Barred owl vs barn owl

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barred owls and barn owls differences are easy to identify once you know what they are.  Both are common in my backyard. Native to North America, this majestic barred owl lives in my backyard. Their name comes from the bars of brown and white on the bird’s chest.  They have brown eyes whereas most owls have yellow colored eyes. A barred owl’s territory for hunting can span 800 acres. Their diet consists of rabbits, opossum and the occasional frog.

They are nocturnal but you can hear them during the day. Well, you can certainly hear mine during the day. They roost during the day in my oak and black walnut trees. Their lifespan is 10 years in the wild. They are quite massive birds. The talons can carry a small dog. They are 20 inches tall with a wingspan of 2 feet and they weight about 2 lbs. They hoot when communicating. The female tends the nest and the male hunts for food. Their first flight is about 6 weeks.

Barn Owls

click above to see photo

They are found in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and  Australia. The barn owl is on of the most widespread of birds. IT is found on islands and on 6 continents.The females are about 20 inches in length and the males are 15 inches with a wingspan of 43 – 47 inches. They only live 3-4 years and feed on voles, mice bats, skunks and other small birds. Their hearing is so acute that they can hunt voles and shrews deep in the ground. They also have dark eyes. These owls screech as opposed to be a nice melodic singing. They don’t have a normal nest. They will use crevices in trees or they will actually dig a hole in dirt. 

 

blue yarrow essential oil

yarrow

Blue Yarrow Essential Oil

Blue yarrow essential oil is actually not blue. Yarrow has over 100 active ingredients including flavonoids, tannins, silica, amino acids and the list goes on. Like chamomile, yarrow contains azulene that produces the rich vibrant blue.

The lovely sky blue color occurs when the leaves and flower tops are distilled to make the essential oil. The flowerheads are yellow, white and pink. With over 30 cultivars, the native yarrow is cream or white. This pink one in my backyard turns creams after being this subtle pink. The leaves of some have a spicy bitter aroma. 

The essential oil is known for it’s healing of the skin and is most often used in treating acne and blemishes. It has a rich herbaceous aroma that is soothing and relaxing. It is used in steambaths to rid the body of toxins. Our new pore clarifying mask has blue yarrow essential oil.

Yarrow History

Yarrow, is one the world’s oldest medicinal plants. .  Yarrow is a hardy wildflower that can be found around the globe.It’s healing properties are chronicled throughout history beginning with the Romans. The Greeks and Romans used the herb during battles to heal wounds and to stop the flow of blood. In Mythology, Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War, used yarrow to help heal the tendon injured ankleNative American used the dried leaves and flowers heads in a paste to treat sunburn and other skin ailments. It was thought to also cure baldness. It has been used to reduce anxiety and stress in tea form or in infusions. As a tea it is known to reduce fevers and diminish migraines.

It was thought to have magical powers and some thought it would guard against evil spirits if hung above your door. In Ireland it was hung above the door on midsummer night’s eve to protect the homeowners from disease. Its leaves and flowers were used to brew beer in the Middle Ages.

 

blueberry the powerhouse

blueberries

blueberry origin

In a recent search, I read that the humble blueberry is considered one of the oldest living plants on the planet. It has an approximate age of 12,500 years. Native to North America, the wild blueberry has spawned over 450 species that grow across the globe. Although not as common in the south as blackberries when I was growing up, it is now a fixture in most backyards. As animals love the fruit this is a great plant to include in your urban garden.

blueberry folklore

Native to America, Native Americans smoked the berries to preserve them. They used the blueberry to make a jerky that would last during the winter. The roots of the berries were made in tea that was used to soothe the pains of childbirth, to purify the blood and for coughs. The berries were also used to make dye for textiles. In the south, it was said the tea from blueberry leaves would regulate blood sugar. As a child I remember someone would bring my Grandmother blueberry wine and to this day I think about how I wish I had tried it! According to the University of South Florida it has more antioxidants than red or white grape wine.

blueberry nutrition

A cup of blueberries has 80 calories. But this one cup is chock full of nutritious benefits for you. It contains the daily recommended amount of fiber: 3.6 grams. It contains 25% of your daily Vitamin C needs. These powerhouses also have vitamin K, manganese and iron. In one study Blueberry antioxidant properties have been shown to aid mobility in senior citizens who ate 2 cups of frozen blueberries a day. This fruit has been claimed by some researchers has having more antioxidants than any other fruit.

Because this fruit is so powerful, we included it in our new pore clarifying mask for its bountiful antioxidant properties. We know you will love the way it purifies your pores without drying the skin. Thanks to the blueberry, your skin will be glowing and fresh!

