Making Soap...yes, Soap.
Before I was a homesteader, I was a crafter. I've already shared that I love to create things. I always have. Vasek had been taking the beekeeping course for a while when I finally decided to see what other classes were being taught at Lazy B Farm. The soap making class caught my interest and I signed up. I had no idea what to expect. I had only seen the melt and pour soaps at the craft store. I was in for a shock!
I was not prepared for the amount of chemistry required to make soap. Nerd alert! Saponification, or the process that happens to turn fat into soap, was completely overwhelming. The class introduced me to hot and cold process soap making. I will not bore you with all the details and differences between the two. I was immediately drawn to the hot process method, mainly because it was less temperature monitoring and I could use the soap quicker after processing.
Amanda, from Amanda's Farm to Fork, was the hot process instructor. She is very laid back and hysterical! I learned so much and wrote as much down as I could manage. I thought to myself, "if she makes that many soaps in a week, it must be easy." Famous last words.
The process itself is technically not difficult. The myriad of ways it can go wrong, however, are positively overwhelming. I ordered my ph-test strips online, found a used crock pot at a thrift shop, and got some oil to use. Most soap makers will not share their recipes since they are from years, sometimes decades, of trial and error. Here I was with random oils, gloves, safety goggles, and a soap calculator. It was like a scene from Fight Club. I made mistake after mistake until I finally had something that resembled soap. But I was smitten. I loved taking ingredients that are usually found in kitchens and turning them into luscious, fragrant soap.
Since that first batch of soap, I have produced hundreds and hundreds of bars of soap. I have tried everything from olive oil to lard. I know what essential oils make the best fragrances. I am proud of the soaps I make and have loyal customers that return again and again. This is all because some crazy soap ladies were willing to share that knowledge with me. I will forever be grateful.
Vasek and Brooke
We are thrilled to share our homesteading successes and struggles with you. There's a steep learning curve here and we are ready for the challenges.