Posts Tagged ‘soap making’


This little farm has different seasons, as all farms do.

There is summer with all its glory. Weeding the gardens, feeding the multitude of animals, canning, milking and the list goes as long as the days are and beyond.

Summer transitions into fall.  School starts, back to work, broilers and pigs head to freezer camp.  Gardens are harvested and readied for the deep sleep of winter.  Wood is cut and split.  And the grand push to ready the Christmas season is on. Soap and lotion are made for the numerous  sale events we attend. The house is cleared out and set up for the home show in November, no small feat that.  The family calls it “hell week” and rightly so. Christmas comes and goes and we settle into winter.

Most would think that things would calm down after all that.  But stock has been depleted and more must be made for coming shows.  I never have time for spring cleaning so I winter clean.   People love to take soap and cheese making classes during the doldrums so many are booked usually on the same day the girls come into heat so I must juggle goat sex and meeting people for their class without smelling of Stanky Buck.

The later part of winter, I mean like the month of March. I rest.  Chores are at a minimum with only the goats and chickens to be done.  Milking does not occur now as the girls are dried off to give their energy to growing kids that are due in April.  Life is slower and easier.

The longer days of Spring and five, maybe six piglets will be arriving this weekend. The first batch of broilers shortly after that.  I need to start the tomato and pepper seedlings, too. Did I say that I have the whole month of March off, I guess I lied.


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Chewing the Fat

February vacation starts today.  Some may argue that it started last Thursday afternoon.  It may be true that we had an early release due to snow and then had a snow day Friday; but I had stuff that I needed/planned to get done before vacation.  So I used those “extra” days to get it done.

One way that the farm is supported is through my soap making.  I use the traditional method and I use animal fats.  There are some/many out there that find using rendered animal fat repulsive.  For me, it is an ethical approach.  My family eats meat.  Meat that we raise or that someone we knows raises.  By using the fat of those animals I am honoring every part of the animal.  Well, almost every part…I have tried pickling pig’s feet and that will not be happening and I don’t even want to attempt head cheese…but I do my best to use it all.  And, soap made from animal fat is actually better for your skin.  Anyway, in order to use the fat it has to be rendered.  Rendering is the process of taking the suet or lard and melting it down.  Image


     I put it into a large huge crock pot one of those buffet style jobbers I picked up for a steal at a lawn sale and let it “cook”.


Then it is strained into 5 gallon pails.


Finally, it is cooled and then put into the freezer for future soap making.

        I do this in the evenings after work and on weekends.  I now have seven 5 gallon pails of tallow/lard in the freezer.

     This whole process is done in our shed so the house does not smell like bacon for a year.  There are boxes of a the raw fat on the floor.  We are very careful not to let Momo, our ever hungry lab, into the shed alone.  Apparently, this time we were not as vigilant as we thought.  Youngest son was looking for the ever elusive remote and found a hunk of fat buried in the couch.  Don’t get the wrong idea our house is tidy.  He continued his search and found a hunk of fat in each of our living room chairs and one or two in his room.  Disgusting!!  All boxes of fat were placed out of reach and Miss Momo was checked for chipmunking fat before entering the house.

     The last few weeks, while the fat was cooking away and the furniture was drying I was working on some chairs someone had requested to be caned.  Caning is a hobby and I am no professional.  But they are finally done!!  Finished last night, the final night before vacation officially started.


     Now, vacation can start!   A vacation spent peddling soap and getting ready for a weekend show!

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This afternoon was spent at the orthodontist and then running errands for soap making supplies.  The farmer is making soap this evening.  Goat milk and beer soap.  The fats are melted, the beer is flat and the supper dishes are cleared.  Time for some serious suds, soap of course. Oh wait, the FH needs a tool and goodness knows the youngest son cannot allow him to go alone. YS,  “Mom, can you babysit for me?”  Farmer, “Can’t you take Finnigan?”  “No, he is sleeping.”  “But I was making soap….”  “I’ll vacuum for you.”   Farmer, “You’ll vacuum? Of course, I can babysit.”  It is a relief for the farmer to know that she can make soap and if the baby falls out of its basket onto the floor the YS will vacuum up the remains of the 10# bag of flour science project baby.

        Baby Finnigan









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