A journal of our day to day; homesteading and homeschooling in the Land of the Midnight Sun.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Homemade soaps and salve
I made some herbal healing salve the other day. Zinnia (new goat mama with twin doelings), had a sore cracked, bleeding, scabby teat- (sorry if that is more info than you needed). I started off putting bag balm on it, which is what I had on hand. I wanted something more healing and nourishing. I usually keep a healing salve on hand, but the tins I rummaged up all had little bits of rancid salve in the bottoms. I did have a jar of fresh calendula infused olive oil and a jar of dried comfrey root olive oil. Comfrey use to be known as "knit bone", it has that kind of super healing powers. I also had a couple teaspoons of Vitamin E oil which I added for moisturizing and nourishing oil.
I put three parts of a combination of the two oils in the saucepan above. Then I measured one part beeswax into the oils and gently warmed it up till the wax was melted. I measured a fews drops of various essential oils and tinctures into the bottom of each tin. I used lavender essential oil for soothing and calming properties, tea tree oil/antifungal and rosemary for healing, red thyme for purifying. I also put just a few drops of goldenseal tincture for antibacterial use and st. johns wort tincture for pain relieving properties- I didn't have st. johns wort oil otherwise I would have used that. I keep all these ingredients on hand and close by, so while it might sound complicated, I spent twenty minutes making the salve, and most of that was spent gathering supplies from different corners in the house.
Finished salves cooling. Should be enough for all the cuts, scrapes and bug bites for the next year- for both the goats and we humans as well. I've got tomake these things now; salves, lip balm, lotions, bug spray and sun lotion. Helps me feel prepared for summer. While they don't take long to make- I don't want to spend any more time than necessary indoors during the summer.
A girlfriend and I recently shared a soap making spree. We made four soaps in an afternoon. It was a bit of a soap making fiasco. In the past we've been content to make simple soaps with no more decoration than some lavender or calendula petals. This time I'd been looking up some professional soap maker sites and was inspired to raise the bar to the next level. I had great hopes and ambitions for layered and swirled soaps. I knew exactly what I wanted our soap to look like, and that is why I'm disappointed. I'm a little embarassed of the appearance of the following soaps. The bars I've used so far do have a nice fragrance and lather- so thats something. At first I thought about cutting them all up and making cobblestone soap, but I'm running out of soap making days- and they work. Should be enough soap to get us to next fall when the days slow down again.
Both above and below are lavender soap. Lavender essential oil and lavender buds.
Above is goat milk soap with cedarwood, eucalyptus and lemongrass. Great fragrance.
We are a family of four (with one more on the way), living in the Arctic Boreal Forest above Fairbanks, in the Interior of Alaska. I write about our simple life and trying to keep our life simple in a day when the typical American life is anything but. When I first started writing this blog I had a toddler and a baby and we were a growing homestead. I wanted to share our day to day and all the lessons we learned along the way, from mixing our own chicken feed to goat kidding season and cheese making. As our children have grown, home schooling has really taken over and I have had to examine every aspect of our lives to keep our days simple yet fruitful. These days you will still find me posting and sharing pictures of our chickens and garden, berry picking and salmon processing. I also hope to be writing about home schooling decisions and lessons as well as other interests and hobbies the kids and I explore. Reader interest and feedback is what keeps me writing, so please leave lots of comments!
The here and now of our homestead is what I'm writing about. Compelled by a sense that we are participating in something significant, heading back to our roots... this is my attempt to share what we are learning along our journey. For those of you on similar paths, whether you are raising kids, a flock of chickens, a couple goats or run a farm, well I'm hoping to learn from you as well, so feel free to put in your two cents!