I grow winter squash like butternut and pumpkin because my husband likes them. Personally, I can't stand them. This has always been an issue because the thought of gagging down that foul tasting squash tend s to prevent me from wanting to cook them. I have always stored my squash in our dining room where it stays relatively cool in the winter and the squash lasts for months. This past year though I decided to can some of the butternut and as it happened I only had pint jars in the house at the time. So I canned the squash in pint jars. My husband asked when I was going to cook him some squash, specifically butternut squash souffle. As I thought about it, I realized that the pint jar was just good enough for 1 individual butternut squash souffle. Why had I not thought of this earlier? Instead of wasting a whole squash by cooking the whole thing and then he being the only one to eat any measurable portion of it, I simply pulled out 1 pint jar and made up an individual souffle. Yippee!!!! I never have to choke it down again and will be happy to keep his belly full of butternut squash and pumpkin. Now, what to do with the spaghetti squash that I don't like either?! So if you don't like something, but others in your family do, think about canning it in pint jars for individual portions. Blessings, Kat
Whisper Wind Country Store
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Well, it is that time of year again....time to plan the coming year. I always take the last week of December to sit down and think about where I want to go with the farm in the coming year. As far as livestock goes, I want to increase my chicken flock considerably so that I have enough eggs to sell and a few extra roos to butcher. I have some decent size birds (Black Australorps, Brahmas, New Hampshires) and with these could get a meal out of one. I also want to increase my rabbit population as I believe I am in a good area to sell some extra rabbits for either raw feeding to pets or for people to eat themselves. So I will build a few more hutches so that I have space to save a few rabbits from the litters due soon. The biggest planning this year is going into the garden. It does require me taking a good look at my food stores to see what I might have lots of (jams, jellies, pickles, preserves, sauces) and what I need more of. I have added organic matter and tilled it in for several years now, so the garden soil has a really good tilth. This year I don't plan to till anything and instead will simply be applying a good several inches on top. This is sort of like lasagna gardening, just not as much as you would starting a lasagna garden from scratch. This is a good way to use feed bags also. My compost pile for the garden is well cooked and ready to use so I don't want to put anything else in it right now since it won't have time to cook before I need it. So I will place down feed bags then layer compost, then leaves, then compost. That will sit like so until I start planting next month (yes next month). Then when the compost pile is emptied, I can start back to putting stuff in there so that it will be cooked by the end of the year. I also like to take a look at my notes from last year to see where I might have had problems and try to figure out how not to have those issues this year. A big problem last year was critters....namely chickens. That issue has mostly been solved by the chicken wire along the bottom of the fences surrounding the gardens. Another issue was the goats jumping the garden fence, so I think we will be running hot wire around the outside perimeter and that will solve that issue. Dakota, our great pyrenees is now taking control of the squirrel population. She kills about 1 a week so (my husband is so jealous)they should be less of an issue about getting my tomatoes. I love having the ducks in the garden, but they love anything small and green. So I am thinking of building some short wattle fences to keep them out of the bed areas until the plants are well established. I can't tell you how many little seedling were yanked out of the ground because of the ducks. I do want to add some more ducks, especially females so that we have a breeding population. Wattle fences are very light and can be made so that they can be moved quite easily and set up somewhere else. They are also cheap in that you use small saplings that you want to get rid of anyway. And I think they are rather pretty. We have 2 sides of both pig areas set up. We have a large area that we need the ground worked on the far side of the garden and we will start the pigs there. From there it will be relatively simple to move them to the front pasture where they will spend the majority of the summer grazing and then from the front pasture they will be finished off in another large pen where we need the ground worked and has several large nut trees that they can forage on. From that last pen they will head to the butcher. The pigs will go to a professional butcher because I am still getting the hang of cutting meat up. I want to get the most of my pigs, so it is better left to the professional. I certainly wish I could find an on farm butcher in my area, but there just doesn't seem to be anyone. We plan to have the first pen finished by March and then we will head out to get our little piglets. I am not really interested in raising pigs full time just yet. I really