For Our Health

We thought we would give you an update on some of the ways we have tried to improve our health in the last year or so. We have intentionally eliminated a number of things from our bodies and feel we are much healthier because of those choices.

In March, 2014, I decided to stop using commercial hair care products. I am happy to report that I am still very satisfied with my routine of baking soda and water for shampoo, with apple cider vinegar and water for a rinse and conditioner 17 months later. 

We still use baking soda for toothpaste, and make our own simple lotion and lip balm. By the way, that small batch of lip balm we made one year ago today is not gone yet. We would have used many tubes of commercial lip balm by this time. It truly is amazing.

Lip balm

I still use the same reusable food wraps and panty liners we wrote about last year. There are so many simple things we can make for ourselves that are less expensive, last longer and eliminate more chemicals from our bodies.

We told you about Frank’s difficulty getting off of Zyrtec, and recently we weaned ourselves off of low dose aspirin as well. The more we learn about how synthetically made ingredients affect our bodies, the less likely we are to consume them.

 

We have added fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and peppers to our diet. We continue to make sourdough bread with our fresh ground whole wheat flour, but we have eliminated all white flour and sugar. Our diet consists of foods high in nutrients, low in carbohydrates along with quality protein and fats. We continue to

make and consume kefir everyday, even though Frank would tell you he could go the rest of his life without kefir. We feel the probiotics we get from the fermentation process in making sauerkraut, sourdough and kefir help our bodies absorb and use nutrients in a much more efficient and effective way.

A little over a year ago, Frank and I chose to change our lives by changing the way we eat. In doing so, we have now each lost over 50 pounds. We are definitely healthier and accomplish much more than we ever did while carrying around the equivalent of a sack of animal feed all the time.

Something we have not done yet, but will someday, hopefully soon, is make lye soap. We have everything we need, but have yet to carve out the time to do it. Our friend, Grace has made her first batch of soap, so now it is our turn.

The older we get, the more we learn about natural ways to care for our bodies. Our modern world has much to offer in the way of conveniences and comfort, but what it has to offer is not always the best thing for our health, in fact, some of what it has to offer is down right deadly. A new year has dawned, make the most of it. Take care of your health, for you will need it to be ready for what is coming.

Until next time – Fern

Homestead News, Volume 8

Sometimes it seems as if there is not much going on here to report, but once I really stop and think about it, I can usually come up with something. This time the news is full of a number of small things. Take the goats for instance.

Last night I started penning up our two youngest kids again. They are both four months old, but are still nursing. We had separated them into the old weaning a pasture for about a month, but then the pigs came and took over that pasture. Then for a while, the kids just nursed through the fence after we put them in with the buck and wethers. As the young doe approached four months we didn’t want to leave her in the buck pasture, so we brought her back out with the does and hoped in vain that her mom wouldn’t let her nurse. She did. Now the young buck comes through the gate to be with his mom and nurse. We haven’t been able to block off the gate yet, and even

Lady Bug has a nice udder for a first freshener

if we did, he would still nurse through the fence. Both of these moms are first fresheners and we still want to develop their udders as much as possible this first season, so last night I started penning up these two kids again. This morning I got over three quarts of milk instead of one. 

That’s good since we are eating our cheddar cheese a little faster than we have in the past. It’s a great part of our low carb diet. So with this increase in milk, we will make more cheddar to replace the six wheels we have already consumed. The wheel I opened yesterday was waxed the end of April and is quite good. Did you know that room temperature cheese is better than refrigerated? Quite by accident we discovered we like warm cheese better, and it doesn’t taste the same as cold cheese. When we open a new wheel of cheddar, I leave it out on the counter in a bowl. The rind will dry out more and harden, then eventually the oils in the cheese will begin to coat the outside of the wheel. In times gone by, cheese was stored at room temperature, maybe covered by a towel or cloth. In a strange way it seems this is yet another small step we’ve discovered that will be one less thing to change when the power goes out and stays out.

The temperatures here continue to be at or over 100* with dangerously high heat indexes. Any outside work is accomplished early in the day, with very few exceptions. I have been having some serious sinus issues for about a month or more which have greatly impacted the work I do in the garden. The heat and humidity, not to mention bending over, many days make the headaches I’ve been having intolerable. Has anyone out there had a sinus balloon dilation procedure? I am scheduled to have this performed in a week or so. At this point, with the headaches I have been having, I am ready for some relief. The headaches have definitely impacted accomplishing things around the homestead as well as writing here on the blog.

