Homemade Laundry Soap

I have promised to post the recipe I use for my homemade laundry soap. Making my own laundry soap is not without scrutiny, nor rewards. My family thought Ihad gone bonkers when I began making my laundry soap. DD complained about everything from the scent to the new soap was “bleaching” out the colors of her favorite tee shirts. I happened to like the scent, as it had such a clean aroma to it and the reason her shirts are fading is that she wears the same favorite ones over and over…which means more washing…duh!

DH poked a slight bit of fun at me making my own “hooch”, but after I proved to him the amount of money I was saving, he hasn’t said another word. Correction, when my last batch failed to thicken, he made asked me what I did wrong..haha!

Today, I was going to make another batch and take photos to share, but I found that our water was turned off for the day. Okay, I cannot side step a quick rant here. Our city is undergoing a complete water system revamp..for over a year now. The town is divided into sections and assigned a letter…ours is E. On the post office door, the sections and hours that the water will be turned off are posted…however, I have learned not to depend on the validity of it. I had not check the television or the post office today and found, as I was putting a load of laundry in that there was no water. After a few words left my mouth, I turned the television on to find that the water is to be turned off in my section between 10AM and 4PM with the note An Emergency-Sorry. Holy Cow, has the day gotten away from me? Is after 10:00 already? A quick check showed it to be only 9:15 AM. ! Now my question is why even bother to post something, if it s not going to be correct?  {end rant}

Making your own laundry soap does save a considerable amount of money. I believe my initial investment was less than $20, and yet I have not purchased commercial brand detergent in several months. I still have plenty of my supplies left, and even have FELS NAPTHA Bars for sale at $4.75, which includes shipping.  I figure that I have gone through 40 or so bottles of detergent since I started this method and it boggles my mind, how much I have saved.

Anyhow, here’s my re-SESS-i-peee (recipe) for the laundry soap…it comes with no warrantees, gaurantees, or promises. I now make mine up in a double batch and fill several recycled laundry and vinegar bottles, but I suggest that anyone trying it for the first time to mix only one batch.

HomeMade Laundry Soap

1/3 bar Fels Naptha Bar-Grated

1/2 cup Washing Soda

1/2 cup Borax

~In a large pot, add soap to six cups of water and heat on the stove, set at medium, until soap has melted.

~Add soda and Borax and stir until dissolved.

~ Remove from heat.

~Pour 4 cups hot water into a 5 gallon bucket.

~Add mix to hot water in bucket and stir. ( I use a recycled long piece of wood from a window shade.)

~Add 1 gallon plus 6 cups of water to mixture and stir until mixed.

~Allow laundry soap to sit for 24 hrs. to gel, stirring occasionally.

I use a little over 1/2 cup for regular loads of laundry. You can adjust as needed. Please note that this soap does not really produce bubbles. I have substituted other soaps for the FELS NAPTHA because I could not purchase it locally. Ivory soap, Zote, or homemande scented soaps work also.

If you decide to try this, let me know how your project goes.

Solar Cooking – First Attempt

My first attempt at solar cooking was not a total success, but subsequent efforts totally bombed. We constructed our makeshift solar cooker out of a cardboard box, weed barrier (which I would not recommend), glass from a screen door and a thermometer. At one point, I had the inside temperature up to 170 degrees, but when I had to reposition the items inside, I must have rearranged it enough that it did not seal as well. We had preheated the oven to around 120 degrees. After a couple of hours, I used a potholder to remove the items…a jar with broccoli and a pan of rice.


solar cooker
The rice and broccoli were not as done as I would have liked it, but it was all still edible.

rice and brocolli
The next day I was going to try some lentils and rice, but the wind knocked over my window and it shattered. I had seen a video about cooking in black jars using aluminum pans, but I just could not get the temperature up high enough. Luckily, DH is in favor of solar cooking, so I was able to order the Sport Solar Oven from the Peddler’s Wagon. I am so excited because the solar oven kit comes with two black cooking pots,  a solar reflector, oven thermometer, water pasteurization indicator and recipe book, which I am certain will come in handy.  I had looked at the other solar oven they offered, but was happy to see that the pans were included with this particular solar oven.

No Impact Man Request

I often visit No Impact Man’s Blog and found this was posted while I was away this weekend. I hope to assist in spreading the word even to my small readership. If you have not ever visited his site…you are in for a treat!

No Impact Man  

  

We can really make a difference. TODAY. But I need your help. Plus I have some free Reverend Billy DVDs to give away.

What_would_jesus_buy I really, really need support from all of you today (and I’m unashamedly bribing you with the offer of free Reverend Billy DVDs). But first I have to give you some background. Just read the bits in bold if you’re in hurry.

Next Friday, May 30, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York’s Eight Congressional District has kindly agreed to meet with me in his New York office. As one of his constituents, I intend to ask Representative Nadler to support an effective global warming mitigation policy that is based not on what is politically possible but on what is scientifically necessary.

