Saturday, March 28, 2009


Well, today I made my first attempt at soaping. I attempted to make 1# of natural, unscented soap. It may or may not turn out. The book said to stir until it traces, which basically means until it thickens. It was supposed to take 10-20 minutes. I stirred for 45 minutes-no trace. Eventually I just poured it into the prepared mold. I checked it a few hours later and it looks like it might be turning into soap. In 2 days I can take it out of the mold and cut into bars. At that point I'll know--it'll either be soap or it will be a caustic mess.

I also gave my son a haircut today--my 1st successful looking cut. I used the clippers on the back and sides and scissor cut the front and top. He's 11 and doesn't want it very short on top. It actually looks decent--not professional if you look close, but as long as he stays away from the hair police, we'll be good! I saved $14 by doing it myself! :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Closing date & clean thoughts!

Closing date for the property is April 8, right after we return from our trip to St. Louis. Hopefully the sellers will have their belongings off the property by then, or we'll move the closing to a later date--we don't want to have to pay to remove their things.

I have been exploring the idea of making homemade soap. If you are familar with soapmaking, you know it requires the use of lye. Lye is difficult to find these days. If you are familar with cooking your own meth, you know it requires the use of lye. Therefore, to help curb meth production, lye has been pulled from the shelves of many stores. This week I discovered a place that sells it--though the sales guy was sure they didn't--Tractor Supply Company.

So now that I have my lye, I can begin searching out the other supplies I need! I've been reading online quite a bit and went to an introduction to soap-making class. Today I stopped at the library--one of my favorite places-- and checked out a whole book on the subject!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Starting to get our "country gear!"

Today we went to a discount store in a nearby town. We hadn't been there in years, but they are known for having a wide variety of gloves and good prices. I figured we'd all need some work gloves for projects on the property. What a fun store for hard working guys (and even their wives)! They had every style of glove you can think of and many you've never heard of before-leather palm, liners, cutproof, rubber, work, mechanic, winter, leather, jersey . . . We got leather palm gloves for the whole family for $.59/pair! We also bought some winter gloves and a hat for next year ($1.50 ea), socks-regular and themal, safety goggles, drill bits, batteries (AA 4 packs for $.69), and duct tape. I'm going to put some of this stuff in a backpack to keep in the pole barn over at the property-then we'll always have it there.

I'm wondering what else we can keep out there. Certainly we'll need some first aid supplies. I dug out an oil lamp we received as a gift many years ago to take out there. It'd be nice to keep some water and maybe snack foods, but the pole barn has a dirt floor and I'm sure there are critters living in it at this point--so food's probably not a good idea unless I can store it in a glass jar or something else they can't get into. I wouldn't trust Rubbermaid--I bet critters can chew through that!

We are on the lookout for a good deal on a trailer to use for hauling things like lumber etc . . . We're thinking a used 6'x8' or something along those lines. Josh though about getting a beater truck, but decided a trailer will work just as well and be a lot cheaper. We can just store it out there.

The yogurt making is going well. I made a batch of plain the other day. Putting the jars into bowls of warm water does the trick. Do that at night and it's set in the morning. I liked it with a bit of honey added. The kids liked it with honey and vanilla. Tonight I'm planning to make another batch using my current batch as starter. I've heard that it sets up better the more times you use the starter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More woods + yogurt= happy day :) or "1,320 feet of pure heaven, Baby!"

I had to edit this post to include Josh's quote. When he said it, I said, "That's the perfect title for today's blog!"

Last night Josh discovered a discrepancy in the dimensions of the land. The dimensions listed did not equal the acreage. He visited the township office and discovered that the acreage is correct and the land goes back 320 more feet into the woods than we originally thought. We first thought the property ended just after the woods starts.

He also drove by today and found that the sellers appear to be working on clearing their belongings from the pole barn and moving the other items they have stored on the land.

Off the topic of the property, I learned how to make yogurt! It's so easy and yummy and less expensive than store bought! Imagine all the possibilities . . . raspberry, vanilla, honey with nuts, . . . mmmm!

Here's how I made it:

Warm 1 qt of milk to near boiling and stir in 1/8 C of powdered milk. Then let it cool to lukewarm. Then add 1 tablespoon of plain, store bought yogurt and 1 tablespoon of flavored jello (I used raspberry). Pour into a sterilized jar or other container (non-metal). I used a canning jar. Let sit undisturbed in a warm place until thickened.

That's the basics. You can leave out the jello for plain yogurt and you can strain it through cheese cloth or add plain gelatin if you like it thicker. Mine sat overnight without setting up--it wasn't warm enough in the house. This morning I put the jar in a bowl of very warm water and when I got home from work it was done!

Monday, March 16, 2009


The Beginning

March 16, 2009

After searching high and low, we have found the land that is just right for us. We've got a purchase agreement and are set to close by the end of April. The whole family is excited! We're buying 10.45 acres in a rural residential area. To me, it's really rural! From the property you can only see 1 neighbor's house and the roof of the next closest neighbor down around the corner. There are no neighbors across the street--just some private woods and state owned pastures leading to woods and the creek.

The property is cleared for the first 7 acres--some lawn grass, some tall meadow grasses. Then the land goes down a hill and is wooded on the sides. At the bottom of the hill is a grassy clearing with woods on the sides and behind as it dips down again.

There's a pole barn on the property that needs to be cleared out and fixed up. That's on the list of things to do this spring, along with taking down an old shed.

The part that I'm excited about right now is tree planting! We're planning to plant some trees this spring--some along the property lines and some fruit trees as well--apple, peach . . . not sure what else, but definately those! Eventually I want to plant blueberry and raspberry bushes and grow a strawberry patch and a vegetable garden. I think if I plant all this too soon, the only ones who will enjoy them are the animals! Better to wait until we've started building (in about 5 years!)