Incense, Smudge Sticks, and Gain Pellets….

Incense, Smudge Sticks, and Gain Pellets – what do these have in common?

If you know me, you know I have a lot of animals.  It’s a bit embarrassing, but I will go ahead and tell you how many.  I have four horses, nine chickens (we used to have 30+ so at least that has downsized), three dogs (although 2 of them are old and I’m sure are not going to be here much longer), six cats (okay this is probably the worst, but one is on death’s door at 17 years old, and who wouldn’t have taken on Merlin, the disabled cat… I mean, Erynn bottle fed him and did water therapy with him to help him walk, we couldn’t not keep him!), a chinchilla, and a budgie.  We have plenty of room for these pets (although we board our horses elsewhere), but I’m all about keeping the house clean and smelling nice.

I am absolutely terrified of fire so Glade plug-ins and the sort are out of the question (we had an electrical fire a few years ago in our basement where an electrician did not wire properly, and if I hadn’t been home that day, we would have lost our house as the fire started in the wall and would have ignited the couch next to the socket).  My favorite smell in the world is to have our big heavy iron woodstove going, but we don’t have the time to keep up with that.  Dean turned me on to incense and smudge sticks years ago.  We had a little… err… well… problem, in our first house… that seemed to be kind of scary, and sage is supposed to help ward off bad entities… okay, now you really think I’m crazy right?

Anyway, smudge sticks are pretty awesome.  My teens are not a fan of them, but I am.  I like to smudge room by room on a nice cool day and open the windows to let out the smoke.  It refreshes the house, and if there are any bad things floating around, Native Americans believed the smoke would carry those bad things away.

smudge stick sage

Smudge sticks can be made or purchased in many different types.  I’m personally not a fan of sage, but I do like juniper and cedar quite a bit.

I use the traditional abalone shell with my smudge sticks.  I have an eagle feather, but… well…. the Native Americans believed that an eagle had to “give” it to you, so purchasing it didn’t feel quite right.  (Okay, now you really think I’ve lost my mind… *sigh*… This blogging thing is making me feel like I’m putting a target on my back… but that’s all right… I’m me, and I don’t pretend to be anything different….)

I have tried sweet grass braids, and while I absolutely love the smell of them, I can’t keep them smoldering to save my life.

Incense.  When people think of incense, they think of pot heads and hippies, but did you know there are so many different types of incense out there?  It’s so much fun….

Many are familiar with basic cone incense like this…..

cone incense

Cone incense is simple, and may be placed in different burners.  We have a dragon that you place this incense in it’s mouth, and smoke comes out its nose – it’s pretty cool, but it is messy as you have to clean up the ashes.

Close cousin to the cone incense is the cube or wood type of incense.

These are great – they are made of some sort of wood I believe, and some of these smell like you have a fire in the fireplace.  They are simply lovely.

 Stick incense is most common in our house.

This is one of our stick incense containers.  I collect all types of pottery, usually from our vacations, and this guy was perfect for stick incense storage.   You will usually see stick incense used in little holders that keep the stick slanted.

The problem I have found with this is that ashes will get everywhere.  I hate a mess, and that is just more for me to clean up, so when Dean showed me incense bottles, I was in love!

These bottles can be purchased or made.  It’s a simple glass bottle with a hole drilled into the lower half so that air can come in the hole to feed the smolder with oxygen, and then the smoke escapes out the top.

The bottle catches all the ash, and when it fills up enough, you can just dump the ash out – I’m always about work smarter not harder, and that even comes to play in the household….

And you can’t beat the imagery you can achieve with the smoke coming out of the bottle!

One last type of incense we use is powdered incense.

Most have never heard of powdered incense.  After purchasing a decorative stone piece – like this “maze” look….you pour the powder in (yes, messy!) and then light one end of the powder.  It gently smolders and follows the maze until it is nothing but ash which then will need to be brushed out to clean.

Incense – who knew?  Do you now feel educated on incense?

Now I’m not going to pretend I am some sort of perfect purist with my earthy incense – I bet you think I only clean with water and vinegar, right?  You guessed wrong 😉  I’m an equal opportunity chemical/natural cleaner….I use what works for me.  Period.

For example…. another secret for keeping animal smells down.  I have discovered Gain laundry pellets.  This has been awesome.  Not only does it help with that weird smell that those on well water understand happens with their washing machine, but you can melt down the pellets and add a little baking soda and lots of water and make your own febreze.  This is better than the febreze made with fabric softener because there will be no fabric softener buildup on your fabrics.  You can also control your own degree of deodorizer.  I found out last weekend that I can melt the pellets down and put them in my steam cleaner fluid – talk about great smelling carpet/area rugs!

Okay, I’m rambling…..



About Jodie Otte

Maryland Newborn Photographer and Child Portrait Artist, Jodie Holstein-Otte, specializes in unique photography of newborn babies, kids, and families. She works on location in Harford, Howard, Cecil, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and other areas throughout Maryland. She uses both both natural lighting and soft studio lighting techniques.

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