More specifically, I intend to ask him to:

  • Introduce, as soon as possible, a non-binding resolution to the House of Representatives asserting that we need a climate change mitigation policy with a goal of no more than 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide (read why here). Furthermore, the resolution should say that the United States must collaborate with the international community to achieve an effective successor to the Kyoto Protocol that will achieve the 350 goal or better (depending on how the science progresses).
  • Pledge to support the 1sky.org policy platform that also includes creating five million green jobs (through, for example, weatherizing our buildings and manufacturing solar panels and windmills), and placing a moratorium on the building of new coal power plants.
  • Pass on to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter addressed jointly to her and Representative Nadler, in his position as Assistant Whip, asking them both to push for the introduction of new and the strengthening of currently pending climate change legislation to reflect the crucial 350 goal. This means, at the very least, aiming for an 80% reduction in climate emissions below 1990 levels by 2050 and a 25% reduction by 2020.

Now then, here’s how I was hoping you could help. My dream is to present Representative Nadler and Speaker Pelosi with between 350 and 3,500 (10 x 350) emails of support for these policy objectives.

Can you help? All it requires is a cut and paste job (see below).

Fellow bloggers: would you be willing to pass this request onto your readers?

Everyone: would you email this around and get your friends to pitch in?

Two bits of good news:

  1. Representative Nadler has been an ardent supporter of environmental issues ranging from the thorough cleanup of the World Trade Center site to securing federal funding for state conservation and wildlife grants. He received a score of 95% for his voting record in the 1st session of the 110th Congress from the League of Conservation Voters.
  2. Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping have provided me with five copies of their new DVD, What Would Jesus Buy (watch the trailer here). I’m going to give the DVDs to people who send in their emails of support (the 1st, the 35th, 100th, the 350th and the 1000th).

Here’s how to send in your email of support:

Simply cut and paste the below, making sure to substitute in your name, mailing address and email address, and send it to noimpactman+nadler+pelosi@gmail.com (it looks like a weird email address but, don’t worry, it will work).

Dear Representative Nadler and Speaker Pelosi–

Thank you for your hard work on behalf of the people of the United States. It is indisputable that the health, happiness and security of the American people depends upon the well-being of our planetary habitat. It is also indisputable that the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases is causing changes in our habitat that will adversely effect Americans on every level–from our health to our economy.

On May 30, Colin Beavan aka No Impact Man will visit Representative Nadler to express to him support for a number of climate change mitigation policies that are much stronger than those currently passing through Congress. Please consider this a letter of support for the measures Colin Beavan will be advocating.

Specifically, I support Colin Beavan in requesting that Representative Nadler and Speaker Pelosi both, together or separately:

  • Introduce, as soon as possible, a non-binding resolution to the House of Representatives asserting that we need a climate change mitigation policy that accords not with what is politically possible but what is scientifically necessary–a goal of no more than 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide (read why here). Furthermore, this resolution should assert that the United States must collaborate with the international community to achieve an effective successor to the Kyoto Protocol that will achieve the 350 goal or better (depending on how the science progresses).
  • Pledge to support the 1sky.org policy platform that also includes creating five million green jobs (through, for example, weatherizing our buildings and manufacturing solar panels and windmills) and placing a moratorium on the building of new coal power plants.
  • Push for the introduction of new and the strengthening of currently pending climate change legislation to reflect the crucial 350 goal. This means, at the very least, aiming for an 80% reduction in climate emissions below 1990 levels by 2050 and a 25% reduction by 2020.

Yours sincerely,

<Your Name>
<Your Mailing Address>
<Your Email Address>

Eating Our Trash

Would you like a table or a booth?

 The old adage “we are what we eat”  hits too close to home after watching this video about Garbage Island in the Pacific Ocean. I saw the documentary on television some time ago and I was amazed at the footage. The floating island of trash is said to be twice the size of Texas and 80% of it is comprised of household and municipal waste, filled with plastic. Plastic is not biodegradable, it is photodegradable, which means it will always remain as plastic.

In this floating monstrosity tiny pieces of plastic are floating about with an array of larger discards. Filter feeder fish, such as jelly fish, take these plastics into their systems. Well, we all know how the food chain works. Big fish eats little fish, which is then eaten by a bigger fish, and another until it makes it on our dining room table.

Concerns over the chemicals in plastics infiltrating our food chain have prompted studies in Japan; where women with high levels of these toxins have been know to have multiple miscarriages. Doctors in Hawaii express concern over the high levels linking to early onset diabetes, liver disease and kidney disease.

I love fish…especially shellfish, salmon, and grouper. Living in landlocked Kansas, I rarely have an opportunity to dine on any of my favorites, but occasionally I am able to sit down to a bit of catfish or trout….some of which I have angled myself…however, even our Kansas waters woes concern me over what I am consuming, but I will save that for another entry.

A Tree Grows in Bucklingham

 As an end of the year gift one year, my students gave me a gift certificate from Headrick’s Nursery to purchase a tree. This is the second year the tree has been planted, but part of my Mother’s Day gift was to make a flower/herb ring at the base. We used reclaimed bricks from a building that was torn down in Mullinville and some of my new compost. I transplanted a plant from another location in my yard.

