Remember a couple of posts back I wrote that my brother-in-law’s response to our new lifestyle was, “Cool! A Blogging Farmer. Now I’ve seen everything.” Well, I’m starting to understand why farmers don’t blog…
We have been crazy-busy around here over the past month. The last week of May was spent at doctor, dentist and chiropractor offices. Everyone was getting one last check up before our health coverage changed. So now we are all healthy, in good alignment and have sparkly-clean teeth! I have spent June getting our school curriculum together. We home-educate the little farmhands and I am really excited about some of the curriculum we’ll be using this year! There is so much good stuff out there! Our new lifestyle fits in perfectly with home-education… It is said that the Bible and Nature are God’s two textbooks… Well, there’s plenty of both around here!
Our rosebushes looked beautiful during May and June! I went out every morning and evening to collect fallen rose petals. I’ve been making rose water with them. Rosewater is known for having skin-softening effects, so I’ve been putting it in my soap! It turns the soap a bit brown, but it is lovely nonetheless. I tried creating a steam distiller, but I had a lot of roses and distilling it takes a long time so I finally settled on the “crock pot” method as my method of choice. Here’s how I do it:
First I put the rose petals in the crock pot:
Then I weigh the petals down with a small mixing bowl: If I don’t weigh the petals down with a bowl, the petals float to the top when I add water. Here you can see a couple of petals have escaped and are floating at the top:
Finally, I add water, cover it, turn the crock pot on and just let it steep like a tea. As the petals soak, the color actually leaves the petals and goes into the water. When the petals are white, I strain the petals off and Ta-Da! I have rosewater to use in soap! In this picture, the rosewater soap is on the top shelf:
From left to right this is: Rosewater & Glycerin Soap, Lavender-Oat Rosewater Soap and Lavender Rose Soap. The soap on the far right is Soothing Oatmeal soap. No Rosewater in that one! See the difference the rosewater makes in color? The Soothing Oatmeal soap has exactly the same ingredients as the Lavender-Oatmeal Rosewater soap, except for lavender essential oil and rosewater. There is quite a difference in color!
While I’m on the subject, I haven’t really had a place to put the soap I make, but I was at Goodwill a couple of weeks ago and found this great shelf!
In a previous life, this shelf was used to display protein bars. You can’t tell in the picture, but there is a faint outline of the words “Carb Balance” across the top! But it looks to me like this shelf was made to hold soap in my kitchen!
Here’s a closer peek at what’s on that shelf: You already saw the top shelf. That’s the shelf with all the rosewater soap on it. Here’s the second shelf:
I need to get nice boxes for the soap… That will come later. For now, I just wrapped the soap in brown craft paper, put a pretty heart stamp on it and wrote in the name of the soap by hand. From left to right, this is:
(back row): Clove Spice Soap, Rosemary Garden Soap (made with Rosemary from our Gardens), Soothing Oatmeal Soap, Tomato Basil Soap, Spicy Sage Soap, Lemon Nutmeg Soap (my personal favorite!), Lemon Sunshine Soap, Dilly Cucumber Soap, Garden Mint Soap, and Cornmeal Scrubbing Soap
(front left): Soapballs (a mixture of several types of soap), Carrot Soap, Orange Almond Soap
(front right): Flower Garden soap (made with a mixture of dried flower petals)
Actually, between people buying soap and giving it away as gifts, all the soap on that particular shelf is already gone!
Here’s what I’m currently working on:
The top shelf is more Garden Mint soap and a couple of soapballs drying. (I love those soapballs! They are so fun and homey to have in the bathroom! They’re really great for washing babies off and I do a lot of baby-washing!) The lower shelf is Lemon Sunshine Soap in the mold, waiting to be cut.
In my next post I will show you what Papa the Farmer has been doing out in the gardens. Stay tuned!