A few years ago some friends and I decided to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. Like any good, prepared woman I read blogs about people's experiences. Honestly the scariest part for me was drinking tainted water and having to deal with the repercussions while squatting over shit covered holes in the ground. Dehydration is no joke, especially when the only way out is to hike for miles at over 10,000 ft elevation. That WAS my biggest fear until I visited the Travel Clinic prior to our journey. There they sacred the bejesus out of me when talking about mosquitoes. I argued for a while that I would be fine with my natural repellent, but by the end of my appointment the woman had me convinced to buy DEET!!! I cringed as I packed that little spray bottle in my bag, so I also tossed in my container of natural, homemade bug spray. Once on the trail I could not bring myself to spray toxic chemicals onto clothes that I would be wearing for a few days. I decided to try my luck with the natural repellent first, and it worked like a charm! There was never even a need to use the DEET, yeah!!!!
Our bug spray is made in a multiple step process that has proven itself to be very effective. The prize plant in our formula is the scented geranium. The first time I ever smelled this plant all I could think was "bug spray." It has an odor much like citronella, but with a little more rose-like scent. This aromatic plant is sometimes called rose geranium or is simply referred to as the "mosquito plant." When I tried to buy seeds this year, I quickly discovered that all of my usual suppliers do not carry them. I found out that this plant is best propagated through grafts, or fresh cuttings of an existing plant. I did not know this last year and cut all of our plants down to the ground when creating our bug spray. Luckily we were able to purchase some started plants from an Amish nursery and we plan to give grafting a try this year.
We want to capture all of the amazing properties and oils of the geranium plant, so we distill the plant in our still to create a highly aromatic hydrosol. We mix this plant charged water with the essential oil that is produced during the distillation process. The craziest part is that the essential oil is BLUE!! It was the first time I ever experienced a noticeably different color oil, and it is so cool!
We wanted to add in the skin soothing properties of witch hazel, so we decided to steep it with the bug fighting herbs lemongrass and peppermint. After six weeks, this liniment gets strained with our 6-ton tincture press and added to our formula. To incorporate more herbs into the mix, we create an infusion with catnip, lemongrass, peppermint and cloves. Neem oil is pressed from the seeds of the neem tree and contains a naturally occurring pesticide; making it the perfect compliment to our recipe. We also wanted to deter ticks and a good friend of mine suggested cedarwood and living silica so they were added into the mix, thanks Jaclyn;) We take all of these pieces of the puzzle and combine them with the essential oils of lavender, citronella, eucalyptus and peppermint. The whole process takes about two months to complete, and is definitely worth the time and effort to ensure an all natural bug and tick repellent that really works!
After creating our amazing formula, we needed to come up with a name for our bug/tick spray. Naturally I wanted to call it "Ticked Off" but when I googled that name I found it was used by a few companies and that just wouldn't do, so back to the drawing board. We considered calling it "F*ck Off," but then I didn't want to be TOO offensive so we kept spit balling ideas. When Ben and I were in Ireland I THINK that people were saying feck off, but to be honest I felt like I needed a translator when we reached Dublin so I may have been mistaken. I laughed whenever I thought I heard someone say feck off. Since I love to laugh and needed an original name for our bug spray, it seemed like the perfect fit. We really hope that you enjoy this product as much as we do!
Due to our limited supply of scented geranium and the in-depth process we go through to create this bug spray, our quantities are very limited. As of this time, we are reserving our bottles of this potent repellent for our Summer Subscription Box. At the end of summer we MAY have more available depending on our current crop of geranium. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but hope that you understand that this is the nature of a business reliant on plants.