In the last few days we have canned the last of the winter squashes. The bugs have killed all of our squash plants and it’s too late to grow any more winter varieties, so we won’t have any fresh to store for winter, but we’ve ended up with 41 quarts, which we are happy with. I have replanted yellow summer squash which should be able to produce before frost if I can keep them alive and win the war with the bugs.

We also made 11 quarts of salsa yesterday. It’s our favorite way to eat canned tomatoes, and I hope we can make another batch. Even with all of this heat, the tomatoes are still producing very well. Frank just walked by the thermometer and told me it’s 104* outside. We closed down some of the blinds to help the AC try to keep up. Now Frank just told me it’s been 106*!

It’s nice to have a few fresh things from the garden in the crisper. I started chopping and freezing fresh peppers today. We really enjoyed using them through the winter last year and I hope to freeze a number of quarts. I’m also doing an experiment with fermenting a few jalapeno peppers. I took the last batch of sauerkraut out of the crock today and put it in the frig. We started this batch on June 20th. It smells and looks great. When we first started eating kraut, Frank wasn’t very fond of it, but like many people predicted, we now really enjoy our daily portion. He even asks for larger servings of it now. 

We got this plastic strainer spoon to use with the crock to prevent scraping the ceramic finish. It works very well.

After I emptied the crock, I strained off a bit of the juice to use with a few jalapeno peppers. I read somewhere, sorry I don’t remember where, it could have been a comment here, that fermented peppers were crunchy and very good, so I’m going to try it. I added a few peppers to the kraut juice then covered them with salt water. I discovered this small jar fit just right into the pint jar, so I’m using it to keep the peppers submerged. For now, it will reside on the cabinet on a plate. I will be very interested in how this turns out since we prefer crunchy to soft peppers.

I used a half gallon of milk. This bowl wasn’t big enough.

I’ve also decided to take the plunge and try the cottage cheese ‘recipe’ from The Organic Prepper several people suggested. Even my aunt wrote and told me what she remembered about how my grandmother made cottage cheese. Thank you for that email, Aunt A.N. The only ingredient is milk, and all you do is leave it in a covered bowl on the cabinet for two or three days. When the cream rises and sours, it is skimmed off and eaten. That’s it. It’s almost too easy, so we will see how it turns out. I will let you know.

 

Our chickens are doing well. The young hens are blending in with the main flock just fine. The young roosters will be ready to put in the freezer soon which is good since we are ready for some fresh fried chicken. The youngest batch of birds are growing well and will soon need to take over the young rooster pen for more space.

They all like the tomato skins from the salsa.

Young roosters

Youngest flock

I made a new batch of lotion this morning since the last one was starting to turn brown in places. Tewshooz left a comment for us early on about using a preservative to prevent this problem. When I made the last batch I forgot to add the vitamin E, so it didn’t last as long as it could have. This time I wrote vitamin E on the recipe I got from Leigh at 5 Acres & A Dream, so I won’t

forget it next time. Since this lotion is made from olive oil, herbal tea and beeswax, I fed this old portion to the pigs. It’s nice it didn’t totally go to waste. The other thing Tewshooz taught me with a comment was to keep working the lotion until it emulsifies, that way the oil and water won’t separate. To do that now, I place the pan of warm oil, wax and tea into a sink of cold water while I stir it briskly with a small whip. It works great. Thanks for the tips, Tewshooz, they have really paid off.

 

Peppermint and lemon balm for the herbal tea ingredients


 

Takes about 20 minutes

Cooling in cold water

For lunch today we had a no taco, taco salad. It has most of the normal ingredients a taco salad would, just no corn chips or shell. A serving of kraut goes well with this meal. We used some of our canned jalapenos from last year, the salsa we made yesterday, a fresh sweet pepper from the garden, some lettuce, spinach, onion, olives, and room temperature, grated, cheddar. It was great! 

Tonight some of the members of Frank’s radio class are taking tests for their ham licenses. We are excited for them and hope everyone does well. We’ll let you know how it turns out and give you an update on how the class went in general. Now that it is over, we’ll see if our hopes of a local communications network materializes. 

By the way. Has anyone been having trouble with their internet service? Our internet service with Verizon over the past few months has gone from good, to a few glitches, to terrible. We get disconnected or ‘frozen’ numerous times a day now. Then we had someone tell us that Verizon and AT&T are having issues nationwide. Then we found out some other folks in this are are having connectivity issues with Verizon. Then we found out a medical clinic in Fort Smith, Arkansas has been having issues for a month. It would be interesting to hear if anyone else knows anything about this or is experiencing any difficulties.

