Circus Hurts ~ Herbal Repair Liniment featuring Yarrow, Nettle, Comfrey, Eucalytpus, Sage & Mint

It is a calm night in the Presidio.

As the rain drops fall softy on the rooftop, the wind in the trees and the waves out on shore combine magically with the calls of the owls and the signal of the foghorn to the passing ships. Over the past few months, our dry and drought stricken California has been receiving, not all, but much of the rain we have missed. In the past few months of replenishment the soft spring blooms with green, calling me out to travel distances for plant collecting and product making. I am back and ready to share one of my new creations.

At first the topic of Circus presented in the title of this post may seem a bit off topic from wild crafting, but it seems my deep relationship with native plants wraps in to each and every part of my life.

square splits hoopI began my training in aerial acrobatics two years ago. While recovering from a life threatening surgery, I asked myself what I wanted to do in the next stages of my life. I closed my eyes and said “I want to climb trees and join the circus.” Since youth I have spent many adventurous mornings or lazy afternoons climbing or perched in my favorite trees, but I had never before dreamed anything in regards to a circus.

If interested, you can click here to view an article which shares a story of how training in the Circus Center has changed my life.

Rain drops, pajamas and a spin for saying a Goodnight, to a very very long day… #lyra #hoop #rain #goodnight

A video posted by Juniper Ponderosa (@juniperponderosa) on

 

I will never give up on my aerial acrobatic dreams and I will always keep climbing trees.  Sometimes the two mix well together…

spinning hoop treeConnecting plants and circus…

One day, after a very long and exhausting day of training, I was asked by one of my classmates if I made anything that resembled “Tiger Balm.” To be honest, my memories of Tiger Balm are not quite positive. My father used the product while I was a child and I have a very clear memory of him being banished from the living room due to the harsh smell he carried along with him. My classmate made a request for a more pleasant and all natural version of this product. Thank goodness for these past months rain, for it has allowed me to spend time collecting fresh plants and finishing up a beautiful recipe. I have used on myself and shared with others and the results are wonderful.

linement mix 1

Sage, Yarrow & Eucalyptus.

liniment mix 2

Comfrey, Nettle & Mint.

4 liniment ingredients

Now back to the plants.

The healing benefits of Nettle, Yarrow and Comfrey soak deep into sore and tight muscles as well as benefiting the surface of the skin with high nutrients, and anti-inflammatory qualities. Sage, Mint and Eucalyptus essential oils enhance the movement of blood toward the top of the skin, increasing circulation, as well as have soothing scents.

liniment dropperWelcome to my Herbal Repair Liniment.

liniment

Can be found on Etsy here

Created with: Sweet Almond oil infused with Nettle, Yarrow & Comfrey. Avocado oil & Essential oils of Eucalyptus, Yarrow, Mint & Sage.

I have heard many positive reviews on this creation which has helped people who have injuries, scrapes and rashes, tired bodies, or do physical activities that cause bruising and soreness, and takes wear on their muscles and joints.

Made in small, fresh batches, all natural, wildcrafted, home and handmade, no chemicals, no preservatives. Healthy for the body and soul.

Brought to you from the open coast of Big Sur, Santa Cruz and Marin.

All natural, wild crafted, home and handmade with love.

 

 

Wild Coast Salve~ Monterey Pine, Cypress, Eucalyptus & Sage, featuring Elderflower & Yarrow

1 big sur at sue's

On this cold and rainy morning in the beginning of December, I am writing from the warm comfort of fuzzy blankets with a cup of dandelion tea in hand. As I look out the window at the falling water replenishing what has been a very dry forest in my back yard, my heart warms even if my hands are freezing.

While I have love and great thanks for the rain after our summer of drought, over the past few chilly weeks I have been holding in the back of my mind the memories of feeling the warm winds of the late summer and early fall as I stood along the cliffside of Big Sur, Santa Cruz and Marin.

I have now created a new salve with plant material that I have collected in the past few weeks along with plants I had harvested and preserved in the late summer and early fall, knowing that there would be times like today that I would have the desire to be brought back to those sunny days when the scent of the wild coast wind carried through the trees, over the warm sand dunes and out to the crashing waves.