have my plate full at the moment with trying to build what we have going already. However, there is a nice farmer in the next town over that raises pigs and sells the weaners at a good price. Both pigs will provide enough pork for our family, my mom and my aunt. Then of course, there will be all the great lard that I will have for making soap and cooking. We are going to add a brooding area to the chicken coop and will be starting to incubate eggs in February. When the little chicks are ready to go outside the weather will be warm and they will have a safe area away from the bigger chickens. We might put one of our Brahma hens in with them as she will adopt anything to mother. I am hoping that she will sit and raise a clutch for us this year. But if she doesn't then we will give her a clutch to raise. I will be checking my seeds today to see what I need to order. I know we plan to grow extras for livestock feed and work on improving our self-sustainability as far as livestock feed goes. I will plant more beets, especially mangles, so that we have more to get us through the winter next year. So as you can see lots of planning and decisions being made. We are hoping for a good productive year. Happy planning, Kat
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
We are beginning to re-think our buck keeping on the farm. Our boys are now 2 years old and about 200 lbs each. They are big boys and beginning to be a pain in the neck. Fences are being torn down from their climbing, they run the horses away from their food, and are beginning to think they can challenge me when they feel like it. So, we either spend more money on heavier duty fencing or we do something different. I think we will do something different. I mean really facing the facts it is only prudent to use the same bucks for a few years anyway and then you run the potential of too much line breeding bringing out problems. So we have decided to not keep bucks year round any more. Once the girls are confirmed all pregnant for this year, the boys will go in the freezer. I still have a spring buckling that I will possibly keep for next winter's breeding season and then he will head to the freezer. I will probably buy a totally unrelated buckling the following spring, use him for fall breeding and then provided I get a buckling he will head to the freezer. As long as I get a buckling each spring, then I don't intend to keep any buck for more than a year any longer. They simply cost too much in time, repairs, and feed for the few months that I actually need them. At least these are my thoughts for the moment. It might not be so easy to put these guys in the freezer as we did expect to have them for several years and then trade them off or sell them. I guess the biggest thing that made me start to really think about this was when they both leaped the 4 1/2 foot gate into the barn and beat the girls off of their hay. The boys were getting their own hay, but simply couldn't wait until I got there. No fence we have can hold them in. Since I milk in the barn aisleway, I have had them leap over the gate (yes all 200 lbs. over the gate like a deer)and start ramming the doe that I am milking to get at her food. It has become a pain. I have tied them up in the mornings so that the girls can eat and I can milk, but this is where the challenging is coming in now. They see me coming with the lead line and then threaten me. So, I think as soon as breeding season is over they need to go. They are only 2 and the more they mature the bolder they will get. Unless I spend a good amount of money on electric fence, I can't keep them in. They are becoming a liability and I have had enough issues with at least one neighbor. I don't need them hurting someone and I don't need to get hurt. A smaller buck can breed the girls and be less of a problem. This really is the first year that the boys have been an issue. Up until now they have been sweet and mild mannered. However, the hormones are in full force and they know they are big boys. Anyway, just wanted to share my thoughts in case anyone else was thinking of keeping bucks for the long haul. They can be a pain in the neck. A friend of ours has six and they are kept in a six foot fence with three strands of hot wire. During breeding season her husband handles them. So what do ya'll think about my thoughts? Blessings from the farm, Kat
As you can see by the previous post, I will be writing a few ads here and there. This will help to support my blogging efforts and add a little cash flow to the farm. I don't intend to have too many and they will all be listed under the advertisement category so as not to interfere with anyone searching for information under the other categories. I apologize if this annoys anyone. However, our little farm needs to earn money where it can. Blessings, Kat
Sometimes, I like to wear scrub tops around the house and farm. They are handy because of their pockets. Blue Sky Scrubs has some reasonably priced nursing scrubs if anyone is on the lookout for some. I know I like them especially when I am planting the garden because they help me to keep my seeds sorted out. So if anyone is looking for scrub clothing you might want to check out Blue Sky Scrubs. I took a look around their website and it is really well laid out and easy to use. They have quite a few neat things on their also that you wouldn't expect too much. Check them out if your are interested. Blessings from the farm, Kat
