Our little market garden is very much “Made By Hand”.
We use hand-tools to cultivate, we carry compost by hand in metal buckets and Shank’s Pony is our ride to forage for wild blueberries. All hands on and usually in the simplest way possible.
When I was a youngish garden-type girl, I planted trees for a living. Coastal tree planting is pretty serious hard graft that challenges even the fittest workers. You slog through piles of timber slash and you dig with a nifty little shovel about ten hours a day. Really hard work. At the end of one of these rather punishing planting seasons I got back to my little Island home and had the rather more “mature” lady that worked the tiny grocery store grab my hand and remark in horror “Oh no… Honey, your hands look even worse than mine!”
She was completely heart broken that “Such a pretty young thing” as me would have the rough calloused hands of a dirt farmer. I was equally as mystified then as I am when I think about it now. Hands are for working, I think, and I have always been happy with my stained and calloused flippers. Funny how we people are.
I think that the hands of workers are fascinating. So interesting are the callouses and the lines and the strange permanent little dent that is made by holding a crochet hook for a thousand hours. My potter friend kept a tin of “Bag Balm” on the ledge above her throwing wheel and she said this was the very best thing for hands that get cracked and sore from too much exposure to hand chaffing work.
We like to make a similar version of that salve with beeswax, sunflower oil and coconut oil (olive oil works as well, but I don’t like to smell too much like a salad). This is such a lovely, simple and soothing balm that works great on rough or cracked skin and even works very well to soothe painful and itchy eczema. This year I think we will want to try making a Lavender infused salve and a neat and effective healing balm with Calendula petals and Cottonwood buds.
I really don’t think there is any salve that can compete with the healing power of fresh Cottonwood Bud Salve and it even smells fantastic too! It is nice to be able to make such a simple remedy and to know that some of the medicine that we need will come from our gardens.10