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Waking up and walking out to sit and watch the waves on the foggy early mornings that proceed the warm sunny days. Some of the most beautiful mornings I have ever witnessed.

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Along the coast, it seems that my favorite color has often been purple.

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California Lilac ~ Ceanothus

Silver Lupin ~ Lupin albifrons

Silver Lupin ~ Lupin albifrons

After the fog clears the sun shines brightly, showing off the many connected and intertwined ecosystems that create the beautiful wild coast. Looking down into a cove, I stand where the oak woodlands and sage brush end, the pines begin and the eucalyptus and cypress wait below on the high cliffside above the warm sand dunes and out to the sea.

big sur coast shot

marin kirbe cove

The wild plants I have collected that carry many healing qualities along with the smell of the warm coast wind…

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Monterey Cypress ~ Cupressus macrocarpa

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Cone of the Monterey Pine ~ Pinus radiata

monterey pine sap

Resin of the Monterey Pine ~ Pinus radiata

eucalyptus bark

Bark of the Blue Gum Eucalyptus ~ Eucalyptus globulus

euc leaves

Leaves of the Blue Gum Eucalyptus ~ Eucalyptus globulus

16 black sage

Black Sage ~ Salvia mellifera

sage brush

California Sagebrush ~ Artemisia californica

Hydrosols, essential oils and infusion oils are created with my collected plants, resin from the pine is sifted, ground and melted, and all are mixed with healing oils, butters and beeswax.

Welcome to my Wild Coast Salve.

coast balm

Can be found on Etsy here

Created with: Beeswax, Shea & Cocoa Butters. Apricot, Avocado & Coconut Oils. Yarrow and Elderflower Infused Sweet Almond Oil & Pure Essential Oils.

Deeply moisturizing, stimulates cellular regrowth, anti inflammatory & anti-fungal properties, reduction of rash & bruises. A wonderful sealant. Very long lasting. A little goes a long way.

I often have great reviews on this creation from people who do physical activities that takes wear on their hands, such as jobs that require lots of hand washing, gardening, rock climbing, acrobatics, or just plain dry hands, elbows and feet.

Products containing resin can at times have the resin crystalize (like honey!) Just rub softly between hands and the clear or amber crystals should melt away.

When cold, containing beeswax, this salve can be a bit firm. To begin use I take the back of my nail to break into the beautiful smooth top layer and the salve becomes soft in the warmth of the hands.

Made in small, fresh batches, all natural, wildcrafted, home and handmade, no chemicals, no preservatives. Healthy for the body and soul.

Wild Morocco Balm ~ Atlas Cedarwood, Roasted Coffee, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Clove

 

This story is unlike the rest.

I take pride in the fact the my products are created with plants that I have hand collected and home processed. This story begins in a land far away, a destination that I have not yet had the ability to visit. Yet I have wanted create this balm and tell its story when the holiday season is upon us, for the smell of this balm brings me back to a place of warm love, a memory of family and home in autumn.

Many years ago, when I was a small child, my father had returned from a fall trip to Morocco with a present for me in his hands. While away, as he was walking through a town market he had come upon a vendor of beautiful wooden boxes made from the wood of the Atlas Cedar. Atlas Cedars are beautiful conifer trees that reside in the Atlas mountains surrounding Morocco.

 Atlas Cedar ~ Cedrus atlantica

atlas illistration

When my father handed me the box, he explained that it was called a “magic puzzle box” which had a key, but no visible spot to place the key and open the box. In order to open the box, there were many pieces of wood that slid back and forth in mysterious directions, and needed to be pushed in a specific combination in order to place the key in its proper location. After hours of enchanting attention I was finally able to open the box and the smell inside was something I will never forget. Along with the beautiful smell of exotic wood came scents of roasted coffee and baking spices.

Welcome to my Wild Morocco Balm

morocco ingredients

morocco balm

My balm be found on Etsy here

Created with: Beeswax, Shea & Cocoa Butters. Apricot, Avocado & Coconut Oils. Sweet Almond Oil & Pure Essential Oils of *Atlas Cedarwood, Coffee Bean, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Clove.

