Mischief, Mayhem, Soap

Sorry that I haven’t posted an update in a while. Been pretty busy as always. Let me tell you about a few of these projects.

First off. I’ve been spending far too much time around here making videos, or rather taking video of everything I do. The stuff doesn’t all get posted, and I’ve stopped updating my video list on site here because there is simply too much data planned for the future, and I don’t want to overwhelm the page. I’m getting new subscribers almost daily at this point, and I’m hoping to keep up that trend by posting better and more refined content.

The vids are basically about the stuff I’m doing around here anyway. Right now, for instance, there is a pot of … something, on my woodstove that’s been cooking away on and off for the last 24 hours in an attempt to make my first batch of lye soap. The process isn’t quite as easy as I’d hoped, but I’m sure once I get it, it’ll get easier. That video isn’t going to be posted because of my failure with this pass, but I have posted a video about the process of making potash from wood ashes, and it’s quite informative. That part I can do, and meanwhile I can dispel some of the rumors floating about the internet about what exactly is produced from the process.

Purification of potash, from red to green to white.

I’ve also started trying to make clay using the soil here on top of the hill. I had built my first kiln outside from simply digging up the dirt and mixing it with straw and water, but I want more. I want refined clay that can be molded into pots and plates and just about anything. I want bricks that can be fired and will hold up better against the heat of a kiln.

This means that the area around my rainwater catch tanks has become a little factory. Again, I started shooting a video, but realized that the method I had envisioned in my head simply was not going to work. I’ve spent the last two days devising a workflow that will help to maximize the amount of clay I can extract from a bucket of clay dirt.

The problem isn’t finding the clay, but rather separating the sticky stuff from all the rocks and sand buried inside of it, and also doing that in an efficient way that will allow me to produce hundreds of bricks for my new kiln, all from stuff laying around here.

The stuff I’m getting out is quite pure. Surprisingly pure, in fact. But more infrastructure will be needed, including more cloth bags to finish curing the clay in. I’m starting to wonder if local potters might be interested in using some home-grown clay right here from Ozark soil. People like stuff that’s local to the area around here, so there might be an in. And to be honest, I can make a heck of a lot of pottery with the same clay that would produce a single brick. I’m considering building another mud kiln as an intermediary so that I can begin firing bricks and stacking them up, as well as getting my hands dirty at pottery, clay firing, and glazing (which I also hope to make with stuff around here). Glaze is important, because nobody wants a leaky beer mug…even if it leaks very, very slowly 😛

I’ve been out sawing today as well. Cutting up more cedar for making things. I didn’t get time to make more of my little rounds, nor did I find a limb suitable for coasters…….but an idea literally just popped into my head about what I can do with those 3x’s I cut from one log, hehehe. What I did, though, was time myself at making a small mallet from a cedar limb:

Guess what I used to make it. Just what you see. Another mallet and my wonderful little hatchet. Oh, I fixed the loose head on that as well. I jammed a round metal wedge into the top as far as it would go, and the hatchet is again solid and working great. Might be near time for another oiling of the handle if it isn’t going to fall apart on me. Pretty proud of that hatchet handle recently. Made from oak, one of the “worst” woods for making handles? Yea, right. Works just dandy and outlived the original fiberglass handle, even with my abusing the poor thing… let me end that rant before it gets out of hand.

Anyway, yes, lovely little cedar mallet. I wanted to kill a little time, and I thought it would be cool to have the heartwood shine for the handle while the sapwood made the face of the mallet, so I gave it a try. I grabbed a cedar limb and started chopping. The whole thing took about 45 minutes, then I started wondering if that was something people might be interested in purchasing. I have more cedar logs, just saying 😛 My spoons, by comparison, look lousy and take 3 times as long to make, but I’m getting better at carving stuff.

Kitten update: I still have four and they are growing like weeds. I got them flea collars this week because they’re old enough now. No bad reactions yet. Actually, aside from getting them to hold still while fitting them, they haven’t really bothered about them at all. I was surprised. The last time I saw a cat get a flea collar, it was immediately obsessed with loosing the darn thing. These kitties are pretty well behaved, and starting to look like cats. I don’t have any pictures this week because the little rodents won’t sit still for one. They’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors but still come in when it’s cold, though they have also figured out how to keep warm in the shabbin, where I’m keeping their foam kitten enclosure, so in or out, they’re pretty happy cats. They have access to that building through a plexiglass kitty door that I attached to it, and it stays dry in there all the time.

Think that’s about it for today. I’ll try to take more still shots of stuff while I’m filming, so that I can write more blog posts. Check out my YouTube channel if you have time. I’m really hoping to have something worth monetizing by December, and every subscriber counts.

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