Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Soapmaking On Leegacy Farm

We've been reading about how in pioneer days a family could make a years worth of soap from a barrel of ashes and about twelve pounds of fat from their hogs.  And of how a new family might be welcomed to the neighborhood with a jug of this soft soap since they wouldn't have the needed ingredients for making their own until they had pigs to slaughter. 
 
While we have been saving the fat from our pigs, we haven't used it (yet) for making our soap.  Someday!  And while we haven't learned to make lye from ashes, we'd sure love to learn.  Someday!   But my daughters have been saving batches of the goat's milk in preparation for making milk soaps.  For us, the milk soap was a bit trickier and the first batch didn't turn out right.  But we were very pleased with the following batches and are very glad to be able to put the milk to good use!
The coffee soap is really good for exfoliating the skin and cleaning one's hands.  And we especially like it because it can be used very soon after making.
Chocolate swirl turned out great and I had to remind the younger ones and myself that it's NOT for eating.:)
The soaps include essential oils and the one above has a citrus smell that we all really like.
Along with making soaps, there has been a flurry of activity around the farm as we are preparing to participate in a local Arts and Ag Farm Tour.
The whole family - from the oldest to the youngest - are busily making things for our little farm store and getting the fencing repaired and the property cleaned up and ready for the farm day.
It's kept us extra busy, but it's always good to have a deadline, of sorts, for getting things done.  We're learning that there's much to do in getting a *working* farm up and going.  And while we're new at this and sometimes feel like *greenhorns*, we're very thankful for the opportunities we're given, and we're thankful to know that there are always new things to be learned and new skills to be acquired.  In other words, life should never be dull!
Do you have any favorite soap recipes?  We've acquired recipes from online and from the following books:  Milk-Based Soaps by Casey Makela and The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Miller Cavitch.  And from The West Ladies, a talented family who have dvd's covering all sorts of skills which are helpful to know!

Blessings,

Sherry

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Young Artist Goes To The Printer's Shop!

He draws.  A lot.  He doesn't take lessons yet, but my twelve year old draws almost non-stop.  When he's doing math.  When he's reading.  When he's trying to complete a writing portion of his school work.  I used the same textbook to teach the nine children before him how to read. But once I started using the Alpha-Phonics book to teach Jeremiah, the bottom portion of many of the pages sported a handsome drawing of some animal or person from one of the many historical periods he'd studied.
It was agreed that I'd take him to see the printer Miss Vicki recommended just as soon as he could complete three farm type drawings.  The pictures/note cards would be his contribution to stocking the little farm store we're working on. I thought it would take days. He was very eager.  It took a small portion of one.
His father loved to draw.  When his side of the family held a bridal tea for us, before we were married, Tom wanted to attend with me.  He did.  And his fifth grade teacher was also there.  She'd actually saved a set of red bird pictures he'd drawn while in her fifth grade class and she gave them to us as a wedding gift.  Wasn't that sweet?  And I was very familiar with the story he'd told me of having been in her class.  She recognized his gift and encouraged him.  In fact, he spent so much of his time drawing that it was soon apparent that he hadn't learned his multiplication tables and had to spend evenings with his mother helping him catch up!  And his mother must have worked diligently with him.  He learned to love math as much as he loved drawing.:)
This was Jeremiah's first time to really handle a business transaction.  But the gentleman who owns the print shop was so very kind.  He spoke directly to Jeremiah concerning his little business endeavor.  And he gave him accounting tips (save your receipts) and a history lesson concerning the old printing machine in one of the above pictures.  His father and a friend started the business back in the 50's.  And now the son is the owner.  He explained how technology has changed and how many printers of the past were missing two of their fingers because of equipment which was less safe. And I'm reminded by the events of this week, and in seeing Jeremiah's face frequently break out in a large smile, of the importance of encouraging our children and others in using their gifts. We never know how a kind word or bit of advice might benefit someone and brighten their day.  And I'm also reminded of how grateful I should be to the many who have encouraged me along the way.  And my family.  And if the grandparents are reading this, your copies will be in the mail.  Soon!

                                                   Blessings,

                                                   Sherry