Friday, December 17, 2010
I don't post much about my Daddy. He died on October 31, 1995. The pain and sadness are as tough to handle now as they were 15 years ago. So it is tough to write about him because it forces me to remember and when I remember the tears tend to flow. I can't help think about my Daddy though, so I thought I would write a post to tell you all about him. The thing that I miss the most are those great big bearhugs of his that always told me me he was so happy to see me and have me around. Those hugs always said I love you no matter what. Even those days when I was an awful teenager (and yes I was awful!). Daddy was never one of those men that regretted not having sons. He loved having daughters and taught us both to be as tough as we needed to be while we relished the fact that we could be girls. My Daddy was the generation that moved off the farm, looking for better pay and not so many early hours. In a way Daddy got that and in a way he lost a lot, and I think he knew that to some extent. You see my Daddy was a chemist and for most of his adult working life his only outdoor time was either taking care of the yard work that had to be done or the times during the year when he went back home to the farm. Daddy didn't like farming and he hated chickens. My grandparents had over 2000 chickens and it was his job to feed the chickens before school. He only had one pair of shoes and wasn't allowed to wear them in the chicken houses. So the chickens pecked his toes while he fed them. Even as a little girl I would ask him if we could get chickens ( I always wanted to farm). He would say the only chicken that we would have was the dead one on our plate. He also had to milk 8 jerseys after feeding the chickens. This was all before breakfast and before school. Daddy grew up working hard on the farm and seeing his Daddy working hard on the farm and struggling to make ends meet. So Daddy left the farm in a way that allowed him to earn more money, but he lost so much. As my grandparents aged it was up to Daddy to pay the taxes each year and it often required him to work two jobs to do that and maintain his family. Daddy never complained, but I think at times he realized what he lost. One thing that I learned from Daddy was his love of nature just for its existence and its beauty. Grandaddy loved the land because he could live off it and if he took care of it, then it would take care of him. Daddy loved the land just because it was there. I often remember when we were at the farm, Daddy and I would get up before daylight and head across the pastures and into the woods. Often our first goal was the old cemetary to watch the deer come out of the woods. Then we would make the trek up the hill to the old homestead, long gone. He knew right where it was though and remnants of the foundation were still there if you knew what you were looking for. We would be gone for a good couple of hours, walking and sitting. Watching and listening. Often there was a sparkle in Daddy's eyes that only existed when he was home on the farm. He would often talk about how he wanted to retire to the farm and have a herd of Hereford cows just so he could watch them in the pastures as he drank his morning coffee. He never got that chance, and sometimes that is what saddens me so much to think about. He worked so hard so that one day he could enjoy the farm like he wanted, without the milking and chickens pecking his toes and without the struggle of wondering how you were gonna keep it. I think that is one thing that I learned from Daddy's life. Enjoy what you have now, even if it is a struggle to do that because tomorrow is never guaranteed. Each morning as I sit on my milk crate, listening to the chickens running around the barn and the goats eating breakfast I think about Daddy. As the warm milk flows and I snuggle into the warm side of my goat, smelling the hay and fresh air I think about my Daddy. My husband and I struggle like my grandparents did, but I can't ever say that I will feel as if I missed out on something. I haven't lost anything by living this life and living the struggle that comes with it. Instead I have gained everything and for that I am so grateful to my Daddy. Daddy taught me a lot of things, more than I can mention in this one post. He was such an awesome father. I will never forget this one thing that he taught me without even meaning to do so. Maybe the struggle is worth it and the easy way out isn't always so easy. So, my husband and I struggle to make ends meet like so many generations of farmers before us. But, we abound in riches that money could never possibly buy. Thank you Daddy and I love you so much. Blessings from the farm, Kat
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Coffee filters can be expensive, so I made my own. No it isn't a huge expense, but still an expense that I would rather keep in my pocket. So I took a store bought coffee filter and used it as a template. You can use either muslin or linen. I had some linen pieces that were just right for this. You don't want dyed fabric, just plain white or unbleached. Fold the fabric in half and trace the coffee filter onto the fabric leaving about a 1/4 inch extra fabric around the template. Then simple sew around the edges. I used a zig zag stitch. There you have a fabric coffee filter. I made 7 of them in about 15 minutes. After use, just dump the grounds in the compost bucket and rinse the filter with hot water until clean then hang to dry. Simple, easy, no fuss and you have saved a couple dollars each month. You also used up some of those fabric scraps that you have. Blessings, Kat
