The world loves how-to’s, right? And how many other places online will you find step-by-step instructions on how to turn yourself into a goopy glob of grease?
And no, I’m not referring to super-sizing yourself by eating burgers and fries every day for a year. Nor am I talking about how the “cool” guys used to slick their hair back with lard (or whatever) back in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
I’m talking about something I discovered quite by accident the very day I am writing these words. See, I needed an insect repellent. Right now I am in the process of harvesting as many berries as I can from our four goumi bushes. Check out this post on my homesteading blog for more info and a few pictures.
Also happening right now is very humid and hot weather, the kind that makes no-see-ums come out in droves. Or should I say, swarms.
What the heck are no-see-ums?
Excuse me, what? You’ve never heard of a no-see-um?
There’s a picture of one on Wikipedia, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceratopogonidae
You can actually see no-see-ums, by the way. They’re not practically microscopic like chiggers. However, you have to look very closely to catch sight of one of those bugs crawling on your skin. And they will look nothing to your naked eye like they do in the Wikipedia photo.
And unlike mosquitoes, they don’t announce their presence. They don’t say, “MEEEEE…MEEEEEEEE…I’M ABOUT TO BITE YOU MEEEEEEE.” No. They just quietly land on your ankle or arm or neck or wherever they find exposed flesh and bite you. Now, it’s not a painful bite, nor does it necessarily cause a raised red bump on your skin that itches for several days without treatment (although it may). But it is an annoying prick that will itch for several minutes afterwards.
And when they’re all over the place like they’ve been here, your blood can be lunch for several no-see-ums at one time.
And this makes harvesting berries – already a lengthy chore – a miserable experience.
My brilliant idea
So I decided to whip up a natural insect repellent and smear it all over myself before I went out to do my goumi harvesting. Two or three years ago I purchased two baby food jars of a substance called BF&C, which stands for “bone, flesh and cartilage.” It’s an herbal concoction purported to aid in the healing of all sorts of wounds and injuries. A local woman makes her own homemade version and sells it, so I thought I’d try it.
Long story short, I never used much because whatever I’d used it for, I didn’t feel like it did much good. So the jars just sat in the bathroom, feeling rejected and all alone.
Until this morning. I believed that the salve consisted of olive oil mixed with herbs, so all I had to do was mix in some citronella essential oil and smear it on my skin and I’d be good to go.
I have good news and bad news. The good news is, I only got two bites this morning. The bad news is, an hour later my skin was still greasy. Olive oil only takes ten to fifteen minutes to absorb into skin, so I knew something was amiss.
I felt like a walking glob of grease.
Two hours, three hours, six hours later as I write this post my skin is still a bit slimy. Much less so than it was at the two-hour point, but still.
So I went online to find out what exactly is in BF&C. I found out here. On that page I just linked to, scroll down the list of ingredients until you get to the last one. See it?
I smeared beeswax all over my arms, legs, and neck this morning. Note the reason beeswax is included in this salve:
The bee’s wax acts by firming up the ointment. It also has properties of its own to create an alkaline condition, keep the area moist…
Keep the area moist. I also know from using beeswax to help make wood more water resistant that it’s sticky. Undoubtedly its incorporation with the olive oil is what made the oil take so much longer to absorb into my skin.
NOTE TO SELF: Thou shalt not smear beeswax all over your body. Especially when it’s mixed with an oil.
You can if you want, of course, dear reader. But you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
Oh, wait, I promised you a step-by-step how-to, didn’t I? Okay, here goes:
- Buy or make some BF&C. Or maybe just melt some beeswax and mix it together with olive oil, say 50-50.
- Smear it all over yourself.
And now you really understand what people mean when they say that the Internet is full of useless information. 😉