Copyright © 2007-2015 Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Hangin' Tree & Renderin'

The bluebirds are constant visitors around our place now that spring is near..Lacy Diamond Dishcloth
And I've done bit of dyeing with this wool rug yarn for an upcoming project.
Here's the result hangin' to dry on our "hangin' tree"  Besides giving nice shade to the yard it doubles as a dryer sometimes.
As you may remember from a previous post or two, I make all of our soap. I got this beef suet from a butcher for renderin' down for soap.
I like to get it pre-ground, but this time it was in huge chunks so I had to grind it in my meat grinder. The smaller the pieces the more tallow you get when you render it down.
So I spent another day at the fire pit adding water and suet and letting it boil till all the fat was released.
I had to strain all the bits of non-fat out before it could be used for soap, so I did that and put the leavin's into pans to freeze for feeding birds. Suet, for the birds. That's how that's made.
Now, for soap - I used the tallow for a pretty large batch of soap which I pour into all sizes of molds...
There are lots of soap recipes online and in books at your local library. I use Norma Coney's The Complete Soapmaker as my soapmaking and rendering guide.
This is a batch of plain soap, pure and natural.
I make a lot of different sizes. It takes 2-3 weeks for it to dry. We're looking forward to using it soon as we are running low on plain soap. I used to make a lot of scented soap, but Goodman prefers it plain these days.
(Note: I've been having trouble with leaving comments at two or three favorite blogs that I read. As you know, I read them from my phone these days and sometimes the comments just disappear or I don't get a link to leave them at all. It's very frustrating after all the time it takes to text it in to begin with, and I hope you understand if that happens.)
(Edited to say: Thanks to A Joyful Chaos I found out that the fairly newly chosen embellishment to transform my quite dry sounding profile ID Tea to something more fun was strikingly similar to political events taking place around the country. (Well, how dare they use my new moniker! ;) Anyways, I don't watch the news or anything really since I don't own a television so I was in the dark about that. I'm happy this way so don't worry about me, eh. My tea events actually involve tea with milk and sugar and a lot of knitting besides. :) Btw, if you haven't visited A Joyful Chaos you might want to do that. The author Mary Ann grew up Amish and has gifted us with many wonderful stories about her childhood and young married life. I'm enjoying it quite a lot.
Here we are nearly done with February...
Have a great week, Y'all!

This post may be shared with...   From the Farm Blog Hop,  Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways,  The HomeAcre Hop The Art of Home-making Mondays


  1. Your beautiful cloth looks like it got it's color from your beautiful bluebirds :)

    You soap is fabulous...can't get over all the work that goes into making it. You seem to enjoy doing it and I'm sure you really enjoy the fruit of your labor. My mother used to make soap but it never looked as pretty as yours.

    Can't wait for spring....looking forward to seeing green again! Enjoy :)

  2. Hello From Michigan, Wow I love the photo of the Blue Bird eating. Lovely. I am hoping they will visit my yard this Summer. Your yarn dying colors are lovely. You are a very creative person. I could not even image trying to make soap. vbg We've had an awful snow weekend. Very sad face. We are planning a trip down to Kentucky to see the blooming trees and flowers in April. I am sooooooooooo looking forward to seeing a bit of the south. Hugs Judy

  3. Even though your comments are not "sticking" on my blog posts, I wanted you to know I am getting them in my email. Very strange! I wonder why this is happening? Today was the first day that I actually looked at my blog...sorry for not checking soon. I was just assuming since I was seeing the comments in my mail, the problem was on your end. My apologies. I will see what I can find the meantime please don't get stressed over it :)

    P.S. I love the old "wearing of the green" post cards ( at least that's what they look like) decorating your blog.

    happy Sunday :)

  4. And you make soap too? I love these posts illustrating how to make soap, maple syrup, dyeing yarn. You are my shero!

  5. I feel like such a big dope!!! I figured out why your comment were disappearing. It's all blogger's fault and mine - mostly mine :( I can't blame them entirely. Their intentions were good, but it never occurred to me that you comments were hiding in blogger's new spam folder. Yes, they recently started an automatic spam detection feature and yes they did clearly mark the feature with
    "You should occasionally check the comments in your spam inbox"....well now I know and will be much more diligent with checking the spam folder. It's a good feature, so I do not want to complain, but never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought your wonderful comments would get mistaken for spam.
    So sorry. Hugs {{ }} At least it was an easy fix...LOL!!

