when im discussing this lifestyle to people i sometimes feel like im explaining something veiled and esoteric.
these movements are perceived as something novel, revolutionary or profound. but really they are just aspects of pre-agriculture lifestyle being unintentionally re-discovered and incorporated into modern industrial civilization. they are all worthy investments but more and more they seem to be turning into things that can be bought and sold as another commercialized commodity and i cant help but think that something is lost as peoples' participation takes on the role of passive consumer. one of the greatest things about primitive skills is that there is an implicit foundation for community. the jobs are shared as well as the production of the effort. there is no distinction between producer and consumer.
strain the melted sap through a sieve to remove all foreign matter, bits of tree, pine needles etc. the resulting substance is like melted candy and smells about as good so watch it. after youve huffed enough of it the room starts spinning and its not so much fun anymore. over a low heat this is mixed with ratios of olive oil and beeswax. when using olive oil in balms and salves its best to keep it below 130 degrees F. if it gets too hot it can break down, creating free radicals and leading to spoilage.
pour from the pan through a final, fine straining. here we strained through a small bag of cheese cloth, right into the small jars. ideally the faster the mixture gets into the jars the better since it will soon be cooling into a waxy balm.
the resin of cotton wood buds is strong with anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. it also acts like a natural aspirin, easing the pain of bad burns, scrapes and abrasions. it also happens to smell......well, its hard to just say it smells very good and leave it at that. thats not quite enough. but all the descriptors i think of to try and get closer dont seem adequate either. soothing, peaceful... almost
as hard as it may be to believe, i dont really have words for it. some of it may be something nostalgic, something from some pre-memory childhood emotion that was particularly pleasant. i would not be surprised if my reaction is a bit more melodramatic than others but everyone agrees that it is incredibly pleasant. i think there is something in it that is like a reassurance. its this feeling that you are being looked out for. that while nature is cold, indifferent and violent it is also, everywhere placing within your grasp the means to survive and be raised up in health and in comfort.
prepackaged or otherwise.