Summer in the Allegheny Mountains is my favorite time of the year, but there are some aspects of it that are less than enjoyable (ie. ticks, mosquitoes, deer flies, sunburn, etc.) These are the products that our family has found to be the most beneficial on a mountain farm. Beginning with the aloe vera plant at the top and moving clockwise:
- 10 Year old son's Aloe Vera Plant and Aloe Vera Gel. Breaking off a tip of the plant and squeezing the juice onto a burn works wonders. We use Fruit of the Earth brand pure aloe vera gel for sunburns. Even though we use sunblock, the redheads in our family do occasionally get a sunburn in early summer.
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen with helioplex (SPF 70). The adults in our family use this on our faces since it is a little more pricey. It is dermatologist recommended for those who have had skin cancer and for those of us who are hoping to avoid it. We have additional children's sunscreen in SPF 50 for the children.
- Calaclear Lotion for poison oak, ivy, and sumac, and sometimes for bug bites as well is a must-have in the mountains.
- Mechanixwear padded palm bamboo Gardening Gloves for protecting my hands when pulling up thistles, brambles, and stray raspberry shoots from gardens and flower/herb beds. These are also a must for avoiding getting mud caked under my fingernails.
- Citronella Candles and Now brand 100% pure Citronella Essential Oil for combating gnats, flies, and mosquitoes. The essential oil is used in various oil burners or greatly diluted with almond or grapeseed oil to be dabbed onto the skin.
- Trader Joe's Coconut Body Butter feels incredibly luxurious on your skin. We used it in the winter when our skin was dry and cracking, and we use it now since the chlorine from the pool is so drying. It is made with coconut oil, shea butter, and vitamin E, and is the best body moisturizer I have ever used.
- (In the center) "No-Bite-Me" All-in-one Preventive and After-bite Creme. This is Deet free, paraben free, and alcohol free and is safe for children. It is made from a blend of essential oils and a moisturizing base, and it can be used as bug repellent before going outside or used on bug bites afterwards. It is not pretty, and it does have a rather pungent fragrance, but we have found it works better than the leading brands of family-safe bug sprays. It is supposed to be effective against black flies, mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.
- Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm with Vitamin E is terrific for people like me with chapstick addictions. It truly moisturizes and heals dry lips and smells delicious. Fortunately, I have not noticed that it attracts bees or other insects.
- O.P.I. Nail Lacquer in Lucky Lucky Lavender and Nicole by O.P.I. High Shine Top Coat are not exactly essential to mountain farm life, but they are to preppy mountain living. Since I like to wear sandals or go barefoot on our farm in the summer, the nail polish hides any grass stains or dirt that might be on my toenails. It is easier than scrubbing my toenails with a brush every evening, and it is a beautiful color of summer.