Sunday, April 19, 2015

Rub a dub dub, I made soap in a tub

I have very talented and resourceful friends who make gorgeous soap. Or is it more proper to say they make soaps? Cucumber, lemon, lavender, rose - these bars look good enough to eat. And they're almost too pretty to use, but I do. As much as I enjoy these handmade bars of delight, I've never once been tempted to try my hand at soap making. Until today.

My soap making adventure didn't involve anything exotic, no lovely smells, no essential oils, no fancy molds or pretty wrappings. I made laundry soap, because I'm a practical kind of girl and heaven knows you can't just go out and buy laundry soap. Well, yes you can, but the point is I made soap. Well, really it was more like buying a bunch of different soap-like products and mixing them together, but without me they would never have mixed themselves up and made their way into the Tofurkey roaster. 

When we got our front loading washing machine, I felt pretty stinking good about all the water we were saving. And when I hang out our clothes on the line, I feel pretty stinking good about all the electricity we are saving. But I've been noticing lately our clothes have been kind of stinking, and not in a good way. Our water saving washing machine just doesn't use enough water. I have stood there and watched it. I have stood there and yelled at it to fill up with more water. (I have learned that the permanent press cycle uses the most water, more than the heavy load cycle, which makes no sense.) How could I get our machine to clean clothes better? I did what any person who wants answers does, I Googled "How to make your clothes stop stinking if you use a front loading washer and you hang out on the line." Google searches love when you're really succinct like that. I found a recipe for making laundry soap that is supposed to get the job done without any yelling. Here it is, because you also may have too much stinking time on your hands and may want to feel super crafty while impressing absolutely no one.

First buy a box of Borax. It's on the laundry aisle. I didn't know it existed, but trust me, it was right there the on the shelf at Raleys. Subsequent searches on Pinterest have poo-poo-ed using Borax, but I bet they never had laundry that smelled of poo-poo.

Now buy a box, a big box, of baking soda. Don't walk to the baking section of the store, because that's where the little boxes of baking soda are. The big boxes of baking soda are near the borax. Trust me on this one. Be sure to not get a big box of baking powder, because you can't trust that stuff.

Next, buy a big box of super washing soda. Not just washing soda, it has to be super washing soda. Again with the trust thing, it's on the same aisle as the borax and the big box of baking soda. Look for the arm. Then look for the hammer. They will be together, ready to handle whatever stink you throw at them.

Now you can leave the laundry aisle and head to the personal soap aisle. Look down where the weird soap is, not eye level at the razzle dazzle kind. You can buy Kirk's Castile soap, or Fels Naptha (which really needs a better PR department) or some other kind of soap your ancestors used while washing clothes down by the river. Grate it into the Tofurkey roaster. Be sure to use a grater that is old enough to remember the Hoover Administration. 

There it is, the recipe for making your own stinking laundry soap. Oh yes, be sure to mix it all up really well, that's the part that qualifies you as a super crafty person who makes their own soap. Your laundry will smell so good, you'll want to run out into the street and ask perfect strangers if your towels are not indeed April fresh. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

One drop...two drops...three drops...more?

What does a person who loves rain do during a drought? She waits. 
What does a person who loves rain but hates to wait do during a drought? She complains. A lot.

This dry spell has been super hard on me. It seems like it has rained all of four times here in Sacramento this season. And for one of those times I wasn't even in the state. It's been one long dry parched disappointing year. They keep saying nothing will help at this point, any rain we get won't do much good. Too little. Too late. 

Here's to the Too Little Too Late Mini Storm of April 2015, because it felt really good, even if I wasn't there for it. We went up to our friend's cabin in Iowa Hill, a little town out of Colfax CA on a steep and winding road with hairpin turns that makes your hair no longer need pins. It was supposed to rain some while we were there, which was going to be wonderful for this lover of water falling from the sky. 

We went. And we waited. For the rain. We crossed our fingers and paws, waiting for the rain. And it didn't come. It never came. The rain was a washout. Again.

Crossing all four paws.
For the rain.

It didn't rain.
Because it snowed!

First it was a little dusting.

Then it got a bit more exciting.

It was enough to collect on the little branches.
I just love when that happens.

It was very wet and sloppy snow.
Sierra Slush.
It was terrific.

Driving back yesterday, we left the wet winter wonderland at 2800 feet and drove right back into the greenest green of a California spring in the foothills. The poppies and wildflowers are blooming, the hills are vibrant and the air is clean. The rain gauge in our Sacramento yard said one inch. Even though the paper said that's a drop in the bucket, any drop in this dry bucket is appreciated. Let's put up a big ol' thank you card for the drops, a banner that reads "Thanks drops, you did good, send your friends, we love drops."

We came home to a fresh and clean front yard - our Kill the Lawn mulch was wet and dark and looking good. The second set of irises are blooming, the lavender is doing its thing, the neglected roses are looking pampered and happy, and the trees got their roots soaked. No more rain in the forecast, but when it's this dry, every drop really does count.