11 October 2008

Rainy Days

It's been raining on and off the last two days, so we've spent a lot of time indoors. DD made this flower out of paddlepop sticks, all her own idea, although I suspect it was sparked by our flower collages a few weeks ago. I'm really impressed at her craft work lately, she's coming up with a lot of ideas on her own, and has the manipulative skills to turn them into actual objects. She also made some letters out of the paddlepop sticks, although she messed them up before I could take a photo.

We were really glad to see this rain, as it's the first we've had since the last lot I wrote about, over a month ago! Very unusual for spring.

I know, I write about the rain quite a lot. But when you're living simply, it really does have a big effect on your life. And not in the annoying 'I'm going to get wet walking from the car to the shops' kind of way either. We rely on the rain to fill our water tanks so that we have fresh water to drink, shower and wash with, and to water the garden. Nothing makes the garden grow so much as a good soaking from the rain. Somehow, it's totally different to being watered with the hose or a watering can.

The rain inspired me to spread the rest of the sugar cane mulch around the front garden. It's well and truly soaked now, as is the ground underneath it, so hopefully even if we have another dry spell, it will stay wet, meaning I will have to water less, and what watering I do do will be more efficient. I hope it hangs around long enough for me to get some more mulching done, although I have so much else to do in the next few days, not sure how that will go.

It also inspired us to jump in and do a job that has been needing to be done for a while, digging a channel down the side of the house to drain some of the water that usually collects there. A good half hour in the rain, and we had improved things substantially. And of course, both DH and I needed a good shower! DD had a ball playing in the rain while we worked though.

While we were out there, DH cleared the gutters again, as they were overflowing yet again, even though it was only a few weeks ago that we cleared them last. We were debating over whether the cost of professional gutter guard was warranted, but after seeing that, it's definitely necessary, so we'll organise that on Monday.

Today I also managed to knock over another few jobs that have been on my mental to-do list, making soap, and making yogurt.

This is my second attempt at making soap using the tutorial on Down to Earth. The first lot was definitely usable, although not exactly pretty. I think my biggest problem was that I was stirring by hand, and after more than 20 minutes, had still barely reached trace. That was solved though by my wonderful sister (who will have some soap delivered to her in a few weeks) giving me her old stainless steel stick blender. One of the seals was gone, making it unsafe for blending food, but still fine for soapmaking. I reached trace so fast I was staring at it thinking it couldn't have happened that quickly, and wondering if I'd done something wrong!

This time I used a slightly different recipe also, listed here, which cut out the rice bran oil, and used copha instead of coconut oil (which is very hard to find). All up, it would have cost about $15. I would expect there are at least 15 bars of soap here (I'll find out tomorrow when it's set enough to cut!), so that's a pretty good price for this quality of soap. It's also totally unscented, with no other additives, very very hard to find in the shops! Now just to wait impatiently for it to cure (up to six weeks, if we can wait that long!), then we get to try it out.

I'll post more about the yogurt experiment tomorrow, it's still... what do you call it when yogurt is making itself? It's not really cooking, is it?

No comments: