Today the wind blew. One of those winds that blows hard and gusty, swirling round, and unsettling energies.
It blew asbestos dust into the air as the bulldozer schlurped in the Wetlands, killing those ancient trees with its unflinching metallic jaws. Next to the road, a woman was manhandled by police and arrested for no reason. Her arm was twisted backwards and she was handcuffed. The woman was supporting a young man who the police were interrogating. He was clutching a small fluffy dog – perhaps he was on the wrong side of the road. But I think the police, in this instance, were on the wrong side of the law. These are sad days for us.
Motivation was hard to find and the couch was getting uncomfortable. It was time to get my herb on, and make soap.
Both the process and the herbs soothe my rattled senses when the wind blows like this. In the Shed, the tin walls rattle and clank as the wind gusts slam. Buckets of rain are forecast to fall in the next few days. There’s a cyclone way up north again – hundreds of miles away – and our weather sits in the shadow.
My head has been itchy and allergic, so I have been brewing up some soothing herbs for a shampoo bar. My base recipe was from the trusty “Nerdy Farm Wife’s” book again – Sunflower Shampoo Bar – with some tweaks. I have had dried flowers of chamomile, calendula and sunflowers infusing in olive oil for the past few days – ideally this would have been for a few weeks, but the weather has been warm, and I am impatient, so a short infusion had to suffice!
And it was an odd photo day too – I have played with them all – here are the dregs of the soaked flower petals.
I found some nettles that I had dried from last time they grew in the garden, and thought to infuse them in the water for the soap – here are the hairy nettle stems after being “tea”d, and then a fiddled with pic of the edge of the nettle tea in my stainless steel lye pot:
These are calendula flowers soaking in apple cider vinegar – this will be the conditioner for after using the shampoo bar;
The little rose bush out the back just keeps on giving us a few flowers every week – I wish I could add smell to this post – imagine an apple / light rose / springtime scent – in fact their smell matches their colours! Now I have such an amazing collection of dried rose petals, and shea butter arriving in the next week – more rose and shea butter soap on the way!
And – see the frangipani flower next to the rose petals? My daughter heard someone chain-sawing early one morning – her neighbour was “pruning” his frangipani with the chain-saw and dumped a mountain of branches on the verge! We all filled our cars with them – I love frangipanis – the house now smells divine, and I will see how many of these branches I can get to “strike”. I am the world’s worst gardener, but have managed to keep about 6 frangipani trees alive thus far – most of them from cutoff branches stuck in a pot.
One of the upsides from the destruction in our Wetlands has been the strength of our community here – what an incredible collection of people I live amongst!
On the weekend, I had the absolute privilege of attending a silent walk through the Wetlands led by local Nyoongah women. Hundreds of women walked in awe and respect – sometimes just metres from the road – and then down into the Wetlands to a traditional Aboriginal birthing place – a green grassy meadow ringed by soft paperbark trees, and then taller trees further out – tuarts and eucalypts and more, teaming with birds and bandicoots, quendas, lizards and so many species who have lived there for centuries. We walked in the late afternoon and we sang together in the local language, arm in arm in solidarity, with respect for this beautiful country. We left, as is traditional law, before the sun set.
There is a lot to be learned from the original custodians of the land, if only we will listen.
This land is due to be bulldozed in the coming weeks for a road to nowhere. A pox on our government, and those who do their bidding. May one day they learn the meaning of the saying that you cannot eat money.
I would like the wind to stop blowing, or these winds of change to blow a different way…