We've been getting some snow to make things Christmas-y. I don't mind the snow as much as I mind the COLD temps. Poor Bramble Cordelia was limping with a frozen foot the other morning when temps were around -20F. I made sure to put out plenty of bedding in their 3-sided shelter, but I'm afraid she slept outside. I think I will remove her from the breeding pen and put her in with the ewe lambs who have access to the pole building.
We've been keeping the woodstove stoked and trying to keep up with shoveling out the driveways and paths to the barns and woodpile. We'll need to get a couple loads of hay from the west 40 over in Ogilvie, so that means THAT driveway needs plowing too. Stan loves the Kawasaki Mule for snow plowing. He does all of our plowing plus some of the neighbor's driveways (and a path down the road to the neighbor's place). Yes, that Mule is really handy, I love it too for hauling things around the place and cleaning out pastures and the little barn.
Even though it's snowy white outside here in Minnesota, I've been thinking green lately.
I can't believe how much plastic we use and throw away everyday at work -- the garbage liners, the gloves, the food packaging -- it's just a shame. In my view, the more we can do to consume as little as possible and make use of the garbage we generate, the better. We need to be good stewards of the land and the resources we have been blessed with. That's part of the reason why we keep a dog and chickens. With them around, there are very few scraps for the compost pile. It's also the reason I check the thrift stores and the auctions and why I try to make use of everything our sheep have to offer - the meat, the hides, the lambs, the wool, the skulls, and even the manure. They provide so much that we can use, and with proper management, they can even improve our land. It's truly amazing.
So with green thoughts in mind, I thought I would share my latest forays into making laundry soap.
I used to buy the 5 gallon buckets of powdered laundry soap, they weighed 30 lbs and were priced at only $8 or $9. After the detergent was gone, I had a nice new 5 gallon bucket with handle for watering the sheep. :-)
Since I haven't been able to find that laundry soap anymore, I started making my own out of one grated bar of Fels Naptha, one cup of Twenty Mule Team Borax and one cup of washing soda. I use only 2 tablespoons of this mixture per load, and the cost is about 9 cents a load. An added bonus when using this soap is there is no need for fabric softener.
Yes, I know the Fels Naptha contains petroleum products and I should make my own laundry soap bars out of lard, water and lye. One of these days I will, but I have to confess that I love the smell of the Fels Naptha.
Anyway, I was pretty excited about using this homemade laundry soap until my mother said she had tried homemade laundry soap and it left her clothes dingy. Suddenly my whites did seem dingy... so for washing our whites, I still use a little commercial detergent, bleach, and fabric softener. But I love the Angora brand fabric softener at FleetFarm because it comes in small packets. You just mix a half gallon of water with one packet and there is very little waste packaging. It's very inexpensive too.