“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
― Dr. Seuss

We’ve found ourselves in an inbetween place… a place where there are far more questions than there are answers. Where I’m finding to express what I feel I’m needing to allow myself to open the door to things I’d shut the door on. I’m finding myself lost in thoughts alot at the moment, memories of friends long gone and the nostalgia always brings with it a sense of longing.

I’ve found this void is best filled if the answers aren’t lingered on too much. If instead of running through my mind all of the things I have no solution for… I deal simply with the things that I can. Like where we are, how we live, and the relationships in my life that are here and now.

So Bo and I head to the beach at sunset. It’s cold still when the sun isn’t high in the sky, the water is choppy and wild with the end of an early spring storm… but there is peace here. The beach is like a bookend for me, it’s where i spent much of my childhood, it’s where I lived in Indonesia, it’s where I met my husband, it’s where I used to sit with Bo when she was a tiny baby under the shade of a coconut palm. There is something grounding and simple about feet in the sand.

We always feel connected here, Bo and I… as if it’s a place that we can come together and forget the tantrums and the arguments – to forget the stress and the lingering questions. Where we can just exist, together, as the sun goes down.

Do you have an escape?

  • September 20, 2014 - 11:44 am

    jade - i too love, love, love the beach. i have 3 little girls (5, 3 and 4 months)and it is the one place where my little tornado (3 yr old) finds peace as well. it is a place where no one has tantrums. they literally just sit in the sand playing with water all day long until i decide it’s time to go and that is often a long time!ReplyCancel

A few months ago I started seeing a naturopath for a host of things that I was struggling with, anxiety, stress, exhaustion – a lot of which was being manifested in my skin. I’ve always had very dry skin, it’s genetic… my littlest brother and I have always struggled with it and no amount of over the counter products have ever been of much use to me. With the Nothing New project, a big instigator was an instinctual pull that I felt away from consumer ‘solutions’ and more toward natural alternatives.

When I started seeing my naturopath we talked a lot about natural solutions to the problems that I was experiencing. We talked about changes of diet and natural supplements. We talked about reducing stress and getting more sleep. We talked about lifestyle changes and positive coping strategies that could help me combat some of the more difficult areas in my life. We talked about natural balms and oils and products.

Then we talked about chickweed.

I had read a bit about chickweed oil/salve (one of the places was here in this great run down of chickweed by Little Eco Footprints) and wanted to discuss it further with a professional. My naturopath raved about it but did warn that it could be quite expensive. Chickweed salve has great natural skin healing properties, it is excellent for dry skin but is also recommended for minor burns, skin irritations, minor abrasions and rashes (particularly when associated with itching or dryness). I was very curious… something natural that could be used as a kind of skin healing balm? It sounded ideal. But I coudlnt’ find any locally produced and at around $10 for 50g it was going to be very expensive to use as a moisturiser.

Then I discovered, chickweed grows (like a weed) all over this part of the world.

So we foraged. We experimented and we made our own. I made about 2L of the oil for less than $10

And you know what? It works!

Are you game enough to try it?

HEALING BALM DIY: CHICKWEED SALVE

Ingredients

Fresh or dried chickweed (check here for some tips on how to identify chickweed growing in the wild)
Good quality olive oil
Beeswax

Method

I had a medium-sized basket of chickweed that I foraged at our local university with a couple of friends of mine. First of all it’s best to wash and dry your chickweed so that the leaves are free of any potential dust or nasties. I just gave a good wash in the sink and lay it out in the sun for an hour or so.

There are several methods for making chickweed oil, here is one for slow infusion, and one for infusion in a double boiler. This is a great website for some different options if you want to try it another way. I used a slow cooker that I borrowed off my mum. It’s really important that the chickweed is submerged in oil AND that the oil never gets too hot as the chickweed will then become deep-fried. You want the oil really hot, but not boiling.

In a slow cooker put equal parts oil and chickweed. I had a lot of chickweed so used about 2L of Olive Oil to ensure that the chickweed was fully submerged.Make sure the slow cooker is on its lowest setting and pop on the lid. Then leave for 4-6 hours.

