stormy weather …
It’s been two weekends of rain, with week days of beautiful sun. If only we had some control over that and could switch it around. While rain is always a blessing, it does mean little gets done around the farm on the weekends. There are worse things to do than to catch up some reading, and preparing for upcoming holidays, however, so some down time is always welcome.
My parents just returned to the mainland after staying a little over a week here. Two sets of extra hands on the farm meant a lot of work got done. They picked a bunch of coffee, picked and processed some hibiscus tea, helped clean and process our first bunch of turmeric this season, and a did a bunch of weeding and general aesthetically pleasing yard work, i.e. weeding the flower beds and orchid grotto. It was awesome!! We were so grateful for their help, I hated to see them go. They both lost some weight while they were here, I felt a little bad about that because we really put them to work, but they both seemed pleased, so I guess it was a win/win!
Following are photos of some new additions to the grotto and the yard.
It’s been nice to add a little bit of beauty here and there. With my parents here, it gave us the time and manpower to tackle some things we haven’t had time for in the past.
We also roasted our first batch of coffee from this season. This is going to be a bumper crop year, and we’re pleased with not only the amount of coffee, but its taste and quality.
Today as it was still raining, I decided to make another batch of soap. I’ve been trying to make a batch every weekend and enjoy experimenting with our variety of plants. Last week I made another batch of awapuhi ginger soap. I wanted to make it before the plant stops producing this year and goes dormant. Today, I made a lemon zest soap. I watched a 10 minute video about how to make soap using lemons only to find out that the soap didn’t turn out! At first, I thought why would you put a video out of soap that didn’t turn out, but in the end, I did learn what NOT to do. Don’t use actual lemon juice in the soap, the acid in the soap messes with the lye’s acid and can affect the saponification process, and your soap will never set. I did, however, use lots of lemon zest, and am crossing my fingers you can smell some of it in the soap.
It came out a really nice light yellow color which I hope stays as it hardens. If you’re interested in making your own soap, I highly recommend getting a good book on the topic or taking a class. Soap making can sound intimidating especially when using lye, but with the proper equipment, it’s actually not that hard. I use a book called “Simple & Natural Soapmaking” by Jan Berry. It’s a great introduction to soapmaking, and now I use it as a source of inspiration as I create my own unique soaps.