Thursday, December 29, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

I just made some laundry soap.  I've had all the indgredients to make this for a long time. I just needed to exhaust my supply of store bought soap.  Today was the day. 

I grated a bar of Fels-Naptha and set aside 1 1/3 cup for another batch. I used my food processor for this. I add this to a kettle on the stove to 4 cups water.  Heat to dissolve the soap.  Meanwhile, measure out 1/2 cup each of soda and borax.  

Add 4 cups hot water to a storage container.  Add melted mixture to the storage container plus 1 gallon and 6 cups water.  Mix.  

This container is huge.  I will more than likely put it in a smaller container plus I have a milk jug I will put some into for daily use.

The information below I got from another blog.  She also had a video tutorial, if anyone is interested.  I didn't keep tract of my prices.  Next time I will and give you an update.

Price comparisons
All calculations are based on the national avg. of 400 loads of laundry per family per year, or 7.69 loads per week

Tide $12.99/64 loads .20/load=$80/yr   
Gain $5.99/32 loads .19/load=$76/yr
All $4.29/32 loads .13/load=$52/yr
Trend $2.49/38 loads .7/load=$28/yr
(generic brand)

Fels Naptha soap $1.19/bar
Arm&Hammer Super Washing Soda $2.99/55oz box
20 Mule Team Borax $4.49/76 oz box
One box of the washing soda will make just under 7 batches of soap, and the borax will make exactly 19 batches. 

One batch of soap calculates out to:
$1.19/Fels Naptha 
.49/Washing soda
$1.92 per 10 gallons

10 gal (64oz) divided by 2 oz./load=320 loads/batch=.006/load

Final cost per year=$2.40!!!!!!!!!!

Now that's a great bottom line!  Please post a comment and let me know if you try this and what you think.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do You Want to Make Mozzarella?

The Woodwife's Journal has posted a tutorial to learn how to make mozzarella. She also is having a giveaway for the supplies needed to make mozzarella.  I hope I win.  I've been wanting to make simple, no press cheeses.  She's drawing a winner on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Christmas Baking

I started fruitcake right after Thanksgiving and brushed it weekly with brandy.  We just had a taste this week and it's delicious. I had always relied on my mom for fruitcake, but this year she wasn't baking so I decided if I wanted any, I'd better make them myself.  I'll make them again next year.

 I've made a couple batches of cookies already.  I had planned on making up plates for the next door neighbor, mail lady, and a couple people from Doug's work, plus my son.   But...... I only have a very small cache of cookies left.  Doug has been eating them like they are going out of style.  So I have cinnamon roll batter in the fridge and those will go as gifts instead of cookies.  I did get these made but they are gone now.
Cowboy Cookies and Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

All that's left of my cookie baking are Peanut Blossom Cookies.  They are disappearing fast though.  Oh well, I'm glad he likes them and it gives me a reason to bake.  I love to bake.
This post has been linked to Made from Scratch Tuesdays.  You can find her button on the right side bar if you want to see more recipes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ramblings from last week

I worked 4 days last week, then I'm off (from work) until January 3.  I've never had a staycation before.  I always went somewhere.  This time off kind of took me by surprise,  I guess I didn't plan my summer time off very well.  Well I have lots to do.

I have several quilts I'll be finishing.
This is my daughter's quilt.  It's on the longarm now with only the borders and binding left to do.

Not a quilt but I have two of these to finish for my grandson's cub scout troop.  They are using them to put their badges on.

My number two granddaughter's quilt.  She's graduating from a lap to a double size quilt.  The top is all that is done at the moment.
This quilt top will be donated to Saint Paul's Parochial School auction in February.

This one, when finished will be for a co-worker of Doug's.  She picked it out so it's not a surprise.

So, I have a lot to do this week and next.  I really need to get the last two done first, but my daughter's quilt is already on the longarm, so that one will be first.

I have just a small amount of baking to do.  I've made my fruitcake, and several cookies already.  I had planned on making up plates for the next door neighbor, mail lady, and a couple people from Doug's work, plus my son.   But...... I only have a very small cache of cookies left.  Doug has been eating them like they are going out of style.  So I have cinnamon roll batter in the fridge and those will go as gifts instead of cookies.
Cowboy Cookies and Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Yesterday, we sort of took the day off and relaxed.  We got a used roll of fencing from a friend of mine and plan on using it to expand the chicken yard.