Strain the chickweed infused olive oil through a muslin cloth squeezing the herbs to ensure that as much of the oil comes out as absolutely possible.

That’s it. Simple, beautiful, healing oil.

Now you can use the oil as it is… I used it on my skin for a month or so before I even bothered making it into a balm. But once I made the balm, I haven’t turned back – the texture is nicer and it’s a lot less messy to use in a rush.

To make the balm simply use a solution of 5:1 (five parts chickweed oil to one part beeswax).

Create a simple double boiler by placing the tin can in a couple of inches of boiling water and place the oil and beeswax into the tin. Keep an eye on the mixture, stirring occasionally, until fully combined.

Remove the tin can from the boiling water (be careful it will be very, very hot) and pour into prepared sterilised jars or containers.

Keep a jar in your bathroom to use as a moisturiser on any skin conditions and another in your first aid box for use on burns, bites and rashes.

  • September 15, 2014 - 10:27 am

    Life With The Crew - Really interesting. I just learned about dandelion salve on another blog, now I know about chickweed salve too! My hands get extremely dry in the winter and lotions and creams never help. I refuse to use petroleum based products, so I am always on the lookout for something more natural.ReplyCancel

  • September 15, 2014 - 3:42 pm

    Alicja - This is brilliant! Love the idea!ReplyCancel

“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”  ― Charlotte Brontë

As parents we spend a lot of time teaching our children why sharing is so important. We analyse ‘fair play’ and we try to ensure that our children have a sense of what is fair and what is not. To help cultivate creative, empathetic, gentle human being – we’d be crazy not to. Helping kids to understand what it is to be an active and positive member of something bigger than just themselves… it’s kind of the whole point of parenting isn’t it?

So we talk about sharing. In our house we talk a lot about kindness, and how being kind is the most important thing we can be. Sure, sometimes we don’t want to share. Sometimes we want to keep things all to ourselves and we want to play with them for longer and longer. We talk about what it means to have something of our own, and whether or not that ‘thing’ would be better if it was shared with other people. We talk about having our go and then passing it on to someone else, so that they can enjoy that thing just as much as we did. Sometimes this filters into the mind of my two year old, sometimes it doesn’t… but it’s a work in progress. Isn’t it? And the work starts here.

I often wonder how we can possibly spend so much time teaching our kids to share when as a whole, adults are pretty terrible at it.

We focus a lot on what we have for ourselves, and not on what we have to share… We are a part of a beautiful community of urban growers who come together once a month to share their knowledge, their produce, their passions – for nothing. Everyone brings somethign to share and puts it on a communal table. If you have nothing this month, no dramas, come along any way. Everyone is welcome to take whatever they like home with them… seeds, seedlings, books, fresh eggs, home grown produce, magazines… the list goes on.

There is no competition, there is no mad rush for the table, there is no pushing or grabbing. We come together as a community, to share what we have… because as adults we are often (re)learning that the best things in life are shared.

This is a photo heavy post…:)click ‘more’ to take a little walk through our community of beautiful, sharing, loving growers.
View full post »

  • September 11, 2014 - 6:50 am

    Lisa - Beautiful photos Sash! Absolutely loving your writing lately and the topics you have been covering. Love you xReplyCancel

    • September 13, 2014 - 9:25 am

      Sash - Thanks lady! xReplyCancel

  • September 11, 2014 - 9:45 am

    Snappystreet - What a truly beautiful idea, this really make me wish we were closer to our community.ReplyCancel

    • September 13, 2014 - 9:25 am

      Sash - I’m sure you can be! there are lots of grass roots community initiatives going on all around the world… Where are you from? xReplyCancel

  • September 11, 2014 - 4:57 pm

    Inga - I want to start one in my little community! It’s brilliant.ReplyCancel

  • September 15, 2014 - 3:54 pm

    Alicja - This is such an inspiring post. My friend came to visit me the other day and said she wants more people around her and a stronger community. She had read your post just before coming to my place. I think you remind us all about what it means to be living with people and for people. We are all social animals and there is no point in denying it. Thank you again for writing this.ReplyCancel