Along with its warming autumn scent, his balm leaves the skin unbelievably smooth. Spreading easily and soaking in quickly this deep moisturizing balm stimulates cellular regrowth, has anti inflammatory & anti-fungal properties, reduces rashes, and helps prevent wrinkles, age spots and stretch marks. A little goes a long way.

I often have great reviews on this creation from people who are looking to heal and replenish dry skin over large or small parts of their body.

Though this balm when first applied has a warm and comforting scent, it was not meant as a perfume, so the scent will elegantly fade.

Made in small, fresh batches, all natural, home and handmade, no chemicals, no preservatives. Healthy for the body and soul.

*I can not distill the essential oil of the wild Atlas Cedar myself, as I am far away, but one day I will walk in my father’s footsteps and visit the mountains and markets of Morocco. When I can not distill oils on my own, I only rely on companies I trust. My Atlas Cedar comes from Mountain Rose Herbs, seen here.

* The botanical illustration is not my own. The artist of the botanical illustration can be found here *

Wild Mountain Salve ~ White Fir & Lodgepole Pine, featuring Yarrow & Mullein

In early September, as the summer heat had begun to recede and the early fall thunderstorms were about to begin, the High Sierras called my father and I away from the cities and off to an adventure in the woods. I was craving a new journey and a desire to meet any flora which might come home for new botanical creations, so my father brought me to a location he had only visited once, almost a decade ago. A place that was to become one of my new favorite lakesides of the central western High Sierra mountains. We put together up our backpacking gear, tied the kayaks to the roof of the van, and set off toward whatever experience our trip was to become.

Welcome to the lakeside.

lakeside2

lakeside3

lakeside4

Early morning winds so light that the reflections in the crystal clear water gave the illusion of the the still sky never ending.  We fitted and strapped our gear to the kayaks and begun our paddle out to explore the many islands, looking for a place to set up camp.

kayakdriveway

Found the perfect place, with our off the path driveway and private parking…

hammock chill 3

Plenty of room for our hammocks as well…

With campsite secure, time for exploration and contemplation.

IMG_7438

me at lunch

And the flora adventures begin.

flower arrival 2

Yarrow, Plantian and Rumex mixed among grasses…

There were two dominate conifers surrounding the lake, the White Fir and the Lodgepole Pine. Mixed among them, a small amount of Douglas Fir and isolated, struggling Incense Cedar who were a bit above their 7000ft altitude line. Mazanita crept low along the cracks in open granite, and wildflowers grew in the shaded and moist grasses along the shoreline. Underneath the trees, along disturbed and hard compacted soils, the plant Mullein stood taller than any brush.

The White Fir ~ Abies concolor

look at spruce

A stunning tree we spotted from our kayaks and came to shore for a closer look…

spruce cones

Attempting to capture the beauty of young green cones as they sparkle with resin in the moring sun…

reach for spruce

Reaching up, wishing I was 100ft tall…

The Lodgepole Pine ~ Pinus Contorta

lodgepole needles

A close-up. These beautiful trees can be seen full and tall in almost every other picture of the lake…

Throughout our journey, I continued to see a form of disrespect that ripped at my heart. The cuts human knives and axes gave, making the trees bleed sap in excess amounts, their attempt to close their wounds quick enough to protect against infection or disease.

sad tree3sad tree4sad tree2

Mullein ~ Verbascum ssp.

mullein 1

mullein3

Yarrow ~ Achellia millefolium

yarrow

Home and time to put my gatherings to craft.

lodgepole resin

Lodgepole and White Fir resin. Frozen is an easy to grind into a power without getting sticking hands…

mountian salve set up

Yarrow powder, dried Mullein, beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter…

Welcome to my completed salves!

mountain balm

 

Can be found on Etsy here

Created with: White Fir and Lodgepole pine Resin, Beeswax, Shea & Cocoa Butters. Apricot, Avocado & Coconut Oils. Yarrow and Mullein Infused Sweet Almond Oil & Pure Essential Oils.

Deeply moisturizing, stimulates cellular regrowth, anti inflammatory & anti-fungal properties, reduction of rash & bruises. A wonderful sealant. Very long lasting. A little goes a long way.

I often have great reviews on this creation from people who do physical activities that takes wear on their hands, such as jobs that require lots of hand washing, gardening, rock climbing, acrobatics, or just plain dry hands, elbows and feet.

Products containing resin can at times have the resin crystalize (like honey!) Just rub softly between hands and the clear or amber crystals should melt away.

When cold, containing beeswax, this salve can also be a bit firm. To begin use I take the back of my nail to break into the beautiful smooth top layer and the salve becomes soft in the warmth of the hands.

Made in small, fresh batches, all natural, wildcrafted, home and handmade, no chemicals, no preservatives. Healthy for the body and soul.

Wild Grove Mist~ Redwood, Bay Laurel, Oakwood & Moss

me and redwood

Both Santa Cruz and Big Sur are true paradises, sandwiched between two incredible ecosystems. I have been blessed to grow living along the coastal cliffs and redwood forests. Spending my life walking through the redwood groves on the wet trails of winter, and jumping rocks across the weaving creeks in the warm summer afternoons after the foggy mornings pass. There is no better feeling I have experienced than to be in the presence of this magic world. My home.

redwood legs

When I became a resident of San Francisco I was lucky to become a part of the Presidio National Park community. Surrounded by historical forests and restored beach dunes, inhabited by owls and coyotes, it really is the wildest place to live in the city. When living in the Presidio, it takes a 15 minute drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to find oneself in the costal Marin Headlands, and 45 minutes to reach Mount Tamalpais, where the redwood groves call out.

Having grown only a few blocks from the misty forests, with a walk in the redwoods every morning, 10 miles from the tall trees can seem so far. When I share this feeling with friends who grew up along side me, they too miss the forests, but are now much farther away in places like Oregon, Colorado or Arizona. I wanted to find a way in which we could all feel connected with the redwood groves again, no matter our location. This desire lead me to my creation of redwood essential oil, with special attention in finding a way to avoid gathering from the wild forest, as redwoods are a very special and truly endangered species.

California Redwood ~ Sequoia sempervirens

redwood

Welcome to my Grandfather’s Backyard

grandpas shed 2

My grandfather’s home, which he built for my grandmother in 19 something, is down the road from the forest of Nicene Marks State Park in Santa Cruz. In his backyard is a Redwood that was planted by a next door neighbor over 40 years ago. The tree is located in the corner of the property, with its branches hanging over all four of the surrounding properties. With such large branches hanging close to the houses, my collection is not only ethically foraged, it is also of assistance in the care and maintenance of the tree for the elderly neighbors.

To collect material from the Redwood, a tall later is used for me to climb the tree and use very thick clippers and light saws to remove lower branches. My loving family is always happy to assist, passing the large branches down to my father as my grandfather packs away the the branches in bags for travel. My father and the the cat often have fun helping in the process of clipping branches into smaller pieces that will fit easily into the copper still.

cat helperdad helper

Here is a small peak into the essential oil making process!

IMG_7804

The branches are trimmed and placed in base of the still along with previously distilled water. The lid is then added and the rest of the still is assembled.

add fire

A heat source is applied to boil the plant matter and water in the base of the still.

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Chilled exterior water is added to cool the steam as it travels down through the still.

pouring

Hydrosol is created by the cooled steam, and essential oil can now be fully separated when it accumulates at the top of the distillation.

To create my Wild Grove Mist, Redwood essential oil is combined with essential oils from Bay Laurel, and absolutes from both Oakwood and Oakmoss. This combination is added to small amounts of distilled water remaining from the essential oil making process (which always keeps a small hint of the essential oil it has helped to create.)

The paths and flowing creeks that run throughout the Redwood groves are lined by Live Oaks covered in Oakmoss and the beautiful color shifting Bay Laurel, each plant with its own story, and all together creating a scent of home that I will never forget and will always want to share with others.

bay laurel

Bay Laurel ~Laurus nobilis

oak

Coastal Live Oak ~ Quercus agrifolia

oakmosss

Oakmoss ~ Evernia prunastri

Welcome to my Wild Grove Mist
mist updated etsy
Mist can be found on Etsy here
Come walk with me. The forest is calling…