Winters in the north woods are brutal. Lake Superior throws out spectacular gales every November and some 300 inches of snow between the first and last snowfalls. While we talk a lot about the tough folks who weather those winters, the pups and felines of the Northern Great Lakes are pretty tough, too. That said, their paws can use some TLC, especially when it’s minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside and the wind and snow are blowing. Apply this salve to your pet’s paws this winter to prevent frostbitten and ice-burned pads. Their paws will thank you for the relief.
The salve’s shelf life is one long, hard winter — longer if you include the optional vitamin E.
Yield: 16 ounces (four 4-ounce jelly jars).
• 1 cup coconut oil
• 1 cup olive oil
• 1⁄4 cup unrefined shea butter
• 1⁄4 cup beeswax pastilles
• 12 drops lavender essential oil
• 12 drops frankincense essential oil
• 4 drops black pepper essential oil
• 1⁄2 tsp vitamin E oil (optional)
1. Pour an inch or two of water into the bottom of a double boiler, or set a glass measuring bowl into a pot of water so that the glass bottom is submerged and the top is exposed. Bring water to a simmer.
2. Add coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter to the glass bowl or the top of the double boiler to heat.
3. After the oils and the shea butter have integrated, add beeswax pastilles.
4. Stir infrequently until the beeswax begins to float to the top, at which point begin stirring more frequently.
5. Set out four 4-ounce jars and add essential oils (and optional vitamin E for increased shelf life) to each jar.
6. Pour the melted base salve over the essential oil, leaving an air gap from 1 to 4 inches at the tops of the jars, and lightly stir.
7. Cover with cheesecloth, or some other breathable material, and cool for eight hours.