Most of the time blogs are for information, for making money, the best travel advice, or the best place to eat. But sometimes they are just stories to let you know if you want to do something bad enough, no matter what it is, you can! Every person should have a dream and know they can follow it to where ever it leads them. So here is my story about how my greatest dream turned into an awesome adventure.
My greatest dream and adventure ever was when I moved up here to a very rural community in Idaho. This was the life I had always dreamed of and now I was living it.
Moving here and living in a very remote area made me want to try to live the same life as the original settlers.
I was finding, and cutting wood and using a wood stove for heat and a well for water. I would hang my laundry on the clothesline to dry. Where they could absorb all the sunshine and wonderful smells fluttering in the breeze.
Native Americans lived off the land so I looked into what plants in the yard were edible and how to create meals with them. I couldn’t believe how many were edible right out in my front yard. It was an interesting outcome but a great experience. (https://dustsweatboots.com/grazing-out-the-front-door-with-wild-plants/). Some were good, but some not so great. There were also several apple trees, wild berries, and plants I had never seen before.
During the planning stages of my move, I dreamt of having a herd of cows. Well, as I settled in I found a small herd of 16 Hereford cows & calves to purchase. I was so excited but now the work started.
I had two horses already so I could climb around the hills checking on the cows during the summer. But I still needed to figure out how to make this all work by myself.
I did get help and advice from friends and neighbors to figure all this out.
A few years later, after deciding cows were not for this single woman to entertain, I sold them. It was a fun experience, but they are big and dangerous and lots of work. It takes more than one person to do the job correctly. You can read more on women in ranching here: https://dustsweatboots.com/wonderful-women-in-ranching-farming-livestock/
There’s just something about having animals. Getting up each day, feeding them, watching them grow, and having babies makes life wonderful.
So several years after selling my cows, my sister moved in with me and we decided to buy some goats. Learning to milk them was difficult but it was another great adventure.
With an overabundance of goat milk, we looked into making products with the milk. We tried cheeses but found they just didn’t fit into our diets very well (we ate too much of it).
Soap was the next experiment. While researching the recipe pages we learned how soap works. Most people think that the hotter the water, the cleaner things get. Not true! It’s the soap. The dirt molecules become attached to the soap molecules and removed from the surface when rinsed. Very cool!
Like anything else, when you first get started it isn’t as easy as it seems. There were some very confusing terms, such as trace and saponification. Trace is when the lye, water, oils, and fats have emulsified, and won’t separate. Saponification, is a chemical term meaning turning into soap.
The more technical term according to Wikipedia is:
Saponification is a process that involves the conversion of fat, oil, or lipid, into soap and alcohol by the action of heat in the presence of aqueous alkali (e.g. NaOH). Soaps are salts of fatty acids and fatty acids are monomers of lipids that have long carbon chains (at least 10) e.g. sodium palmitate. Saponification reactions are generally exothermic and almost totally irreversible.
Making soap is so much fun in that you can make it from anything you want. Most soaps do need to use lye though. Don’t let lye intimidate you. Lye is hazardous and a bit scary when you begin. Make sure you always work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear (gloves, eye protection, ventilation). When you first mix the lye with whatever liquid you choose, it will cause a reaction. Giving off strong-smelling fumes that can take your breath away. Make sure you have good ventilation for this step.
You can choose your favorite oils, liquid, scents, colors, and shapes. Our choice for the liquid was goat milk. We wanted a soap that cleaned, of course, but also be healing for your skin. Goat milk we found out is full of antioxidants, Vitamin A, and healing proteins.
So we use several good oils, coconut for the lather, olive & palm oils for the hardness. To inhibit the growth of bacteria and naturally preserve the soap we ad grapefruit seed extract.
Playing with the scents, herbs, colors and other additives is fun once you have the mixture ready. Molds are fun too. For those who weren’t sure they wanted to try and make soap I hope this helped. There are hundreds of recipes out there for you to choose from, so find one that appeals to you and get to soap making! Visit my blog on goats! https://dustsweatboots.com/livestock-hard-knocks/
Slowly the goats turned into both goats and sheep. So we now had horses, goats, and sheep. And the adventure continues! If there is ever anything you think you want to do, don’t hesitate. Do it! You only have one life and there are no do-overs! Live your life.
“Saponification.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 Apr. 2021. Web. 13 May. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Saponification&oldid=1018155674