Once you have chickens you can never go back! You want more. You need more! Whats not to love about a back yard flock?
- Fresh eggs to eat
- Fresh organic meat
- Hatching eggs
- Fuzzy Chicks
- Organic pest control
Safety? Yes. Do you really know what you’re feeding your family when you buy those store bought eggs?
We just witnessed a massive nation wide egg recall for salmonella yet 1% of the population raises their own chickens for eggs. And that number includes the owners of the massive production houses.
And if you think paying extra for “organic” “free range” or “hormone free” eggs is a safer bet…think again.
Organic simply means the feed the chickens were fed was certified by the government as containing no unatural fertilizers or pesticides. Well then what natural fertilizers are used? Animal by-products from slaughter houses and human waste known as “slurry” or “treated sewage sludge”. Store bought organic isn’t sounding so great now is it?
“Free range” is also a misleading term. In order to lable that carton as free range (and jack up the price) all a production house has to do is provide the option to the chickens to go outside. Meaning a small hole in the wall of a building housing tens of thousands of birds is sufficient to make the term free range legal. It doesn’t matter if the building is surrounded by a water filled moat or a deep ditch that prevents exit.
“Hormone free” is yet another misleading selling point. It’s actually illegal in the US to use hormones on chickens. So why then do commercial egg producers put it on the package? To charge you more of course. Because making the consumer feel safe is worth money.
“Antibiotic Free” shouldn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy either. It just means that the chicken that contributed to your morning ommlet was part of a HUGE flock. Huge flocks have illnesses. Untreated illnesses. Disease can crop up in any size flock but it’s much more likely to occur in an industrial sized flock than a back yard flock. Not exactly comforting when you think about it.
Raising your own healthy birds, knowing exactly what they are eating, and knowing exactly what YOU are eating is motivation enough for most.
And I haven’t even gotten to the meat production aspect of commercial versus home production. I’ll save that for another day.
There is nothing more satisfying than a nice hot bath with a luxurious heavenly smelling lather. Except there is…if you made that perfectly crafted bar of heaven yourself….for pennies on the dollar.
Handmade real soap is made from lye but this ain’t your great-grandma’s lye soap. I’m talking about high quality skin nourishing luxury soap that will leave your skin feeling moisturized and unbelievably clean at the same time. the kind of soap you simply can’t buy at the big box stores and rarely find in even the most expensive spas.
It’s easier than you might think to make and you dont have to be a chemist to create your bubbly batch right in your own kitchen.
I bought a few bars (at $11 each) at a local gift shop. I started with one and went back for more. I was hooked! I’m a self proclaimed professional soaker but nothing in life prepared me for the experience of a good handmade soap bath. I stepped out feeling clean, smelling great, and my skin GLOWED! Hooked I tell ya! Instantly addicted.
But OMG! the price!?! Worth every penny but surely it didn’t cost that much to make? So I did my homework, learned a lot, bought a little, and after some trial and error I perfected my own scented soapy slice of satisfaction for a fraction of the price I was paying in the gift shop. And you can too.
All you need for a 2 pound batch is 20 ounces of fats such as lard, shortening, shea butter, coconut oil or cocoa etc AND/OR oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola, vegetable, palm etc (no they aren’t created equal – each creates different characteristics in the finished product. Coconut makes it softer, palm makes it harder, etc. Any combination of fats/oils will work as long as you have 20 ounces total. (Bacon grease is not a good idea but you CAN use strained used cooking oil)
3 ounces of Lye (my secret is food grade lye but you can buy lye in any hardware store – or make it yourself if you want to go that route).
4 ounces of water
3 ounces of Castor Oil (that’s the key to the rich lather!)
2 ounces of essential or fragrance oil such as lavender or use your favorite cheap body spray (just make sure whatever you use is skin safe!)
That’s it. Just 5 basic ingredients including water.
You’ll also need dish gloves (for safety), a mold (a small flat rate postal box lined with plastic is perfect for this – reuse and recycle!), 2 large plastic bowls, a whisk or submersible blender, and a microwave.
Step 1: Pour the lye into the water (NEVER POUR WATER INTO THE LYE – it can cause severe injuries). The water and lye mixture will heat up to about 200 degrees due to chemical reaction. Let it set and do it’s thing while you continue on to….
Step 2: Melt the fats (do not include the Castor Oil yet). Microwave in one minute intervals until it’s no longer solid (use caution when handling hot grease).
Step 3: When the two mixtures are approximately the same temperature pour the oils into the lye mixture (AGAIN – NEVER POUR THE LYE!). At this point you’ve combined everything except the castor oil and the fragrance (those go in last).
Step 4: In the bowl blend, whisk, stir, etc. If you have a submersible blender that’s the ideal tool but it really isn’t mandatory. Do not make soap in a blender or food processor (you can thank me later for that advise – lol just don’t ask me how I know that!). Mix until it’s the consistency of soft pudding. If doing it by hand it may take a while. If using a submersible it can take less than 20 seconds.
Step 5: Add the fragrance oil
and Castor Oil. Mix it well one last time and pour it into your prepared plastic lined box.
Step 6: Let it set for at least 24 hours before trying to remove it from the mold. Now is th time to cut or slice it before it hardens too much. Soap should cure in the open air for 6 weeks before use, however at this point it IS safe to use. The lye is no longer caustic after saponification (aka step 4). The longer it cures the harder it will be and the longer it will last.
That’s all there is to it! Now you have 8 quarter pound bars for approximately a dollar or less each. That wasn’t difficult at all was it?
Let me hear from you! I want to know how your first batch turned out!
Whether you are trying to lower your daily expenses or prepare for the collapse of society you’ve come to the right place. Sit a spell and see how we do it. You’ll either learn something or…. learn from our mistakes.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton