Monday, June 01, 2009

All In a Day's Work

Happily experimenting. Very happily. Dusted off the al-embic, retrieved the hermetically sealed rye flour, and gathered big juicy lemons from the garden. After several trial runs in the still, I discovered that the best way to prep the lemons for distillation is to cut them into small pieces then puree the entire mess, peels, pulp and juice, in the blender and pour that into the still's body. After two hours or so, the fun begins -- brightly scented lemon hydrosol and oil drizzle and drip from the tubing into the receiver. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly given the obvious oil content of lemons, it takes a very small number of lemons to "make" a significant amount of oil -- 25 lbs of lemons yielded close to 20mls of oil, perhaps a bit more. Unfortunately, I didn't take exact measurements as I was using the oil almost as quickly as it was being produced. Plus I sent off samples across the globe. Yeah, it's just lemon oil -- fresh, lively, lemonade-ish lemon oil -- but I made it.

The cilantro-based eau de toilette (or cologne) seems to have matured into something truly lovely. It receives dilution quite nicely -- doesn't fade and disappear in seconds and smells so clean. Upon first sniff, one may be steered toward a heavily cilantroed pico de gallo; thankfully, the heart of the eau, rose, jasmine, clove and neroli, take over a bit and lead the scent somewhere else -- somewhere almost sweet, definitely floral, not cloying. It's green and fresh and feminine; florals entwine, peek in and out, and finish with deep notes of languid, loamy patchouli and creamy sandalwood. I have plans to offer it and two others, a rich ginger-amber and a bright citrus, in big, clunky spray bottles.

The course is going swimmingly.

It's exciting to watch the students making discoveries -- discoveries such as dilutions creating expansive, blossoming results. Their eagerness to dilute everything in their palettes in order to really smell and evaluate an essence is inspiring. They're a great group of inquisitive, intelligent and adventurous folks from all corners of the globe.

Can a globe actually have corners?

Studying and reading perfume and non-perfume related topics. Read a little Anne Carson. A trashy romance novel. Koontz. Books on vodou, Buddhism, home repair. Particularly on toilets. One does not realize the importance of a properly functioning toilet until one's toilet no longer functions properly. Unfortunately, last night I had to rush out to the hardware store to buy a wax ring and replacement bolts to fix the completely clogged toilet. Also unfortunately, the husband was on his way out the door for the night shift, so I was left to make the repair alone. Which, really, is the case 99% of the time anyway. It's comical to watch a grown man get foolishly bent out of shape over a clogged toilet he knows full well he will not be fixing. Two-hundred-fifty plus pounds of shirtless hairyness stomping about trying to intimidate someone else into doing the dirty work is -- well -- immature. Especially, as I pointed out earlier, he knows full well he's not going to be anywhere near a messy wax ring or poo bits or giardia water.

Imagine my utter dismay at discovering, after pulling the toilet up off the floor, that the clog was caused by a jar of Anastasia's lovely Grainy Daiz face scrub. And being the kind of person who sees signs in everything, I thought, "Oh, no! This means something terrible is going to happen between me and Ana!" I dismissed the thought almost immediately when I realized that someone flushed my scrub down the toilet! My scrub. Ana's scrub. WTF?! Who does that? Yeah, yeah, accidents happen, but I have a house full of toilet checkers who enjoy harassing each other with, "You didn't flush the toilet, dork. That's gross. What kind of cow doesn't flush the toilet after doing THAT?" So it surprises me that this was an accident.

Unless it was the husband. He's notorious for not looking at anything below boob level -- mine, not his. And it's totally within his character to go, "Oops! Flushed that down! Gotta pretend someone else did it 'fore I git in trouble", and then come ripping out of the bathroom like a bull chasing Little Red Riding Hood, making accusations against that infamous invisible family member, Somebody.

I exaggerate. It's fun making fun of him, he's so darned silly. And I'm only exaggerating a little bit.


  1. Yeah, in my household it's Lucy the dumb blonde cat who does stuff like that. The dood knows he'd never get away with creating an imaginary friend called 'Somebody', so if I yell from the loo, "Hey, there are unidentified floating objects in here!" he'll yell, "Lucy!" from the kitchen. And she'll be darting back and forth in the hallway, wondering if he's calling her for dinner, or if she should run because she's in trouble.

    In my house, Lucy has yet to learn to deposit the spent coffee filter INto the kitchen pail for the compost heap. She leaves it on the counter, on the lid on the pail, but I guess the lack of opposable thumbs makes for difficulties lifting the lid. And she also tends to leave the scrubby pad in the sink after doing dishes. Why a cat with inch long hair between her toes needs to use a scrubby pad to clean plates is beyond me, but there ya go.

    I finally trained Lucy, er, the dood, to at least put the toilet lid down on the seat, when I explained to him that his expensive dental floss on the shelf above the toilet gets wafted and buffeted by toilety vapors whenever the thing is flushed with the lid up.

    (Toilets are a real pain in the ass to deal with. Thank heavens it was a retrievable object rather than tree roots clogging it up, right? In that regard, maybe Ana saved you some extra expense and extra work?)

  2. Anonymous11:06 AM

    oMG - re you the one fixing toilets and other gucky things? That is what i have the DH for, along with doing all the stuff with the pool, using the fancy italian espresso machine and - taking care of the cars. He knows very well that if he don't do this, it will never be done. Hence I drive around in a car that need it's vipers changed, with winter tires still on (but they are environment friendly) and more grit and sand from the winter than you would care to aknowledge

    But that lemony stuff sounds gorgeous as do the EdC...ack if we lived closer I could come over for a sniffing session ;-D

    HUGS!! Ylva

  3. hi justine~
    the sample i was lucky enough to try wafted outrageous(cilantro!) and classic. looking forward to spritzing this summer.

  4. hey don't use that scrub now ok.

  5. Sara,
    Yes, pets and small, defenseless children have been used as fall guys around here in the past. Somebody is their replacement these days since nobody cops to anything, even if they did it and were caught red-handed.

    Poor Lucy.

    I am grateful it was just a clog and not a major plumbing disaster. I am sad, though, that I lost that scrub.

  6. Ylva, sweetie, I ALWAYS fix things around here. Which is why my house is half-broken -- I don't know what the flip I'm doing! I try. Bought a book and everything.

    He does take care of the cars -- sometimes. I once stopped driving out "fancy" car because of the brake noises -- took him three weeks to get around to doing anything about it, in the meantime I inconvenienced him as much as possible. Took his car and made him use the motorcycle for work :D

  7. Lisa,

    Yeah, that cilantro is pretty powerful stuff, but really, really nice. I can't wait to get it bottled up -- it is my current favorite scent to wear when it's hot out.

  8. Ana,

    I won't tell you what was stuck to the jar of scrub, I'm sure you can figure it out, so, yeah, definitely not using it -- threw it out immediately. But I'm still pretty peeved about the whole thing. I'm sure it WAS an accident (sort of) but it still feels like a personal attack when it's only MY stuff that goes down the pot!





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