Tuesday, July 27, 2010

spiritual seeding

As I await spring and prepare my soil for warmer weather, I collect my thoughts as I collect seeds of all kinds.  It is a restful and contemplative activity, my mind slows and hands work steadily to free seed from their host.  I compose myself and feel a deep connection to all who have come before me and all who will come after me.  They too will touch the seeds from this plant and this tiny seed I gently free from its hold will grow tall and strong and sustain generations to come.

Collecting seed is an act of gratitude, an act of praise and an act of deep spiritual connection to the earth.

This week I collect: (clockwise from top left), delicious organic gogi berries soaking so that I can harvest the seeds tomorrow, sweet papaya seed, lovely peppery-rocket seed, lemon seed, green pepper seed and coriander seed.

 I have two avocado pips germinating in the window.  The largest has sent down a root two inches long during the past six weeks and a crack has appeared all the way to the top of the seed - soon it will send up a shoot. 

The smaller pip was placed on the windowsill today, this came from the smoothest avocado I have tasted in a long time.  I haven't been able to identify the varieties yet and when I went to look them up ...wow!  there are over 500 varieties and I am not wading through them.  I'll speak to my local grower to find out which I have, next time I am there.

harvesting seed and preparing for drying is slow work.  This is an activity which for the most part will not be rushed.  The papaya so far has been the most time consuming of all.  I dried out trays of seeds a few weeks ago which all stuck to the drying paper and eventually had to be discarded.  It is strange to think that in the past I would not have given a second thought to throwing out seed.  Now that I understand their value, I would not consider it.

I discovered that to dry papaya seed, one has to remove the gelatinous covering; this is not as easy as it sounds.  The covering is easily broken, like popping bubble wrap, but the coating is attached at one end and small pieces left behind still attached are not easily noticed until a day later when they begin to ferment and create a nasty brown gooey stain.  It took three days of washing and drying each seed individually before I had completely eliminated all the goo.  The results are tiny, spiky jet-black seeds which have dried beautifully.

This is my first attempt at seeding plants and drying seeds and I really enjoy the activity.  It has been a spiritual awakening of sorts for which I am most grateful.  I look forward to the day when I see the full cycle and I am ready to harvest seed from my own plants again.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

week one chemical free observations

I am tracking my petrochemical free life - so this blog is simply a reminder of where I am at, for later use.

I am washing my face with castor and olive oil at night and with water in the morning.  looking good, feeling good!

I changed from the bee-wax cream to simple grape seed oil as a moisturiser - and VOILĂ€! My skin is responding pleasingly, texture improved, hydration increased and blemishes diminishing.

The bicarb shampoo is OK (I think), however the conditioner probably needs some changing as my hair is dull and limp and looks greasy, although it is not. I am going to make another conditioner, with ginger, honey and orange tea, and with less vinegar - 100ml to a litre - and no essential oils as I think it is the oils that are causing the trouble.

The toothpaste experimentation has oxidised, so I am back to plain old BS and I feel it is much better this way.

The coffee machine exploded last night, so that takes care of my caffeine addiction in a hurry and I am interested to see if this makes a difference to the appearance of my skin.

Poor old coffee machine.  You will be missed!  RIP

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Eughhhh! Disturbing results!

Today I am feeling gross!  Horrible!  Really disgusting!

My hair was washed again this morning with bicarbs and vinegar and although it feels OK, it is full of static and looks oily.  My skin washed with the olive and castor oils is nice and clean, and the moisturising bee-wax product, feels good on my skin, however my skin is quite red (not sunburn red - more like paraffin imbiber red) and it feels really thick and rough (again, paraffin imbiber thick and rough).  I am trying to go make-up free for a while, especially during this transition time, but to be honest with you, I look like a serious alcoholic street-dweller, and although I have nothing against such people, life can be hard on us all, well, it is just not a good look for me at this point in my life!

I am determined to make this transition though and so I am trying to decide whether or not keep up with the products for at least a week to see if my body starts settling down - I don't want to just switch products (or should I say ingredients) too quickly, I have to give it a good going  .... don't I!