I got a strange phone call night before last. A man saying that he was calling to collect on an unpaid credit card that I knew to be paid off two years ago. The balance that I paid off was 34.00 (you can tell I really used the card a lot). He said that I still owed the company 46.00 and change and because of interest now owed over 200.00 dollars. Well, I knew that I had paid that card off. I had received no more bills from the company and no collection notices. He wanted to set up a check by phone to pay the balance. The thing that made me suspicious was when he told me the address that the letter was mailed to. He said the first address and I said nope haven't lived there in years. He said a second address and I said nope have lived there in years either. He finally on the third try came up with my current address. Hmmm! Something smells pretty fishy when he has to go through 3 addresses and 3 states to get to the correct one. Methinks he is fishing. I told him that I would look back through my paperwork and find the last bill along with the canceled check. I would then look to make sure that I had the letter that his company supposedly sent and then he could call me back the next evening (would have been last night) and we could settle the matter. I looked, yep last bill paid and they indeed sent me a bill following showing a ......zero balance. Looked for this supposed letter and there is none. Also, no follow-up phone call. I have had phishing phone calls before. I had one concerning a student loan that was paid off (have the loan paperwork stamped paid in full that was returned when it was paid). So folks, let this be a warning there are folks out there trying to phish for your information by saying that you didn't pay something. Keep your paperwork and keep track of what you pay. I keep every bill that comes in this house for the past 7 years. At the end of each year everything goes into a storage box with the tax return on top and labeled with the year. Yes it takes up space, but you never know when you might need it for proof of something. That student loan phishing call was 10 years after the student loan was paid in full. It just so happened that I kept those papers because I struggled so hard to pay them back. Be careful out there. Blessings, Kat
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I just realized last night that it was the 13th. That means starting today I only have 11 days to finish making the Christmas presents, ship the few that need shipping, get the house ready, and plan the brunch menu. And so that is why at 5 am, I sit here eating my breakfast. I have already vacuumed the den (only place that wont wake everyone up), unloaded the dishwasher from last night, done all the laundry and folded it and had my coffee. It doesn't help that my oldest has had the worst asthma attack in years. I think that it is due to the sudden change in temperature. We went from 70 and balmy to 20 and windy. Sudden change in temperature and suddenly she can't breathe. So we have been working on getting that under control which means less time to do the things that need to be done for presents and around the house. I also lost a rabbit so I needed to bury her which takes so much time when the ground is cold. I figure I will get the dressing frames sewn this morning that will be part of my little ones Christmas. Maybe I can get a couple of them done before I have to brave the wind and cold. Yesterday I even had to keep going outside every few hours to break the ice on the water toughs and just did get the hoses thawed out enough to refill them yesterday afternoon. We have the propane heaters going because I don't want to aggravate Petunia's asthma any further by having the fireplaces going, so I will have to get more propane in next week. And to top off the extra expenses my car decided to break down. It looks like it might be the water pump, which stinks. Hubby is going to take a look on Thursday when he is off so I am currently without a car. Talk about saving money and staying home. I really don't have much shopping to do since most of our Christmas is handmade, but I do have a few odds and ends and then a few odds and ends in the grocery department. I do have hubby's car when he is home, but he is working so many hours these days (lots of folks calling in) that he is asleep when he is home and I don't want to leave the kids here especially with Petunia not feeling well. I have checked on her several times through the night and she has been sleeping soundly with good normal breathing sounds so that is definitely a good sign. I had decided last night that if she wasn't improved this morning that we were going to have to go to the doctor and hope we could get in and out before hubby needed the car for work. However, it looks like she is improving as she has slept soundly through the night. I will go in and wake her up in a couple hours and see how she is doing. She hasn't had an episode like this in years. I attribute it to the sudden change in weather topped off with the fact that I have been tearing the house apart cleaning up and cleaning out. One of her biggest triggers is dust and I have been stirring it up. Getting rid of dust in this old house is next to impossible. I can only seem to keep it down to manageable level and since I have been cleaning out stuff from closets etc and getting out coats that have been hanging all summer I have stirred up a good bit. Well, let me get moving and see what I can accomplish before I have to face that bitter north wind that is blowing like crazy outside. And one more thing....whoever left the door open up north would you mind closing it!? I would appreciate it, thanks. Blessings from the farm, Kat
