Friday, August 30, 2013

On Deck

So much to do it scares me to think about it.  Someday I will teach art, read books and knit sweaters.  That might not happen for a while yet.  I can't retire until I'm 78.  Perhaps I will be so dotty by then the powers that be will push me out.  That's okay, too.  I made peppermint soap yesterday and had quite a start when the molten soap did not set up as fast as it usually does.  So many people make soap that it looks easy, but it's a tricky business.  Amounts have to be correct, temperatures have to be monitored and timing is everything.  I'm buying my sodium hydroxide (lye) from the American Homesteaders Store in Norwich now.  The strength of the lye is very important.  Lye is the catalyst that turns oils into soap.  I feared I might have gotten a bad batch of lye.  I stirred and stirred while nothing happened, no trace occurred when I lifted my big wooden spoon over the big pot.  I stifled my panic (soap making costs a fortune and a failed batch is a big loss) and walked away.  Came back five minutes later and, phew!, the soap was starting to happen.  I poured the molten goodness into the milk cartons, packed the mold away in the dark cabinet, free from drafts, to be left alone so that the lye can.  I'm a little apprehensive about opening the cabinet to rub my finger on top of the soap.  I've been making soap for years and years, since 1993, and never take it for granted.  I have to drive 50 miles round trip to pick up labels from my little print shop in Norwich, and more lye from the homestead store.  Everything requires miles of driving here in the Great North Land.  It's the price we pay for living in paradise.  The wool I dyed yesterday was pummeled by a rogue cloud that floated over my farm and let loose such a deluge that when I ran out to cover the wool I was doused by the run off from my steep barn roof.   It's misty and cloudy now so I don't know if it will get dry again.  I want to work in the barn, but the Hamilton market is tomorrow and I want to make Patchouli hand creme and finish a couple of totes.   Many critters are waiting for me to come out and replenish their water containers, toss out corn, and give baby bottles.  There is not enough of me to go around.

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