Archive for January, 2008

Soap Porn and Super Bowl Plans

Monday, January 28th, 2008

I’ve really gotten into this larger soap mold I got for Christmas that makes the over sized bars. I took some pictures of the last two batches I made and thought you might like to see some more of my soap porn.

Here’s the one that is scented with the Polo Sport Type for men fragrance that I named Tyler – it’s getting a little more gray as it cures, but it’s still looking rather beige. You can tell by the center though, it is getting a little grayer on the edges:

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And here’s one of my Raspberry Lilac – the picture doesn’t show it very well, but the lilac portion is swirled with raspberry. The top portion is raspberry and it’s topped with a sparkly lilac mica powder:

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We had a nice relaxing weekend on the homestead. We just kind of tinkered around here and I don’t even really remember that we did anything note worthy. It was just nice to be here.

Next weekend is Super Bowl Sunday and Bernie is very excited about the personal Super Bowl party I throw him each year. He’s getting his menu together and the schedule of when each of the little snacks gets served. I’ll spend all day cooking for him, but I don’t mind. He’s a pretty good husband. And I think it’s been well established that I’m a darn good wife.

Bee Free,
Penny

Soaping Fool on the Homestead

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Here’s the soap I made yesterday and cut today for my favorite nephew-in-law, Troy:

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What do ya think? I made another batch a few minutes ago for my very favorite great-nephew. I used a Curves for Men type fragrance oil. It’s supposed to be gray, with black soap cubes throughout it. I used a new colorant, and right now it is looking very suspiciously beige. I’m not sure it’s going to turn out as I planned at all. I’ll know tomorrow when I cut it. I’m naming this one Tyler. The little snot better like it.

I worked today and Bernie headed out to our house in town to empty out the refrigerator and freezer. We probably should have thought to do that a few months ago. I know that thing was slap full, but he came home with just a small cooler full of food. I said “That’s all?” and he said “Don’t even ask.” Apparently he had several trash bags for the dump – and he wasn’t happy about it. Darnit.

Not sure what we’re doing on the homestead this weekend, but I do know it will involve us BEING on the homestead. Even Bernie has decided he’s not going anywhere. We’re staying put and working around here. Yay! I love it when I bring Bernie around to my way of thinking.

Bee Free,
Penny

Finless and Fancy Free

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

I had my fin removed yesterday. The only painful part was the 50,000 times he stuck me with a needle to deaden my mouth. There was no way pain was going to sneak through all the Novocaine he shot in there. My entire head was numb by the time he got started. I won’t give you all the gory details, but you can imagine just how pleasant it is to see items entering your mouth that look and sound like the tools your husband uses while working on a car engine. Finally, Dr. Specialist announced “There it is! I see your fin. I wish I could take a picture for you to put on your blog.” I had a moment of absolute horror as I wondered if he had actually read my blog, but then decided he was just a little techno-savvy and being chatty. Otherwise I am certain he would have commented on my wonderful drawing. He sewed in six stitches and I was on my merry way.

So the fin is gone and other than a few minutes of discomfort as the Novocaine wore off, I’m really feeling just fine. So fine, in fact, that I actually made another batch of soap today. My niece called to inform me that she loves my soap, but her husband doesn’t care for all the girly smells. So I decided to make a batch especially for him. I used my mold that makes over sized bars again – and this time I colored it black and stirred in white confetti soap. Then I used the blender to whip up a bit of the soap that I had removed before adding the black color and spread a layer of white topping on the black soap. I know how it’s supposed to look, but I have no idea how it will actually turn out. I scented it with a fragrance oil that smells like Polo Sport for Men. I’ll cut it tomorrow and if it turns out half way decent, I’ll post a picture here. Since “Polo Sport for Men” is taken, I’m calling this one Troy because, well, it was inspired by Troy. I am so darn creative.

Lobby Day at our Capitol went really well and we spoke to as many representatives as we could pin down. We’re writing the ones we missed and Bernie will be back down there a few more times this session. They may not vote the way we want them to, but certainly they won’t vote before knowing how we feel about it.

Between shuttling me to the dentist and trying to keep up with things around here, Bernie’s been chipping ice off the driveway. We have a fairly steep hill just before you get to the house that was covered in ice and getting a bit scary to maneuver. For my daily outing, I took the Trail Blazer down to check mail and was quite pleased with the job he did on the driveway. I don’t mind excitement, but that driveway was getting just a little more exciting than I like. It’s fine now and he finished it just in time for it to start snowing again. Hopefully it’s just a flurry. But I don’t trust Old Man Winter. You may remember we ended up with eight inches of snow after predicted flurries last year.

We’re still plugging along on the homestead. The ground is too frozen to put in fence posts right now. Bernie still has some trees to deal with that fell during various storms this winter. We’ll just add that to the never ending list of things that keep us busy and happy around here.

Bee Free,
Penny

Everyone’s a Critic

Friday, January 18th, 2008

I know y’all think I’m kidding, but I really do receive a lot of email pointing out any mistakes I make in my blogs or simply commenting on what a dufus I can be. In all honesty, I know that it is done in jest or with a sincere effort to be helpful, and being the good natured person I am, I take it how it was intended.

After my last post, my dear sister wrote to inform me I had made three spelling/grammar errors in my blog. No “Hey – great blog. Oh by the way you misspelled something” just “I found three errors in your blog”. Thanks, sis. I fixed them.

And then here’s the love letter My Dear John sent me:

“If that dentist isn’t any better at drawing I don’t think he’b b my first choice for removing a fin .

Either that U ain’t much better at drawing then he is”

I love you too, My Dear John. (Note to sister – the spelling errors are his, not mine)

And speaking of being a critic, here’s your chance to critique the latest soap I made. It’s quite a bit different than any I’ve made before and it didn’t turn out exactly as I had envisioned, but I think it’s OK. I’d just love to hear what you have to say about it. It’s honey scented with a chocolate center and chocolate shavings on top. I call it “Bee My Honey” – being as it’s for Valentine’s day and all.

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Here’s a close up of one with the heart in it:

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These bars are larger than I usually make. They measure about 3 and 1/2 inches wide by 3 and 1/2 inches tall (not including the shavings). So what do y’all think? I was a little disappointed in the shavings. I cut them with a carrot peeler and I think they are a little too short and a little too thin.

We’re heading to Richmond for Lobby Day weekend tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll be fine when I get there, but I’m kind of dreading it right now. Going to Richmond means I have to leave our homestead for a few days. I don’t like leaving our homestead. But I also don’t like the legislature being in session and not being aware of where I stand on things that many of them tend to take lightly – my pesky little rights, for example. So we’re heading to Richmond until Monday.

Until then, keep those emails coming! Let me know what you think of the soap. I’ll answer when we return.

Bee Free,
Penny

PS – I do love to get your emails. There is also a comment feature to each blog entry if you are interested in sharing what you have to say with the blogosphere. (Note to sister – blogosphere does not show up in the dictionary)

Thank You Each for Your Sincere Concern

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Prior to today, the most amount of email I’ve gotten in response to this blog concerned soap making and butter churning. But certainly the post yesterday on my fin has gotten the attention of many of you. I really appreciate all the concern and well wishes. I’ll post a few of the comments I received below, so that you can see how much my blogger friends love me and are concerned for my well being:

1 – “I always knew you were special, but I had no idea you are half fish”
2 – “Sharks have fins toooooooo!”
3 – “Will you join the circus now?”

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. And speaking of pictures, I drew one to help explain my fin:

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I swear to you, this is a very close duplicate of the picture the specialist actually drew for me. I am not lying. At any rate – that Homer Simpson looking thing is actually all the root openings at the top of my tooth. The fin is that thin line coming out of the top of one of those roots. Apparently it is almost microscopic, but for some reason Dr. Specialist is convinced he will see it when he slices my gum open and be able to remove it. I asked him if there is any chance he will cut a nerve and I will have facial paralysis the rest of my life. Do you know what he said to me? He said “There is always that risk, but it is very rare”. VERY RARE??? That’s exactly what he told me about having a freaking fin in the first place!!! Great.

