Earth and Herbs

Flower and Herb Farm in NE Washington State


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Soap Class Success!

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Our first ever soap making class was a great success, thanks to some great and generous people, the NW Preppers and Survivalists.

We started with an informal introduction and then enjoyed some “getting to know you” time and some goodies that were thoughtfully brought by our attendees. It was a wonderful gathering of friends, and even though we had just met, it seemed like we had been doing this for years.

After we were sure that everyone who wanted to participate had made it, we were off! We talked about what soap was, how it was discovered, and the supplies you will need to make it. Safety was also covered, and I was able to tell them of my adventures of being a “pirate” for a week after splashing hot lye soap in my eye. Yeah. That really happened.

soapclass4use safety goggles… or else

Then we started soaping! We made a hot process batch of soap, and after smelling many of the essential and fragrance oils we were able to get a unanimous decision of using Frankincense and Myrrh fragrance oil (from Bramble Berry), with red mica for color.

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Here’s the recipe we followed:

Olive Oil 12 oz.

Coconut Oil 11 oz.

Palm Oil 10 oz.

Palm Kernel Oil 7 oz.

Shea Butter 5 oz.

Distilled Water 14 oz.

Lye 6.4 oz.

Raw Silk

We used a small wooden rectangular mold, and when the soap was done cooking (saponifying) we slopped it in, and it came out wonderful! Since the group was not able to see the finished result, I un-molded a batch of lavender, rosemary, mint soap I had made the day before and we were able to slice and distribute a bar of soap to everyone.

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We had such a great time, and look forward to teaching another class soon! Thanks again to everyone who came, and we hope that your soaping adventures continue!

Here are some helpful links to help our fellow soapers:

Here is a fragrance calculator from Bramble Berry:
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Bramble Berry needs S.O.A.P. Panel members!

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Bramble Berry are looking for scent testers for their S.O.A.P. Panel to test their new fragrances for 2014. Here at Earth and Herbs we LOVE Bramble Berry scents and supplies! We’ve purchased from many different suppliers over the years since the birth of our soaping adventures in 1999, but know that Bramble Berry will have the best prices, selection, and highest quality products, and have no reason to shop anywhere else! We would be thrilled to be among the lucky eight!

Bramble Berry oils

Our very favorite scent at the moment is the Smokey Patchouli Fragrance Oil. We use it for our BEER soap! It pairs well with the nuttiness of our local craft beer, and gives us that exotic and intoxicating scent of Patchouli that takes us back to another, simpler time, and reminds us of the earth and incense!

This February we will be teaching a soap making class for the Northeast Preppers community, and think it would be a great occasion to let them all sample the fragrances as well. Not only will we be able to experiment with new scents, but we can ask the Preppers to vote and comment on their favorites! As the new year continues, and our soap supplies grow, we will be making our debut at the local Farmer’s Market here in NE WA… and we are confident Bramble Berry will keep us well supplied, and extremely happy!

soap


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There’s a fungus among us!

There’s a Fungus among us!

We have just registered for the Mushroom Cultivation Design Course happening March 24-28th in Eugene, Oregon through Fungi For The People.org.

Really excited to get such a great, hands-on opportunity to get dirty and learn with the pros! Ja Schindler will be heading up this fungus adventure and we’re looking forward to picking his brain all week. We’ll be soaking up all of the knowledge we can, and bringing it back to NE Washington to further expand our farm, and share with our community.

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Like them on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/FungiForThePeople

We did!


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Re-batching Handmade Soaprebatch1

Our soap making adventures started many years ago, and as a result, we have an overabundance of unused soap laying around. Re-batching is a great way to give these old, tired, scentless soaps a makeover!

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The first step is to grate the soaps. These soaps are anywhere from 4 to 10 years old! They were all homemade by us, and we knew that the ingredients were too good to let them go to waste. Although old, they are still quite usable. The scent on most of them, however, was just about non-existent and giving them new life seemed the right thing to do.

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The next step is to put them in the crock pot with some sort of liquid. We used our own goat’s milk, splashed a bit in there and put the cooker on low. If we were really thinking ahead, I think we would have separated some of the grated soap into same colors or shades, but alas, this was not the case. As a result, our soap color after melting did not look appetizing at all!

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See what we mean! Not the prettiest soap in the world.

After melting the shavings and goat’s milk in the crock pot we added essential and fragrance oils to the batches and came up with some great combinations! Wrebatch101112222e used small soap molds to create bars.

We’ve found over the years that if we used larger molds for re-batch it took too long for the soap to congeal, and we just were not in the mood to wait! After they cooled in the molds they were popped into the freezer, taken out after a few hours and ran under warm water to release.

Here are the finished results!

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They might not be pretty, but they smell delicious!

Green Apple and Cucumber
Frankincense and Myrrh
Sandalwood and Smokey Patchouli
Pina Colada
Carnation and Spiced Plum
Lavender and Mint

Come see more of our adventures on Facebook!

Try out these scents and others at Brambleberry.com!


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Winter is here!

Charlie's first snow

Charlie’s first snow

If finally feels like winter here on the farm! Our first real snow came yesterday, and we’re pretty sure that our ground will be white from now on until late Spring.

Our puppy Charlie didn’t know what to think of the white flakes falling from the sky. Soon she was running, and playing and scooping up the  snow in her mouth. Now, we can hardly keep her inside! Our other dogs, Ruby and Radar just barely tolerate the snow, and do not like to venture outside without their coats on.

The heater went out in the chicken coop, so we put up a Kerosene lamp to keep our feathery friends warm. Now we have very dirty chickens! They look grey instead of white. Poor things. We’ll have to think of another way to keep them warm without breaking the bank, and without covering the coop in soot!

Now that the snow is here we will be focusing on projects that are long overdue inside the house. We’ll be working on value added products, sewing, spinning, and creating lots of art! Another round of soap making will definitely be in our near future. This time instead of re-batching, we will be whipping up some amazing batches of homemade soap from scratch.