We have taken to carrying a small bat with us into the pig pen for training purposes. The pigs have responded well and no longer crowd around right behind me when I am walking to the feed pan. We will continue to be very consistent in shaping their behavior. So far, so good.

Life on the homestead is good, very good. We continue to keep tabs on the world with a growing certainty that things will not remain as they are for much longer. The stock markets continue to exhibit the roller coaster pattern that many leading economists have been predicting. The media continues to distract the populace with the same mindless drivel they

have served up for years now. Every so often they intersperse their drivel with small tidbits of real news, news of increased violence, intolerance and suppression of the freedoms we once took for granted. Maybe that’s part of the problem. We have taken too much for granted for too long. Now the pursuit of pleasure and recreation is the end goal and the means justifies the end for a large portion of our world’s population. When this pursuit is no longer an option, what knowledge or skills will exist that can be utilized for survival? I’m afraid it will be like looking into the bottom of an empty barrel. There will be nothing there.

You’ve heard this many times before and here it is again. Learn all you can. Experience what you can now when failure is still and option and you can go to the store and obtain whatever it is you will need. Every single thing you can learn now will increase your possibility of making it yet another day when everything around you has changed. If some of the things we read and hear are anywhere near accurate, the beginnings of major upheaval or change may not be far away, not far at all. Do everything you can. Prepare yourself mentally to see and experience the unthinkable.

Until next time – Fern

Herb Cheese & Planting Roses

We have another respite from the rain today with some sunshine off and on between the clouds. I went out yesterday and pulled back some of the free mulch, from the hickory and pine trees, off of the plants that are peaking up in the herb bed. It’s about all I could do since the ground is super saturated right now. We have slowly been building up the milk supply in the frig to the point where we can start making a couple of batches of cheese a week. Last week we made a small batch of mozzarella with one gallon of milk. When we have plenty of milk, I make two or four gallon batches of mozzarella and freeze the extra. For now, we are making fresh cheese to eat, and we’re very glad to have it. Once our three young does, Lady Bug, Cricket and Penny, kid and begin producing enough milk, we will have way more than enough to really ramp up our cheese production. First up will be cheddar since it needs to age at least three months to start having a mild cheddar taste. We have been out of homemade for quite some time and once you get used to it, store bought just doesn’t hold a candle to it in flavor, freshness, consistency and nutrition. 


So today I made a fresh, pressed herb cheese. It is the same recipe I used last year, with the same ingredients, but only the second wheel of herb cheese I have made. I mentioned last year that I thought it would be good as a pepper cheese, and that will probably be the one I try next. After that, I think I will try one with oregano and maybe marjoram. Both of those plants are coming out in the herb bed, so by then I should be able to use fresh herbs in the cheese.

Oregano peeking out, March 15th

Here is a pictorial of the cheese I made today. As I mentioned in the article last year, there are other cheese making articles that will show you some of the specifics of the process we use. If you have any questions about any step of this procedure, please let me know and I will address them to the best of my ability.

Time to dust off the old cheese press

These are the multiplier onions I accidentally planted, and then dug up out of the garden last year. They’ve been waiting all winter in this tub on the porch to be planted in the herb bed where they belong.

One of the garlic patches

The garlic is doing well. I chose the largest of this bunch.

The curds are ready to heat and cook down

Time to pour off the whey

We save the whey in plastic jars for the dog, cats and sometimes chickens.

I had to crumble the curd so I could add the garlic, onions and salt.

Last year I thought the cheese was a little dry, so I didn’t press it as hard, and I only left it in the press for three hours.

Frank wanted to taste the cheese right after I took it out of the press. I warned him that it wouldn’t taste like what he was expecting. He only ate half a bite and said it wasn’t any good. Then he asked when it would be good. I told him tomorrow or the next day after it has time to sit and let the flavors blend together.
 

The recipe recommends putting the cheese on a plate covered with plastic wrap. I chose a bowl and our reusable food wrap instead. After the cheese was in the press, I had three hours to do other things, like feed us lunch. 

