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Recently I was looking and looking the safety/environmental impact of the ingredients in liquid commercial soap (specifically a Bath and Body product) at www.cosmeticsdatabase.com.  Here's an eye opener ... one of the ingredients was IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA.  Here's what the website had to say about it:
"Excreted from urine and other bodily fluids. In deodorants, ammoniated dentifrices, mouthwashes, hair colorings, hand creams, lotions, shampoos, etc. Used to "brown" baked goods, such as pretzels."  From PEE! Seriously, I do not need this in my soap.  (Nor do I want it on my pretzels!)

The people for Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments listed it as a "Sensitizer - can instigate immune system response that can include itching, burning, scaling, hives, and blistering of skin".  I'm sorry, but why is this a surprise...afterall, it comes from PEE!  

I confess to being totally grossed out. And this was just one of the ingredients that generated a "Yuck" response.  There were more.  It appears to have uber-motivated me to start developing testing liquid products and finding a natural subsitute for commercial liquid soap and shampoo. 

Well so far, it's kind of been a depressing post.  Let's change that!

Last weekend I made my first Shampoo Bars.  Nothing too exciting there.  Used the crockpot HP method.  Looking good, just hardening up a bit.  Fortunately there was just a little bit that couldn't fit into the molds.  So I took it and shaped it into a ball and managed to leave it alone overnight before using it in my morning shower.

To use a shampoo bar, you wet your hair, then run the shampoo bar lightly over your hair and then use your hands to work into a lather.  Now I'm very analytic, so when I got to the step of running the shampoo bar over your hair, I paid lots of attention to how the bar felt, how my hair felt, the smell etc. etc.  Then I get to the third step ... work into a lather.  Flashback to step two where I was taking extra time to roll the bar over my hair so I could do my analysis.  Back to step three...make lather...and it made LOTS more lather.  My head was just a big bowl of bubbles.  Had to laugh at what happens when my overly-analytic mind takes over.  I have since learned it doesn't take much from the shampoo bar to make lots of bubbles!  I'm liking how it feels, very soft and healthy looking.  There will be more of this made!

p.s.  I haven't been neglecting my blogging duties.  I've been trying to do it on my business website instead but yet wasn't quite ready for everyone to know until I got online ordering set up.  Well, online ordering is still a couple of weeks away, but go ahead...visit... www.444Farm.com
 
We had a wonderfully normal weekend without drama.

The biggest drama revolved around a new horse that arrived.  Dakota brought a pony that belonged to her future brother-in-law.  See if you can follow this ...  Daughter Dakota got her first horse when she was 16.  Her horse's name was ... Dakota.  Forevermore known as Dakota H.(orse).  Any guess where I'm going here?  Yep, you got it.  New horse's name is Dakota.  But she doesn't look like a Dakota.  (whatever that means)  The new horse is a paint with blue eyes.  Beautiful and a wonderful personality.  She suckered me in quickly!

We went to Jim's 80th birthday party.  Good folks and good food.  We went and listened to Jeff and his band play on Lake Poinsett.  Great atmosphere and fun band. 

I got to try out my new soap molds.  Way too much fun!  I made 12 lbs of soap this weekend!  It was fabulous working with the new molds and now have to put in an order for some new scents.  I tried something new with some unexpected results.  I put together a new recipe that I was going to use for my Suds-weizer and Bubbly-Bubbles lines for Christmas/New Years.  So I add the lye to the wine / goat milk soap mixture and it turns ... SPLIT PEA GREEN ...  Panic ... But then I remember mistakes have had some great results so I stuck with it.  It went from green to orange and is now a light yellow/orange color.  It's definitely workable but I was hoping for a light pink color.  I may trying to mess with the order of things and see if it has any affect.

And I even got a batch of salsa made.  See what I mean ... just a nice easy going weekend ... with fantastic weather.

Have a great week yourself!  Penny
 
The lack of blogging activity is directly linked to the surplus of vacation days and a left behind computer.  Ahhh!
What we did ... fish ... sleep ... eat ... sleep <repeat> on the shores of Lake Michigan.
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How embarrassing on the first day as we were a bunch of big wimps reeling in those fish, crying for help -- "hold my pole, I can't go on."  We did better the other days as we fine tuned our technique and turned up the determination.  Notice Jay's fine stance when reeling in.  No wimpiness here!

