DIY essential oil bug spray

It’s Spring, which means that in addition to the amazing rebirth of flowers and leaves, the bug are back too! Essential oils can be a great all natural way to help deter pesky and dangerous bugs.  The list of oils that serve as insect deterrents is long so I picked out a few of the ones I’ve seen most commonly listed to make my DIY tick spray.  I used equal parts of the following Young Living essential oils:

Geranium

Eucalyptus Globulus

Lemongrass

Cedarwood

I put about 10 drops of each in a spray bottle with some high proof alcohol to help them disperse and filled with water.  I’m sure boiled or distilled water would be best but I just used tap.

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I’ve been using this mixture sprayed directly onto the back of my cats necks in the morning for the past month. I’ve only found one tick, which is better than during the same time period last year using a conventional toxic treatment.  The added bonus is that this blend smells great and from an aromatherapy perspective is very uplifting and relaxing!  I’ve done a LOT of research on essential oil brands and I only trust Young Living oils to have the potency and purity necessary to be effective and safe.  You can read more about this here.

This mixture is also nice to spray on your legs or clothes when going into area where you are expecting to find ticks.  I also make it a habit to shower and do a tick check within an hour of returning from the woods.  Removing ticks quickly is the best way to prevent them from transmitting disease but there is plenty on that available elsewhere on the internet!

If you are more concerned with mosquitos using the Purification blend in a similar way would be a good place to start.  It contains Citronella, which has been historically used to keep bugs away.  Purification contains Tea Tree though, which is one to be avoided on cats so I didn’t include it in this spray.

Good luck and let me know how this works for you!

 

The little Azalea that could…

In February of 2014 we moved out of the city in to a house surrounded by the woods.  It was what I had always wanted and working in the yard has been even more wonderful than I could have imagined!  In Spring of 2015 I decided to tackle the overgrown area between the lawn and the street.  Pulling up invasive Burning Bush, Barberry, Multiflora Rose and other little mangy things was very satisfying work!

The previous Spring I had noticed two Azalea blooms among the thick of it but figured the plants were as good as gone.  As I cleared I found that there were actually a handful of Azaleas that were bring strangled by the brush.   Seeing that the previous owners had at one point planted a little grove of flowers made me feel even better about the work I was doing.  It was like I was unearthing some of our home’s history and the love that had been planted so many season ago.

Here is a “before” picture:

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Here is the “after” from that year:

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I was walking around feeling quite pleased with myself after this.  Doing work around the house is the gift that keeps on giving… sitting in the yard felt that much more satisfying when I could see the results of my hard work.

But the real gift came this year, a year after the land clearing.  The plant that had only had a few blooms the past few years finally was able to shine!  I guess having the soil all to itself helped it to regain health?  I moved some of the other plants around the property and they are also doing well.  Clearing out invasives and reinvigorating the plants I already have is TOTALLY sustainable and joyful! Yay!!!

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My Hugelkultur

After dreaming of having one since I first learned about permaculture last spring I finally built a hugelkultur! It’s basically a big pile of rotting wood covered in rotting leaves, dirt and compost. The wood is supposed to act like a sponge, to keep the soil moist and healthy. It’s not the prettiest thing but I was happy to have a place for all the baby tomatoes that kept popping up in my garden!

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I built it on a whim one day while my baby slept and my toddler played nearby.  It did what it was supposed to as far as giving my baby tomatoes a place to grow.  Unfortunately I didn’t have much of a gardening budget at the time so I used a super cheap “fence” and T posts.  The deer were able to push up the fence to come in every few weeks and eat whatever had grown.  The wind knocked the poor fence over a few times too.  Plus my husband hated the whole thing.  It was a fun experiment though and it felt good to break ground on what will someday be a new garden bed!