Archive for the ‘butter churning’ Category

The Skinny on Making Soap and Churning Butter

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

I’ve had several people contact me about how to make soap and about the butter churner I bought off of EBay. I’ve been answering each individually, but this morning there were two seperate emails with the same question, so I thought it might be a good idea to give some info here on those questions.

First – the butter churner. When I started looking for a butter churner, I had three things in mind: 1) I wanted a hand crank churner 2) I wanted a glass churner and 3) I wanted a Dazey Churner. I really had no particular reasons for this, other than I wanted glass so I could see what is happening when I churn,I wanted a Dazey because that’s really the only old, glass churner I’ve really ever heard about, and I wanted a hand crank because you know, being all into getting self sufficient and everything, I didn’t want it to depend on electricity. I paid $50 for it. Here’s a picture:

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She’s a beauty and cranks out some really awesome butter. I highly recommend her. Only she’s not for sale. But I highly recommend one of her siblings.

As for soap making, I never bought a book on the subject. I never even thought about making soap until I started reading about other people having fun making soap. I can’t stand when people have fun without me, so I decided I needed to get in on it. I started looking all over the internet and finding out about making soap. Two excellent resources are the Soap Making forum on HomesteadingToday and Mullers Lane Farm. And, of course, I have a page up on the Back to Basic Living website with step by step instructions and a basic soap recipe for beginners.

I found the most difficult part of soap making was finding the lye needed. After ordering from several places, I found Ace Hardware had the best deal – I order it by the case.

If you have other questions about butter churning or soap making, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m no expert, but I can either answer your question, or point you to someone who can.

Speaking of soap, here are a couple of pictures of my Sinfully Decadant Chocolate soap with swirls:

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Ah – just gorgeous! This next picture is the same batch, but I ran out of the chocoate swirl. I think it came out really pretty, but I wanted more chocolate swirl:

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OK – time to go cook up a couple of nice steaks for supper. Bernie bought Live Free or Die Hard and we’re going to watch it tonight while we eat. It’s not Movie Saturday or anything, but we like to be spontaneous and adventurous on occasion. This is about as spontaneous and adventurous as it gets around here. Woo hoo!

Live Free,
Penny

Mmmmmmmmmm…. Butter……..

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

We finally had some time to sit down and do some good ol’ butter churning. We churned and churned, and then stopped and peaked. It looked the same. So we churned and churned some more, and then stopped and peaked. No visible changes. Hmmmm. We were starting to think we were churn challenged, when all of a sudden, the churner seized up. We had butter! Beautiful, yellow, deliciously delicious butter! Feast your eyes on this photo. Try not to drool all over your keyboard.

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The next time we make it, I’ll be sure to get pictures of the whole process and put them up on the website. Churning butter by hand is really not difficult. The whole process took us about 30 minutes. The butter that we ended up with was well worth it. The flavor is so much more vibrant than what we buy in the stores.

Many people have questioned why we are choosing to do things the old timey hard way on our homestead. I can not argue that it is more convenient and many times less expensive to buy most items at a store in town. But what I will tell you is that when you make it yourself you know what you are getting – whether it’s food, soap, or anything else. And what you gain in convenience, you lose in quality in most cases. Not to mention the feeling of being self reliant.

Here’s another one of my latest creations. It was born out of a flub up. I made a batch of cinnamon soap that I was not happy with. So I grated it up, and threw it in a nice batch of cinnabun fragranced CP soap I made. Look – it’s a confetti soap!

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And it smells wonderful!

Little by little, we are getting back to the basics of living. And it feels great. Life is so less complicated when you just focus on living day to day and enjoying each minute you have. We are probably busier now than we’ve ever been. And we are loving every second of it.

Life is tough. But living doesn’t have to be.

Bee Free,
Penny

Things are Churning on the Homestead

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

I bought an old antique butter churner on EBay today. The chic I bought it from swears she’s been using it and it’s in good condition. She just wrote me and thanked me for my prompt payment and will be shipping it tomorrow. Soon I’ll be a butter churning fool. We’ll be eating fat laded, artery clogging, calorie packing, eye-rolling, pure unadulterated butter. Yum. I can’t wait.

We went to the polls tonight and cast our votes. I was quite pleased to learn that our county offers either electronic or paper ballots. I’m all about paper ballots. I’m a computer programmer by profession, and no one knows better than I that a program is only as good as the programmer – and a lot of that depends on the kind of day the programmer is having. I don’t always have a good programming day. Not to mention the vulnerability to computer hacking. Don’t get me wrong – I love what computers offer us. But give me good ol ‘ pen and paper to cast my vote. Of course I had to feed my paper into a machine and a stinking computer read the vote, but at least I wrote my vote on paper,darnit. I stand proud. When we voted at 2:30 this afternoon over 500 people had written their votes on paper ballots. That’s pretty darn impressive considering I don’t think there are many more than 500 of us that are registered to vote at that fire hall.

We’re getting ready to fence in our yard, get a couple of yard dogs, and start building the raised beds for our garden next spring. Pretty exciting stuff for me. A fence means more than just a garden – it also means I’ll get my chickens and goats soon. And that means more food for us. It will bring us just a little closer to self sufficiency – and if you’ve read the news lately you can certainly appreciate our desire to be self sufficient. With US currency in true jeopardy, gas prices reaching astronomical prices, all manner of food being constantly recalled for contamination, well….. you get the idea.

So plant your garden and buy your butter churner today! Even if the world as we know it doesn’t end tomorrow, you don’t want to miss the fun and rewards of taking care of yourself.

Bee Free,
Penny