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And here's his reward.  Look at the face...behind the weight of the grimace is pure happiness.

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This is the stringer of fish for day 3.  Our fishing guides Captain Steven and First Mate Forrest delivered and we were only 4 short of our limit for the entire stay for the 4 of us (including cohorts - Bruce and Sheryl).  Forrest obliged the picture taking and even setup the shot.  Notice the little fish inside the big fish's mouth.  That was all Forrest.  But in case you're wondering what the little fish saw from that angle...

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And on the way back, we stopped in Menomonie, WI to visit a high school friend.  It was wonderful company, conversation, and FLOWERS.  Thanks, Amy and Greg!

 
I've been booted out of my own kitchen, but somehow I'm still not getting out of cooking.

Since I was constantly in a state of soap or somethin' making, DH created my own workspace out in the garage.
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I know you're quite jealous of my mauve cupboards.  I do have to say they are working quite nice.  I've made quite a few batches of soap in the last few days including:
Peach Tea
Honeysuckle
Citrus
Pomegranate
Orange Spice
Coffee Orange Spice

And I've started a "Forrest Gump" soap.  I always have a little bit left over that doesn't fit in the molds.  So I started taking an upright mold and pouring "the rest" in there right on top of the other one.  So "you never know what you're going to get" when you slice off a bit of Forrest Gump soap.

And somewhere along the way this weekend, I also made a batch of goat cheese.   Yes, me the "I USED TO cook, cook" every once in a while still comes thru.  I've been having a little trouble being to cheap with the spices so it hasn't had quite the flavor I was looking for so I added a little extra and I thought it was quite yummy.  Lotsa garlic!

I have an excuse to make more. Next Sunday church is holding its services at the lake with potluck to follow.  I'm looking forward to the whole thing!

In the meantime - watch out for killer mosquitos!

 
In the course of discussion of aprons coming back into vogue a little bit, I happened to mention that I have some of Grandma-Great's aprons.  I don't know how I ended up with them, but I did.  What I didn't know was that I had textile-gold.  That is, based on other people's reaction they must be gold.
So here I 'fess up to the precious items from Grandma-Great that somehow I ended up with.
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So it is actually 7 aprons all in a decided wrinkly state.

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Here's a couple of closeups so you can see the stitching.

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I also have Grandma-Great's German Bible

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And what I believe was either confirmation or graduation watch.  I love it.  Don't have an excuse to wear it often.

That's all I got.  Now there may be other members of the family that got a hand constructed Noah's Ark.  I would just like to point out ... I didn't get one.
(Really there was no one bent out of shape about the whole deal, but I wanted to show off my antiques!)
 
I've been working on "the recipe" for my conditioning bar.  I think it is officially good to go!  It's a fairly simple recipe with just three types of oils, but all of the oils are ones that have wonderful conditioning properties.  Including SHEA butter.  This should make the bar harder and last a little longer and have a bit more lather than a pure olive oil castile.  I made some Rosemary Mint yesterday.  Tomorrow I am hoping to make my "No Fragrance Added" variety but still has wonderful smell -- Honey n Oats and combines the healing and moisturizing of both goat's milk and oatmeal.  Next will be Lavendar-Chamomille which will have dried Chamomille from the garden.  And then will be Honeysuckle.  I think.  She-a So Fine is the soap you want next to the sink that you are always washing your hands.  In my case, it's next to my kitchen sink and those days when I am constantly rinsing / washing my hands are the days my hands are the softest.  Now that's good soap when it makes your hands softer rather than drying out from frequent washings!
mmm....love that goat's milk soap!
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The goats have been living like they own the place.  Pretty much free access with a couple of "off limit" areas -- the lawn, the flower garden, the vegetable garden.  But as far as around the miscellaneous farm buildings... Well, let's say they have been encouraged to explore there boundaries -- and beyond.

