2019 Events

Natural Skincare with Pat Collins - June 2019

On the winter solstice, a group of permies an interested individuals met at Roseville Chase Community Hall to learn how to make natural skincare products from Pat Collins.

Pat is a herbalist who's been doing natural and organic skincare for some thirty years, long ago realising the importance of what some are only just coming to realise - that a healthy connection to the earth makes for healthier people. More recently, she's published a book about identifying and using weeds, aptly entitled,  'The Wondrous World Of Weeds' (New Holland Press, 2019).

Starting by taking us through her experience, Pat handed out recipe sheets, asked about people's previous experience at making their own products, and then began talking through each recipe.

She started with the recipe for sorboline.

"Wait, what?" I hear you cry? Petroleum products? NEVER!

Relax. It's her own recipe for heavy moisturiser - no petroleum oil, instead almond, olive, or the oil of our local macadamia form the baseof the moisturising cream. And as the group who got to make it can attest, it's beautiful.

She talked about the process of making the creams, the products she uses - from the full cream milk powder (there's a reason Cleopatra bathed in milk, you know) to the natural preservatives she uses so the creams don't have to be kept in the fridge (tincture of benzoin) and why she uses these products in particular as well as where to get them.

We went through 9 basic recipes: a scrub, a cleanser, a toner, an aloe and comfrey moisturising cream (good for sensitive skin),  a carrot moisturising cream (excellent for dry skin), spearmint foot cream, yellow rose eye cream, hydrating lotion, and a vanilla body butter.

After lunch, we then divided into 9 groups to make the various skincare products, melting waxes and solidified oils, chopping herbs and flowers and leaves to add scent or medicinal properties, and stirring, stirring, stirring until it achieved the right consistency, then bottling it up so everyone (nearly) got a sample of everything we'd made that afternoon.

Many thanks to Pat Collins for sharing her expertise with us, and many thanks to Patricia and the Willoughby PSN local group for organising it!

June Meeting 2019

At the June PSN meeting at Lindfield Community Centre, we heard from Wilson Harris, a Natural Areas campaigner working with the Colong Foundation to oppose the further raising of the walls of Warragamba Dam. Doing so will drown another 65 kilometres of riverbank, affecting Indigenous heritage sites upstream, wildlife diversity along the river, reducing the quality of Sydney's tapwater, and threatening the Blue Mountains' World Heritage status. And all this merely to create even more unsustainable housing in what should be the 'farm bowl' of Sydney!

We watched the movie about the consequences of the dam walls being raised, and then discussed a few ideas about what we could do. If you missed the movie, you can watch it here at the Give A Dam site.

Mushroom picking in the Blue Mountains - April 2012
by Sarah Werk
For years I'd been listening to my husband Jean's stories of how he and his parents picked mushrooms in his European hometown close to Vosges Mountains in France when he was a kid, having a romanintic picture of a little boy walking in the dark misty forest with a basket held in hand.

I finally made my own fungi foraging trip in May 2011 while the hugely regretting Jean was visiting his parents in France. It was such a great outing and for the past year I've constantly bragged about my mushroom picking experience and Jean listened with jealousy.

So when the news of this year's mushie outing had come out, we were so excited and booked in immediately. 16 of our permie members and families were on the trip. Except myself, no one had ever been to mushroom picking in Australia. We were lucky enough to have the awesome mycologist Meow (Stuart McKellar) as our guide.

We congregated in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, 120km west of Sydney and our first stop was at the Oberon visitor info centre, we found all the necessary information of mushroom picking there. You can watch an informational video, pick up information leaflets and get free maps showing you all the pine forests in the region. You can have the latest updates of how mushies are going from the staff working there.

We drove out of the town, arrived at Vulcan State Forest, and 16 people strode off and quickly disappeared into the pine bush. A lot of large holes on the ground and the big animal droppings intrigued me, a kid shouted “They are wombats burrows!”. It was delightful to find the abundant prickly sprawling shrubs were blackberries. They tasted pretty good. By the time we reappeared at the parking area, everyone was fully loaded with saffron milk caps, slippery jacks and joy on the face.

We stopped at a nearby picnic area, set up the portable kitchen. While the mushroom was sautéed in wok, some of us gathered around Meow to read the mushroom books he brought in and to get a mushroom lecture. Some went back to the pine forest next of the reserve to continue their treasure hunting.

The day went fast, everyone was satisfied and went home with loads of mushrooms in the car. 

Permablitz at Karonga School, Epping - 18th March

The March 2012 permabee was at Karonga School at Epping where Permaculture Sydney North garden team volunteers worked on the school’s keyhole garden beds.  The keyhole bed walls are constructed of bricks.  The beds are also on a slight slope and when it rains, soil from within the beds has been leaching out through the brick walls.  We removed the soil from the garden beds and installed a lining made of geotextile material.  The geotech material allows water to flow through but not the soil.  The soil was returned to the beds ready for the students to plant out.  The garden team also helped plant about 200 native tube stocks in the school’s zone 5 to create a habitat for native birds and wildlife.


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