Spring Skincare

Spring Skincare

Spring is the time we get motivated to clean out our homes, to get rid of things to start fresh. But spring cleaning isn’t just about purging physical items from our lives. After a long winter, it’s also a great time to think about purging toxins from our bodies. Your skin deserves a spring clean to keep everything fresh, glowing and gorgeous.

The key to any skin or beauty regimen is consistency. The skin is made up of several layers and it takes time for skin to adjust to new climates. If you follow the main ‘musts’ your skin will be vibrant and glow year round. Spring skincare begins today – the first day of spring! So let’s get started. Below are key essentials to keep your skin glowing and healthy.

Eat Well

The old adage “you are what you eat” applies not only to our body, but also to our skin. What is lovely about spring and summer is that nature’s skin detoxifiers abound in red and blue, in the form of berries. Try eating what is in local, in season and fresh. Not only will you feel better but you will look better for your spring skincare.

Exfoliate 
Get rid of winter skin for your spring skincare with a gentle exfoliator and stay away from harsh scrubs and chemicals that can damage your skin. Remember your skin sheds cells every minute, think of it as spring cleaning, sweeping away winter. When I was a child my mother would exfoliate with cornmeal which is the reason I created our award winning grits & honey scrub. What customers love about it is that it is not only an exfoliator but a moisturizer as the honey leaves your skin soft and supple. To this day her skin glows and I know it is from her routine of exfoliating and moisturizing.

Cleanse

This is so important. When I lived throughout Europe and Latin America doing international business development, people would always tell me to never use soap to cleanse my face, but to use cold cream or oils. I eventually created, and now swear by, our gentle foaming cleansers that are castile based infused with essential oils. Our cleansing oil is also gentle, yet effective in cleansing. Every country where I have lived, people swear by rinsing with cold water. Notice the people’s skin who you admire, apart from genetics I wonder if you will be amazed at how many use cool/cold water instead of hot water and how that affects their skin’s condition.

Hydrate 

When the temperature heats up and perspiration is inevitable, it doesn’t mean your skin is getting oily. Quite the contrary; it can become dryer and your skin can start to look dull once the sweat evaporates. You always want to drink plenty of water. I mist throughout the day with a non-alcohol based mister/toner, our rose geranium a marigold toners. Our body mist is super hydrating with cucumber, neroli and grapefruit.

Moisturize 

While living in France, I learned that dry oils are the best moisturizer for both dry and oily skin.Why? A dry oil is non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging). One of my favoritesis camellia oil – it sinks right into the skin and has been treasured by Japanese geisha for years. Camellia oil also has uv protection properties. You will find this ingredient in most of our products including face and neck elixir and rose geranium face moisturizer.

The area around our eyes starts showing ages first because the skin there is thinner. And squinting in the sun doesn’t help. It’s best to always use a moisturizing eye cream and apply it with your ring finger from the outside in. Beyond that, summer can cause our skin to become dry. Even if you have oily skin, you still need to replenish the moisture; misters or dry oils work well. Another moisturizing trick is to let your skin breathe by going without make up, just use your moisturizer, sunscreen and don’t forget your hat and sunglasses.

Calendula

Calendula

Calendula, a versatile herb, is the essential oil from the pot marigold. This plant has been used since the 12th century for its medicinal properties. Studies abound on its healing ability on the skin specifically on burn victims. Due to its high level of vitamin A compounds (carotenoids) it is also known to calm skin irritations such as rashes, dermatitis, acne and chapped skin. Cream made with calendula, is recommended to those with breast cancer to ease dermatitis and skin challenges during radiation and chemo.

It is known as the poor man’s saffron as it can be used in cooking as a substitute. The petals also make a lovely dye. Another benefit of marigolds is Mother Nature’s bug repellant, planting them around your tomatoes so the bugs won’t eat them. Marigold petals are edible and add a lovely tang to salads.

Marigolds

Marigolds native to Mexico, were taken to Europe and Asia in the 16th century. There are over 50 species of this earthy plant. To the Welsh, marigolds were “herb of the sun” and if they were not open in the morning a storm was coming. They were used as love charms, and were thought to produce visions of fairies if rubbed on the eyes. Others considered marigold poisonous due to the heavy aroma. In Mexico we were surrounded by marigolds on dia de los muertos, and while in India marigolds were omnipresent. Ironically it wasn’t in Mexico that I learned to appreciate marigolds but in Thailand and India.

We use calendula oil in our marigold toner, marigold bergamot dry oil, marigold cleanser and marigold face kit.