Sunday, February 5, 2012

Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent

I haven't sunk into old-fashioned enough to wash my clothes by hand, but I do make my own powdered laundry detergent. It's astonishingly easy and economical, and it doesn't have all those chemicals and scents that most modern day suds have.

Meg's Wash Day Powdered Laundry Detergent

1 cup Grated Laundry Bar Soap*
1 cup Washing Soda
1 cup Borax
1/2 Baking Soda

1. Grate the soap bar and let it sit out to dry for a few days. I whazz mine up in an old blender to make it extra fine.

2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then put into a pretty container to store. I re-purpose those old mason jars that aren't good for canning with any longer.

3. Use 1-2 tablespoons per wash. If washing with cold water, I like to mix soap with a bit of hot water to dissolve.

*In Canada, you can find Sunlight bar soap in the laundry aisle, in the US, look for Fels Naptha, or Zote.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Preserving the Harvest

Do you can, dehydrate, freeze, or stow away any of your garden or farmer's market bounty?

Ever since I moved to the Orchard House, I've tried to preserve as much as I can. I always wish I could do more, but the harvest season is so fast and full that something always gets left behind. This year was apricots and pesto.. Perhaps next year?

It's fun to find inspiration in old cookbooks and canning magazines (I find them at antique malls or online), and I even have a Kerr Magazine framed on my kitchen wall that says "You'll be glad you canned with Kerr!"

However, the experts remind us that although those old recipes may look tempting, they may not have enough acid in them to can properly. I must confess though, that I use two old family recipes every year without fail- Great Great Grandma's Chili Sauce, and Grandma's Dill Pickles. Both recipes have lots of vinegar to keep them on the healthily acidic side.

Below is a quick video of the results of an afternoon canning session.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Victorian Farm Repeats on TVO

Ruth, Peter, and Alex are back again on the telly, chasing pigs, cooking tongue, and learning all about farm life in the Victorian Era! If you live in Ontario, TVO is replaying the original Victorian Farm Series every Monday night at 7pm.

If you haven't seen this fantastic reality television series, I highly recommend it. The presenters are historians and archaeologists that are jumping into it with both feet- a nice change from previous reality TV series where the families involved often complain and bring in a lot of modern life into the experiment.

Ruth is my favourite of the presenters, she always seems to be having so much fun... she would make a wonderful old-fashioned living mentor!