We received the rose bushes we ordered in the mail today, which we opened right away, then started them soaking in water. Since they are bare root, they needed to be rehydrated and kick started before I put them in the ground. I guess one advantage for them now is the fact that the ground is so saturated. There will not be any shortage of moisture for them to get off to a good start, not to mention that we have a chance of rain everyday this week starting again tomorrow afternoon. Otherwise I would wait a few days for the ground to dry up before planting. But I think these bushes would be better off in the ground than sitting around another few weeks waiting for better conditions.

 

I planted four rose bushes last summer that had been living in pots on the porch waiting for a permanent home. Plants here have to be willing and able to live in rather primitive conditions without a lot of TLC, or they just won’t make it. These bushes are a mix of red and cream colored roses.

That being said, three of the four are budding out and seem to be doing just fine. The verdict is still out on the fourth one. It appears the upper branches are dead, but maybe not the rest. We will see. [After I wrote this I found this leaf budding out toward the bottom of the plant. Yea!]

One of the main reasons I am planting roses is for the nutrients in the petals and rose hips. We also have many wild roses growing around here and there. I used the rose hips I picked last summer, which weren’t very many, to make rose water for the last batch of lotion I made. I thought that was very neat.

The new rose bushes are called Harison’s, which is the name given to the classic Yellow Rose of Texas. You see, Frank and I are Texans, that have been transplanted to Oklahoma. If you are from Texas, you know how we feel. We will always be Texans. That’s why Frank requested I find and plant the Yellow Rose of Texas here on our homestead. And since these roses will have to fend for themselves in our semi wild yard, I bought four of them, just in case some of them don’t make it.

I gave the roses a small dose of this great barnyard compost.

I saved some extra coffee grounds to give to these new bushes since they prefer a slightly acidic soil.
 

I’ve said a little prayer that they will do well. Just for Frank. It’s nice to be able to do something special for your spouse, even if it takes years to accomplish. I envision a big, wild entanglement of rose bushes all over this fence with beautiful, yellow roses that I can pick to adorn our table. This is one dream I do hope comes true.

The herb cheese is beautiful and I really get a great deal of satisfaction making it. We will have some tomorrow with our lunch. I hope it’s edible then.

By the way. Yesterday at our small country church we sang Brethren, We Have Met To Worship, and it really touched our hearts. We both went back and looked at the words again. Here are two different versions of it, one very country, and one with a church choir. If you care to listen, I pray it touches your heart as well. The second verse really stuck with me. “Brethren, see poor sinners round you, Slumbering on the brink of woe; Death is coming, hell is moving, Can you bear to let them go? See our fathers and our mothers, And our children sinking down; Brethren, pray, and holy manna, Will be showered all around.”

Here is the site of tomorrow’s planting

 

I hope to get the cole crops into the garden tomorrow before the rains come again, so the next post may be a little muddy. I’ll let you know how that goes and how the cheese turns out. Spring is just a few days away and life on the homestead will get much busier. We will get the garden in, and spend time tending it. I have many, many more seedlings to grow, especially for the herb bed. After we kill off all of the weeds and scrubby tree stuff at the end of the garden, we will be starting a new comfrey bed. The extra strawberries that have spread out into the garden area will also be used to start a new bed. More baby goats will be arriving in a little over two weeks, and that means more time milking each day, especially with three young does to train. I haven’t gotten much more done on the rag rugs, but it will be sitting here waiting on me when I am ready to pick it up again. Life is good. It would be so much easier to sit back and be lazy, and I am actually pretty good at that, as well. But there is nothing like having plenty to do. It keeps you going, learning, dreaming and accomplishing. Blessings to you all.

Until next time – Fern

A Very Simple Lotion, Failures & Success

A day or so after we made our simple lip balm, I tried my hand at making a simple lotion. I got the recipe from Leigh over at 5 Acres & A Dream. It’s in her latest ebooklet, How To Make An Herbal Salve, which is part of The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos, she’s been writing. I wanted something very simple, with few ingredients, that I could make from things I normally keep on hand. Leigh’s recipe fit the bill.

Trying to make a simple lotion is a continuation of our attempt to minimize the chemicals we ingest or absorb into our bodies. And, once again, I was amazed just how easy it is to make this lotion, even though it failed the second time I made it. But that’s getting ahead of myself. I forgot to take any pictures while I made the first batch.

The recipe calls for one cup of herbal tea. I had recently read that lemon balm and peppermint are good for your skin, and I happened to have a few leaves here and there growing out in the herb bed, so I picked them to use in my tea. I brought the water to boiling, turned off the fire, added the herbs and let them steep for about five minutes.

