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Monday, 6 October 2014

Of Towai, Kauri Gum and Some Baking Soda Uses.

It's Spring here, and not only have we been away and occupied with school holidays, but I have been busy in the garden - planting and tidying up.
We could have done without getting home in the early hours of Sunday morning to discover that idiots had not only stolen our recycling bin, but had strewn a lot of the contents over our road. Sunday morning was spent sweeping up broken glass..grrr. The only good thing that I can think of is that the thieves are into recycling...hence needing our bin.

Saturday night was spent with the band, playing for a small rural community Church Centennial Dance. I thought I would throw in a few photos, because they are one awesome community in Towai - the little hall was packed, with not enough seating for all..lucky many were up dancing the night away.

Hall decoration for the Centennial Dance

What I loved was the decoration of the hall, which some of the ladies had spent a lot of thought and time on.

flower arrangements in vintage cups - you can get a feel for how rural this hall is.

The 100 year old Towai Church
In the top photo you can see lumps of something on the floor - they are Kauri Gum. The gum from the Kauri tree plays a large part in Northland's history, and changed it's demographic, with many people having come from Dalmatia (Yugoslavia and Croatia) in the 1880s to the gumfields.
The gum was used commercially in varnish and in linoleum making, but had been used by the Maori people for many things from chewing gum (when fresh and soft) to firestarters as it is highly flammable and amber jewellery.
Kauri gum (which is fossilized resin) is one of the things I have been finding washed up on our local beach. There is still a market for it, but I haven't tried selling any yet.
Kauri Gum that washed up on our shores.
What took me so long?

Sometimes I wonder why I don't think of things earlier. Last weekend I needed potting mix and seed raising mix as I haven't been able to make enough (especially as a rat got into our compost and I don't want to use it). I don't need a trailer-load, but neither do I want to keep buying plastic bags of it. A phonecall to Greenfingers and I discovered that we could take our own bags down there and fill them ourselves. Not only did this mean we managed with less plastic bags, but it was way cheaper. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get the seed raising mix unless I ordered a lot.

my seed growing operation, with evidence of baking soda zapped weeds in the foreground.

Baking Soda trials
The other thing I have started doing is killing off the weeds on our paved area with salt or baking soda and boiling noxious sprays, but only good in places where you don't want to grow anything. 
And on the subject of baking soda - I washed my hair with it the other day for the first time and rinsed with white vinegar. Just rub a handful of baking soda through wet hair and massage. Seriously impressed! My hair felt lovely and clean and soft and shiny. I hadn't done this before as I use my own home made shampoo soap and conditioner, but it is a good, cheap alternative.


  1. Interesting about the Kauri gum. Never heard of it before. And what a sweet little church.
    I use baking soda for lots of things. Add a little peppermint oil for brushing my teeth. Add a few drops of lavender or patchouli oil, wet finger tips and apply it to underarms for deodorant. It doesn't work as a shampoo for me, though. My hair comes out dry as straw.
    I use plain boiling water or vinegar for weeds in the sidewalk. I'll have to try soda.
    I have a request. :-). Will you put a video on your blog o f your band playing? I would love to hear what kind of music you play.

    1. Thanks for your comment Cynthia. The Kauri tree is a NZ native, so is probably quite unique. I will put a video link of our band on my next blog. We play mostly 70's and 80's classic rock, with some NZ favourites, but have some waltzes and such for weddings etc.


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