I have not had the luxury of hiding at home either.  I have had to go out.  I am just swallowing my pride, putting on a bright smile and trying not to sweat it too much.

Oh dear!  This is disturbing!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Down to Earth Gratitude

I must just add how incredible it is to be on this journey with so many other woman.  It is quite overwhelming to find so many woman on the same  'Down to Earth' journey.  So many have gone before me and I feel irrevocably linked to each one of you in a kind of sorority of woman who are soberly living naturally and are dedicated to gracefully supporting one another and ultimately changing the course of history.

Culinary Bathroom

My shower this morning became a culinary playground of bicarbonate of soda, vinegar, olive and castor oils and bee wax!  I had to laugh in the shower as the bicarbs drifted into my mouth and the vinegar stung my eyes .... ouwwwwweeeeeee!  The oil facial cleanser seemed to stick onto my skin, promising to NEVER come off and the Essential Oils in the conditioner predicted a disastrous outcome - however, despite the strangeness of kitchen products in the bathroom, and a seeming playground of culinary ingredients all with strange feel and smells for a shower, I am delighted by the results thus far!

This morning I made up a bottle of bicarbonate shampoo and vinegar conditioner as suggested by Jen at DarkPurpleMoon, to replace my Petrochemical Nightmare hair products.  My hair felt great after the bicarbs which washed out really easily, and even though I thought I might be in for a second shower, petrochemical this time, to rectify the experimental conditioner and oil cleanser, surprise, surprise, my skin feels great and my hair dried just fine.  I'll have to see how it lasts during the day.

I used bicarb for toothpast - interesting experience, but my teeth are feeling great!  And I used rock-salt stick for deoderant.

I replaced my cleanser with olive and castor oils and am amazed at how clean my skin feels.  For moisturiser, I am using a bee-wax product I found which suggested use as a lip balm, but works well all over; allowing blemishes to surface easily and be discarded of secretly without a hint of their unwanted presence, just moments before .... WOW!  I am impressed!

The only thing I don't have yet is body soap.  I have Rhonda's recipe and can't wait to try it.  I have been collecting the needed ingredients and equipment and almost have everything - but even then, it will be weeks of maturing before use ... so I am off to look for some alternatives at an organic shop across town.  I well expect to pay R50.00 a bar, but until I can make my own, I will just have to pay for alternatives.

I am relieved, for now, to have found some workable alternatives.  Time will tell how long it all lasts and how well they continue to work, but I am really getting into the idea of all natural , all organic - give me one more day of these great results and the petrochemical stuff is going into the bin - FOREVER!

May this be my first NO-POO day, forever more!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cosmetic chemical nightmare

I have not felt this angry in a long time!

I started on a new cosmetic range at the beginning of this year,  it was a big decision as it is quite expensive, and like most promising cosmetics here, imported.  I hoped that it would bring me the relief my skin needs from blemishes and poor skin tone.  It advertises itself as organic, which thrilled me, and at a cursery glance of the contents, I was satisfied that it was indeed organic - so many oils and natural things, how could it not be good?

Well, the last few months have been a BIG learning curve for me with the discovery of petrochemicals in ALL my products.  The first big discovery was Sodium Lauryl Sulfate; a skin irritant which breaks down protein, is toxic to the body and it mimics the activity of oestrogen in the body playing havoc with the body's natural hormone balance.  SLS is used for lathering.  I found SLS in my shampoo and conditioner, in my very expensive imported face-wash and lotions, in my body wash, in herbal hand wash, in solid soap blocks and even in my toothpaste!

This really put me in a quandary as I refused to use the petrochemical products, but had no alternatives to replace them as yet.  I scoured the net for days and found home made alternatives for shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste.  I am trying these, but I'm not really satisfied with the results. 

