Sunday Homestead Update

Snowed in…well more like drifted in!

All barn projects and plans came to a halt this week because we had to spend our project time digging ourselves out of a big snow drift.  After 18 inches of snow accumulated last week we had a full day and night of major wind, which caused a 5 foot high, by 20 feet long snow drift to form right down our driveway.  Then, of all crazy weather events, it stared to rain.  It NEVER rains here in January.  It rained for hours and hours, but it was cold, so it formed a nice ice crust on the already packed drift.  Mtn Man, Young Man, and two other men with shovels and a snow plow worked on digging out the drift for over two hours.  When they were done we had a way to get through the driveway, but it was a very narrow cut and had 5-7 ft high walls of snow on each side.  There was no way that the propane truck was going to be able to get through to bring us our propane for heating.

So they let it sit a few days in the warmer temperatures that we were getting (in the 30sF), and then it got snowed on again – about 4 inches, and then more melted again.  Finally, yesterday they were able to go back at it.  This time there was three of them and it took another couple hours with shovels and the plow.  They were able to make the cut much wider and clean up the whole area so the road is much better now.  They also did some digging and installed a snow break fence right along that area so that if we have this snow-and-then-wind weather pattern again we hopefully wont end up with another bad drift.

Soap Making Time

We haven’t made soap in SO long.  Way too long.  We were having to buy it at the store (gasp!) :-).  So it was time to finally get to it.

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So we have over 20 bars curing now.  They are a lavender scent blend  with lavender flowers in them, and they smell amazing.

Kitty Cake

We had a birthday recently and it was requested that I make a cake that looks just like our indoor cat, Mo.  So I gave it a go and think it turned out really good.

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fullsizerenderAnd speaking of cats, the 3 barn kitties have been spending most of their time tucked up in the hay loft during all this deep snow and cold temps…who would blame them?  When we go to do chores they hang out above us, watching and waiting to be fed.

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7 thoughts on “Sunday Homestead Update

  1. Looks like we are having very similar weather, except for the rain, we have to travel along way before we see tarmac and the van is parked a half mile away next to the council road so that we don’t get trapped in like we have on several occasions over the last weeks.
    Good to see soap making alive and well, but if you do ever run out again you know we would be happy to send some over 🙂 buying fro the shops! tut tut 🙂
    Great cake!

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    • We actually tend to try different recipes each time we make soap. They are all similar, but we like to tweak it a bit this way or that each time.
      This batch was:
      6.6 oz lye
      15.8 oz water
      13 oz coconut oil
      20 oz olive oil
      15 oz deer tallow
      Then a mix of lavender essential oil and vanilla scent oil – about 2 oz total
      Plus 1/4 c lavender flowers

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    • I guess that depends on what soap you buy at the store. But I am guessing that this last batch cost us about $0.80 per bar. That doesn’t include the start-up costs to get the supplies – it’s just for the ingredients. Our favorite place to buy the supplies online (soap molds, scent, etc) is Brambleberry.com. They also have a recipe calculator there to be sure you use the right amount of fats and lye to make the soap work.
      The great thing about home-making it is that you can do so many different things with scent and the ingredients you use to make it more or less moisturizing and make it just the way you want it. For example, we like to make it sometimes with coffee grounds in it because that soap can get the worst garlic smell out of my hands after cooking, or oil or gasoline smell off Mtn Man’s hands after he works with the chainsaw or the cars. And I like to use a lavender/comfrey combination that is super moisturizing because my skin is super sensitive, allergic, and dry and it keeps my skin feeling much better than what I buy at the store. The other thing we like is that it uses the fat/tallow from our butchering of deer, elk, sheep, and cow – so that part of the animal doesn’t go to waste. Plus, this year we will try out making soap with some of our goat’s milk and see how we like that.
      So if it does cost more than store-bought once you take into account start up supplies, it is like many things on the homestead in that the quality and experience out-weigh the increase in cost as far as we are concerned.
      🙂

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