Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Snakes and Rabbits

We've had a few snakes recently around the carport. After Guv'nor killed the first one, he then discovered a little rabbit nest under some of the leaves. So we thought that explained why the snakes were hanging around. The second snake got one of the baby rabbits before it could be killed. The poor little rabbits were so scared they scattered around the carport and then were gone.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fifth Calf

The last of the cows, Trudy, had her calf a few days ago. She was showing all the signs of being in labor, but the delivery was taking too long. Neighbor came over to help and attached a chain around the exposed hooves of the calf while Guv'nor fed Trudy from the front end. Then they both pulled the calf out. Mother and baby were fine after that.

Friday, April 24, 2015


The asparagus that we planted last year is beginning to produce some nice spears. We get about a dozen spears a day which is not very much but about as much as we can eat. I usually save up a few days worth before we eat it.

Last year's uncut growth which was left to die.

The first spears coming up through last year's dead growth.

Spears coming up through new mulch

The spears are kept in a cup of water in the fridge until we use them.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Youth Expo

Daughter had two entries in the county Youth Expo this year. Even though we had been exposed to the expo for the past two years (first year / second year), we still felt like we didn't really understand the process. The livestock section of the expo still seems rather foreign to us. She made a chocolate raspberry cake and some knitted socks. The knitted socks won Second Place and was included in the silent auction sale at the end of the week, otherwise known as "The Sale". In addition to being responsible for decorating a section of the table to create a display for the socks, we were also responsible to set up and clean up for other aspects for the day of the dinner and auction. On the sale day, Daughter was expected to stand by and promote her entry and encourage bids.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Soap Class

The local garden center offered a class in beginning soap making a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd go and learn more. A few years ago I made a block of soap at a friend's house, but I was mostly just watching her do it and have long since forgotten what to do. I do remember that the mixing up of the lye scared me a little so I've been hesitant to try it since. A young couple who own My Dearest Danae taught the class and provided all the tools and ingredients.

The class was on a Saturday afternoon and cost $30 and lasted about 2 hours. The process took less time than usual because the teacher had made up a lye solution in advance. The chemical reaction with lye and water heats the mixture which has to cool before making the soap. I didn't realize making soap was all about formulas and chemistry.

We used this recipe (all ingredients were weighed on scales):
3.9 oz. lye
8.3 oz. water
12 oz. olive oil
6 oz. coconut oil
7 oz. palm oil
1 oz. essential oil

I have also learned that you must be very precise with your ingredients when making soap. We measured within 0.1 oz. with each ingredient. This is something I have to remind myself because I'm a "it's close enough" kind of cook. I am still surprised when things don't turn out properly when I have made a few substitutions and adjustments.

When we were finished, we took our block of soap home to dry. After a day, I took the soap out of the mold and cut it into 11 bars. The bars need to dry further for another 3-4 weeks.

The class was held in the owner's house next door.

The soap recipe is very precise.

Here are all the oils melted and mixed together.

After adding the lye, which looks like cloudy water, you blend it quickly with a hand mixer.

I added lavender essential oil and dried lavender to my soap mixture.

We used simple cardboard juice cartons as our mold.

I sprinkled more lavender on top of mine.

Here are the ladies from the class.

Here are my bars set out to dry for a few weeks. It makes the spare room smell lovely.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fiber Fest

I went to the DFW Fiber Fest again this year. If I had know it was going to rain so hard I might not have gone. It wasn't as overwhelming to me as it was last year because I knew what to expect. There were so many beautiful yarns, but I ended up buying bison fiber/wool boot insoles and stitch markers.