So now you know all I know about my fin. And my fin and I are just fine for now. After next week, my fin will be nothing but a memory and I will be able to smile about it – that is if my face isn’t paralyzed from the surgery.

It’s been snowing here all day long. I would guess we have about 3 – 4 inches now. I took some pictures earlier – they appear kind of hazy because it was snowing like crazy when I took them. Oh – and they were taken out a window because, as you know, I don’t do snow. I put them up on the website and will add more as the day progresses. Check them out!

OK, I’ve got to go start making some soap for Valentine’s day. Just wanted to check in with y’all and express my appreciation for all the warm thoughts and wishes and concern for my fin. I can sure feel the love.

Bee Free,
Penny

And You Wonder Why I Never Leave the Homestead

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

I think we’ve well established that I’m pretty content to stay right here – safe and secure on our little homestead. I know that many of you have teased me about rarely leaving our little slice of heaven. I would go so far as to say a few of you have actually mocked me about that little fact. I can take it. But I offer you the following as a prime example of why I insist on being such a hermit.

I had a dentist appointment yesterday. Naturally, I can’t have just a typical dental issue. I have to have a well-we-occasionally-see-this-but-it’s-extremely-rare type of dental issue. Without all the painstakingly long details, suffice it to say I had a cracked tooth that required a root canal – that went bad after a year and a half because I was born with a freaking fin on my root. Yes, a FIN. And I drove 70 miles to see a specialist and learn about it. Until yesterday, I had never even heard of a fin. Apparently the specialist I went to had heard of a fin, but he assured me they are very rare. Most people have fins when they are born and they close up and heal during adolescence. Do I need to tell you how much comfort I did not take in knowing it is rare and that my mouth can’t be normal? I couldn’t care less if only one person or every other person on the planet has a fin that causes trouble. I have a fin and MY fin is causing me trouble. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s really all that matters to me and all that should matter to my specialist. At any rate, he informed me of my fin and scheduled my surgery for next week. I should have stayed at home.

But I didn’t stay at home. I drove 70 miles to see my dear specialist. When I left his office the sky was blue and the sun was beating down upon me. It was lovely. I felt God was shining his approval on me that we had discovered my fin and made plans to rectify what He kind of forgot to take care of when I was born. Life was wonderful. 12 miles later, I was in a total white out from a blizzard. Seriously, it was awful. So awful that about two miles later all traffic came to a dead stop on the interstate. I figured some one spun out on the slick road and we would get moving within minutes. After about 20 minutes, I shut the car off. After about an hour I turned it back on to warm up and listen to the news. It seems there was a twenty to twenty five car pile up just ahead of me. They had shut down the interstate. I shut the car off and cried for a few minutes. I called Bernie, who was totally sympathetic, and informed me he was busy starting a nice fire in the fire place. I hung up and cried for a few minutes more. I did take the time to recognize that there were at least 20 – 25 people having a worse day than I, and I said a quick prayer for each of them and their safety. And then I cried a little more.

Long story short (I know, I know – too late!) after just over two hours, traffic started to move. We were diverted to an exit ramp and then back on the entrance ramp. I could see an 18 wheeler perched precariously over the via duct and several cars scattered here and there. I am thankful that it appeared most were just banged up a bit. I really do pray everyone involved is OK.

I finally made it back to the homestead, where Bernie and a nice glowing fire awaited me. There really is a reason I don’t like to leave here. Anytime I leave it seems people don’t want to let me come back.

I made some nice Sea Salt Bars last weekend. Pure Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, and Sea Salt. Feast your eyes on these lovely puppies:

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Now wouldn’t you rather have me here on the Homestead cranking out bath stuff, that fighting traffic and discussing about fins with a dentist?

