Natural Chilblain Remedy

Autumn has not started, so under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be thinking about chilblains. But my current job means that no matter the weather outside, inside is always colder. And spending my days playing in liquid nitrogen means that my hands get pretty darn cold.

Thankfully after some research last winter, I found something that made a big difference to my feet and fingers. Lanolin.

Lanolin is just the grease that comes from sheeps wool. It is a natural waterproofing and insulating agent that is used in many commercial products. I have no idea why it works, but it was a saviour for me. It meant I could wear my winter boots rather than sneakers, which also meant warmer, less soggy feet.

I still had a tube of Lansinoh from when I was breastfeeding and would massage it into my feet and hands before going to bed (wear socks or you end up with slimy sheets). After a few weeks my feet didn’t hurt anymore, and I still have half a tube to get me through the coming winter. Now that I know what helps, I won’t have to suffer through painful winter feet anymore. And for that I thank sheep farmers, and nature for being so clever.


Natural Crunchy – Bi-Carb

In some ways crunchy works well for me. And in others, it just doesn’t. So I mix and match what works for my family.

My biggest crunch is also pretty old school, but thankfully becoming more common. It really comes down to bi-carb. Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is a staple in my house. I buy it in bulk because I use it so often.

  • I use it to wash my hair
  • I use it to clean the bath
  • I use it for baking
  • I use it in homemade laundry detergent
  • I’ve even used it my homemade deodorant experiments (more on that later)


You can use bicarb in many different ways around the home, and it’s a cleaner, greener and more frugal alternative to a lot of commercial products. Yes, it actually requires a little elbow grease, but a little cleaning cardio isn’t a bad thing.

My biggest change has been using bi-carb to wash my hair. I tried going ‘no poo’ but it didn’t work for me. Then I tried bi-carb in place of shampoo and I haven’t looked back. I save on shampoo and I don’t need to use conditioner at all, so I save there too. My dandruff situation has improved and I haven’t had to use my straighteners at all.

The oddest thing I noticed was with hair fall. Usually I’d condition my hair and lose a lot in the shower. Now it’s a matter of losing hair when I brush it.


The process I use is as follows:

  • Wet hair thoroughly in the shower
  • Use 2-3 tablespoons of bi-carb and make a paste with some water
  • Spread it through hair and massage it into scalp and hair
  • Leave it in hair until it turns from gritty to slimy
  • Rinse thoroughly


And that’s it. You can follow it with an apple cider vinegar rinse, but I find it isn’t necessary for my hair. For me, this works well, but other people may find that it differs. I wash my hair once a week, and it feels fantastic, and I can style it the same ways I did when I was using shampoo.


So. Bi-carb soda works for me in many different ways. What other uses have you found for bi-carb?

Getting Back on the Horse

I got back on the horse today. Literally. It’s been years since I rode regularly and I’ve only ridden once in the last five years. But after a long time thinking up possible solutions to my issue, Dad came up with the goods.

For me it was all about the style of saddle I need to use, and though before injuring my tail bone, flat stock saddles were uncomfortable, now they are the only ones I can use without pain.

So despite my trepidation, and outright fear (I used to be a confident rider, not so now) I went up the paddock with my mother and daughter to check the cattle.

And I enjoyed it. It also made me think. How much do we avoid because of perceived fears and limitations? Would I ever have ridden again if Dad hadn’t given up his good drafting saddle so I could try again? How long would I have just coped with my injury without trying to find ways around my physical limitations?

Now I know that a little lateral thinking can get me around an issue, what other areas of my life can I apply that to? The answer is pretty much all of them.

Finding new solutions for nagging problems might be a new hobby for me, as well as embracing the old one by continuing to climb back up on that horse.

*The above photo is not me, it’s my Dad, riding Arolok Merlin at Rich River campdraft. I think it was taken by Mel Walters, but I can’t read the watermark. Sorry for the sub par referencing

Crochet Beanies and a Crazy Saturday

I love to crochet. I’m not spectacularly good at it, I need more practice at some of the more complex stitches. But I can rock the basics, so today I crocheted a beanie for my cousin.

She’s awesome. Not only is she fun, funny, a black belt at Tae Kwon Do and a PhD, she’s also just a genuinely nice person. She did Shave for a Cure, and is rockin’ a fairly great buzzcut. So when she was calling for sponsorship donations, she also put out a call for awesome beanies to draw attention to the cause, and to keep her brain warm now that Autumn has come.

She did say the brighter the better. I’m sure radioactive orange works well with labcoat white. So that was my good deed for the day. Hers was to convince everyone to raise money for cancer research.

When my son saw what I was doing, he asked that I make one for him too. Blue was the colour of choice for the almost four year old ratbag, so I started one for him as well.

But that was only one section of my day. My kids have been sick and I’m feeling a touch of it myself. And even though I’ve been pushing the honey and lemon drinks, the water, and trying to convince everyone to eat, I’ve also been rocking the kiddie painkillers.

Although I do like to limit the amount of medications my kids take (microbial stewardship is an important part of defeating antibiotic resistance in bacteria), when they are really sick, I’m going to use everything available and reasonable to help them get over their illness. Also high fevers are no fun for anyone, watching the 18 month old suffer through a really bad fever is not my idea of a good time. So paracetamol, ibuprofen, you are my friends. I should buy shares in the company.

The oldest came back from a sleepover angry, hungry with a headache and sleep deprived. So following some rampaging through the house, and general teenage unpleasantness, she was grumpy and so was I.

