Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Been busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs

One of my emails this morning started with "I have been busier than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs y'all!!  That gave me a good chuckle, because that was so my day yesterday.

I had a smorgasbord "to do" list and managed to get it all done; but I was running all over the house and garden, and  by the end of the day  my arthritic hip had me limping badly, to the point that Jim said I should spent all day in bed today; but that isn't going to happen. I will spend a lot of time continuing my soaping studies, though, so I will get plenty of sit down time in between the few things I have to do today.

First thing yesterday morning, I fed my sourdough starter. After breakfast I got the last bit of melt and pour soap melted and poured and did the cleanup. There was email and snail mail to deal with and then mid morning I finally got a call about the results of the upper G.I. X rays. Seems that after the surgery, the lower part of my esophagus has narrowed, which my doctor says is probably the cause of the pain and acute gastritis symptoms I've been experiencing the past two months, so he's sending the xrays to the surgeon for his input. I'll have to wait to see what if anything can be done about it, other than keeping me on these two medications which I was able to stop taking after the surgery, or having to undergo another surgery. It will be what it will be - just have to keep moving forward no matter what life brings you.

After lunch I got my breakfast bread started, then went out to the garden to harvest what I could before the expected freeze (it was 32F at 6am); but don't think it lasted long because I didn't notice any wilting of the tender tomato leaves). I eked out a couple of cups of basil which had pretty much gone to seed, so I'll make a batch of pesto sauce after breakfast. After dinner I baked the breakfast bread and got into the studio and cleared the large section of the slab roller so I can move my soap making tools on there today and get it ready to make some Cold Process soap in a couple of days. My working day ended a 9pm and then I spent another hour on email before lights out.

In my down time I continued my soaping education. With Google's help, I finally found a site that lists the various acids and their  percentages in the many oils and butters used in soap making, as well as the positive and negative things they contribute. That information is a very good first step in learning to create my own soap recipes. At least now, I will understand some of those acid percentages that pop up in the free lye calculation software.

I've decided to bit the bullet and get the professional version of the soap software that some other soap makers have recommended. It will take a lot of time to set it up and learn. Before you can even start using it you have to spend a lot of time entering basic information. That will definitely give me plenty of time of rest this hip! 

This morning our son asked when to expect his first bar of home made soap. Jim naively said, maybe by Thanksgiving - maybe next Thanksgiving Jim, but definitely not this Thanksgiving for Cold Process soap which has to age about four weeks. Christmas is definitely possible; but first I have to create a recipe for slow tracing soap, and make sure the fragrance I use doesn't accelerate trace, so I can jump right in after a one lb test batch of soap to test how long it will take to trace with the fragrance oil I choose. If that goes well, then I'll bite the bullet with a three pound loaf and  try one of the two or three color swirling techniques. I figure there will be a lot of failures whether I go the easy route or  attempt a bit more challenging project - just have to be well prepared and go for it.  So after my days small "to do" list is complete, I'll be working on creating, I hope, a good starter, slow to trace recipe. I have a couple of slow to trace recipes to use as a starting point, and I have all the ingredients listed in some of the recipes, so that's my big, sit down job today.Wish me luck. There's a good chance I'm going to need it! :-)


  1. Maybe you could do some of the soap research while soaking in a tub of hot water?

  2. Good suggestion Dennis. The only problem is that I haven't been in this tub since we moved here 2 1/2 years ago and even before that. I gave up baths after our cat, Miss Bonnie, fell into a filled tub at the old house, so I got into the habit of taking showers instead. This house has a door between the bedroom and master bath, so I may just start taking some baths now that we're having some cold weather.

  3. Todd Schuster11/12/14, 4:36 AM

    Hi June. Sorry your hip has been bothering you, but I hope you are doing better. A belated happy 81st to the big guy. As I've said many times, one of the genre's underrated great hosts. Seems like yesterday when he was wearing those nice 3 piece suits on Card Sharks and Sale. Many many more to big Jim. Hope Sean and Erin are well. All the best

  4. Thanks Todd. Will pass on your belated birthday wishes to Jim. Sean and Erin as doing very well - thanks!