And the winner is …

I’m happy to announce the winner of my first giveaway is Sheila! The prize is a decorative slate tile I made using an image transfer process and featuring my favorite tagline of health, happiness and cannabis. Sheila, please email me at with mailing instructions.

DIY cannabis balm recipe

I made another batch of cannabis balm, and it occurred to me I never shared the complete recipe. Be sure to try commercial cannabis balm before investing in tools. Buy some at your local dispensary and make sure:

A) It works for you

B) You can’t live without it

C) You’d like to save money

D) You are willing to go to the trouble of making it at home

It’s easy to make more than just cannabis balm at home – tincture, edible butter, magical oils and bath salts to name a few – and for me they all start with a Magical Butter Machine. Cost is $175, but I’m close to the break-even point by now.

The other tool I use is the NOVA Decarboxylator by Ardent. It’s $210. I like the ease and effectiveness of the machine, which heats and fully activates the THC in your flower. However, I have also used a covered glass casserole.

To decarb without a machine: Break up flowers and small pieces with your hands – add to the casserole and cover – cook at 250°F for 30 minutes. This technique is less precise than the NOVA, but it worked fine for me.

Here’s more info on decarboxylation.

The balm is made in two phases. Phase I is making the infused coconut oil. Phase II is the balm itself. Ratios of cannabis-to-oil vary by recipe, but this is how I make it.

Cannabis-Infused Coconut Oil

1 ounce of decarboxylated cannabis flowers and/or trim (look for strains on sale, preferably high in CBD).

2 cups liquified organic coconut oil

2 tablespoons lecithin

Place the ingredients into your Magical Butter Machine, and secure the head.

Press the Temperature button, and select 160°F; then press the 2 Hours/Butter button.

After the cycle is complete, unplug the unit at the outlet, and remove the head of the appliance. Put on the special glove that comes with the machine and pour the pitcher contents slowly through the filter that also comes with the machine into an airtight container. I use a mason jar.  

Cannabis Balm

Jars (I use these)

1 cup cannabis-infused coconut oil

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup beeswax

Essential oils (I use 9 drops of Tea Tree and 9 drops of Peppermint)

Put all ingredients in the Magical Butter Machine at 160°F for one hour.

I like to hang close to the MBM while it makes the balm, because wax firms up quickly, and you want to get it out while very liquid. Once it’s ready, some people whip it, but I don’t see the point. I pour it directly into the jars and let it sit for awhile before refrigerating. The balm will keep nicely in the fridge. I pull one jar out at a time and leave it on the bathroom counter. It stays fairly firm but liquefies in your hands.

For clean-up, I use a combination of wet/dry paper towels. Beeswax will trash your kitchen sponge. 

As for usage, in my opinion, you’re not getting the maximum benefits unless you apply it every day, preferably twice a day. An occasional missed application is fine. I have neurological pain across my mastectomy scars, so I use it all over my chest. I also focus on my knees and spine. If you don’t include expenses for the MBM and NOVA, cost is about $4 per ounce versus $20 per ounce for commercial balm.

If I’m extra-sweet, Dale will massage it in thoroughly, which seems to make it work better. At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Pink sky at morning

Red sky at night, sailors’ delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. Does anyone know what pink sky at morning means? It has been cold by my puny standards, and rain is on the way. Wusses take warning?

I was all jammied up when I went out to the backyard to take this picture of sunrise over the Sierra foothills. Something about a pink sky makes me happy … particularly happy to be retired with nothing on the agenda and a full pot of coffee on the counter.

Dale and I jokingly call it “California Cold.” That means anything below 50. I had to force myself to go out for my long walks this week, so I over-bundled, which is my signature winter style. When we go out, Dale and I look like we’re dressed for different hemispheres.

Yesterday I played my first round of golf in 2019. It was in the high 30s when we were scheduled to start. Yikes! I was wearing so many layers it was amazing I could even hit the ball. But it warmed up nicely, and we had a great time out there.

I don’t make resolutions, but I had given thought to focusing more on my social game. There was a frost delay, so I chatted up some of the other players while we stayed warm in the clubhouse and mentioned my New Year’s resolution was to party more. That got some laughs and cheers.

Just saying, but it seems like the popular girls wanted to hang out with me after that. I learned one of my playing partners has a husband who grows pot! She’s going to bring me a little jar of bud, and I’m going to bring her a little jar of my homemade cannabis balm. A gift exchange! Dale thought that was hilarious. I mean, we’re still shocked you can go out in the backyard to smoke a joint, and no one can call the police.

My more relaxed attitude certainly helped my golf game. I had two birdies and a chip-in par for a grand total of 88. My best score ever is 84, and that was several years ago. I’m essentially a bogey golfer, which is fine, but I would like to improve, and who knows? With a little more partying, I might just do that. I have a golf buddy in Georgia who enjoys her rounds with a Bloody Mary in tow.

I’m not sure if it’s the weather or what, but my sciatica has been acting up, along with my right wrist, which I broke several years ago. I’ve been making sure to brave the cold and keep walking, using the cannabis balm twice daily and sleeping with a brace on my wrist. Seems to be working!

Oh. A word about the cannabis bath salts. I got the water super hot for my first bath and soaked 30 minutes or so. I felt remarkably pain-free that evening. But the next bath wasn’t as hot, and I’m also wondering if my cannabis-infused oil wasn’t evenly distributed, because I didn’t feel much. Two baths use 1/4 cup of infused oil. That’s kind of a lot, which sort of hints that it has great potential, but for now I prefer to use the topical balm I make with infused oil and beeswax.

I will say my aches and pain improved dramatically after I retired. That 2.5-hour commute on the bus to what was basically a desk job did nothing for my body. I don’t even complain too much about housework, because I figure it’s good for me.

For the record, I have attempted to lure Dale into the Housework-is-Healthy-and-Fun club, but he continues to resist. Although full credit due – he loads a mean dishwasher.