Unfortunately, right after it was planted, Blondie (the Wonder Dog) decided to take a walk and take in the new aromas from my exquisite compost.

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We also filled the new vegetable bed with the new compost. I can hardly wait to start planting.

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My Hero Saves the Day!

While sitting by that lovely fire, listening to those lovely birds, and sipping on a lovely cup of coffee (made by DH), a light breeze, with only a light chill, sauntered into our little backyard retreat. What a lovely, lovely morning!

The morning suddenly soured with a terrible noise accosting the sereneness of the moment. Briefly, I had forgotten about a Walmart sack that had found its way to the very top of my backyard Black Walnut tree. Too high to reach. It had survived several days  60 mph wind gusts, pouring rain and a slight bit of hail. What was that? It was as if it was in stereo!   !@%&*!  There were two others high in other trees. What the hey! The noise was intolerable…and those of you who live in Kansas KNOW how the wind blows here.

We had found a pole for retrieving those darn bags in an online catalog, but it was over $200…OUCH! Well, as it is said, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. DH went into the garage and returned with several suspicious looking items. I wasn’t certain what in the world he was planning, but I have learned to not ask…because his answer is generally…”just wait”.  He re-entered the garage and came out with a contraption made from bended wire, pvc pipe and the beloved duct tape. DH..errr..MY HERO…went to work at retrieving that stupid nuisance of a bag and found that the two new bags that had joined in the chorus were not just bags. There was also a packing foam sheet that had taken flight.  Soon after the last piece of debris was removed from my trees,  the chirpping shenanigans of the plethora of bird species presented the only symphony being played in my backyard….sans any sour notes from the &%#@! plastic bags.

Redneck Plastic Bag Retriever

Recycle Day!

I am so excited that we remembered Recycle Day in town this month. Usually we are out of town or don’t remember until 30 minutes before the trailer closes. Our recycle trailer comes to town on the first Saturday of the month for two hours and is run by volunteers. We filled the back of my small hatchback and even used a bit of the backseat to get everything to the trailer. 

This more like three of four months of recycling in one trip. I didn’t want you to think we create that much in one month…haha!

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Bottled Water

Originally posted 01.19.08

 

Finding it difficult to sleep, I was up early this morning. Normally, I would not turn the television on because it usually ends up being an all morning affair when I do, but I wanted to check the weather to discover why we had none of the snow that was expected this morning. Well, it resulted into a late start for my day, but it is not with regret. There were two segments on the morning show that interested me. One segment brought attention to the environmental and health hazards of individual bottled water and the other that I found interesting was about the Federation of Damanhur and the Temples of Humankind, which I hope to research further and write about at a later date.

 

I was amazed to hear that 40 million plastic water bottles are added to landfills daily. Top that off with the fact that the water sold in the bottles is not governed by as strict of standards as our tap water and the story had my attention. I did not realize or maybe I just have not been listening before now, but the bottling companies do not have to follow the stringent quality guidelines of the EPA. After I research a bit more, I may have more to say about this at a later date.

 

Since my family and I are on a quest for a more self sustained lifestyle and making greener choices, I want to chime in on our overuse of the individual water bottles. I am ashamed to say that I am afraid to guess how many of those little plastic bottles we have contributed to our local landfill. Being a parent of a high school and club athlete, we are on the road several days a week, year around. To keep from buying soda while traveling, we are in the habit of grabbing those little bottles as we are running out the door. I even keep a small stock of the small, itsy bitsy bottles in the hatchback of my vehicle.

 

Those little water bottles are not only perfect for the road, but I am come to appreciate the “no-taste” of the water. I was raised in a large metropolitan area of another state and never remember the water have a “taste”, but since moving to a rural area I have found it difficult to palate the definite taste in our local water. This has resulted in me drinking not only more of the individual bottles but I also buy several gallon jugs to use while at home.

 

Dear Husband was raised in a rural setting and he is accustomed to the “thick” taste of the water, so he finds my habits a bit ridiculous. He was actually the first to baulk at my over consumption of the bottled water, and revolted by purchasing his own reusable water bottle that he now carries with him as we travel. The requirements for his bottle were that it had to have a mouth large enough to be able sterilize properly and to be a size that is easily manageable. I once bought a large insulated mug that donned the Kansas State University logo, but found that once it was filled with liquid it was just too difficult to handle. It was like carrying a 6 lb weight around with you. Consequently it sits in the cupboard, taking up space and a reminder of the petroleum that was consumed in the production of plastics.

 

It has taken some time, but I finally found that perfect water bottle for me. It has a double wall for better insulation, fits my hand, and holds about 16 ounces of liquid. A Britta Pitcher Filter has assisted with some of the taste issues I have and I am now keeping the filtered water in the fridge, instead of those plastic gallon jugs. Dear Daughter stills runs out the door with a sports drink in her hand, but 2 out 3 isn’t a bad start. I am sure she will jump on board when we find a solution for her.