Wednesday, 10 June 2020


The hay shed catches the first rays of sun in the mornings when I fork out enough hay to fill the cow's hay rack. Just a short walk to the rack on the other side of the fence, but it takes quite a few trips, so I often think I've done the equivalent of a morning walk after the exertion that warms me to the bone.

The past few mornings have been frosty with temps of -2C degrees at sunrise; two pairs of gloves are required to keep the fingers from seizing up.

Some rain last week accompanied by this rainbow in the late afternoon.

Pekin bantam shenanigans in the house garden. 

I could not imagine life without this. 
Day and night, a fire burns or coals glow; always at the ready to warm, revive, boil a kettle, bake bread, cook all of our meals, incubate cheese and yoghurt cultures. All round most useful and appreciated appliance and much loved soul of our kitchen is this Irish made Stanley wood combustion stove.

 One, two and often three per day.  Thankful that orders from buyers enables my obsessive sourdough making. 

 Working from the kitchen today as a pot of dried apricot jam bubbles on the wood stove. I cannot be trusted to leave the room when cooking, such is my propensity for becoming easily sidetracked. 

Dried apricot jam will guarantee to stick to the bottom of the pan as soon as my back is turned.

Thank you to those folks who have sent emails and messages following the publication of my article in the latest Grass Roots magazine. (No.259 June/July 2020 issue.) 
A couple of emails from people who wanted more information on skin moisturisers and deodorant that I mentioned in the article.
Maximum word limits sometimes make it difficult to elaborate in the magazine, and I tend to be a bit too wordy. My thanks always to the editors, Megg and Jessamy for their unwavering patience and encouragement.

My deodorant for everyday use is simply organic coconut oil mixed in a small jar with a few drops of essential oil. I prefer a very slight hint of fragrance and find that lavender oil does not change its scent on my skin as some fragrances do.
I once made deodorant using lemongrass essential oil which, after a few hours on my body, started to smell like urine!  However it wasn't wasted, we used it as bee pheromone to attract a swarm to a bee box, but that's another story for another time.

To avoid leaving oily residue on our clothes, a small amount is all that is required.  I especially like it on these freezing winter mornings, when deodorant roll-on or from a spray bottle feels cold to the touch and takes a minute or so to dry.
Coconut oil is also used as body moisturiser. Unscented, rubbed on arms and legs especially during summer is cheap and chemical free. Add a dash of lavender oil to repel flies and mosquitoes. 
Did you know that Parabens in many cosmetics and body moisturisers, are the cause of hormonal issues? Parabens and many other chemicals are scientifically proven hormone disrupters.
Our skin is the body's largest organ, is very absorbent so we really need to be careful what we put on it.

And hand moisturiser?.... is right there on the kitchen bench in a squirty bottle.
Olive oil rubbed in well, as often as required, is also cheap and chemical free.

We have some excellent local producers here and our trade economy is always welcomed. This is one of our favourite extra virgin oils, from John and Vicki at Cornucopia Farming.

 Glenafton Goats milk products are chemical free and extremely well priced.
I love this facial  moisturiser for my weathered and dry old skin. 

What I reckon is... if you wouldn't put it in your mouth, then why would you rub it onto your skin?
For $12 a pot, and free postage, I usually order three pots at a time to cut down the postage costs for the small family manufacturer.  I get almost a year from three pots, using it every morning and night.

When I think of the dollars that I wasted on 'products' during my lifetime, I squirm.  But when I think of the chemicals that I used to slather onto my skin and hair that were washed down in the waste water, the plastic bottles and containers I unwittingly encouraged, I cringe with shame.
There's no point stressing over the past, but once we have the knowledge we can be empowered to do better for our health and well-being, and for the sake of the planet.
Choose wisely folks.

