Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall is HERE!!

     With a full day of rain the day before, Autumn came whispering in.  I have to say it was very welcomed!  Autumn means sweaters, boots, hot chocolate and soups!  Our highs for the next 10 days are not supposed to exceed 81 degrees.  <3  Now for a bit of perspective...a friend woke up to SNOW on her porch this morning!  (Of course she does live in Alaska...LOL)

     Last week I successfully built a PVC chicken tractor.  Cindy-Loo said I could have her hens, and I wanted something to keep them safe in.  I wanted something I could move around the goat pen by myself, if I needed too.  My original design was using 2 x 4's.  I needed it to be 100 sq ft to hold a maximum of 10 full size chickens.  The wood design would be wayyyy to heavy for me to move, so it became PVC.  Zackary and I made a couple of trips to Lowes.  Alley came along a time or two.  It actually took a few days to get it done and that frustrated me!

     Well, the chickens seem to be happy and that's all that matters!!  Happy chickens=many eggs!!  I have been able to move it several times already by myself.  We have 7 Rhode Island Red hens and 1 Silkie rooster ;)  

     I was also able to use the last piece of fencing and patch a hole in the goats' pen.  It was nice to go out there in the morning and find them still inside and griping!  LOL  I love their little bleeting sounds <3

     Today I was able to get some Fall Cleaning done.  I scrubbed my back hall walls and floor.  ANyone who has kids, dogs, and cats AND lives in red clay can see where this is going.  My walls were orange from the floor up about 3 feet.   The dogs loved when it rained and filled our little duck pond...unfortunately they did NOT like staying outside!  Tail swishes and full body rubs along the walls, plus the kids that were chasing them and mid-wall collisions!  However, God bless Magic Erasers!!  My walls and floors are sparkling white and I did NOT have to repaint!  ;)  It is a good day in Georgia <3

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ordered new SOAP stuffs!

     I'm so excited you would think it was Christmas! Thanks to my wonderful husband, I was able to place an order for more soaping supplies.  I am trying out "Essential Depot".  I have seen several soapers using this company.  When I opened it up this morning after watching another beautiful soap creation made, I was in heaven!  They are having a great sale right now!  Any orders over $100 will get a $10 discount at checkout AND their essential oils are up to 30% off until midnight TONIGHT!  (Some I ordered were closer to 50% off!!)  I was able to greatly expand my scent collection.  I was having yummy smelling ideas as I was adding them to my order!  I can't wait to share with Alley!!

See what "Essential Depot" has to offer!!

This is what I ordered this time:

Essential Depot Items
        1 2 lbs Potassium Hydroxide Flakes KOH  @ $3.49 = $3.49
        1 Zinc Oxide Powder 1 lb.  @ $10.58 = $10.58
        1 Grapefruit Essential Oil - 1 oz  @ $6.24 = $6.24
        1 Lavender Essential Oil - 4 oz  @ $10.91 = $10.91
        1 Lemon Essential Oil -  4 oz  @ $10.11 = $10.11
        1 Lime Essential Oil - 4 oz  @ $15.01 = $15.01
        1 Pine Essential Oil - 4 oz.  @ $8.36 = $8.36
        1 Pumpkin Seed Oil - 1 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Cedarwood Essential Oil - 1 oz  @ $5.14 = $5.14
        1 Cinnamon Essential Oil - 1 oz  @ $7.51 = $7.51
        1 Apple Green Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Berry Breeze Fragrance Oil - 4 oz.  @ $5.35 = $5.35
        1 Bubblegum Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $6.83 = $6.83
        1 Clean Cotton Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Floral Bouquet Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Floral Garden Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Fresh Cut Grass Fragrance Oil - 4 oz.  @ $5.35 = $5.35
        1 Fruit Fantasia Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Honey Dew Melon Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $6.54 = $6.54
        1 Jasmine Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $6.54 = $6.54
        1 Mango Madness Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $6.54 = $6.54
        1 Musk Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Sandalwood Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $7.73 = $7.73
        1 Water Melon  Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Sun & Sand Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Strawberry Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Rose Garden Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $8.32 = $8.32
        1 Grape Fragrance Oil  - 4 oz.  @ $5.94 = $5.94
        1 Stearic Acid - Triple Pressed - White Flakes -  1 lb.  @ $4.99 = $4.99
        1 Almond Sweet Oil - 1 Quart - Free 5 oz. Sodium Hydroxide (YES - ADD FREE Lye) @ $14.97 = $14.97
        1 Glycerin Vegetable KOSHER USP - 1 Gallon - Not eligible for any promotions  @ $16.47 = $16.47

The possible smell combos are almost limitless!!  Plus I was finally able to order KOH make liquid soap, like castille!  My house is going to smell heavenly from now until Christmas!!  Hahaha  It's just a matter of deciding on scents and mixtures then the fun part...making the soap!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Pressure Canning...Ahhhhh!! O.O

     Ok, so I have never pressure canned before.  As a matter of fact, the only canning I have done was making blackberry jam.  O.o  Well I got up today determined!  I made sausage gravy...A LOT of sausage gravy, just so I could can it.  Zackary had to get my canner down from on top of the big freezer.  He started laughing because i have had it for about 15 months and it was still in the shipping plastic.

     I opened it, had Alley was it all really well and I started reading the directions.  While they were amazingly simple, they were extremely scary and kinda confusing for a brand new novice!  I read the directions and warnings 3x before I actually touched the canner.  (In the meantime, Alley was in the kitchen helping herself to homemade bread and gravy!)  We washed and sterilized my jars in the dishwasher.  I left them in there until I was ready to use that specific one, so there was no risk of people/dog contamination.

     It wasn't too scary until I had to close it up and turn on the burner.  Everything had a warning about making sure the pressure is right so the food doesn't spoil, but you have to make sure the lids on right or it could actually blow in your kitchen!  Plus, when you take it off the burner, you have to let it cool slowly and release the pressure BEFORE you attempt to open it...or it can BLOW!

     So, as it sits now, I have about 20 mins left of the pressurizing before I remove it from the heat!  I just keep watching it.  The little weight on the top is just a rockin' and rollin' on the it's supposed too!
So now I wait..and wait...and wait... (90 mins).  I took it off the heat and let it cool down and depressurize.  Nothing BLEW UP!!  :D  I consider that a MAJOR success!!

     Then I took the lid off and realized it wasn't quite the success I had hoped for.  My gravy escaped the jars.  It was down the sides and IN the water.  :(  I either filled them too full (probably) and/or didn't have the lids on tight enough (very possible).  So the canner got washed and put back together to try again on a new day.  I am very happy it wasn't catastrophic, but seriously wish I had been able to watch/help someone else.

     I keep hearing people say that their grandmother used to do it all the time!  Now it's just easier to walk into the grocery store and BUY something.  The world has gotten so busy that basics are being steamrolled under by technological advances and our instant gratification lifestyle.  I want my children to be able to say, "Oh I know how to do that!  My MOM does it all the time!"

Now: Tools of the trade :)
16 Qt Presto Pressure Canner

1 1/2 Pint Ball Jars (what I used this time) & Utensil Set (not required, but VERY helpful!)
Limited Edition Ball "Blue" jars (Beautiful! I WILL come up with something to use them with!)
This just tickled my fancy!  Mostly because it's my birthday!!  LOL  Hoping to maybe do it in 2014!