DIY Laundry Detergent

One of the goals that we made in regards to homesteading was trying to be as self-suffiient as possible.  In doing that I have started making more of our household cleaning supplies and other “consumables” from scratch or more cost effective components.

One of the first things I thought I would tackle was laundry detergent.  I have made my own detergent in the past using this recipe but I wanted to try something different as my “year” was almost up.  I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest and thought I would do a combination of the two.

I decided on simplifying the first recipe by removing the oxy-clean and the fabric softener crystals, replacing Fels-Naptha with Zote Soap, and adding one bar of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soaps.

All the Ingredients

All the Ingredients

  • 1 bar of Zote Soap
  • 1 bar of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap – Lavendar
  • 1 box Borax
  • 1 box Washing Soda
  • 2 cups of baking soda

The first thing I needed to do was grate the Zote and Castile Soaps.  This is the most time consuming part of the whole process.

Grating the soap Zote Soap Grated Castile Soap (I promise it's not parmesan cheese)

After the grating was done, I started mixing all the ingredients together.  I did this in stages to mix the ingredients better.  I also used a large stock pot to mix everything in. This stage is the easiest and most rewarding.  As the stock pot was filling up, I knew that we were once again simplifying our life and becoming more self-sufficient.

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By the end, the stock pot was full and I had about a year’s worth of laundry soap to show for it.  To store the detergent, I used a canister that we had sitting around.  It holds 5.0 L.

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Both recipes that I used as jumping point stated that 2 tablespoons was all that is needed per load.  I think that next time I will use a different scent of castile soap as the Zote soap does have citronella oil in it.

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Front Gardens: A Work in Progress

This week has be unusually cool in our region so we thought this would be a great time to start prepping our gardening space in the front of the house.  Below is a picture of our house before we started clearing out the beds.

The front of the house before any projects had started.

The front of the house before any projects had started.

Our plan is to use the square foot gardening method. We will have gardens on either side of the covered porch and along the front of the porch as well. The first bed will be on the right side of the porch as this bed is already defined and has the most work to get ready.  We have a lot of shrubs, decorative grasses and weeds to clear out before we can get anything started.

My project was to clear out everything in the bed, leaving just the line of boxwood bushes in the back.  We are leaving these for now as they provide some protection from the afternoon sun.  The big bushes were cut down by my husband.  I started digging out the decorative grasses and pulling up the weed blocker that the weeds and grasses started growing on top of.  We are going to let the bushes dry out and the rest of the yard waste will be thrown into the compost bin.  Below are a few pictures of the progress on clearing the bed.

Pulling up the weed blocker.

Pulling up the weed blocker.

Clearing the bed and the extra bushes cut down.

Clearing the bed and the extra bushes cut down. The boxwoods are trimmed up and looking more uniform.

Here is what the front of the house looks like during the process.

Front of the house - during the clearing process.

Front of the house – during the clearing process.

Homesteading Plan of Attack

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This quote really sums up a couple of points I’d like to make. 1) Begin preparing for a difficult future now. 2) Come up with a game plan for how you are going to prepare.

If you haven’t already begun preparing for a difficult future, you need to start. The history of the world is full of hardships and just because we’ve had it good for a really long time, doesn’t mean it will always be that way. The hardships could be brought on by nature or acts of man but there’s a 100% possibility of things getting hard in the future. It might not be in the near future or even in our lifetimes but my family’s livelihood and security are not worth the risk of not preparing. If you haven’t started preparing then at least start thinking about it!

Our plan for preparing for the inevitable hard times is to become as self-sufficient as possible. The best way we figured we could do that is by homesteading.

The second point of this post is to briefly touch on our plan of attack to make this home our homestead. As we’ve said before, we are 100% new to this so mistakes are going to happen but we can minimize mistakes by proper planning. Our first step was to layout the land and how each piece of it will be utilized. For this, we relied heavily on some very close friends that were almost 100% self-sustaining on their own 5 acres.

We had our list of things that we’d like to have on the land so our friends could help us lay it all out in an efficient manner. With their help, we now have our land laid out.

Here’s the list of future land usage:

  • Gardens – lots of them and with a variety of vegetation (vegetables, fruits, herbs)
  • Orchard – 1/2 being dwarf trees and 1/2 normal trees (apple, peach, pear, cherry)
  • Chickens – mostly for eggs (great source of protein and fat)
  • Livestock – probably sheep and goats (don’t have enough land for cattle)
  • Bees – honey is delicious and has great health benefits (bees also help pollinate trees and other vegetation)

One of the important things about a plan is that you have to be willing to make adjustments if it doesn’t worked out the way you envisioned. This is our current list but that might change as time goes on. We have the land laid out but that might change as we progress. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” We have a plan but God might direct our steps down a different path.

In any case, our plan is set and we are ready to get to work!