Friday, February 21, 2014

Homemade Laundry Soap ..... Laundry Day(s)

This blowing sun snow weather makes it difficult to dry laundry on the line.

It's easy to dry laundry in this weather. I didn't think that you needed a pic of my bloomers...

  It's not always easy living off the grid. I know that I've said that before and I'm sure I will say it over and over again. That doesn't mean that living off the grid does not bring us joy or a real sense of accomplishment. An example of this is the task of doing the laundry. I love to hang the clothes out on the line. I'm in the sun, alone with my thoughts and soaking in the beauty of Gods' creation all around me. (I started this post well over a year ago and now Number One hangs our clothes on the line since the wreck) 

Even in the winter clothes must be dried. Winter is more challenging and certainly less pleasant, but none the less an accomplishment. Your clothes freeze before you get them out of the basket and on the line. Have you ever seen a pair of freezed dried pants? They can stand up all by themselves.

We have a small 110 volt washer/dryer combo unit that Number One found on Craigslist for 100 bucks. What a blessing! They are around $1100 if you bought one new. We don't use the dryer. It's not necessary it this arid climate. It was such a waste of money and time just driving to the laundry mat. It took an hour to get to the closest one and then, you guessed it, an hour to get back. Then the time it took to actually wait for the clothes to get done. When your at home you can get other things accomplished. I'm(I was) actually doing laundry and writing this post at the same time.

When we were doing the laundry at the laundry mat, I figured out that if you used the largest machines you would save the most money. They work very well. They are made from some serious iron and could really get the job done.

I was very happy when we brought home our little investment. That's when I realized laundry could be a joyful task off the grid. I do have an indoor line in the storage building for when it rains too long or the wind blows so hard that it just rips the clothes off the line. I don't leave the clothes out on the line when I leave anymore. Lesson learned. I don't need my bloomers blown into the next county.

I also make my own laundry soap. It's easy to do. I don't use very much soap. It's really not necessary. I only wash in cold water, because washing in hot or warm does not change how clean your clothes get and it cost money to heat the water. If I had to wash soiled cloth diapers or something similar I would definitely use hot water and bleach to help kill germs. I do not use bleach at all in my laundry. It really irritates my eyes, nose and skin. I do keep it handy for emergency use. I also prefer homemade liquid laundry soap to powdered laundry soap since I use cold water. Sometimes powdered laundry soap may not dissolve in cold water.

Laundry soap recipe:  2 c grated soap or 1 bar grated unscented soap (Fels Naptha or similar bar soap)
                                  6 c water
                                  3/4 c borax natural soap booster
                                  3/4 c all natural washing soda (in the laundry isle)
                                  1 quart hot tap water
                                  1 gallon tap water

Using a large old unused pot, heat soap and two cups of water. Add the other four cups one cup at a time, stirring constantly. Do not let it boil. Add measured borax and washing soda. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Add 1 quart hot tap water and stir until mixed very well. Add 1 gallon water and stir until mixed very well. At this time you may add any essential oils for scent that you want. Unscented works just fine too. Let cool before you refill your old detergent bottles with your new homemade laundry soap. Don't be surprised if it separates a little. Shake a little before using if it does. Use about 3/4 cup per regular load. Play around if you have a really soiled load.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Giant Valentine's Day Hamburger With Homemade Ketchup

Little more bun than burger...

Had to cut the bun down to size...
Five meals with homemade fries and ketchup...

We celebrated our Anniversary on Valentine's Day by creating a monster burger made from lean ground chuck, ground smoked bacon ends and pieces and a custom homemade bun. I found a grape Fanta made with real sugar at a local store to toast our 27 years together. Along with home cut fries and home spun ketchup we had a feast fit for royalty or at least we thought so...

Many many years ago in Fort Smith Arkansas we visited a burger joint, known for their giant hamburgers, called Ed Walker's Drive In. Now our burger was nothing like the 5 lb behemoth Ed Walker serves up. We were young and naive, so we ordered the large chili cheese fries too. People were gawking at the enormous amount of food on our table and to be honest we were too. Needless to say, we took home a doggie bag. Now, Number One created the burger with the ground bacon. I don't think they serve it that way at Ed Walker's.

Ed Walkers Drive In

Ketchup Recipe

6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 c light corn syrup (make your own sugar syrup)
1/2 c white vinegar
1/4 c water
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir often. Cover, cool and then chill in a covered container in the refrigerator. Makes 1 1/2 cups. I often double this recipe. I store it in an old clean ketchup bottle. Enjoy...