Saturday, April 01, 2006

April Fools Day - but I really did make soap.

Norfolk Lasses Eggs Total to Date: 344 Day:150

KoKKo 115 Personal best egg weight 86grms 29.11.2005
Adelaide 115 Personal best egg weight 80grms 26.02.2006
Ginger 114 Personal best egg weight 80grms 27.03.2006

London Ladies Bantam Eggs Total to date: 22 Day:19

Dilly 8 Personal best egg weight 36grm 27.03.2006
Freckles 8 Personal best egg weight 37grms 28.03.2006
Pumpkin 6 Personal best egg weight 35 grms 01.04.06

The first day of April and it has dawned with rain. April showers are the order of this month according to folk lore, but not the torrential rain of last night and this morning. It might well be a soap making day. I ache anyway after all the manual labour, but it is a great feeling to have got so much done.

Just hope that it warms up so that I an get my onions and potatoes in next week. That would be brilliant. And it Richard came with his great big rotorvator and the furrow attachment that he is making for my rotorvator that would be the icing on the cake.

There was an egg from Pumpkin for me in the nest today. Stone cold at 7am (which would be their 6am as the clocks went forward but their body clocks remain the same). I was the purest white and weighed in at a new personal best of 35grms.

I guess they must be happy if they are laying eggs even though they get chased a bit now and again. I think I spend too much time observing their every move!

Must 'get a life' as the saying goes. LOL.

Evening update.

4 Eggs in total today - 2 from the Norfolk Lassies and 2 from the London Ladies - they are matching one for one at the moment - I am very impressed.

Well the rain stopped play out doors allotment wise but I did make my first batch of soap.

St Clements

Here are some photos giving a step by step (almost) account. It is absolutely necessary not to have any distractions, or interuptions - so next time I make it, I will make sure that he is miles away! Nuff said!

Firstly you need to assemble all your ingredients and materials.

These include protective gloves, safety goggles and mask, thermometers and various bowls, saucepans, something to use as moulds, scales - well you can see what was involved if you click on the photo to enlarge it!

I have wanted to do this for ages, but (a) couldn't get all the ingredients locally so had to order some off the internet, the last of which arrived a couple of days ago, and (b) I was a bit wary of doing it as it sounded like a science project.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, will know that I have a bit of a cavalier attitude to recipies and tend to make a lot of them up as I go along. But when making soap, you can not do that. You have to meticulously stick to the correct weights, and ingredients to the letter. It didn't say why, and I am not brave enough to find out by doing it wrong, so I followed all the warnings and obeyed.

Here we have various weights of palm oil, sunflower oil, cocoa oil, and beeswax, which is melting on a very low heat.

Here we have the caustic soda and water mixture that the safety equipment was for - goggles, mask, long gloves for hand and arm protection and I had vinegar standing by in case of splashes.

And here are the melted oils - note the thermometers in each - both have to cool to the same temperature before mixing together.

Then you have to keep stirring until it reaches trace before adding the other fragrance oils, then pouring it into moulds. And as that was a bit tricky and I kept gettiing interupted I did not take any photos - BUT - that does not really matter and the next step was to wrap them in towels for 24 hours then to take them out of the moulds. So tomorrow you will see how they turned out - the next stage is to store them before you can use them, but more of that tomorrow!

So once finished and washed up it was lunch of a chicken and vegetable curry (that I had cooked and frozen) with rice, as I needed an easy meal after a morning up the allotment which did not materialise.

Just after lunch I got a phone call from someone who had sent me an email first thing wanting to view my Eglus.

It was a bit of a shock to learn that they wanted to come straight away - I was thinking in the next week or two, but remembering how keen I was I agreed.

An hour later they were here, the sun was out, and I was shattered so didn't look my Sunday best no doubt.

Still they were a lovely young couple, and we had a great chat about all things chicken and Eglu related. They had a brochure, but until you see one in a garden it probably is difficult to actually imagine. I know that I would have loved the opportunity to see one in situ and to talk through all my questions with someone. So I was happy for them to visit. I put KoKKo,Adelaide and Ginger in one of the runs, as with all six of them underfoot I thought it might be a bit overwhelming, especially as my girls just get so excited when I go in to see them clamouring around me to see what tidbits I might have.

So it was left to the more genteel London Ladies, Dilly, Freckles and Pumpkin, to strut their stuff and wow them. And boy were they wowed. They initially had the idea of having two large chickens like my Norfolk girls, but once Freckles and Dilly worked their charm, and happily cuddled up to them, and soaked up all the stroking and attention, they were soon won over. Freckles even started to doze off!

Once they had seen exactly 'in real life' what the Eglu and run look like, how easy it is to clean out, the size of it etc and where it would be sited in their garden, they decided that they would definitely buy one - just had to decide on the colour and they are going to get four bantams - they just need to find a breeder near them.

So we had a cup of tea and discussed more chicken related things, and they got to collect an egg that had just been laid by KoKKo, which was compared with the tiny bantam eggs. (Samples of which I gave them to take home to eat of course), then it was outside in the sunshine for another cuddle before they went. This time they picked up the girls themselves.

Pumpkin, was a bit aloof and did not want to be cuddled by strangers, but they liked her the best, for sheer looks and colour. But Dilly and especially Freckles just won them over to bantams.

After they went, I let the big girls out again, and threw them their evening meal of mixed corn and they all gathered together to eat it - no chasing, no squabbles - it was a lovely scene.

Off to watch a DVD. Hope you all have a great weekend.


  1. I just SAW on the news that the uk people are protesting against Connie Rice. I LOVE YOU UK PEOPLE. more power to you.

  2. we made soap when i was a child. we had this old black kittle, we put in the yard on rocks and built a fire under it. put all the old grease we had saved plus old meat skins from the smoke house, pork skins, then we dumped a can of lye also water and boiled all day then when the soap was formed we cut into cakes and put in a box and let set for a week.this was lye soap and all out people used it until after world war 2.If you didn't let it set it was soft soap, which was not good. we have an expression in our family if you are trying to impress some one you are soft soaping them.

  3. Sounds great fun - it still is made with animal or vegetable fat - that is my next project and I made lye for this recipe too.

    We too use the soft soap expression, but it has been replaced quite a bit with modern terminology.

    I am looking forward to seeing how it turned out


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