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Friday, January 23, 2015

Farmgirl Friday: Time to Conquer My Fear of Making Soap!

Anyone's life truly lived consists of work, sunshine, exercise, soap, plenty of fresh air, and a happy contented spirit. 
~Lillie Langtry

Hello!  Welcome, I'm so glad you stopped by today.  I have a confession to make:  I am afraid to make soap.  

Sounds ridiculous doesn't it?  I drink raw milk; I've killed a chicken; I empty mouse traps;  I've even once punched a bull in the nose for knocking me down - in short, I've done many things that this city girl turned hobby farmer never thought I would do but one thing eludes me...the courage to make soap. I'm talking about real soap - not that melt and pour stuff. 

My sister makes soap and some pretty good soap at that.  I could go ahead and get soap from her since I want to avoid some of the ingredients in commercial soaps but now it has become a personal hurdle that I need to overcome.  Go ahead and look at the label on the bars of soap you have in your you know what all those things are?  

I'm looking at a label right now...petrolatum, polyquaternium-6, pentasodium pentetate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, pentaerythrityl tetra-di-t-butyl....absolutely frightening when you consider that you are putting these chemicals all over your body day after day. 

I've been on a quest to get our foods in as natural state as possible.  I've done the same with the household cleaners.  The time has come to make soap.  

I've done an inventory of what I am most afraid of and here is the list and the counter statement I am using to overcome my fear: 

  • Making soap is hard ~ Is it really any harder than pressure canning foods?  I used to be afraid of that too! 
  • Making soap costs a lot ~ Getting the chicken coop up and running cost more than I thought it would, but the fresh eggs are absolutely worth it...and honestly, once I have the equipment to make soap, I can use it over and over. 
  • Homemade soap is hard on your skin ~ From what I've been reading, old-time soap was harsh because the ingredients were inconsistent from batch to batch.  I have a better source of ingredients now. 
  • Working with lye is dangerous ~ okay - this is probably the real reason I haven't made soap.  Working with lye IS dangerous but, with the right precautions, it can be managed safely. 
  • There are a lot of soap recipes on the internet.  I can't figure out which one is best. ~ yep, there are many recipes out there just like there are for baking bread, making vegetable soup or even meatloaf...just pick a basic one and do it! 
Do you have any fears like mine?  Do you want to learn to make soap with me?  I'm making the commitment to do it and I hope you will too.  

Here is the list of equipment I think I need to get started.  I'll spend the week gathering it all together and will make the leap to make my first soap and, yes,  I'll probably call my sister for help ;)

Soap-making Equipment
  • Digital Scale (+I have a postal scale)
  • one or two food thermometers (+I have a digital one and one for candy)
  • Stick blender (+I have one)
  • gloves (-I need these)
  • goggles (-I need these)
  • stainless steel soup pot (+I have one)
  • stainless steel 2 quart saucepan (+I have one)
  • large roasting pan - 2 quart pan needs to fit in it with room to be surrounded by ice (+I have one)
  • large glass bowl or 2L pitcher (+I have one)
  • glass, quart size bowls or cups for weighing lye and fats (+I have some)
  • two long handled slotted spoons-steel or stainless steel (-I need these - all my stirring spoons are wooden)
  • molds - can be milk cartons (+I'm sure I can find something around here for this)
  • pH strips (-I need these)
I am really looking forward to adding Soap-maker to my list of hobby farm skills and happy that I can share the journey with you. Plus I want to earn that Intermediate level Going Green merit badge.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.  

Tomorrow is Skills Saturday and I will teach you how to make buttermilk.  I hope to see you then!  

Peace be with you, 

Star Schipp 

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