Making Laundry Soap

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Last year we made laundry soap.  Initially I liked the soap but, cooking it took a while and it’s consistency when completed was a bit gross.  Oh, and one batch I made got knocked over in the laundry room.  Huge mess (of course it was a new batch so the bucket was full) and a big waste of time.  So, I was off the soap making for a while.  Then, I was directed to this site.  She makes her own soap but it is a powder.  I was sceptical at first because I had bad luck with the store stuff not dissolving.  But, true to her claims it all dissolves no matter the water temperature.  I also think this recipe cleans better.  The baking soda is the difference here.

The measurements for the original recipe made a huge batch.  Being that I have little storage in the laundry room and the fact that it is so extremely easy to make I scale it down.  When it’s time to make more I just make as much as needed to fill my container.

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Recipe:

1 1/2 cups Borax

1 cup Baking soda

1 cup washing soda

1 cup grated Fels Naptha Soap

I use my micro planer to grate the soap.  It easily grates the hard bar of soap into tiny shavings.  I have never had the soap not dissolve in the washer.  If you don’t have on get one!  Just kidding…I mean you should but you can grate it with a normal cheese grater and then put it through a food processor with some of the baking soda to chop it up a little more.  You may have problems with it not dissolving if you skip this step.  The tip is to just pulse it to keep it from clumping.

So just mix it all together and you’re done!  Make sure you are in a well ventilated area and/or wear something over your nose and mouth when stiring it as it is all powder.  You only need to use 1/8 of a cup per load and I recommend putting it in the washer before adding the clothes. 

It’s so easy even a 4 year old can do it!  This last batch was made by Zoe.  She grated all the soap and measured everything out.  The only thing I did (other than supervision) was stir it up.  It was my easiest batch ever. 

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And here is the finished product.  This  size container (also in above picture) will last me at least 3-4 months.  I have been using this soap now for a while and love it. 

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And just a note…I still by regular fabric softener and bleach my whites.  :O)

~ Merriann

Graham Crackers Rock!

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Have I ever mentioned how much this boy loves his graham crackers?    He gets a little giddy when he sees the package being opened. 

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I think he may have a slight addiction to them.

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Ah, the satisfaction after the first bite.  Don’t try and take this one from him.  He’s just teasing you.

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~ Merriann

Canning Peaches

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Last weekend we headed to Idaho to visit some freinds.  On the way back we stopped to get peaches for canning.  Our first year for peaches.  We get most of our canning and storing recipes and directions from this site.  Everything we have ever looked for has been there.  They have step by step directions complete with pictures.   

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~ Merriann

Eggs!

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We have our first eggs!  These are from the Ameraucanas.  A beautiful pastel green.  Now our girls can start earning their keep.

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~ Merriann

Our Chickens

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As I am going through pictures of summer events I think we’ll just start where we left off.  Back in May (I know, I know) we were getting our chicken pen ready with coop and fencing.  We found a design online we liked and set to work.

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Ezekiel was not at all sure about Greg’s ear protection

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We had to make some adjustments since we had more chickens then the coop design was originally for.  So, we made two and put them together.  Here is the front of the finished coop.  The goal thing at the top is to keep them from jumping on top of the coop and pooping all over it.

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This is the back.  We can access this to fill food and water without having to get into the pen.  Makes it nice with the electric fencing (more on that)

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The top part is the nesting area.  Also accessible from outside the pen to collect eggs.

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They’re growing up!  I love the look of these chickens.  They are Ameraucanas and are suppose to lay
pastel colored eggs.  So we will see when they get to laying.

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We used electric poultry fencing for the rest of the fencing.  There is a dog that lives at the end of our road that likes to come and visit.  He is big and sweet and we love having him around but apparently he loves chickens.  Loves shaking chickens.  By their heads.  So this fencing is as much to keep him (and other animals that may like a chicken dinner) out as it is to keep the chickens in.  Although they can be stubborn little creatures.  There are always technical difficulties that have to be worked out when dealing with electric fencing.  These difficulties make it all the more rewarding when it is working and the animal that was just teasing you hopping back and forth through the fence gets zapped trying to rub it in.  You have to laugh out loud when this happens.  You find yourself daring them to touch it again.

I have a confession to make.  I love electric fencing.  I mean I really love it.  It probably all stems from the time I lived with my sister and brother-in-law.  My sister loves electric fencing too.  She gets it.  One of my fondest memories with regard to fencing is when one of the horses had to be confined to their stall because of a leg injury.  He started tearing up and eating the stall walls.  We tried to get him to stop using other methods but then just lined the whole thing with fencing.  He kept pushing his neck (the tender part under his chin) against the wire while we were working on it.  We tried to warn him.  Then, with great satisfaction we plugged her in, stood back and watched.  You have to stay to see the fruits of your labor.  It’s very rewarding.  It didn’t take long for him to put his neck back on the wire.  Is it wrong that we got so much joy from seeing him get zapped?  I don’t think so.  And he never touched it again.  A thing of beauty.

For any out there that may think this is cruel and unusual punishment for an animal.  I have myself been shocked (by accident of course) by different forms of electric fencing.  Greg recently experienced the power of the poultry fencing.  So, we know what they experience.  We love electric fencing :O)

~ Merriann

Camping in Winthrop

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Our camping adventures in May took us just outside Winthrop to Chewuch.  Our campsite was perfect.  We stayed in National Forest grounds which is way cheaper than the state parks.  A lot of the sites were free but we were camping with some tenters that needed bathrooms so this place was $12 a night.  About 1/3 the cost of the state park.  Even though the weather was on the hotter side in the afternoon we had a wonderful tree covering to keep us cool.

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We camped with three other couples.  One of which has a daughter around Zoe’s age.  It was wonderful for the girls to have each other to play with.  Although we have known this family for many years and our daughters have known each other all their lives, this was the longest they had been together all day every day.  Their personalities matched beautifully.  It was a wonderful and relaxing weekend.  One day the guys went shooting.  Another, the two dads took the girls out for a father daughter afternoon and the moms and babies slept (wonderful).  This was our little camp site.  Two trailers, two tents, eight adults and 4 children.

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Our last day there we headed to Lake Pearrygin.  I still thought the water was cold but that was not going to stop Zoe from taking full advantage.

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As usual Ezekiel was a bit suspicious of the whole thing to begin with. 

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But he soon warmed up to he idea.

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~ Merriann

Ezekiel at 8 months

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These pictures have no point or story behind them other than he is one adorable baby and I was playing with the settings on my camera.  :O)

~ Merriann