You can't even see that it's fencing for all the weeds in it, but the chickens love it.  PJ (Plain Jane) the white chicken is climbing up the fencing to see if there is anything edible up there. We hope to get the fencing put up this week.

Below are the newest additions to our coop.  We got these from my son.  One is a Red Wynadotte, Black Wynadotte, and an Ameracona.  They are assimilating but it's a slow go.  

Below is Olive Oil.  She is about six months old and a regular layer.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Peeping Chickens

The chickens want to see if I'm home or not.  They're checking me out, wondering if I have any goodies for them.  Doug (DB) would be right out there scramming them off the patio and out of the backyard.  I'm a push over.  I like them right where they are, but I won't tell him that I let them wander wherever.

We got 3 hens from my son's roommate this past weekend.  These chickens are a little discumbobulated.  My Cleo (black hen behind the sex-link is the top chicken) but I fear she may loose her post to a huge black Wynadotte.  They've been mixing it up.

I'm on vacation now until the first of January.  I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm planning on finishing some quilts.  I have 4 or 5.  One for my daughter, granddaughter, quilt for the local parochial school here, and one for Doug's dispatcher.  I'll post pictures when they are completed.  Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Baking

I started baking last week with a Fruity Fruitcake, then yesterday with Cowboy Cookies and Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies.

I plan on making some more sweets but haven't decided yet what.  We love them but this time of year they go directly to the waistline.  I'll probably make more and give away to Doug's work and take them to my work.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chicken Nest Box Giveaway

Nestbox Giveaway

Life on a Southern Farm: Chicken Nest Box Giveaway: If your hens have a HenPals Chicken Nest Box on their Christmas list... then they are in luck! We are so very thankful for everyone wh...

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving to all my family near and far.  Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends,and coworkers.  Seems like such a big edible day that takes hours of prep and it's gone in a matter of minutes.

DB carved the turkey..

I set the table..
And all enjoyed our dinner.....We are
stuffed.  Dessert will have to wait for a couple of hours.  Well we have the game to watch.

I hope everyone is enjoying their family and friends.  

Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend Cooking, Baking and Firewood

Since the days have been cooler, I've been wanting to make some comfort food.  I started with soup.  No name actually.  I looked in the freezer for meat and found some hamburger patties and pulled them out, next I went to the fridge and found some leftover pork roast, pulled it out, with carrots and celery.  Soup needs onions so I went to the garage and cut off an onion from the braid we have hanging in there.  I went to my pantry and got some canned corn and green beans from last year.  So pretty much the soup was all homemade except the meat.
I added a finely chopped jalenpeno, potatoes, garlic, some tomato sauce, beef broth and let it simmer all day.  I didn't want to go to the store for bread so I made bread next.  DB has been talking about wanting some "stretch necks" so instead of making two loaves of bread, I used one for the stretch necks.  I call them "fry bread."  I love making bread, it's so easy and rewarding.  I love the smell of the yeast and the baking.

I didn't get a snap of the bread, this is from last weekend.

And because I was on a roll, I also made Overnight Cinnamon Rolls for Saturday morning.  I started these in the evening.  They only took a couple of minutes to mix together and an hour for the first raising.  I rolled them out and filled them with cinnamon, melted butter, a little nutmeg and some walnuts we harvested roadside last year.  I covered them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge.  The next morning I took them out while the oven was preheating.  Thirty minutes later we had fresh, hot out of the oven cinnamon rolls.

Firewood:  DBs nephew brought us out a couple cords of wood.  Saturday morning we hauled it all to the back of the house and stacked it.  We'll probably have to get a couple cord more because we don't plan on using our oil heat too much this winter.

DBs in the living room right now, I hear the snap and pop of a fire getting started.  Ahhhh.

This post is also published on Homestead Revival.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

were made yesterday and baked this morning.  I got this recipe off of Chickens in the Road blog and have made them a couple of times.  Making them ahead is great because once you take them out of the fridge, preheat your oven, you can pop them in and in 25 minutes they are ready.

These are not from a can in the refrigerator section of your local supermarket.  These are 100% homemade and delicious.  Check out Chickens in the Road to get the recipe.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Making Bread

We got up at 5 this morning ready to get started with our day.  I decided to make bread because I didn't get to it yesterday.  Here is it raising just before baking.