Next, I took 3/4 cup of oil, I used olive oil, and melted 2 tbsp. of beeswax in it. After the tea was ready, I blended it into the oil, until it was well blended. Leigh uses a blender. I used a slotted spoon. I wasn’t sure how long to stir it, and I knew I wouldn’t get the same consistency as a blender, but I thought it worked out well.


Frank and I were pleased with the results. This lotion is definitely oilier than any over the counter lotion we have used. But, if you give it a few minutes it will soak in and works very well.

 
So, the other day I thought I would make another batch since we have already used up more than half of the first batch. I picked more lemon balm and peppermint, even though there wasn’t much left out there. 

 

Made my tea, melted the beeswax and got ready to mix it together. 

This time I used the KitchenAid with the whip attachment to ‘blend’ the tea into the oil. After I thought it was well blended, it started to solidify on the sides of the bowl, I poured it into my half pint jars. 

 

Very quickly it started to separate. Tea on the bottom, olive oil and beeswax on the top. I scooped it out and remelted everything, stirred it with my slotted spoon, and poured it back into the jars. It separated again. I looked at the recipe over and over and tried to figure out what I had done differently to no avail. So, on the counter, taking up space, my failed lotion sat for almost a week. The other day Frank asked me if it had anywhere else it could be. But I told him for now, it was just sitting there until I could figure out what to do differently with it.

 Well, this morning it was time. I didn’t have the time to go out searching for more lemon balm and peppermint, so I used some store bought chamomile and made up a cup of tea.



I scooped off the olive oil and beeswax from the failed batch, remelted it again, and poured out the old tea. This time I didn’t bother with the Kitchen Aid. I figured if it didn’t work, I would dump it all out and try again another time.

After I poured the tea into the oils, I stirred and stirred with my slotted spoon. The mixture looked exactly like the failed batch and I didn’t think it would work. I have been researching a lot about making soap lately, reading and watching YouTubes. I have learned what getting your soap to trace means. It’s when you have stirred it long enough for it to become a thick, pudding consistency that will hold it’s shape when you run a spoon across the top. What does this have to do with making lotion? Well, as I stood there stirring and stirring, I wondered if I cooled the lotion down enough for the oils to start solidifying, would they begin to blend with the tea the way they were supposed to? So I put the pan into a sink of cold water to cool it down as I stirred and stirred. My arm was getting tired.


It worked. As the oils began to solidify, the tea started to blend into the mixture. I tried stirring with my left hand, but kept splashing droplets here and there on the counter. So, I stirred and stirred until it was time to stop.

There are still tiny, little pockets that look like moisture, but this time, the lotion actually looks rather creamy, like you would expect from a commercial lotion. I really couldn’t care less if it looked like a commercial lotion, but since that is what I have used all my life, it is what I have come to expect a lotion to look like. The consistency of the first batch is more like a salve than a lotion, but this batch is creamier, even though the ingredients are the same. Interesting.


There are many things that I have long dreamed and thought of doing. Making lotion wasn’t one of them. But, you know what? I think it is so neat, and fun, and healthier, and just really cool. I made a very simple lotion from ingredients I keep on hand, thanks to all the folks out there that share what they know and do, so I can do it too. What a great life!

Until next time – Fern

How Did It Work Out? Some Updates & Things

You know how it is when you read about someone trying something new, but never hear how it worked out? It can leave you wondering if it was a success or a flop. So I thought I would let you know about a few projects we’ve written about recently.

First up are the reusable food wraps. I love them. They work great on bowls of stuff. I have yet to try wrapping food in them without using a bowl, but my main goal was a way to cover bowls of things in the frig without using plastic wrap or a plastic lid. I’ve used them to cover fish, ground meat, coleslaw, onions, herb cheese, and I don’t remember what else. The first time I put it over
a bowl of salmon I really wondered if the wrap would stink. Nope. It still smelled like beeswax. The next stinky test was the onion. I was glad to find out that the wrap will not absorb the odor of the food item it is covering. Clean up is an easy rinse with lukewarm water, dry thoroughly, fold up and store for next time. I’m glad I made the smaller wraps while I had the beeswax out making lip balm. I use these smaller wraps the most.

They do get creases where they are bent or folded, and I haven’t done anything to cover them up yet. But, from what I have read, you can use hot water and your hands to smooth out the wax on either side of the crease and cover it back up. I am very happy to be using something besides plastic lids or plastic wrap. These appear to be very durable, are quick and easy to make, and are made with more natural products than plastic.