Saturday, December 11, 2010
This is such an obvious tip that I don't know why I didn't post it earlier. We don't go anywhere until we have to and then we do other things on that outing so that we don't make unnecessary trips. For instance, Monday night is skating night. So that means any errands are run on Monday afternoon and then skating is the last stop. Friday is piano and guitar, again any errands are done that day. Sunday is church and used for emergency errands. The rest of the days of the week we try to stay home and most of the time do unless something comes up, like the piano recital last Saturday. Very often this means that a tank of gas will last me 2 weeks. On our days out we also go by and check on my Mama and visit with her. We stay longer if we don't have many errands to do, since we usually don't have many each week. This sure does save money and gives us time to accomplish things around here. I know that for me is a big deal. I have friends who stay in the road and then they ask me how I do all that I do....well the answer is simple....I stay home. This also means that I am not the most popular woman around. I have turned down many church volunteer activities and social things that happen each and every single day at our church. We are at church Sunday morning and Sunday night. I do not need to be at church at 8 am Monday morning or Tuesday at noon or Thursday at 2 every single week. I have children to teach and a farm to run. Anyway, I am getting off track. The point is staying out of the road will save you loads of money and free up loads of time. Consolidate trips and then enjoy your home. Blessings, Kat
I was looking through my soapmaking book and she had a recipe that called for "waste fat". That set off a little light bulb in my head. With the hot process method that I used you could just use 48 oz. of "waste fat" that you have rendered to clean. That would save you money in oil for making soap. So I am saving all of my waste fat (hamburger grease, fat trimmings, excess bacon grease, oil from frying etc.)and when I get enough I think I will make a batch of soap and see how it turns out. According to the author of the book, soap and candlemakers in colonial times would travel from house to house collecting waste grease and then in exchange would give soap to the households that contributed. This is a great way to use something that would otherwise be a waste product, although my dogs usually end up with the excess "fats". They can give up just a little, after all 48 oz. really isn't that much. Now of course the properties of the soap will vary greatly from batch to batch depending on the fats, but all soap cleans. So given that little fact if the bar isn't really that great to use for bathing it would at least be good for laundry or household cleaning or bathing the dogs. So outside the cost of the lye, you could essentially make your soap for free. Now that is a tightwad tip that I can definitely live with. Blessings, Kat
Friday, December 10, 2010
Ok, I wound up making 3 batches of hot process goat milk soap. My thought on using goat milk with the hot process method is that you cannot scent it. Maybe concentrated essential oils would work, but I used a lot of natural stuff and nothing really changed the scent. It isn't terribly unpleasant, but it isn't great either. However, the soap works great. I certainly can't complain in that area. I scented one batch with herb de provence and you can slightly smell the herbs, but not really well. The next batch was scented with lime zest and lemon balm....nothing not even a hint of citrus. The last batch I scented with cinnamon and got a beautiful chocolate colored bar but absolutely no hint of cinnamon despite the copious amount used. So, maybe the long cooking process depletes the ability to overwhelm the goat milk scent. I don't know. I will try cold process goat milk soap next time (gotta get more lye) and see if that works out any better. I am still very happy with my soap results. I had my hands in soap and soapy water all day yesterday and they never once felt dry or chapped. Plus, I can use the hot process right away and don't have to cure it (the extra cooking does the curing). The bars are drying nice and hard so they should last a good while also. Happy soapmaking!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Brain fog is unfortunately one of the idiosyncracies of having chronic fatigue, so I apologize for all the forgetfulness of not answering questions or following through in posting links. I try every now and then to go through comments and such to see if I missed anything . This is one of those sorry I missed it type posts in which I play catch up.
