making incense

We had a significant hiatus in our “making stuff with herbs” theme, and, from looking at their little herb garden the back yard, we had a bit of a hiatus from “checking on our plants to see how alive they are” as well. (Although both kids made me fresh mint tea last week, having seen it done at their friends’ home.)

It is the end of the season and even though we have friends who practice Braucherei, who had an abundance of mugwort and elderberries that we could have taken part in harvesting, schedules conflict… and so we just decided that dried and powdered herbs from Penn Herb Co. were going to be our go-to until next growing season.

While calendula salve is still high on Claudia’s list (so is finishing the “Herb Faeries” book series — honestly, all you have to do to make an eight-to-ten-year-old girl read a book is make it one of a series), on this trip, we were set on getting the makings for homemade incense cones. The afternoon before, the kids had sat in the backyard with our neighbors, holding incense sticks to keep away the bugs. They wanted to make some homemade incense to give them.

First order of business: go shopping at the herb store, then stand outside a subway station and look like you’re straight out of a magazine shoot.

Then, it was just a matter of grappling over who held the spoon, who got to stir… standard sibling stuff. They knew it was better to add too little water than too much, and they did a good job being sparing with that. In forming our cones, they came out more Hershey’s-kiss-like than cone-like, and I think we will do better when they are more like cones — they will be easier to light.

This batch is lemongrass with some dried lemon peel in it. So far we have not gotten it to stay lit for more than a minute or so, but while it is lit, it is a success! We have ingredients for making a more autumn-scented batch and will switch up our shaping then, but we look forward to giving these to Jimmy and Joe (unless we just consider this our “test batch” and burn them all ourselves first!)