Next, are the reusable panty liners. I am still very pleased with the design I came up with. They are effective for my use, comfortable, easy to make and care for. I haven’t made any more yet, we have been doing a major clean up and organizing task. But I will make about a dozen more before long, probably on one of the next cold, yucky winter days. If you have a sewing machine and a need, I would highly recommend making your own. If not, there are many vendors that make a good, quality products. It’s an easy way to eliminate the many detrimental chemicals that are so easily absorbed by women’s bodies.

The lip balm we made is great. We really like knowing exactly what we are using, and again, eliminating more chemicals from our daily routine. I have used Carmex, and Frank Chapstick, for many years. One thing I found out when I switched to our lip balm is that I seemed to have a kind of withdrawal. I know, withdrawal from Carmex? I never considered it before we switched to our lip balm. My lips got pretty chapped for about 10 days. During that time we had some really cold weather with strong north winds that may have contributed some, but I really think most of it had to do with a Carmex ‘withdrawal’ period. It didn’t occur to me at first, but as time went by, I began to notice an improvement. So, at first, I used our lip balm many times a day to deal with the chapped lips. Now, I only use it a few times, similar to how I used the Carmex. We are both very pleased. I have infused some olive oil with lemon balm and peppermint that I picked from the herb bed for our next batch. We’ll let you know how that goes.

One thing I have not written about, nor did I take any pictures of the process, was the simple lotion I made. It is only beeswax, olive oil and herbal tea made from some of the lemon balm and peppermint I picked. Very simple. The recipe called for mixing with a blender, which I do not have, so I used a slotted spoon. Obviously, the spoon did not do the mixing job a blender would do, and sometimes there is a couple of droplets of water on top of the lotion. But it doesn’t bother us at all. We really like this lotion. I will take pictures and write about the next batch. I’m going to try using the KitchenAid with the whipping hook on it to see if it will mix it up better.

When I first started using the lotion, I only used it on my hands. My skin is very sensitive to a lot of things. For many, many years the only hand lotion I could use is the original, plain Vaseline Intensive Care. It’s a good lotion and worked fine. I cannot use any soap or cleansers on my face at all. They break me out in fine little red bumps. So, I wash my face with water and use Eucerin lotion and nothing else. But, after I used our lotion on my hands and it didn’t break them out, I tried it on my arms for a few days. That went okay, so after about a week I got brave and tried it on my face. No little red bumps. I was very happy. But the same kind of dried out reaction happened to my hands, arms and face that happened to my lips. I wondered if it was the quality of moisturizing components of our lotion compared to the chemicalized store bought version. You know, those chemicals we can’t pronounce? Things like isopropyl myristate, PEG-40 sorbitan perolrate, glyceryl lanolate, sorbitol, propylene glycol, cetyl palmitate, stearic acid, magnesium sulfate, aluminum stearate, lanolin alcohol, BHT, methychloroisothiazolinone, and methylisothiazolinone. I have no idea what these ingredients are, or what they do to my body. But, you know what? I really think our bodies are so accustomed to, and almost addicted to, all of the chemicals we put on them every single day, that we have withdrawals. When I first thought of that, I thought it sounded kind of weird, but the longer I used our non-chemicalized products, the more I think it is true. I have long considered these two lotions to be good quality products, but until now, I have never read the ingredients. Or tried to, anyway.

Now, I know that the olive oil I have is processed. And the beeswax is processed. And the lard we bought to use in the lip balm has preservatives in it and the pigs it came from were fed highly chemicalized feed. But at least we were able to eliminate many of the man made chemicals that are the basic components of lip balm and lotion. That’s one more small step we were able to make. We really hope in the near future we will be able to render our own lard and harvest our own beeswax. That will be wonderful.

One of the things we are excited about is making lye soap. We have researched and gathered the necessary ingredients for a basic lye soap. When time allows, and a few other projects are completed, we will give it a try and share the results. We haven’t experimented with many projects that could be dangerous to our health, but making lye soap is one of them. Remember, safety first.

We will continue to learn and experiment with eliminating more chemicals from our lives. We really feel that the more naturally we can live now, before we have no choice, the better off we will be. If we can learn how to make our own natural care products with minimal, hopefully renewable ingredients for the most part, then when the stores are empty, we won’t miss them as much. Don’t slow down and let a life of learning pass you by. There is so much to learn and do, the journey is a never ending process. It will keep you young and ticking.

Until next time – Fern