1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From Southern Magnolia to Essential Oils--Everything Old is New Again

"Faint was the air with the odorous breath of magnolia blossoms..."

I knew this would happen sooner rather than later. The big plans I had for this week's post were shot down by my muddle-headed packing last Friday. The fabulous Chipola River float trip photos I took on Saturday are still waiting in my camera. They can't be uploaded because I left the all-important cable--whatever it's called--on the desk at home in Pensacola. The computer here at the Tallahassee apartment, dinosaur that it is, won't accept the memory card from the camera. So, I'm stuck with what photos I have on hand for now, and none are very recent. New, though, doesn't always hold out or onto the promise of better. The magnificent Southern magnolia tree I see just outside our apartment window finally gets to have its moment in the spotlight. It's definitely not new, size-wise or phylogenetically, towering above our second-story apartment and brushing the roof over our heads while we sleep. The magnolia family line goes back so far in time that remains of this tree's ancestors--remarkably similar to present-day specimens--can be found in fossils dating to at least 36 million years ago. Here is an excellent article about magnolias written by a man I almost got to meet on Monday. I'm hoping to continue my MG volunteer commitment here locally (Tallahassee vicinity), and if the stars align or the powers-that-be agree, I might get to help out at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. I'm excited at the prospect! One of the most interesting aspects of the place centers around the interdisciplinary approach to research.

Apparently, this approach is becoming more prevalent in scientific circles. According to another interesting article, fusion is where it's at in research these days:

Consider this thought experiment: When new generation textbooks are written 10-20 years from now, might they be structured differently from at present? I think they will. They will unify topics that are taught separately at present: traditional botany...quantitative ecology...paleobotany... Textbooks fusing these three strands will teach a sort of ecological systematics. They will hark back to the tradition in which well-trained students knew the natural history of families. But in the new fusion, clades [a new word for me!] will be embedded in tree thinking, rather than seen as natural categories. The paleohistory leading up to them will be explicit and dated and informed by modern geoscience. The natural history will be enriched by quantitative cost-benefit analyses of the strategies of leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and seeds. Everything old will be new again--Mark Westoby, "Phylogenetic Ecology at World Scale, a New Fusion Between Ecology and Evolution," Ecology, 2006.

Maybe there's hope for me yet.

Now, getting back to that line from H. W. Longfellow's epic poem Evangeline, "odorous breath" isn't something we usually associate with magnolias but rather with first-thing-in-the-morning, sleepy-headed, mumble-mouth distance from our friends and loved ones. Since I promised some people I know a recipe for what I use to combat that common barrier to social acceptance and wakefulness, here it is: 

1/3 cup food-grade, vegetable glycerin
1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide (optional--there are pros and cons for its use)
Distilled water (enough to fill a quart-size jar after addition of first two ingredients)
Several drops of each of the following essential oils: anise, cinnamon, clove, ginger, lemon or lime, nutmeg, orange, peppermint, and spearmint. Make sure that you obtain therapeutic-grade oils from a reputable source. I'm not going to recommend brands here in the post, but I will offer some suggestions if you're curious enough to e-mail me.

Cap jar tightly with lid and shake vigorously, which should be done before each use. I pour mine via funnel into bottles with smaller necks for later ease of pouring. Empty glass "fifth" size or 375-ml bottles (the flat, flask-like ones that liquor stores sell) work quite well. 

I hope you like the recipe and that you also find the following video to be in good taste. I found it on YouTube and thought it captured perfectly the evanescent-yet-enduring qualities of a magnolia blossom. 


  1. I think it is a wonderful video. I like the catchy tune to go along with it too. In fact I'll probably be singing give me some morning love all day long! Mornings are way cooler and that bloom looks most cool too. I hope you finish your hours soon. You'll be so happy to be certified. Good luck moving. Not fun at all.

  2. Technology, ain't it great. I've been shopping on amazon this morning for a new sd card reader. Mine just stopped working, who know why...

    When I lived in Alabama, I had this ancient old magnolia tree that I loved. Here in Illinois we only have the small, early spring blooming varieties. I miss my old tree.