Sally XX


  1. I use coconut oil for moisturiser too, Sally, but haven't tried it for deodorant. I'll give that a go!

    Your sourdough loaves look great. A colleague gave me one of her loaves recently and it was delicious. We had it with homemade soup. MegXx

    1. Coconut oil, how did we ever live without it Meg?. :-)

  2. Sally, your really have mastered the art of making sourdough bread. Your loaves look fantastic. I hardly think you would be unfit with all that farm activity so I hope you can continue to do it for many years to come. How I miss our old combustion stove when it died. We always had one when I was growing up and the kitchen was so warm in winter.

    1. Chel I had a major sourdough fail today. The joys of working with wild yeasts and wood ovens. ;-)

  3. We use bicarb deodorant - just as is, no coconut oil. Dont use it after shaving though as it stings ;o)
    I think I need to keep working on perfecting my sourdough bread because yours looks so much fluffier! I do love baking it and will certainly persevere!

    1. Another good deodorant replacement Evi. Bi-carb is incredible stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sally I love seeing what is happening at your place. I just dont cope with the cold so it is nice to look in, yet know I have my warmer winter to deal with.
    I have been making my own moisturisers, deodorants and toothpaste for years. Not only is it a much better option for the environment, it is also a real economic saving as well.
    Your closing statement reminds me of a saying that I have loved, used and lived towards by Maya Angelou.
    "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better".

  5. Hi Jane, it would be great to know more about you personal care products and how you make them.
    I recall seeing the Maya Angelou quote somewhere and it really resonated with me. XX

    1. Sally, 'The Nerdy Farmwife' is where I get most of my personal care recipes from. Having said that I see a recipe as a guide and change things around to use up what I have. I havent followed a recipe exactly for a very long time.

    2. Thank you Jane, I'm going there to have a good look. Ha, you sound like me, can't ever stick to a

  6. Your sourdough looks amazing and those chickens are living the good life...

    1. Thanks Kathy, occasionally the bread doesn't behave quite as it's supposed to, like a batch last week, but were still edible.

  7. Ah, reading this made me feel like I was catching up with an old friend. I could feel the warmth of your fire, and hear the kettle whistling. Also the propensity for being easily distracted. Yep, that's me too! I dabble in making safe lotions for the skin, and love Liz from Eight Acres of Eden, for continuing to make the soap I love. Which reminds me, I better make an order soon. I only have two bars left!

    I can't believe the first month of winter, is nearly over. The solstice is coming too, which means the days will start to get progressively longer. Frosts will soon be shelved for another year, and we'll be getting ready for Christmas again. Summer BBQ's with cold kombucha. Can you believe how quickly it all seems to be happening?

  8. Oh yes, and I want to adopt your chickens, lol.

    1. Hi Chris, thank you, your opening comment was possibly the best thing I could hear from a reader/friend. The winter goes all too fast for me because I really love the cold at this point in my life while I can still move around to keep warm. Possibly in later years when more sedentary I'll appreciate warmer months, but I find the heat intolerable and the fear of bushfires is crippling. I share with you my admiration for Liz@eightacres and all that they do there on their farm. Liz is extraordinarily talented and skilled in so many ways. I really share her way of thinking about life in general. Gosh wouldn't it be fabulous to sit down for a shared meal with her, you and some of the others here on this platform. Promise I won't bring a chicken dish. ;-) XX

    2. Yes indeed, it would be great to catch up. You can cook the casserole with your homegrown meat and wood-fire stove. And I'll bring the chewy sourdough to wipe up the gravy with. Liz can rustle up something for desert, we can all smother in fresh cream. Winter brings out the comfort foods!

      I also noticed my silly typo. It's not Eight Acres of Eden, lol. Similar name to another blog I used to follow, until they decided to retire their blog. But I love Liz's skills and dedication to her farm and products though.

  9. M speechless now sally , u r awesome dear, ur sourdough loaf looks yummm and guess what I use coconut oil to moistures too 💕💕💕

  10. hope all is still well with you & yours up there on the farm, has honeysuckle had her calf yet? did everything go smoothly, the news on the southern states is just awful atm & i just can't listen anymore, i do catch up on FB & read some blogs that are caught in the crossfire; your wood stove looks amazing! so warm & cozy & inviting!
    stay safe xxx
    thanx for sharing


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