Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Soapsuds and Tidbits...

First for the tidbits - it is cold here....unseasonably cold! The temperature this morning was in the 20's...normal for December but unusual for October. Fall is my favorite time of year...I usually have all the windows open and revel in fall gardening chores. But this year the windows are tightly shut and I already have our gas wall heater going. The horses and cows are already sporting their winter colors and coats. In case you don't know, God included changes of clothes for His the summer the coats are light both in texture and in color - better to reflect the hot sun and keep animals cool...but in the winter the coats get dark and heavy - better to absorb what sunshine may fall - and thick to protect against the cold, rain and snow!

We have one of our Jersey milk cows up for sale - we just don't need this many! When our cows give birth to bulls, our freezers will fill with meat. But when we get beautiful girls, we need to find them nice agrarian homes...places where fresh, wholesome, real milk will be appreciated!

We are also selling our Morgan mare. She is too big for my younger boys to ride - she also needs to be someplace where she can bring beautiful Morgan foals into the world!

It is almost time to put the buck into the does' pen - I try to hold off until Novemember...then kidding will happen in April and hopefully we are past the worst of the cold by then.

And lastly, we still have one Pyrenees puppy left to sell. Her name is Squirt Tail....odd I know. She was the runt of the litter, the last one born. She wasn't breathing when she made her appearance but with some quick suctioning, slinging and a few puffs of air (CPR style) - she began to wail! She quickly became the stinker...the one who could always get out of the whelping box. She was definitely the cutest with freckles sprinkled across her nose and she quickly caught up in size to her brohers and sisters. She is an excellent guard dog - keeps the neighbors dogs, the coyotes and other predators off the property. In truth I hate to part with her, but I have to accept the fact that we don't need 4 Pyrs to guard our farm.

It is time to finish putting the garden to bed and I just hate the thought of doing it in 30 degree weather....besides I could be inside making soap, canning spaghetti sauce etc. But we need to get busy and get it finished...March will be here before you know it and everything will be starting all over!

I feel like I am very behind after being gone so long. If I could just freeze the world for a week and let me catch up.....oh, well, God will provide the time and the strength....I just need to adjust my attitude and cooperate with Him!

Our church is getting ready to celebrate its 10th anniversary the first weekend in Nov. We are all excited about going! We will take a look at the past, review where we are now and catch a vision of where we are going with lots of food and fellowship thrown in!

I am still trying to get my Medicinal Herb class online - I am having trouble converting it to a PDF file - the pictures keep disappearing and they are important to help you identify the 10 herbs we will be studying! Have patience with me as I try to learn this....I used to be very computer savvy but they have progressed much faster than I have!

Now on to soapsuds! I have been making soap wildly since I've been back. I love the creative part of soapmaking - trying new things, working it out on paper and then seeing if it works in the mold! I have several new creations that will be going up on my website so take a peek in a week...I will try to remember to mention them here also. I would encourage you to try making soap for your family. The scariest part is the word "lye"....but it really isn't difficult to do and not all that dangerous if you are careful - I recommend keeping little ones out of the way during soapmaking just in case! You can also incorporate all those wonderful herbs you are growing (you ARE growing herbs right??) into your soaps. Today I made more of my shampoo bar since we are out. When I was grinding the rosemary leaves and the lavender buds....oohhhh the wonderful smell! Tomorrow I will cut the soap into bars and place them on my curing rack. In a few short weeks they will be ready for wrapping!

There are many good books on soap making and an unbelievable amount of information on the internet. I can't believe how many recipes are out boggles the mind, and the purse strings! I have many people write to ask me to tutor them through email - I would love to do this for people if I didn't have to run a home, a farm, homeschool 3 boys, take care of animals, cook everything from scratch, churn butter, make soap, mix teas, make salves and lip balms, can and dehydrate food, care for the greenhouse....are we tired yet?! I have been thinking of writing a small, affordable, soapmaking manual to take you through the basic steps and also to provide you with some good starter recipes....I will put this up as an ebook....once I figure out the converting to PDF thingy!

And speaking of recipes....I am amazed at how many people write or call and want my recipes....for soaps, salves, honestly folks.....would you go to McDonalds and ask for the recipe for Big Mac sauce :) I am not trying to be ugly when I decline to share my recipes ...but please understand that many hours, days and weeks have gone into perfecting a recipe, studying SAP values of oils, properties of oils, what percentage of what oil to use, what herbs will enhance this soap, what essential oils....perhaps I might have tried and failed with several batches before it "took" and my family have all endured various trials as my guinea pigs for different products! The recipe becomes something of value to the family, sometimes literally in the sense that it can provide income if the recipe is a good one! But it is valuable because you created becomes a part of you....sort of like an old family heirloom. So.... please...don't ask me to share my recipes. Besides, you will learn so much more and enjoy it so much more if you come up with your own! It will be unique and you will enjoy knowing it is your own creation and not a copy from someone else.

I have been trying a new mold - I have decided that I like it and will be selling one of my old molds. If you are thinking of making soap for your family and need a mold, email me for pictures and prices. It is a "box" mold, made of wood with plexi-glass liners and can hold up to 10 lbs. of soap...yikes you say! 10 lbs! In reality it makes about 30+ bars of soap at the most if you fill it to the top. Of course you don't have to fill it so full :)

I have also been working on gift baskets that will feature all of my products - they will also be appearing on my website soon. I am excited about the baskets - they are so much fun to put together and local sales have been great.

And I will be putting my lip balms up on the that cold weather is here we have begun using them daily. They are all natural and very healing to lip tissue ...besides who wants to put petro-chemicals on their lips....did you know that most of those in the store are made from petro-chemicals?

Now I need to "lay me down" so that I can accomplish some of these things tomorrow before church!


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