Bee Free,
Penny

Pass the Cheese Please and Share that Honey

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Well, it’s only been about a little over a month since we made cheddar cheese and although we are supposed to let it age about six months, we decided to cut it tonight and see how it is doing. It’s pretty good! Very cheddary, but a bit soft still. Bernie thinks it would make a great spread, so I’m going to research that a bit.

It was such a nice, warm day today – in the 70’s! Such a nice treat after weather that didn’t get out of the 20’s for a while. In keeping with my resolution to wander outside every day, I went with Bernie down to the cabin this afternoon to take care of some things. While we were there, we noticed a lot of activity around the hives our poor little bees used to occupy. Our hearts started pounding. Are those honey bees buzzing around those hives? We quickly gathered up our bee suits and went into the apiary to investigate. The hives were indeed full of honey bees – but they were simply robbing the left over honey. We noticed right away that there were a lot of fights happening on the porch of each, and that was the first clue that we had robbers. We opened each hive and while they were all full of bees, there was no brood and no queen. Just little hungry girls happy to find the bounty.

We left the hives out this winter hoping that they would get cleaned up, and I guess that’s happening. The bees could be from a close by neighbor that raises them, or from one of our swarms that we never could locate. In any event, it was really nice seeing honey bees around those hives again and we are really looking forward to starting again in the spring. In the meantime, I’m happy to know the leftover honey is going to help out some other hungry little girls. They were so darn cute digging honey out of the combs I could have just kissed their little wings right off of them.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I do have to work tomorrow, but since I work from home, it won’t be all that bad. And any day I don’t have to leave the homestead is a good day. I’m not even going to the dump either – so don’t even ask me, Bernie. Happy Birthday to me.

Bee Free,
Penny

Putting It All into Perspective for 2008

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

I woke up this morning very much aware that 2008 is upon us. As I drank my coffee and welcomed in the New Year, I could not help but reflect on the past year and all the changes that occurred in our lives in 2007. Naturally, the biggest and most welcome change was moving to our homestead.

I remember spending weekends here and yearning to live on our homestead full time. I also remember the day my dear husband announced he was ready to quit his job in the city and finally make our dream of living on our homestead a reality. I was terrified. Cutting our income in half and taking the plunge of realizing that dream was suddenly very scary to me. But we did it. And we’ve not regretted it or looked back.

When we spent weekends here, we would look out over the yard and envision fences, goat pens, chicken pens, outbuildings, and a huge vegetable garden. In my mind it seemed all we had to do was finally get here full time, and then *poof*, our little homestead would be transformed into land filled with all these things and I would be feeding goats and chickens, collecting eggs, milking goats, and gathering vegetables from our garden. We’d have buildings to park vehicles in and sheds that would house my gardening tools.

As I sit here on the first day of 2008 and look out the windows, I don’t see any of those things. The *poof* didn’t happen. It’s been more like a *pfffffttt*. Bernie has about half the fence posts up and while we are planning where we’ll locate buildings, pens, and gardens, they are all some distance in the future right now. It all takes time and labor and I somehow didn’t really factor that into the equation. At least not as much of it as it really takes.

It’s cold here and we are supposed to get some nasty winter weather. We’ve decided to start painting the inside of the house today – yet another project I envisioned being finished within the first week of moving out here. Naturally, I want to believe we can have the whole house painted by the end of the day. In reality, it will be weeks before this job is complete.

I’m really not dissappointed in the slow progress we are making. Every day brings us a little closer. I just want it all NOW! Certainly this has all been a lesson in patience. And patience has never really come naturally for me.

So in reality I guess I’d have to say that 2007 was the beginning of realizing our dream to homestead, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. I’m learning to be more realistic in setting goals and accomplishments. So stick around and I’ll continue to step you through how we get there. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m sure it took at least a week…..

Happy New Year!

Bee Free,
Penny