All was well until neighbor who rents our grain bin unloaded the corn from the grain bin to be sold.  There's no way that some corn won't be spilled, but honestly.  There was no goat cry issued that said "COME AND GET IT".  But come they did and let's just say the results of a sudden diet change was felt.  Because I would call our fences more of a suggestion for the goats (they work great for the horses!) there was no stopping them except to lock them up in the cattle shed.

I don't want them locked up in the cattle shed.  The kids are bored so they fill their time by eating ... MY precious goat milk.  And therefore I went on a fence building rampage.  Nothing can stop me!  So let's assess the situation ... We're going to fence the south  corral.

Looks like the old fenceline needs to be torn out.
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And gotta tear out the old feedbunks ... 

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A little bit of goat proofing repair to the building.  All right!  Materials are purchased.  Let's get started!

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Of course, maybe we should have picked a day that it didn't rain!  Plans have been thwarted momentarily, but I'm still on a rampage!  But with the rain...we were in the house before 8 pm!  I don't remember the last time that has happened!

Have a good night!

 
MMMMMMMMMMMMM....
It was a smelly weekend as I made soap and lotion bars.  Getting stuff figured out! First up was lotion bars!  The first time they were too hard, the second time too greasy, and the the third time ... just right!  and the flavor is Nectarine with a hint of cocoa ... mmm...  Here's what the end result looked like. 
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Next weekend am going to make a Rose Shea lotion bar.  I started this weekend by making a trip outside and snipping the best looking roses.
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Then I added some olive oil with the rose petals for some smelly oil.  mmm...
It needs to infuse all week.  I checked earlier and it smells wonderful.  And this was so much fun that I picked some peonies and have a peony infusion in process too.  Ok, it's time to make soap!  First melt your oils.
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Then add the lye to the goat's milk.  Slow-w-w-ly.  (The chunks are frozen goats milk.)  Then add the lye milk mixture to the oils and use that stick blender to get it to the trace stage.
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Then it's time to cook.  It will go thru 3 stages ... Gel, Applesauce, and finally Mashed potatoes.
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Yup!  Mashed Potatoes.  And ... drumroll ...

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Nectarine Blossom Peach Tea ... MMMMMM...

 
Experiment # 1:
Castille (100% Olive Oil) soap:  Nice.  Very Softening.  Very Low on lather.  hmmm....
Experiment # 2:
"Regular Soap" ... still curing... who knew waiting would be this hard.
Experiment # 3:
I'd rather not talk about it. 

But it made me decide maybe it would be best to get really good at a single recipe instead of doing a bunch of experiments.  Decided to do hot process so that I could start to use it right away and decide if it's a keeper.

Picked out "the recipe" to perfect. 
Round 1 ... Added scent for the first time. Bar smells luscious but is still soft and is 'ugly'.  Am giving it a week to harden it up somewhat before using.  Am going to try perfecting the looks and see if I can improve.  It turned out a gold color and i would prefer closer to white ... will see.  Also got my first air bubbles so will be giving that extra attention.
Round 2 ... It's cooking!  Here is what it looked like in the pot before I put it in the oven.  It looked delicious ... a buttery yellow.  But it won't stay that color as long as I hot process....
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And slightly off topic, Dakota discovered Momma and baby raccoons in the hayloft.  Brother and friends saved the day and got them out of the barn.  The babies (4 of them) are now at a buddies house.  Better them than us!

 
In preparation for Jakeob's graduation, I went searching for plants to dig up and divide.  I had this 'flag iris' (I think) that had a lot of beautiful foliage although the flower was on the tiny side in comparison to all that foliage.  Perfect candidate...maybe dividing it will be the ticket to encourage it to flower more.  So I'll just quick dig it out.  Change of plans, I will grunt, groan and pant as I finally dig a small piece of it out.
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I split into 4, but am expecting them to very quickly fill in the space. 
But enough of that back breaking work, let's just take a garden stroll.

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Lovely.  Grandma left an angel and a birdhouse in the garden. :) Let's take a closer look at the birdhouse.

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On closer look, a wasp nest has moved into the birdhouse.  Maybe it's best if we moved on.

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Here's something new in the garden...baby Pak Choy that's gone to seed.  <sigh>. 
When all else fails...bedtime...good night...