Tuesday, 8 July 2014

A mix of things from our last visit to the farm.

Along with  the major activities we strive to complete each time we go to the farm there are always other little bits and pieces that we do and see  to be done   along the way.
While we were there this time, after seeing a Facebook page called "Our Half Acre Homestead" I decided that I too would attempt  to  make my own laundry gel for the first time. I will give most things a trial and if successful adopt them to our regular household routine, and if not  forget  it and move on.
This recipe required  1 cup Grated Sunlight soup, 1 cup Borax and 1 cup powdered washing soda, but me in my forgetful mind and not  bothering to Write it down, remembered it as double those ingredients. SO..... This is what I did.
I grated 2 bars of Sunlight soap on the coarse grater side.
I then dissolved 2 cups borax and 2 cups  washing soda crystals(meant to be powder) in a 2 gallon bucket of very hot water, and stirred this until it was completely dissolved.

I then  put about 4 cups of cold water and the grated soap into a large heavy based old saucepan and melted the soap on low heat  while constantly stirring.
After this, I then added the hot melted soap into the hot water in the bucket, stirring to  blend thoroughly. I then set this aside overnight and the next day this had formed a very thick gel. I then broke this up by stirring  thoroughly until it became pourable , At this point I decided to add some  Double D Eucalyptus  100% oil for  that extra lovely fresh smell. I then placed it into bottles, leaving a good couple of inches spare at the top as to be able to give the contents a good shake when needed.
I  am very pleased with the results, I am finding it every bit as effective  as the powder I was using from Aldi., and I will continue to use it, To compensate for my miscalculation, I am using a smaller amount than suggested per load.
I also made the suggested fabric softener, with 1 litre white vinegar,1 litre water, 2 capfuls of Glycerine, and about 20 drops of lavender 100% essential oil. It smells wonderful and so does my clothes and washing machine and every thing is nice and soft. Brilliant.
Quite a few mornings up at the farm we woke to lovely thick fogs rolling through , we are lucky where our place is situated as the sun hits our front verandah  nice and early and the fogs rarely last, and burn off quite quickly.

One night our next door neighbours, Hubby's brother and family invited us over for a quick sausage sizzle and a bonfire with their grandchildren.
We had a great night and the kids had such fun with the sparklers, they were mesmerized by them . They also had toasted marshmallows for the first time, but they decided they liked them cold better..
Each time we are up the farm if there has been rain we pump the water out of the tank that collects off the house roof up to  another larger tank on the hill so that it can gravity feed back down into the house.

After I had  Pressure canned a load of carrots, I had reserved the peelings and dehydrated them and  powdered it to use later in the sausages and meatball mix, along with the other dehydrated powders I do instead of flour.

 We also really gave our new ice cream machine a workout while we were there, we made vanilla, rich chocolate, peppermint choc chip,Rhubarb and finally apple and cinnamon, My personal favourites were the rich chocolate and the apple and cinnamon which is pictured below.
I went walking one day down to check the mail box and found some  tail feathers off a Glossy black Cockatoo, these birds usually fly over each morning and evening and one must have met with disaster. They are a striking feather, the bird is mostly black with splashes of red on his tail and under wings I think.
We had some really cold, windy sleety days while we were there  and  it was great to be able to pull out jars of meat and thicken it on reheating and make pies in my pie maker. I make lots of fruit pies as well, just so easy, hot pies in 5 minutes. I loved this machine so much that I decided to splurge and bought another one which makes family sized pies in about 15 minutes. You can either use  store bought pre-rolled frozen pastry sheets or make your own, I mainly use store bought(the lazy side of me rearing it's ugly head)Either way they are delicious.
We had a good wander around discussing where we would locate our fruit orchard( we have a few randomly placed fruit tree already, but want a designated orchard as well) and we decided on a long rectangular  yard from where I took the photo below  up to the shed. We are going to plant all dwarf fruit trees that only grow to about 5 ft X 5ft making them easier to  maintain and pick from.
We will make it fox proof and include a coop in it  so that the chickens can spend part of the year in there to help with pest and weed control.Hubby will get onto building it when he fully finishes the main run and coop.
We had a great two and a half weeks up there and accomplished a lot on our to do list, and added a few more things to the list as we thought  of them.,This post is a bit of a mish mash, but  that's our life and how it is,
So...until next time,
Take care,

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