  6. hakucho: Thank you for figuring out what was going on with the comments. And who knew? Certainly not me! I never even look in the spam folder. o.O Thanks again!

  7. Good ol' homemade soap! Love it. Also, your cloths are beautiful, T.
    Yes, it's hard for me to believe March is almost here.

  8. I have a small water dish for my bluebirds. it catches rain water, and other birds like it because it is on the ground. looks like you have been busy with knitting, soap making, dyeing yarn. makes the rest of us look bad !

  9. I have never made homemade soap but would love to try someday. I have rendered tallow though and I always enjoy that.

    I also get your comments in my email then I go to my blogger dashboard and check my spam comments folder and they're always in there so I publish them for you as soon as I get to them. I don't know why it does that unless google has some sort of alert to anything that sounds remotely like the political Tea Party?

    I really do appreciate all your comments and I'll keep checking and making sure they get published when you leave one. :)


  10. How I'd love to be your near neighbor, so I could spend a day watching/helping you make soap in order to learn it myself. I do have a book, but I'm more of a 'have to see it done' kind of learner. ;-)

    We have to visit company in the country to get to see bluebirds. I've never seen one in my yard in town before. They are delightful looking little creatures!

  11. What a beautiful 2bluebird" cloth you made, so bright! Good luck with all that yarn dyeing, I wish I had time and room to try it - and soap making too. I love handmade things.

    Have a nice week!

  12. ps. Regarding your problem with comments, one of yours once got into my spam folder on blogger. I don't know why! Maybe it had to do with you posting from your phone? Well, I hope it is fixed soon.

  13. oh my goodness your making soap looks like a lot of fun. I may have to try that some time when my kids are older or maybe when they are at school. I bet they'd make a big mess helping.

    Your bird and dish clothe are both really pretty.

    I can't wait to see what your going to use the dyed yarn for.

  14. Looks like you're keeping busy, Mum. That bird and cloth are almost a perfect match, it ought to be called Bluebird Lace, or something O.o

  15. Another wonderful post!:o) What a beautiful blue you chose for your cloth, I love it! I am also loving your pretty dyed rug yarn. You are certainly the talented one.:o)

    As for your soap, I indeed do know just how fabulous they are and these big bars are beautiful!



  16. I've used that book to render fat and make soap.
    Do you pour your soap directly into molds after making it, or do you put it in one large batch then remelt it to put it into these containers?
    Laura Lane

    1. Hi Laura, I do both methods when I make soap. Sometimes I pour into small molds, but mostly I pour a fresh batch of soap into a large mold then hand-mill smaller batches a few days later according to directions in the book. Thanks for visiting!

  17. This is very impressive. What a wonderful way to use something that may have been tossed aside. I'd love to have you link up with Tuesday Greens when we return next week. I'm at Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Hello Becky, Thank you for visiting my blog and inviting me to link up with Tuesday Greens. I hadn't heard of the linkup so now I'm looking forward to that.

    2. Soap making is one of the skills I want to tackle this year. :) Thanks so much for sharing your post on The HomeAcre Hop! I hope you have time to stop by and share more today!

  18. Your dishcloth is beautiful! I wouldn't want to use it :) Also, thank you for the tip about grinding the fat first. I am going to be rendering soon and wouldn't have thought to do that (though I must admit that I have the same attachment and it isn't my favorite to clean with all the fat inside!). I will be making candles as I have yet the courage to try soap! But boy do I want to! Well, I do hope you have a wonderful weekend. Ours looks like it will be a busy one...


Thank you for your comments!