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Showing posts from September, 2012

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

Yes, yes, I know.  It's about time I got around to posting my recipe for homemade powdered laundry detergent.  Thank you to those of you who have been patiently waiting, despite the fact that you requested the recipe weeks ago. I haven't been lounging around eating bonbons, I promise.  Things have just been a bit hectic; on top of all the food preservation that goes on this time of year, we've also recently experienced a loss in the family (my husband's sweet grandma). And, as I think I may have mentioned in a previous post, my hubby and I are currently expecting--twins!  I haven't felt this pregnant since...well, I can't honestly remember ever feeling so pregnant!  So, anyway, I don't quite move around as fast as I used to, but I am steadily getting some posts put together, and hopefully getting to some recipes that readers want. With that all explained, I will move onto today's post:  Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent. I have made both

Homemade Beef Tallow: Rendering Suet (or Lard)

Check out my slabs of fat. Luckily, they didn't come from my thighs.  This is suet, the fat from a cow usually found around the loins and kidneys.  (As a side note, lard, which is pig fat, can be rendered and used in the same way as tallow.) Why would you want big slabs of cow fat?  Where do you get them?  How do I turn that ugly slab of fat into something usable? Woah, woah, woah.  Let's take it a question at a time. What is suet used for? Suet is normally used to make tallow.  Tallow is rendered beef fat.  Tallow will remain solid at room temperature (similar to shortening, but a bit harder) and can be stored for long periods of time.  Tallow can be used for cooking, to make candles and soap, and even as a leather conditioner. Suet is also commonly used as bird food (see my post on Homemade Bird Treats ).  Also, if you have chickens, they will thank your for sharing some of your suet with them. Where can I get suet? If you purchase beef from local cattle

Gray Water and A September Garden Tour

Another summer has come and almost gone here in central Wisconsin.  The night temperatures are now regularly dipping into the 40's, signaling the impending arrival of fall.  This summer has proved to be challenging, mainly because we've hardly gotten any rainfall!  Thankfully, our area is only considered to be "Abnormally Dry," so it could have been much worse. However, we were still forced to water quite a bit this year, and many of our garden plants did not do as well as we had hoped--most notably the squashy plants, like the pumpkins, butternut, zucchini, and crookneck.  These plants are finally setting fruit, but I have my doubts as to whether or not they will reach maturity before it gets frosty. But what may have saved the rest of the garden was our wash water and other gray water saved from the house.  My husband has rigged the washer machine discharge hose up to some large barrels outside; the water is then pumped through a hose and into the garden.  I als

What Is Happenning to School Lunch?

As we got the last of the kids’ school supplies in order and filled out any remaining paperwork for the teachers on Monday night, I once again skimmed through the school handbook to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.  I stopped at the food service section—something I hadn’t paid much attention to previously since my boys take lunch from home—and noticed that the school would be making some changes to its hot lunch menu according to new standards issued by the USDA.   When I began reading about the new changes, all seemed well to me at first, “Larger servings of fruits and vegetables…3/4 cup orange or red vegetable…1/2 a cup dark green vegetable…yes that seems like a good idea.”  Then as I scanned further down the page, my eye caught upon, “Limit total amounts of meat,” and, “Milk offerings:  Limited to 1% or fat free.”  Well isn’t that just what a growing child’s body needs, I thought sarcastically to myself. Sarcasm aside, you may recall Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program aimed

Homemade Powdered Cleanser (Similar to Comet or Ajax)

Looking for a homemade version of Ajax or Comet (minus the harsh bleach)?  This morning my son and I whipped up a container of our own version of powdered cleanser in about 15 minutes. Homemade Powdered Cleanser Ingredients: 1/2 cup salt 1/2 cup borax 1/2 cup washing soda 1/2 cup baking soda (set aside 1 tablespoon if you will be adding essential oils) 5-10 drops essential oil of your choice (optional) Combine salt, borax, washing soda, and baking soda in a container with at least a 2 cup capacity.  If you will be adding an essential oil, grind the reserved 1 tablespoon baking soda with 5-10 drops essential oil in a mortar and pestle, and then add to the rest of the mixture.  Shake well to combine. To use:  Dampen surface you wish to clean.  Sprinkle cleanser over surface; allow to sit for a couple minutes if desired.  Scrub cleanser into surface with a sponge until clean.  Rinse cleanser off with water. This cleaner should be safe to use on most hard su