I chopped onions that we had drying, vacuum sealed them in 1 cup portions for cooking with later on.  I chopped red and green peppers and sealed them also for later use.  I so glad I got that done.  I just couldn't waste them.

We did some winterizing on the chicken coop.  Installed a light on a timer and a coop door.  They had been using the large sliding doors but the temps are suppose to be a lot cooler the next couple of nights.  I gave the girls a pan of yogurt and some boiled eggs, they ate every bit up.  Cleaned out their water and added some apple cider vinegar.  I think they are happy.  They have been able to free range during the weekends and they love it.  When I get home from work, I will let them out until dark.  

The bread turned out lovely.  We had a pork roast with carrots and onions and a side of french cut beans (homemade) with bacon bits.  For desert we had an apple crisp with ice cream.

LJ is our rooster.

Look at those fluffy butts.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chicken Treats

Today was a beautiful day.  We let the chickens out of their yard to forage.  They love their scratch and have gotten used to having it when they are out of their yard.

We have to get some light in the shed for them.  There are two starting to molt and their egg production has tapered down.  We're getting there.  I would love to see your set up for winter if you would post.  I need and would like to get some ideas.

MQX West Portland 2011

I had a real treat this last week.  I attended the first MQX West (Maching Quilters Exposition) in Portland.  I took a couple of hands-on classes from Linda V. Taylor and a lecture demo with Kim Brunner.  The first class with Linda V. Taylor was Stargazing.  She gave us ideas on how to quilt stars.

Then we got to practice.  We were using a Gammil longarm quilting machine.  These were wonderful to quilt with.  Maybe one of these days, I'll be able to get one.  But I like mine and am getting use to quilting with it.  These aren't my stars...I wish.  No they were Linda's demos for her class.  

The class I took with Kim Brunner was on Edge to Edge Quilting.  She thought this subject was needed because not everyone does custom work.  She had some great handout for us to practice with.  I can't wait to get started.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Do You Need a Nestbox?

A nestbox for chickens.  I would love to win this three hole nestbox.  My little girls have started laying and I would like to revamp my nesting scenario.  I'm entering.  Here's your chance.  Go to Life on a Southern Farm and see the nestboxes they make.

photo courtesy of Life on a Southern Farm

Tomato Juice

I have not been feeling well and didn't think I would get this accomplished.  But the garden can't wait so I forged ahead at a slow speed.  I have more tomatoes to can so that will have to happen after work this week.  One canner at a time.  These are my Romas.  I have some Beefsteaks left to do.  My son brought them over from his garden.  It was welcome because this was not a good year for my tomatoes.  Seems like most of then have rot on the bottom.  My mom said it was "blossom rot" from inconsistent water.  I haven't looked this up yet but it's frustrating because I'm all out of tomatoes in the pantry.  We are on an irrigation system for our household and 5 others.  When our landlord irrigates his crops, we get water.  This year he grew grass seed, garlic, green beans and it looks like field corn for seed.  We had great water the beginning of the season, but after he harvested the green beans, he didn't need to water the other crops very often.  We've had water off and on, three weeks off, then on for 2 days, off, on, currently off.  I've spot watered with the household water.  The beets,  cukes, and green beans are ok, it just the tomatoes really suffered.  I glad my son is helping his ole mom out with produce.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Will I Get Eggs Today???

I was sitting out on my back patio this morning talking to my mom and I kept hearing this whoosh noise. I thought it was coming from inside the house. Well it wasn't, it was coming from the field beside my house, just out of eyesight.  When I walked out to the yard I saw...

The chickens were going nuts.  They kept running to their house, in and out and squawking, running into each other.  The people in the baskets were waving, unaware of the commotion below.  The girls really didn't like this disruption to their normal, quiet routine.  I hope this commotion won't hold them back from their laying.  They have been so good lately giving me from 3-6 eggs a day.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  Just beyond the line of trees in the background is the Willamette River.  They need to get their lift so they can clear the treeline.  Then they like to follow the river, which is about 80 below the bottom of the treeline.  They all made it.  I hope they don't do this on a regular basis.  The chickens will loose all their feather and quit laying if they feel a threat.  I don't know this for real, but they are really sensitive.