1)Kim over at Marmee's Pantry has a great facewash recipe. Hop on over there and give it a try. It has worked wonders on my preteen daughters skin and I love it too. She also has some other really great stuff on her blog.
2)Kelly asked on my Homemade deodorant post whether I had figured it out or not. Yes, I have and I happily report that I am no longer stinky and no longer wet under the arms. So here is the recipe and it is super easy. In a small jar fill about half way with baking soda, then add either olive oil or coconut oil in small amounts. Mush around until you have a pretty decent paste. Be careful and add the oil a little at a time because you don't want too much oil. Making the baking soda into a paste helps it stay put and you don't have baking soda flying all over the bathroom floor or your clothes. Just a little dime sized bit of this spread under your arms will keep you dry and stink free all day. If you are working hard in the summer sun and sweating a lot then you can wipe with alcohol and reapply for a clean fresh feeling to finish out the day. I just use the opportunity to shower and then reapply, but sometimes you just can't do that and don't want to feel yucky.
3)Kendra asked on my Chamomile Tea Shampoo recipe about soap flakes. You can just shave some ivory soap or sometimes you can find soap flakes at the health food store or even in the grocery store.
4)Kelly asked on my Let's Talk Cloth post about family instructions for using the family cloth. It is pretty simple, I have a coffee can (plastic) with a lid that heavily soiled cloths go it. It has hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and water in it. Regular use goes in a small wastebasket. The family knows to put the appropriate cloth in the appropriate place so that anything heavily soiled can soak and then washed or thrown out. She also asked about our drain line that goes out to the back pasture. I don't think it is very deep, but that part of the pasture is lower than the house. It isn't like a septic drain line, just a pipe that empties the washing machine water. Because the ground slopes away from the house it doesn't get clogged and is absorbed into the ground quickly. She also mentioned a composting toilet. I have been interested in those also for our studio which has no plumbing. However, I have seen many mixed reviews...some love it and some couldn't wait to get rid of it. I guess it would depend on the person. I am not real sure I want to spend that kind of money to find out that I hate the thing, so have kinda put the idea on hold.
Well, folks that is about all the catching up I can do right now as the day is getting late and I have tons to do. Blessings, Kat
Well, the soap has had a chance to set up overnight. I cut it this morning and placed it on a rack to dry some more. Apparently it will continue to harden a bit. I think I might have waited too long before putting in the mold because some of the bars just didn't mold well and then fell apart. I wound up with 10 really nice bars, some decent size chunks from broken bars (still big enough to use, just not for gifts). I also wound up with lots of shavings and little tiny bits from cleaning up the edges of the bars and the bars that broke apart. No problem, you know we don't waste anything around here. I took the little bits and pieces and places them in old juice bottles, then filled the bottles with hot water....voila liquid hand soap. While doing this I got tons of soap on my hands and wound up washing it off numerous times. You would think that my hands would be a bit dry....nope they are silky smooth. This is a great moisturizing soap recipe. I absolutely love it, especially for winter when my skin gets so dry. I don't like the herb de provence though. I just don't like the smell, which is funny because I love to open my jar of this herb mix and smell it. However, it lost something when added to the soap. It doesn't smell terribly bad, just not something I will use again. Anyway, I am going to make another batch of soap today. I might use the same oils or combine them differently, I don't know I really like the way this moisturizes. I am definitely going to use lime zest though for my scent (I have a few limes that I need to use up). Hmmmmm....my lemon balm is still growing well maybe I could chop some of that up and use it too. Then I would have lemon/lime fragrance. My goal this time will be to have the soap mold better and not seem like it was molded in sections, maybe I will use my muffin tins and then I won't have to cut it. That's an idea. Well, I will let you know how batch number two comes and try to remember to take photos of the process. Blessings from the farm, Kat
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Well, I finally did it! I made my very first ever batch of soap. I have been wanting to make soap for quite some time, but have been afraid to try. I really don't know why. I certainly spent enough time in chemistry labs during college to understand and feel comfortable with the safe handling of caustic chemicals, but for some reason all the warnings from soapmakers had me scared off. Maybe I just realize I am not invincible. Anyway, I used the hot process method because I need this soap for Christmas gifts and didn't want to take the chance that it wouldn't cure in time. Yeah, I know I should have started earlier. So anyway here is the recipe and the method that I used.
