Summer Solstice

The magical Summer Solstice is here and dawn comes early. The woodland creatures will dance and sing all night! This morning and every morning and evening in spring and summer, the Rufous sided Towhee calls out “how are you, how are you?” or sometimes “who me, who me?”. The Rufous sided Towhee lives in our area all year and we see them at the seed feeders in winter. They are ground feeders and can be recognized by their distinctive backward scratching motion when looking for insects and seeds that have dropped to the ground. During winter we don’t hear their call often and I look forward to it every spring.

The hummers are back! I just love those little birds! We have several sugar water feeders around the property as well as hundreds of flowers to entice these magical creatures. I enjoy their chitter-twitter-chat when I am in the garden. Our hummers have always enjoyed perching on branches and the wire fence in our garden – waiting to zoom in every now and again to take a sip from the many flowers or feeders. My daughter, Kim, gave me the best hummingbird feeder in the world. It’s copper and glass and can be easily disassembled for cleaning. She bought it from Drs. Foster and Smith. Good hummingbird feeders are difficult to find and I ended up buying four more.

We recently noticed a new bird running across one of the paths and garden beds. The bird had a distinctive white and black ringed neck and long spindly legs that made it easy to identify as a Killdeer. This very interesting bird is in the gull or shorebird family and seems oddly out of place here in the Piedmont of SC – but in fact, is a permanent resident for this area. Our book tells us they eat grubs and insects so we want to encourage them to stay here. Since they build their nests in hollow depressions in the ground we will keep careful watch so they won’t be disturbed.

Walking to the office and warehouse I’ll stop by the blueberry bushes and grab a handful to take with me. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and so tasty! Blueberries freeze well and we can enjoy them all year. Blueberry smoothies are a favorite treat on a hot summer afternoon! I toss a handful or two of blueberries into the blender with some vanilla yogurt, half a banana, some honey or sugar, a few ice cubes, and blend. Soooo delicious and refreshing!

My Zinnias are blooming! Hundreds of Zinnias in bright and beautiful colors are a treat for butterflies, bees and me. These are 11th generation Zinnias that began as a few tiny Cut and Come Again Zinnia seeds that reseed every year in our many garden beds. Each year they send out their seeds to come up the following spring. Zinnias are such happy flowers and I love to share them with family and friends.

I fell in love with Queen Anne’s Lace when I was a young girl and determined that I would have it in my own garden some day. Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) grows wild in meadows and along roadsides and is considered a weed by most people. This graceful and delicate flower is in the same family as parsley and carrots and can claim medicinal usage as well as beauty.

On my way to the office and warehouse I cut a bouquet of Zinnias and Queen Anne’s Lace to keep us company as we work inside all day.

The Herbarie

June has been very busy at The Herbarie! We’ve been working almost non-stop to make sure shelves are stocked and orders are shipped. We’ve also been busy distilling and manufacturing our botanical products. We are offering a new botanical extract – Honeysuckle Extract WS – which contains beneficial water soluble and volatile components of Lonicera japonica.

Honeysuckle Extract WS contains soothing and anti-inflammatory constituents and can be used in skin care products such as toners, body mist, creams and lotions.

*I’ll share some simple recipes for soothing and hydrating facial or body mist:

Chamomile Rose with Honeysuckle Extract WS

¼ cup Honeysuckle Extract WS
1 cup Chamomile Hydrosol
1 cup Rose Hydrosol

Combine ingredients and package in clean container with spray mister

Honeysuckle Rose and Lavender Facial Mist

1/4 cup Honeysuckle Extract WS
1 cup Rose Hydrosol
1 cup Lavender Hydrosol

Combine ingredients and package in clean container with spray mister.

Here’s another fun to make recipe:

Honeysuckle, Rose and Lavender Scented Body Mist:

¼ cup Honeysuckle Extract WS
1 cup Rose Hydrosol
1 cup Lavender Hydrosol
¼ teaspoon AquaEm
¼ teaspoon Lavender Essential Oil

– Combine AquaEm and Lavender Essential Oil in a clean container that will hold at least 3 cups and gently mix. Our tri-pour beakers work very well for this purpose.
-Add the remainder of the ingredients with mixing and package in a container with spray mister.

*Our hydrosols are preserved with Cosmocil CQ and Honeysuckle Extract WS is preserved with potassium sorbate and citric acid. If these recipes are followed precisely, no additional preservative is necessary.


New! SMO Taurate

We have recently brought in a fabulous new surfactant for shampoo and body wash – SMO Taurate! I am very discriminating when it comes to choosing surfactants. They must be gentle, perform exceptionally well, be vegetable derived, AND be environmentally friendly. SMO Taurate fits this description and then some. SMO Taurate is in the same family as SMC Taurate. SMC Taurate is derived from coconut oil and SMO Taurate is derived from olive oil. SMO Taurate is supplied as a liquid and has superb functionality in a cold mix formula or formulas that are heat processed. In most formulas, SMO Taurate will build enough viscosity so that no thickener is necessary – this makes formulating much easier! SMO Taurate can be used as the primary and only surfactant or it can be used with other surfactants.

I particularly enjoy combining SMO Taurate with Jordapon ACI 30 G for a very mild and substantive shampoo for color treated or dry hair. This seems to be a perfect marriage in terms of mildness and performance and after rinse out will leave hair silky and soft and manageable. The ingredient possibilities are endless, but many of our customers ask for “as simple as possible” so I wanted to share a very simple, yet very elegant formula. I’ve calculated a 200 gram batch with estimated fluid/volume measurements for those who may not have a scale:

Silky Soft Shampoo with SMO Taurate and Jordapon ACI 30G

20% SMO Taurate = 40 grams = approx. 3 tablespoons
20% Jordapon ACI 30 G = 40 grams = approx. 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
58.5% Distilled Water = 117 grams = approx. ½ cup + 1 tablespoon
0.8% Optiphen ND = 1.6 grams = ¼ teaspoon
0.25% Peppermint Essential Oil = 0.5 gram = approx. 1/8 teaspoon
0.25% Rosemary Essential Oil = 0.5 gram = approx. 1/8 teaspoon
0.2% Citric Acid = 0.4 grams = approx. 1/16 teaspoon

-Using a container that will hold at least 8 ounces, weigh (or measure) water. Weigh (or measure) Jordapon ACI 30 G, adding to container with water. Gently blend. I typically use our wire whisk for blending.
-In a separate container, combine SMO Taurate, Optiphen ND, Peppermint and Rosemary EO with gentle mixing. I like to use our 100ml porcelain dish and our nylon spatula for mixing.
-Add the above mixture to the Jordapon ACI 30G/water with gentle blending.
-Add the citric acid to the shampoo with gentle blending until shampoo thickens. –Package in a container with a pump or dispensing cap.

This shampoo formula will have a finished pH of 5.3-5.5 and is suitable for shower gel as well as shampoo.

Some other ideas include:
-even more conditioning shampoo, add 0.2%-0.5% GuarSilk
-thicker shampoo, add 1%-3% Glucamate LT
-more billowy and longer lasting bubbles, incorporate Cocoamidopropyl Betaine into the formula.
-include Botanical Complex HC or HCA
-include Solu-Silk SF or Hydrolyzed Wheat or Oat or Soy Protein
-other essential oils that seem to work well in surfactant systems are geranium, lavender, myrtle, lemongrass.


Happy Summer!