Sunday, September 30, 2012

homemade laundry soap revisited

I've been using this laundry powder for quite some time now, but have noticed some clothes slowly becoming dingy. And occasionally a bit musty. I wonder why this is? Do the powdered ingredients not mix together well? Is my water-saving, front-loading machine horribly inefficient at cleaning? Is my hard well water just difficult to clean with? Are all people who use homemade laundry soap relegated to having slightly dirty-appearing clothes? The whole thing kind of has me wanting to run out and buy some Tide.

But I'm not giving up quite yet. I did a little more research, and I'm pretty sure the issues I'm having are related to our hard water. So, I've switched things up a bit for the past month, and so far I'm liking the results much better. Here's a run-down of my current routine:

*I've started making this liquid soap, which I've found to be far superior to the powdered version. I still use the Dr. Bronner's soap, but dissolving it in this way seems to make it more effective. 
*I use a whole cup per load, rather than just 1/4 cup.
*I put a little white vinegar in the rinse cycle.
*I use the shortest cycle possible to minimize the time my clothes are in the water.

There's an ancient washing machine in the basement that, truth-be-told, I'm now favoring over my front-loader. The cycles are much shorter, and although I know it uses more water, the soap seems to be in contact with the clothes longer, and I think it gets them cleaner.

Do you make your own laundry soap? How has it worked for you?

**Edited to add: Check out my updated formula HERE

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

where, oh where, has my little summer gone?

A re-cap of recent garden happenings:

Digging up potatoes; one of my favorite things to harvest. It really is like finding buried treasure.

Spreading mulch around the apple trees, and preparing to plant garlic here soon.

Welcoming baby down from my back and into the garden space, as it becomes safer for little feet to explore.

Loving the colorful bounty of produce, harvested little by little this year.

Wondering how it could be Fall already. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

no knitting allowed

I get called out for jury duty a lot. Once every few years, sometimes twice in a year (randomly, of course). And each time, it seems the list of prohibited items gets longer and longer. 

Apparently knitting needles are now too dangerous to bring into the courthouse for jury duty. I know I don't get out much, but seriously, what kind of world are we living in? Personally, I think seeing a whole courtroom full of people knitting would be very calming; It's the lawyers that scare me.

Have you ever been chased around by an old lady with a pointy stick? Smothered by an innocent-looking pair of knitted socks? Frightened by a suspicious ball of yarn rolling toward you? Me neither. How about worried someone's attorney might try to sue you for having a rooster? Hmmmm.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

my favorite summer breakfast

Just-picked ripe tomatoes, sliced and fried in a little butter.

A couple of farm fresh eggs, lightly scrambled with a little milk, salt, and pepper.

Chopped, fragrant fresh basil folded in right at the end, all served on buttered toast. (Occasionally drizzled with some ketchup).

Summer on a plate - I'm eating it up while I still can!

Friday, September 14, 2012

little and big

 The Freedom Rangers are laying cute little pullet eggs! 

 The zucchini coming from the garden are nearly the size of the baby!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


After a whirlwind family reunion and a revolving door of cherished loved-ones passing in and out of our home these past five days, the house is quiet. A little too quiet. Do you feel that way, too, when guests leave, and your "normal" life resumes? Somehow troubles don't seem as big, and small joys magnify when you are busy tending to more people. And when they go, you have quiet time to think about just how very grateful you are to have an abundance of people to love.

A fitting way to ease into Autumn, I suppose.

The fridge is still full with leftovers from the many large family meals shared; The house feeling a little empty. I had a manic deep cleaning spree the week before everyone arrived, and now I'm lingering just a bit longer in the messes that remain - artifacts of cousins playing, grandparents napping, aunts and uncles meeting babies for the first time, dogs getting extra head scratches, recipes shared, loud discussions and even louder laughter. I imagine our house holding the memory of all these things in the walls and floors and air, so we can be nourished by that feeling of fullness always. Which makes it easier to begin cleaning up (that, plus a very, very sticky countertop).

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