Hot Process Goat milk soap
16 oz. lard
10 oz. vegetable oil
22 oz. olive oil
6 oz. lye
14 oz. very cold goat milk
I measured the hard fat (lard)by weight and the soft fats by volume. Turn the crockpot on high and melt the hard fats first. Once it is melted then add the soft fats. About 45 minutes later add lye to the milk. I put my milk in the freezer for a bit and it had ice crystals in it. The lye will cause the milk to heat up so the milk needs to be really really cold. Add the lye very slowly while stirring to prevent the milk from curdling. Stir this mixture about 10 minutes then add while stirring to the hot oils. Then you stir and stir and stir some more, about 35 minutes or so. The soap will go through several stages, but when it reaches the point that it looks like really stiff mashed potatoes turn off the crockpot and remove the crock. Add herbs or scents (I used herb de provence, not sure I like it)at this point and stir some more until the soap gets a sheen and feels a bit slippery. It won't feel real slippery but you will be able to tell the difference. At this point it is ready to mold. I used a 9x13 pan lined with wax paper and just squished it in with my hand to get it smooth. Hot process soap is cured during the cooking process, otherwise I wouldn't have touched it. Now for the warnings...Wear gloves (lye burns reallly bad), wear long sleeves (lye burns realllly bad), wear glasses/goggles (lye burns reallllly bad), add lye to milk not the other way around (lye explosions burn reallllly bad). Well that is about it. I am making another batch tomorrow and will add lime zest to scent it. After that batch then I might try the cold process method. Oh one more thing, don't be surprised when your milk turns orange/tan in color. The lye does that to milk. I think tomorrow I will try to have my milk just on this side of frozen and see if it will turn less. It does mellow a little, but it isn't the most attractive soap I have ever seen. Oh well, the family won't care. It did lather really well as I washed up the utensils that were covered in soap and my hands do feel really dry, so outside the color I am please with the result. Happy soaping, Kat
I just found out that our local school district now serves three meals a day before these children head home. Wow, three meals a day! Breakfast, lunch and dinner. So now we have the schools making sure that children are getting 3 square a day. The schools impose a dress code, so they tell the children what to wear. And don't worry about teaching your child the birds and the bees, the schools do that too. Many times there are after school programs so don't worry about what your kid is doing between school and bedtime. What do parents do nowadays? have babies and then turn them over to the schools. Talk about a nanny state! Brave New World here we are....don't forget to take your soma! Really folks, this is just sad. Just my 2 cents for the day. Blessings from the farm, Kat
This is such an easy recipe for sour cream. First you need to get your cream which is the hardest part of this recipe, especially with goat milk. I did manage to get a good amount of cream by placing my milk in some shallow pans and letting it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days. The shallow pans seem to let more cream rise to the top than just letting it sit in the jars. I had a good thick layer of cream and wound up with about 3 to 3 1/2 cups. I skimmed off the cream and placed it in a quart mason jar. Then I added 5 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk, put the lid on the jar and shook it real well to mix it. Then I let it sit on the counter for 3 days to "sour". It made a decently thick sour cream that tastes delicious. About the only complaint that I have is that when it is put on hot food it turns liquid quickly, but the taste is there. The amount of butterfat will determine how thick your sour cream is. It did thicken a little more once in the refrigerator. happy milking!
Well, I have my computer back. I wound up having to take it in to be fixed as it was just completely frozen. Apparently, the scrubber program did not take care of the virus problem since the IT guy found over 500 viruses on my computer. In other words, McAfee seriously dropped the ball on protection. I now have AVG and it seems to be doing a much better job. Our next computer will be a Mac. however, that will be awhile before that happens. So now I can get back to regular postings. I have an awesome recipe for sour cream that I need to post since it is so easy to make and certainly saves money at the grocery store. Blessings, Kat