  3. Great post, awesome recipe! Thanks! ~karen

  4. Up in Maryland where I am there's a giant magnolia tree. It's not blooming yet ... but when it does. (Or maybe it is, I just arrived.)

  5. You neglected to mention the band singing on that YouTube video, G. Love & Special Sauce: "G. Love (born Garrett Dutton) on guitar/vocals/harmonica, Jeff Clemens on drums, and Jim Prescott on upright bass."

    "Clade - n. a taxonomic group of organisms classified together on the basis of homologous features traced to a common ancestor."

    "Homologous - adj. having the same or a similar relation; corresponding, as in relative position or structure."

    In other words, we're all in this together.

  6. That's an amazing banner pic... very cool.

  7. Tina, that tune is pretty catchy, isn't it? You're sure right about morning being cool, the earlier the better. After about 8:00, it's toasty time. I've been waiting almost a month to hear about the transfer of hours. Our extension agent has been super busy and then on vacation. I guess I'm not high on the agenda, but time's a-wastin' for me. I've got some plans for the fall and want to finish up the hours this summer if possible.

    Marnie, whatever technology I use had better be user-friendly, or I won't even consider it. Thank goodness the tech experts have dumbed things down a lot for people like me. Guess what? I found my old docking station that I used with the old camera, and I was finally able to upload the pics. Those grand magnolias are pretty memorable and hard to beat.

    Thanks, Karen. If you're into essential oils, it's a great way to use them. I very seldom use breath mints or chew gum anymore.

    Mr. S, have fun on your trip and take lots of pics!

    TC, you're a font of useful information. Thanks for the splash! G. Love and his band ought to have a line of salad dressings or something with a name like that. You're right about all in it together. Kind of like the ancient Roman bath, eh?

    Why, thank you, DGG, and welcome! We do have some great places to cool off in NW Florida, besides the Gulf.

  8. It's hard to imagine anything being that old isn't it? Lovely story and beautiful picture of the magnolia right outside your window. That would make it so pleasant on those rare occasions you can actually open your windows in the hot and humid air. I went to the link re: the magnolia's and it was very interesting.

    I printed out the refreshing mouthwash recipe. It really does sound wonderful. I'm wondering if there is a freshness' date on it, no pun intended lol. I will get my oils at Whole Foods. Love the photo's of the beach, they are so beautiful. I love the white sugary sand and wish we had that over here. But I will take whatever I can get. The Shrimp Po'Boy sounds delicious along with the draft beer. Too bad it was so desolate on a beach in the Summer, and Florida no less, just unreal ! What a shame. All this oil is just heartbreaking and destroying our beautiful Gulf, not to mention where else it will decide to invade in the future.

    Love all your wonderful photo's. Looks like your going to have to make a trip to Pensacola to pick up your cord!

    Thank you for your wonderful comments. They mean a lot to me. I did get the new computer yesterday and just love it. I am in awe. On the old one, I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to see the lovely magnolia video without the computer giving me a hard time,so I'm very happy with it.

    Hope your having a wonderful week-end and I hope you get to continue the volunteer work at the Research Center, that would be fascinating :)

  9. I don't know much of anything about the specialties and strands of the biosciences today. But strongly suspect a long time ago when it was called natural history there waw a broader view of our world and understanding of its connectedness that there is today. OMG... what made me spout off on that?

  10. First of all, I love your new header photo. And the tune on the video was just the thing to perk up my spirits this morning--I've been down with a bug for a few days, which is why it's taken me so long to get over here to visit.

    I'm not a science person at all, but I think I like this idea of "fusion." I've always admired the Renaissance Man more than the specialized experts of the last several decades. I agree with Troutbirder's comment--the more we know about various fields, the more understanding we are. It reminds me of the conflict I had with one of our administrators at school and one thing I don't miss about teaching---he didn't feel the need for teaching anything "old" Shakespeare. As far as he was concerned, no literature written before the 20th century needed to be read in classes. Needless to say, I ignored him:)

  11. W2W,

    Thanks for your recipe. Lately, I've been toying with the idea of making a lot of my own stuff based and this was one on my list.