Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Maple syrup season!! Yahoo!!!!!!!

Maple syrup! I think there is nothing better then the taste of something that you have worked for and made yourself. Maple syrup is one of my favorites. It tastes so much better then anything you can buy in the store.

We tapped the trees a few weeks ago but mother nature decided she was not finished with winter yet and we got a couple snows after we tapped the trees. It was sad going out and seeing no sap in the jugs but a couple inches of snow on top of them.

Then when the weather warmed up we got alot of rain and we realized there was a problem with our set up. The rain was running down the trees and right into the jugs!! After my very wise husband fixed that and the good Lord decided to bless us with sunshine we got gallons of sap. A little over 30 and after boiling it down all day long we ended up with some beautiful, wonderful tasting maple syrup. My favorite is french toast made from homemade bread, topped with lots of real butter and fresh maple syrup! Which is pictured at the top of this post.

And just for the fun of it here are pictures of my new Ameraucana chicks and beautiful ducklings. My husband is learning I cannot be trusted alone at Tractor Supply. 

Have a blessed day!!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Deer tallow soap, another step towards being more self sufficient

One of my goals is to be as self sufficient as possible. So far we raise our own meat, grow our own garden and my husband hunts for meat also. It is important to me to get back to the way things used to be before all of the processed foods and convenience stores where we can just run to the store a few minutes away and buy what we need. I have joyfully jumped into the world of soap making. I have made goat's milk soap in the past and I do love it and plan to continue to make it. When my husband brought home his deer and we were processing it I hated to see all of the fat going to waste so I decided to cut it all off and freeze it and research how to make soap from it and it is not as hard as you might think. The only ingredients in my soap are tallow, coconut oil, water, lye and a scent to make it smell nice. From what I have read online you can also make soap from just the tallow and not use coconut oil but coconut oil has so many great benefits for my skin and smells nice so I wanted to use it also. Below are some pictures of the process.

 The lye is dissolved in the cold water, when you dissolve lye in water it heats up to a very hot temperature so you have to let it sit and cool down some before adding the oils. I do not know the exact temperature you need to get it down to. ALWAYS wear gloves while handling lye, if you get it on your skin it will burn you!
 Melting down the coconut oil and deer tallow. (The next time I cook down the deer fat I will post about it and share how I do it.)

 Next you pour the oils very very slowly into the lye/water mixture being very careful not to splash any on yourself, always pour the oils into the lye and never pour the lye into the oils. I cannot stress this enough, lye will burn if it comes in contact with your skin! I use a stick blender to mix up the oils and lye, it is much quicker then stirring by hand. I also always stir in the same direction, I do not know if this is important or not but why stop if I know it works.
 The soap has gone to trace so that means it is ready to pour into the mold. See how it is thick and sticks to the blender? That is my favorite part, watching that happen. It suddenly goes from a liquid to thick soap. So cool!
Here it is in the mold. It has to sit for 24 hours and then I will take it out and cut it into bars. The bars then have to sit 3 weeks before use.

I really enjoy making soap. It seemed like a scary thing the first time but now that I have done it a few times I realize it is fun and alot easier then you think. But remember wear gloves!!

Have a blessed day!