the green tea. Join both liquids together in the bowl, add the oolichan grease or fish oil plus the essential oils and whisk until fluffy. Pour into jars. I keep one out for use, give some to the kids and store the rest in the fridge.

Note: oolichan grease is fermented fish oil.

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.


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