Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Say Hello To My Little Friends

Bad, bad.  I know.  Overused.  Sorry about that.  I couldn't help it.  Guess what arrived today?

They are small,
and slimy,
and squirmy,
and kinda icky,
but very useful.


These guys are from Victory Seeds.  Many places carry them, but Victory had the best price.  They were well-wrapped and lively.  I am very pleased with them, as worms go.

I quickly got their home ready (a10 gallon plastic tubby) by making the necessary holes, ripped some newspaper and dampened it, and moved them on in.  Then I fed them some coffee grounds, just so they'd feel more at home.  I'll go out and get them some nice dead leaves when I bring in wood later.

Of course, they can't just arrive when I'm doing nothing, I had two other projects going on at the time.  I was making a couple of loaves of sourdough bread, and making soap.  Yeay soap!  I wanted to take pictures, but though there's a lot of waiting involved, once the interesting stuff happens, you have to move FAST, so it's not really a good time to stop and snap photos.  I will take pictures tomorrow when the soap gets cut up.

I made two types of soap.  First I made a Neem Oil soap from a recipe I completely made up.  I used a lye calculator, but the rest of the ingredients I used were what I had to hand.  It was a combo of Sweet Almond Oil, Canola Oil and Neem Oil.  The Neem Oil stinks, if you've ever used it.  It's gross, kind of like peanut butter and garlic, mushed together and left in the sun.  It was yucky.  I used Peppermint essential oil to help.  I am hoping it takes the smell away from the Neem.  I made this one for two reasons; one, my son has dry skin which looks like Eczema.  I use a Calendula balm on it now, but it needs help, and Neem is good for skin issues.  Also, I can use it as flea soap!  Neem is a double duty oil.  That one tooks like chocolate right now.  It'll be interesting to see what it looks like when it's done.  Heck, it'll be interesting to see what it smells like when it's done.  Hopefully not garlic and peanut butter mushed up and left in the sun with a peppermint sprig.  That'd just be gross.

The other was the first of the family soaps.  I made my son's soap, which is banana.  All the family soaps will be the same recipe, which uses Coconut and Olive Oil.  Simple, but they should make a good soap.  The special oils that some of the recipes need would require me to take out a second mortgage.  I wanted to keep it simple so I could make enough for everyone without breaking the bank.  Plus, I'm still practicing.  I would rather mess up with cheaper oils than with crazy expensive ones.

I didn't mess up, though.  At least it doesn't seem like I did.  They both saponified nicely.  I have to figure out trace a little better, though.  The Neem soap went to trace immediately; I hardly got my stick blender into it and BOOM!  pudding texture.  That was quick.  The banana one was slower, until I added the fragrance.  BOOM! again.  I poured it into the mold looking like a thick pudding.

So I have that to work on.  But I have to say I really enjoyed it.  You know when you do something for the first time and you just really enjoy it?  And you then know it's something you're going to like to do a lot and it's something you'll want to do often?  Soapmaking hit that for me, which is nice.  I hate when I have to do a job that I just can't stand and then I have to force myself to do it because I know I should.  This was fun.  I know I'm going to like it.  Yeay!

I will definitely show you all tomorrow how these came out.  I still have 3 more batches to make, too.  So exciting!  Stay tuned!

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  1. You got worms! We're going to get some this spring too. And it's been an eon since I made soap. Your's sounds like fun.

  2. I still say worms - YUCK!
    (and so MANY worms!!!)


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