I've been thinking about gardeners' hands quite a bit. Mostly because my own hard-working hands were drying out more than usual while I was out in the cold early spring gathering windfall branches, buds, and spring "weeds" (my favorites) for salads and infused-oil making, building new raised beds, moving soil into the new beds, and then planting hardy herbs into them while it was still quite cold. My fingers became rougher, drier, and with more painful hangnails than ever before. What's a gal to do?! Well, this gal spoke with the plants to see who was up for helping rough human hands, made a few things to take care of her own hands (asking Gina to help make the soap, as always) and her sweetie's hands, and then made extra for other gardeners in her community. So, here's our Gardeners Gift set:
- Whidbey Green Gardeners soap, a large 4-ounce bar that contains windfall Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar branches infused in organic olive oil, plus ground comfrey leaves and flowers, kale, and usnea lichen (all from Whidbey), plus a little lavender essential oil.
- Calendula Carrot Nettle soap, a large 4-ounce bar that contains our own calendula flowers and purple dead nettle infused in organic olive oil, plus ground organic carrots, ground Whidbey stinging dead nettle, dried calendula petals, and a little of our favorite chamomile essential oil.
- A balm for rough gardener's hands. You can choose any simple salve (say which one you'd like in the comments when you order) or I'll choose for you. Your choices are those I consider our best salves for really rough, dry, over-worked and scraped up gardener's hands: 1) Comfrey simple salve, 2) Lavender simple salve, or 3) Dandelion Flower simple salve. You could also try 4) Nettle simple salve if sore and aching fingers and wrists are a bigger problem for you than rough, dry skin.
- Douglas Fir body oil. We rub this oil into our sore necks, shoulders, knees, wrists, elbows, lower backs, and feet when our muscles ache. Which, now that we're 50, seems to be both after actual gardening and sometimes even just thinking about gardening for too long. ;-) The scent relaxes our spinning, worrying minds, too, if gardening didn't fully take care of that already.
As a gift set, the products will be tucked into a Silly Dog Studios gift bag as a gift for you or someone you love. Purchasing this $35 set saves you $8.00 compared to buying the products separately.
P.S. This set is called Gardeners Gift set because I myself have been gardening gleefully, and like a mad person, lately and my hands and muscles needed a little extra love. This set could work well for anyone who physically uses, and sometimes over-works, their hands. For example, for farmers, landscapers, builders, herbalists, laborers, fisher people, plant nursery and public garden and parks department workers, wood choppers, snow shovelers, janitors, dog walkers, pool cleaners, restaurant workers, caregivers, nurses, rock climbers, wood workers, makers, etc. Yay hands!
Storage and life of the products: To extend the life of the soap bars, store them where they can dry quickly after use and where they don't get regular spray from the faucet. Unused, soap bars will last a very long time, likely longer than you and me. Store the salve and the oil in a cool, dark place and away from direct sunlight. Use the oil within 18 months of purchase and the salve within two years of purchase.
Size of soap bars: Large, roughly 4 ounce, bars. These are made by hand in small batches and hand cut by cool women, not machines. This means most bars are 4 ounces and that the bars can range from 3.8 ounces to 4.7 ounces, most are 4 or more. We keep anything smaller than that for ourselves and our families, and to give as gifts to neighbors in need (last year it was soaps to a local homeless shelter and to frontline healthcare workers at my mom's memory care home), and to cut up and give as free surprises and samples to those who buy our products. We're not machines, people, nor do we want to be. :-)
Ingredients in Whidbey Green Gardeners soap: Windfall Whidbey Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar branches infused into organic extra virgin olive oil, plus coconut oil, castor oil, sustainably sourced palm oil, distilled water, sodium hydroxide, sodium lactate, ground Whidbey-grown kale, cultivated comfrey leaves and flowers, and windfall usnea lichen, and a cedar-fir-lavender-patchouli essential oil blend.
Ingredients in Calendula Carrot Nettle soap: Whidbey-grown calendula flowers and purple dead-nettles (grown here at Silly Dog Studios, because nobody can grow "weeds" like I can grow weeds!) infused into organic extra virgin olive oil, plus coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, distilled water, sodium hydroxide, sodium lactate, ground organic carrots, Whidbey-grown stinging nettle tops and dried calendula petals, chamomile essential oil.
Ingredients in the Douglas Fir body oil (2 ounce bottle): Windfall Douglas Fir tree branches and needles (gathered after storms here on Whidbey) infused into organic extra virgin olive oil for at least eight weeks.
Ingredients in the simple salves (2 ounce tin): All of our simple salves contain organic olive oil and beeswax. And, depending on which salve you choose for this gift set, it will also contain either dandelion flowers, lavender, comfrey leaf and flower, or usnea lichen infused into the olive oil for 6 weeks to 4 months, depending on the plant, and then strained out of the oil. The lavender salve also contains a few drops of lavender essential oil, so it smells more strongly of lavender. The others contain no essential oils and are unscented.
Note: My specialty is working slowly, carefully, and in step with the local plants and wise women here--listening to them and the ideas they inspire as I go--and then infusing trusted, local, non-endangered Whidbey-grown plants, flowers, herbs, tree branches, and lichens (either from here at Silly Dog Studios or ethical wild gathered nearby on friends' lands and from areas on Whidbey where no spraying of poisons happens) into organic olive oil. These infused oils serve as the base for most of our products.
Packaging: Our salves and balms come in metal, screw top, reusable tins. Our body oil comes in a reusable, amber glass bottle with pump-top lid. We wrap our soaps and shampoo bars in a small piece of food-safe parchment paper to ensure safe handling. If you'd prefer no packaging at all for the soaps, you can write that in the comments field when you order, and you'll get them bare naked! If you live off island and we ship them to you, they will still need to show up in a box. We're magic, but not that magic. Yet. :-)