Our own lavender and lemon balm plus local windfall Douglas fir branches and windfall black cottonwood buds infused in organic extra virgin olive oil come together in this massage oil, which we use to help us relax before bedtime and (in Daniel’s case) nap time. The idea for this oil came from listening closely to the trees, herbs, flowers and plants here, and to the many new sleep-related struggles of our human community members during the pandemic, and from opening to both offering and accepting more help during the pandemic and (in my case) during menopause, too. Frickin hot flashes keeping me awake! 😊
We need our sleep. Listening to and leaning on wise neighbor plants and forests and fields has been so helpful. Especially helpful when we’re holding personal and community and global and climate-related loss, grief, depression, anxiety, fear, anger, and rage. Which, these days, it feels like almost all of us are.
Made seasonally and in small batches with herbs, flowers, plants and trees we know personally, on land we know and love, and with the help of people we know and trust. This means our massage oils are not available year round. We don’t overtax the plants here and never take more than offered. Currently available in a 4-ounce size only so that we can also offer in-person refills at reduced prices to people who stop by to visit the trees, dogs, cats, us, and/or the studios here in person.
Tip: For added awesomeness, pair this massage oil with either our Rest soap, Forest Bathing soap, Gentle Goat Milk soap, or an herbal sleep pillow. After using the massage oil, you can bathe or just wash your hands or face with these gentle, relaxing soaps that are perfect for bedtime or before naps. Or tuck an herbal sleep pillow under your pillow or into your pillow case and take a deep breathe in, aware that you are loved by every flower petal and plant on earth. Hard times call for new rituals. These are some of ours.
Why olive oil? And tips for using olive oil as massage oil...
- Care for planet, trees, and people. I use organic olive oil because of it's long history of loving humans/safe use with people and also this oil's well-established supply chains, which tend to be better for planet, trees, and people than most other oils used for body care today.
- Love. I love this oil, and the trees it comes from, and the people who devote their lives to its creation--people across many nation-state borders, beliefs, and persuasions.
- With olive oil, you cannot rush. This oil takes it's own sweet time with human skin. It doesn't disappear immediately. Rushing doesn't work. You may have to rub it into your muscles and skin for a longer period of time than you think you have time for. This slowing down to the oil's pace may feel slow or self-indulgent, especially if you were raised not to center your body or punished for listening to and supporting your own body in the past. If you do rush, you'll likely end up with oil on your clothing, bedding, and/or furniture. Here, depending on which sore muscle we're massaging, we may change into old t-shirts or lay on old towels that we don't mind staining a bit with oil. Or rub it into feet outside and walk around in the grass for a while. Sometimes I'll rub muscles in my feet and then put an old pair of socks on and read a book or go to bed. Please take your time, rub the oil in thoroughly. I practice welcoming the idea that this long-loved oil from wise old trees knows that we are worth the extra time, even when we (or other humans) don't. And, if you do rush and end up with oil on valuable clothing, bedding, or furniture, clean them thoroughly as soon as you can so the oil doesn't set and stain. Unless stains don't bother you: if that's the case, go wild! ;-)
Ingredients: Our own lavender and lemon balm (from Silly Dog Studios), Whidbey windfall Douglas Fir branches (from Silly Dog Studios & walks in neighboring woods), and windfall black cottonwood buds (from Mountain Tree Farm in Arlington and our friend Laura's farm here on Whidbey) infused into organic extra virgin olive oil. Note: For those buying this oil from my studio in person, at your request, I will add a drop or two of local lavender essential oil in. I personally far prefer the natural smell and feel of the local plant-infused olive oils only, but a few people find the scent too subtle.
Storage, life of the product, and packaging: This oil comes in 4-ounce reusable, clear glass bottles with metal screw-top lids. Store your bottle in a cool, dry, dark place where direct sunlight never touches the bottle. We suggest using this massage oil within 12 to 18 months of purchase, because the only preservative is the nature of the plants (especially the cottonwood buds) themselves. Your oil may last longer than that, too, but if at any point it doesn't smell good or starts to look different, stop using it. Also, we've learned that plant-infused oils have minds of their own. They may ooze a little bit (oozing is part of their nature and charm), and you may find that a tiny bit of oil pools under the bottle itself, so we recommend storing the bottle on a hard surface--like stone or metal or glass--that you don't mind getting a teeny bit of oil on.
Refills: If you live on, or visit, Whidbey Island, we refill these bottles for $13 (4 oz) here at Silly Dog Studios. Some of the expense of making them is in the special apothecary bottles, the shipping to get the glass bottles here, and in the oil-proof labels that, as it turns out, are really damn pricey. Hugs (and yay!) to anyone willing to reuse their bottles!
Let's not let a lack of money stop us: Remembering, strengthening, and honoring relationships among local people and neighboring trees and plants and land is my love. Money isn't. So if you live on Whidbey and can't afford the original first bottle, reach out to me. There are less fancy jars and bottles hanging around here (they tend to follow me home or show up on my doorstep much like plants do), and if you're willing to accept the oil in a less fancy jar or bottle and with a hand-written label (that is likely to run when oil hits it), then you can skip straight to the refill price. And if you can't afford the refill price, in person I can show you how to make a similar infused oil at home for yourself.