Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Making Soap

Unveiling the Soap

We're so pleased with ourselves.  It worked!
The soap set up like it was supposed to and smelled wonderful.

The boxes were perfect.

Two big loaves of Lavender Olive Oil Soap!  Yay!

Peeling away the lining.

Now it's time for the cutting.

Once again, I tried to do this.  But couldn't.
So yet again, Richard takes the helm.

Look at all this homemade, all natural soap.
10 lbs. worth of it.
Now it cures for 4-6 weeks and then it will be ready.

The New Man Colson is so proud of us.
So am I.

Still being productive on Whippoorwill Road,

Monday, January 30, 2012

Cheese, Soap and the Garden

Ricotta Cheese,
Making Soap and 
the Garden

I did not complete the editorial on the previous blog about our Cheese Making.  I was so enthralled that we actually did it, I was exhausted from the sense of anticipation and achievement.
So, let me fill you in on the gaps:
This is the leftover whey from the Mozzarella.

After we brought the whey to a certain temperature, 
we pour it through two sieves.

This catches the Ricotta. 

Which leaves you with a little, yet tasty, Ricotta.
I put that homemade Ricotta on my toast the next morning and ate
in silent wonderment.
Amazing right?

So now, let's get out of the kitchen (not my favorite place) and head outside (my favorite place).

I drew up some simple plans at 3 a.m. this morning.  Yeah, I have
insomnia from time to time.

 The photo below is totally bogus.  It's not real.  Richard drove in all the stakes.  I'm just posing here.  You see, nothing would have brought me more pleasure than to pound these things in but alas, I cannot.  I hurt my elbow at work and I have to rest it.  
What you can not see is the elbow brace underneath and the Icy Blue ointment underneath the brace.  

('Don't Cry For Me, Argentina' would be a nice touch here)

I just wanted to be captured on film so one day my descendants would see I was really here, a part of this whole process, that I did participate. 

 Again, I would have loved to help Richard carry the compost bin on it's maiden journey out to the yard.  I even tried it one armed but alas, I could not.  So Man-Child, oops, he's not a child any longer, New Man Colson was recruited yet again.  

 "A little to the left, please."

 "Now please, turn it around, face it towards me, a little to the right,...
...yep, that's it!  Perfect!  Thank you so much."

Though I could not pound stakes in the ground nor carry big beautiful wooden bins, I could go around the yard collecting "food" for the bin:   old poop pellets from Buns, plants that didn't make it through the cold weather, newspaper from Bun's cage and that old Thanksgiving decor that I had dumped in the woods.  I'm adding the brown layer.  Tomorrow I add the green layer.
(That's if Richard has recovered from today)
Because, after all I can not push the mower over the liriope or hold the weed wackier.  Not with one hand.  

And then, if all this was not enough, we tried our hand at making soap today!
Started outside due to fumes.

We finished it in our lab.

Another bogus photo.  Since I could not lift the pot of liquid soap, I spooned in a beginning amount to test the soap boxes.
(And to include myself in this momentous occasion.
Can anyone say "Lifestyle Lift?")

There you have it: 10 pounds of Lavender Olive Oil soap.
It's going to set up for 24 hours in these boxes, which are wrapped in towels sitting in the laundry room.
Then we'll slice up our product and cure it for 4-6 weeks.

Poor Richard.  He can't wait until I return to work on Thursday.
He needs a break from all these activities.

Looking for potential guinea pigs to try some soap from Whippoorwill Road.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Confusing Time

This Has Got to Be a Confusing Time...

...for all the plants and flowers.

After all, it's January.  Albeit the end of January,
but still January.  And January is still considered Winter, right?
However, when daffodils bloom, tree olives bud...

And periwinkles begin peeking, it's definitely SPRING.  
In my book, anyway.

Here's where we were just one year ago.
Snow on the ground - appropriate for WINTER.

Unless of course, you live further south.  As in South Georgia, Florida, the Tropics or below the equator.  Not as far "south of the equator" as Antarctica though.
In that case, you'd be freezing all the time.  But even there, they don't mix Winter with Spring, do they?

So, it's got to be a little confusing for the local 
fauna and flora here.  One day they poke up their heads, basking in the warmth of the sun, enjoying the weather for a warm spring day (or even hot summer day).
Then BAM... it's winter again.

And for the people... 
...you can imagine what it's like to try and dress for the day.
I see shorts and flip flops along with wool coats and boots.  HUH!?  
I'M CONFUSED.  Never mind the plants.  

Wishing you clarity of mind from Whippoorwill Road,

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Productive Saturday

A Very Productive Saturday

We worked on the compost bin.

This is where I came in...

I got to fill in all the nail holes.  Yay.

95% completed.

My dad came over with the tiller.

And showed me where and how to use it.  

Richard and I love taking used things and reusing them or repurposing them.
Case in point, a discarded dresser drawer we picked from the curve of a Buckhead home.
(It was a little embarrassing picking through someones trash, but really, who cares.  They'll never see us again.)

Some of the wood was really nice.

My favorite part:  the handles.

Here's what some of the drawers were turned into.  
Lovely boxes for soap molds, or storage boxes, or organizers to hold little trinkets...  
the possibilities are endless. 

But we're using them for soap molds.
He even made a lid for them.
All from recycled wood.

Then, we tried our hand at making our own Mozzarella.

And you know what? 

They said it was easy to do.

And it was.

So delicious too.

Now we're making our own Ricotta Cheese from the leftover whey.
And for dinner, it's homemade pizza and a glass of wine.
It's nice to be productive on a Saturday.

Happy Labors from Whippoorwill Road,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

So it Begins

And So It Begins...
(cue the dramatic music)

The beginning of the compost bin materializes.
Amid mysterious drop like particles floating mid-air to signal it's creation,
the bin is born. 
(No, really, what is that stuff?)
Must be particles of sawdust raining down, raining down.

And here it is in it's infancy.
All shiny and new with still some growing to do.

It's proud first moments, waiting for it's bonnet and backside.
(Actually, you are looking at it's backside.  It's awaiting a swinging door to access 
the final precious product)

And this is what it's first meal looks like:
all that nutritious green stuff.
(please ignore the trash in the background)

Oh yes, and this is also what it will eat:
old pumpkins, some leaves and oh so many poops
from the Grand Pooper, aka: Buns.
(When I tossed these pumpkins out after Thanksgiving, they were covered with
brush, bushes and branches.  It didn't look so unsightly then.)

Oh and for the record, I helped "deliver" this compost baby.
Really, I carried the measuring tape, squirted out some of the wood glue, carried cedar planks, shot the nail gun once (and messed up, that's why it was only once) and held boards in place while being sawed.  It's hard work being the 'Go-Fer'.

Adios Amigos.
Signing off from Whippoorwill Road,