Making dinner with angry, tired, sick kiddos, and not feeling awesome yourself is unappealing at the best of times. Today was not the best of times. The element in the oven broke sometime after I cooked lunch in it. I went to turn the pie, and didn’t need the oven gloves. It was still frozen and the fan was running, but the element was dead. The landlord isn’t going to be pleased, even if a replacement element can be found for my ancient model oven.

So aside from constant runny noses, the random runny nappies that come along with baby colds, a son who needs a beanie and a pie, a daughter who needs a decent sleep and an oven that won’t even get looked at until after the public holiday, at least I achieved something. I made a radioactive orange beanie for an amazing woman who I get to call family. To some it may seem like nothing, but in a day that has been a little hard on my brain and body, it was huge.

And then I think of my grandma, recently diagnosed with cancer, who I currently can’t see due to sick me and sick kids, and my cousin who’s doing something to raise money to cure cancer, and drop the pit party. I’ve lived through worse, and others are living through their stuff too. So it may have been a crappy day, but tomorrow will be another adventure.


International Women’s Day

I’d class myself as a feminist, but the fact that growing up, I never really knew women were seen to be unequal to men. It wasn’t until I hit my teens that I noticed that not everyone treated females the same as males.

And today, I just want to be outwardly thankful that my family, female and male, brought me up in a manner that showed me that my gender did not define who I should be, what I should do, and what I should accept for my life.

I also want to say that I am grateful that I come from generations of strong women, and that it seems to have rubbed off on me. You don’t know how strong you are until you face adversity, and it turns out that I’m managing it pretty well.

Someone told me recently that I was flying the flag for those who couldn’t. They made me cry, in the supermarket of all places. I rarely cry, no matter how hard things get. And it was someone I love telling me that I had done something special that was my undoing.

That person is someone I love dearly, and whose opinion I respect. I am glad that I’ve done her proud, and that in my small way I am doing something that says “just because I am female, doesn’t mean that I am less”.

I am lucky that I have strong women to look up to, who have always believed in me, always backed my decisions. I am lucky that I have strong men to look up to who have done the same, and don’t treat women as less deserving, or as possessions. Because it is both strong women and strong men, together, who can buck the trend, and change the future of our world, not just for our daughters, but for our sons as well.

Monday Musings – Family

I only worked a half day today, and seeing as all the kids were occupied elsewhere, I took the opportunity to visit with my parents. Granted it was actually with an ulterior motive, but any time I get to hang out with the ‘rents without the kids is pretty rare.

I know Dad would hate my ulterior motive. I know my siblings think it’s fairly sensible. I think Mum just likes having me around. My motive is pretty simple: Dad is getting older. We all are, it’s a thing people do. But Dad is still running the farm, and working, and he still does all the heavy lifting himself. The very least I can do when I have some time, is offer my presence (because I’m awesome), and a spare set of hands to help on the farm.

Truth is I’m not very useful yet, which seeing as I grew up on that farm, is kinda odd. But the parents only asked some work of us. I could milk cows, feed calves, round up cows, drove cattle, hose the yard, check troughs etc. But things are different. I’m out of practice, and Dad runs beef instead of dairy cattle now.

So while I go to the farm to hang out with Dad, and help out, it also helps me. I’m learning some of the random farm stuff that I never understood before. I’m learning just how hard my parents worked to raise us kids. I’m learning that no matter what happens, I can be tough, I can learn new things and I can still give a damn about other people.

I realised a little while ago just how much I value, and need, my family. I also realised that life can still throw punches that make you want to run to the people you know will look after you, and back your play no matter what. And I’ll be forever grateful to my family. So that’s another reason to go to the farm, hang out with Mum, work with Dad. I don’t know how else to repay them for everything. But I can give them my time, my love, and a spare set of hands. It’s all I have. And I’m happy to give it.

Holy Crunch, Batman!


I’ve read some of the hippie, crunchy, earth mother websites and blogs available. Some of them, I can get behind, others, I just can’t.

This is for various reasons, one being that there seems to be a lot of people out there who are anti-vaccination. Personally I’m all for vaccination. My kids have been vaccinated, I’ve been vaccinated, and due to working in hospitals I’ve had regular boosters and yearly flu shots.

I absolutely agree that people who are immunosuppressed or allergic shouldn’t get vaccinated, there’s no point making yourself deathly ill. But I also believe that we should not only protect ourselves, but we should protect others where we can, from preventable communicable disease. Herd immunity is a thing. There are studies, backed by science and years of research.

So while I advocate for vaccination, I won’t go on about it (too much). I just don’t think we should push our views and thought processes onto others. So if something I say here isn’t to your taste, that’s fine. You can choose not to visit the site again, or just ignore the posts you don’t like or don’t apply to you. All I’m going to do is offer what has worked for me. I’m not going to tell you that I’m right and you’re wrong, because life isn’t that way. You need to choose what works for you, and that’s the important thing about sharing, we all have brains and you can research, or try things to see if they work for you or not. None of us are doing this life thing wrong (unless there’s been charges) and it’s great to have other options to explore. So feel free to show me your options, your ideas and feedback. As long as we’re all civil, and kind, I’m good with it.

So maybe this isn’t going to be your typical crunchy earth mama site. It might be more of a middle ground between crunchy and conventional, and I’m okay with that. Here’s hoping you are too.

Love, hugs, etc, Deb