Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's Winsday!

I've not really got a prize lined up...but I'll think of something. Perhaps note cards with barns? There've already been several suggestions and preferences mentioned. If you've got an original idea, toss it on out there! If you'd just like to vote for your fave, you can do that, too! I'll put all your names into a hat and have Tait draw the winner late tonight :)

Now, I've got a couple more updates coming along...but it's 3:30 am, for crying out loud! I'm going back to bed and will be back at a more reasonable hour; if you get here before me, be sure to pop back in. Soap is on the way, and I think I may have a Taffy update, too!

Okay, I'm up...

So what's new? How about this...Taffy's teat! Yes, there's just enough milk to be able to actually see it now, and her weight is shifting just a wee bit. I think we still have a ways to go, but progress...progress!

Snow on the hill this morning. Bleck! Go ahead, say it with me...Bleck! We hate snow, don't we?

With Taffy showing signs, I've moved Quiet Storm over with the other sheep. This won't last long, as she can't have grain and they're screaming their little woolly heads off for it right now.

Oh, and soap! But I'm in a bit of a rush at the moment...City Boy needs my help getting the car into town; something about a new muffler today. So once again I leave you...but I shall return! (Mostly because I want to check to see how many of you come and read you barn comments! Keep 'em coming!!!)

Back again!!!

City Boy's car is now getting an updated muffler...and I'm back in blogland where I can unviel the soap! So, you recall how the soap looked in the mold, just before we covered and insulated it? Pretty gold in color, eh? Well....

Look at it now! I sprinkled glitter over the top just before insulating it, which is the shiny bits you're seeing. You'll also notice that there's a bit of white; this is because the color wasn't stirred completely into the raw soap, but left with a bit of a swirl.

The method of soaping I use is called Cold Process; it takes a day or two for the lye to settle and become completely neutralized (occassionally, a batch that's been mis-measured can take a bit longer.) There is always a bit of excess moisture that will evaporate out of a batch of soap, which will shrink it but also make it harder and create a longer lasting bar. But typically, if the lye has neutralized, the soap is safe to use; it will just melt away quicker in the shower. I tend to slice my soap the same day it comes out of the mold; some people wait another day, but it often depends on how hard the soap is.

How do we know if the lye is neutralized? Well, you could take the cowards way out and use a pH strip. Or, you can grab one of your kids and have them perform the tongue test. Perhaps your most gullable. If you can't get them to do it (because you've used them for this task before, and they're gun shy), then a different child. They may turn you down, though, because they've seen the gullable child's reaction to lye heavy soap. Find your City Boy and ask him to demo for a photo. If this fails (because he's laughing too hard over the memory of the gullable child attempting to eat a bar of soap that looked remarkably like a brownie), you'll be forced to do the tongue test yourself.

You can either stick your tongue directly to the soap, as pictured, or just wipe a wet finger across the bar, then touch it to your tongue. If you feel a zap or tingle, your soap may have a little lye that hasn't quite fully saponified (in other words, it hasn't completely neutralized yet.) However, this should not be considered lye heavy. Lye heavy leaves no doubts; think of a tongue on a battery, or electric fence...the shock will send you reeling backwards. I highly recommend doing the tongue test with a big, comfy chair behind you to break the fall :)

All that's left to do is package up your soap!


Sue said...

What are you doing up so early??? I'm ready for a contest, how does "Barn Babes" sound? lol It's early here too!! I'll be back later when your up!! lol

Beemoosie said...

Oh what wonderful barn pics...hmmmm a name...I'm no good at that. I just let my 4H girls name their club the Mocha Moose! Yikes

PEA said...

I was up at 5 a.m. blogging then went back to bed until 8 a.m....geez, we nuts or what? lol I'm so enjoying your posts!!!

RoseMary said...

Wow, it's always exciting when babies are coming. Your post makes me miss my goats!

Deb said...

Gee, Tracey...we could have had a party at 3 a.m.

Taffy's fleece is soooo clean and gorgeous and her mini teat looks like it will be nice to handle for milking. It's hard to wait isn't it...looks like she is a while yet to go :)

smilnsigh said...

"Bleck! We hate snow, don't we?"

Yes we do!! Bleck!!! Bleahhhhh!!! Hunbug!!! 'Oh bother' <--a kind one, from Winnie the Pooh. :-)


kansasrose said...

Do you sell your soap? My mama made me "eat" soap a few times but I have seen anyone taste it on purpose...;) Very cool barn pics..thought of some other names! barnstormin'...barndances

kansasrose said...

I meant to write never have seen anyone taste it on purpose...too much coffee.

RoseMary said...

I'm not too sure about the taste, but it certainly LOOKS good enough to eat! Great pic, by the way!

Ellen said...

Story Barn?
Barn Yard?

Tho when I saw the slide show whipping past I thought hey look


... ya got a barn dance.
Barncrazy, Ellen
ps: Beth in Minnesota...has the best huge barn...celebrate2727
on the MJ forum, ask her for pics

Tracey said...

Thanks for all the suggestions so far! Very clever group, you are. Remember there will be a drawing tonight... =)

Kansasrose, yes, I do sell my soap. I suppose I ought to post what I've got at some point, eh? I'm slowly working on the Wild About Quiet Storm website (there's a link from here), where there's a product page. Mostly the lotions up right now...not sure if I put up the first couple of soaps or not. Usually I've got sheep milk soaps, but sold out of them at Christmas (hence, Taffy lambing is going to be a big deal around here, lol!)

Leann said...

Tracey thanks for stopping on my blog.I will make this short cause I was to the dentist and Iam not feeling so hot.I love your blog Ill be back to read it all.God bless.

PALocalvore said...

Pretty soap! My fiber guild made lye soap a couple of years ago- I am ashamed to say mine is still sitting upstairs in the mold. But I've always been more about process then product anyway.

Thanks for stoppiong by my blog- it's so new, and you are one of the very first- I was SO happy to see a comment! And I am envious of your new babies

Shelle said...

Love your barn pictures!! I am jealous of your soapmaking. I want to learn how sometime. Looks interesting!