Odds and ends this weekend

November 10, 2013

The buying of soapmaking equipment went very well overall. I got a couple of good deals and the work area is starting to shape up. You all might know denimflyz from her blog and her comments here. Well she got my aunt’s goats milk soap and loves it! One of the best things about learning the soap making from my aunt is that she doesn’t cut corners or quality. I think we will have a competitively priced product with our soap making and while we hope people will want to buy it, the backup plan is it will be something I will store and use in the future.  I saw an interesting crock pot go on sale at Fred Meyers/Krogers this week,  it has a built in mixer. A little pricey at $55.00 but it might be worth the cost if we have several batches going at once.  I got several small (1.5 quart) crock pots on sale at the end of summer. I figured they might make nice gifts or could be used for barter, but it looks like at least one of those little crock pots will be used for melting the “super fats” needed for soap making. Mom is getting into the soap making too though she and my aunt are letting me lead the way so to speak for this business. In a way I think it is a good idea, if not super efficient we will have a lot of redundancy and one failure point can’t stop production.  Mom has Fibro and I have CIDP so with our disabilities we need to make sure we have extra redundancy for our bad days.

On to the wood stove and how it is working out.  It’s actually working out even better than I imagined from energy costs to how much better I feel not dealing with the electric central heat kicking on and off all the time.  As of November my wood is paid for just from the energy savings on my electric bill. If I wasn’t trying to start a new home business and stay somewhat cash rich for the next budget battle in DC after the first of the year I could have plowed those savings into paying off the stove loan. While the  wood I bought will not burn overnight, once the house is warmed up it’s still quite comfortable to wake up to the mid to upper 60’s.  One good thing about the wood I bought is that it does burn hot and is easy to start a fire. If I can start adding some longer burning hard wood I will be set for the rest of the year no matter how cold it gets!

A little bad news is I think I have a cracked tooth, hidden cavity or a molar is  impacted in a way I can’t see.  There was a some swelling and possible infection I cleared up with brushing with baking soda and rinsing with Hydrogen peroxide. While most of the heat/cold sensitivity has gone away the pain is still happening and facial nerves can be quite uncomfortable when stimulated.  I’ll have to find a good dentist as the VA does not consider any dental work health care for Vets. I’m not suggesting anyone avoid dental care, in fact you should get any issues treated as soon as money allows but you can use some home made products to treat an minor infection and I think adding clove oil, aspirin and even something like Oragel or the generic equivalent has a place in you home healthcare/first aid kit. Since I have been studying up on uses for beeswax, I found out that beeswax has been used as temporary fillings in the past.  Believe or not straight baking soda is actually less abrasive than most commercial toothpastes, and babies with teething pains can get on any ones nerves if you have to bug in, never mind any whiny family members with a a toothache.  I believe any infection should be treated aggressively as soon as possible before it needs anti-biotics that may or may not work.

Mom and I are getting a soap making class

October 31, 2013

Getting  a soap making class from my aunt on Friday. I’m getting kind of excited about adding another skill as well as something that might work as a cottage business. My aunt is going to give us a class on making regular soap and a goat’s milk soap and I think she is getting excited about it too. The  worst that can happen is I learn a new skill and hobby that will provide me with soap I like no matter what happens in the future.

My rain barrels will help with the soap making as the water should be soft compared to city or well water. It seems that the softer the water is the better the lye mixes and makes a better end product.  While the wood I’m burning in the wood stove is a pine and not very good ashes for making soap. Going with fruit hard woods next year and the mesquite I use for charcoal should work very well to make in the future. I found instructions for making my own leeching barrel for lye and a different use for the ashes from the wood stove. I’ll be using the ash out behind my shop and the alley to kill off the Goatheads (puncture vine) and it will also add some traction for the driveway/alley in the winter.

So far the soap making and beeswax looks like a fairly small money investment of a couple of hundred dollars at most. Not all that much money compared to most hobbies and is very small when compared with most small businesses.  Buying and selling local, being self-reliant and telling the government that I no longer need the disability payments would be priceless!

I brewed up a batch of wheat beer and I’m cooling the grains so my aunt can see if her chickens and goats like it as feed.  The grains should be a bit like sweet feed that has some of the sugars extracted. The grain is crushed so it should be easy to digest but when I worked on the ranch as a kid I saw cattle get terrible bloat when overfed with grain. So while I doubt the chickens will have a problem this will be the first time using the grain to feed a larger animal.  Good thing about goats is they have a very strong stomachs and can survive on stuff that other grazers can’t tolerate.

I have no idea if the soap and beeswax idea will work as a business, but I think it does have potential especially with my disability.  I’m going to keep working on more things and researching ideas that I can physically accomplish and make me less dependent on the government.  I don’t much care for being used as a bargaining chip while the PTBs play their little games. Funny how they never put their government checks on the line. It’s always the taxpayer, the disabled, the elderly and the poor that are threatened!