Parabens were next.  These deadly compounds enter the skin, can be found in the blood stream moments after application of cosmetics and make-up and have been found in cancer tissues of breast cancer patients.  I found these in some of my make-up ranges, I believe they are used as preservatives.
Aluminium compounds were next, so out went my deodorants and I purchased a 'salt rock' stick alternative which works amazingly.

Dioxane is a neuro-toxin and has a number of other toxicities for humans.  It is also found in most cosmetics and is used to create suds.

There are lists of the petrochemicals called the dirty thirty.  A list of 30 harmful chemical compounds used in cosmetics and toiletries.  I am just astounded!  I can't believe that I have been using products containing such harmful compounds and now I need alternatives in a hurry!

I have researched all the local 'organic' ranges and only found one range that is passable, and all they do is soap.  I am still using my cleansers, but every time I do, I cringe and imagine all the harmful toxins doing their dirty work ...... aaaahhhhh!

If I can't find alternatives, I have to make them; this is my all consuming goal now.  I have to make what I need.  I need recipes, suggestions, ideas and guidance.  And I need them in a hurry!

Help please!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I've been thinking about doing something about my rather overgrown basil bush.  Well, inspiration (more like energy which has been missing in action) struck this morning and without thinking I went outside and stripped the bush of all its dried flowers and some not at all dry ones.   The pups came out to see what was up, but kept their distance and seemed rather perplexed - not sure why.

We are approaching the last half of winter now, and I have been meaning to do some cutting back and 'whatever' type of business I am supposed to do at this time of year - I don't know what that is really - but I know I should be doing something. 

(They look as confused as I do)

And so, I stripped all the branches of their flowers, discovering a hidden lemon on our lemon tree which must have escaped the pup's attention, as they are always delighted to find bright-yellow, accessible balls growing on trees, and will unceremoniously pluck them and leave them lying about.  I realised early on that they will win the fight for the lemons and seeing we only had three this year, decided to not sweat it at all.

I also discovered some ripening tomatoes among the basil that had survived the winter thus far and had a happy moment wondering at the happy coincidence of basil and tomato growing together when they are such a delightful culinary pair.  I must add that I did not plant tomatoes in my garden - they simply appeared.

The reason I wanted the basil stripped in the first place was at the thought of creating 'basil water' for cosmetic use.  I have been doing a lot of reading and researching of late as I want to make my own cosmetics, shampoos etc and the thought of 'basil water' as a base just sounds delightful.  I have also discovered how to make a home still and can't wait to get started making my own fragrant waters.

Unfortunately, our stove and oven blew up recently and replacement is not going to happen in a hurry.  So, now I have the basil flowers all ready, but no way of heating the still.  With this in mind I began to wonder if I should seed the flowers instead - that is when I went online to find out about harvesting seeds and found that I had actually done the right thing in waiting for the flowers to dry out ... but alas!  I find no seeds.

DH walked into the kitchen and upon seeing the basil all spread out drying, had a stupefying 'Gunja'  wishful moment - called up from somewhere in his distant, delinquent past .... uh..hum .... moving on quickly.

So, I guess I will dry out the seedless flowers and keep them in safety for a time when I am able to heat my homemade still and then I will Blog about them again.

In the mean time, the house smells delightfully of basil (and for some reason - rose water), and I will extend myself the luxury of a handful of fragrant flowers in my bath tonight as compensation for a job half done, I am terribly impatient when I have things I want done and I can't get my head around having to leave this off for another distant date.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Bloggy Intent

I am in transition; moving from one state of being to another. I am presently lost to myself, overwhelmed by inactivity and indecision.   I must move towards greater authenticity in action word and deed.

I look forward to the day that I wake up and know that I am authentically me - I yearn for it, my heart is tired and heavy and wants to reach the freedom of simply being; of allowing myself to simply be and being comfortable enough with me to allow others to see me too.

I have been on this journey for some time now and would love to meet other bloggers who can support, encourage and inspire me; I have seen you and I have been reading you and I love your creative, confident and nurturing souls, now it is my turn to start documenting my journey here alongside you.

I look forward to sharing your lives and sharing mine with you too.
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