Friday, June 8, 2012

Worker Bee Soap


Do you see those bee hives w-a-a-y over there?  Those bee hives are situated on our ranch.  I really didn't want to trek over there and possibly get stung. 

All summer long the bees will work the clover and alfalfa in the surrounding fields. 

We don't manage the hives ourselves, but the honey producer generously gives us a good supply of honey and beeswax every year.  




alfalfa




We love the fact that this honey is literally a local product, made in Montana, made by bees working the clover and alfalfa fields on our ranch.  Not only do we enjoy the honey on just about everything, it also makes great soap!












Honey is a humectant (a substance that promotes retention of moisture) so it helps retain moisture on the skin in much the same way as glycerin. Although the active properties in honey do not survive the soapmaking process, the residual benefits of honey in soapmaking are richness of lather, moisturizing quality, and color of the final soap bar.

Beeswax obtained from the honeycomb of honeybees has many different uses.  Over the years I have played with the beeswax by making some lip balms and body bars.  Recently, a local mechanic needed some beeswax for his work (don't ask me what). 

Worker Bee Soap

There is a multitude of uses for beeswax and one of them is as an ingredient in soapmaking.

Beeswax retains the sweet fragrance of the honey and also contributes to the hardness of the soap bar.  Beeswax has a higher melting point than other fats and oils used in soapmaking.  Therefore, visible unsaponified flecks of beeswax remain in the finished bar of Worker Bee Soap.  

Fragrance oil was added to Worker Bee Soap, but in hindsight I don’t think any additional fragrance was necessary.  The honey and the beeswax alone impart a lovely, earthy, sweet fragrance.  Worker Bee Soap smells like one big chunk of raw beeswax with a touch of vanilla, lily, and peach … and that ain’t bad! 

Worker Bee Soap





saponified
tallow
soybean oil
coconut oil
olive oil
honey
shea butter
beeswax
fragrance oil














I can't identify these birds, but they seem to be communicating with each other.  I thought I heard something about where is the nearest waterhole and when is it going to rain next?









There was a day long ago when this windmill on the ranch harnessed the power of the wind to pump water.   Now, its only job is to greet the wind daily across the rural landscape.   





Friday, May 18, 2012

Sweet Yellow Pear Soap



    

  



Egg yolks (24 of them to be exact) account for the sunny yellow color of this soap.  The egg yolks not only add color, but they add a rich, moisturizing quality to the soap.   The sweet yellow pear fragrance is tangy and complex … and irresistible.  Palm oil, soybean oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and olive oil combine with the egg yolks to make a gorgeous soap with lather that is truly silky and sensuous. 



Sweet Yellow Pear Soap






Ingredient List
saponified
palm oil
soybean
coconut oil
shea butter
olive oil
egg yolk
fragrance oil












No doubt,
Sweet Yellow Pear Soap
is one of my personal favorites.


 


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Spring Thaw Soap


Spring Thaw Soap
At the time of this writing it looks like spring has come and gone and summer is here!  We've had an unusually dry spring here in Montana.  Nevertheless, the crops are being sowed and the gardens planted all around our ranching community.  

Although Spring Thaw Soap is reminiscent (to me) of the passage from winter to spring it really is an all-season soap.  

Whether you have been shoveling feed in the winter, mucking through a muddy spring day, weeding the garden in the summer, or raking leaves in the fall, Spring Thaw Soap will leave you feeling clean and refreshed.    




Wintergreen (Gaultheria Procumbens)



Wintergreen is a groundcover plant typically growing to about five inches in height.  It is an ornamental, medicinal, and flavoring herb.  The name wintergreen derives from the fact that the plant remains green throughout the winter.  The glossy green foliage is aromatic and its essential oil is used in teas, toothpastes, candies, gums, and, of course, soaps. 

Wintergreen essential oil has a woodsy, refreshing aroma.  Some may even detect a mint candy scent.  The bright fragrance of wintergreen has been known to clear the sinuses, invigorate the mind, and lift up the spirit. 


Spring Thaw Soap
 


saponified
tallow
coconut oil
shea butter
sweet almond oil
wintergreen essential oil
cosmetic-grade pigment














Monday, May 7, 2012

Plain Oatmeal Soap







Plain
Oatmeal
hard-working soap
for
hard workers






Plain Oatmeal Soap


saponified
tallow
soybean oil
coconut oil
olive oil
shea butter
ground oatmeal
~no fragrance added~














Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pine Tar Soap


Pine Tar Soap




Back in Grandpa and Grandma’s day, the use of pine tar in soap was pretty much a common thing.  It was touted for soothing such skin problems as rashes, dry and itchy skin, and a variety of skin disorders. 

Today, pine tar is commonly used as a wood preservative, a topical ointment for livestock, and in medicinal soaps and shampoos for humans. 









Pine tar is a sticky substance produced by rapid decomposition of pine wood (usually stumps and roots) in a process of applying heat and pressure in a closed container.  Pine tar does not smell pleasant.  However, the reason pine tar is used in soap is not for its scent.  The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of pine tar are claimed to be very beneficial for a variety of skin ailments.  No cure is guaranteed, of course, and one often must experiment to find what works for a particular condition. 


Pine Tar Soap lathers up beautifully
and the pine tar scent does not linger for (too) long!  
Some may find the scent pleasurable or intriguing
whereas others may think it is medicinal smelling or too strong.  
You either love it or you don’t. 
That is a call only you can make! 

  

Pine Tar Soap





tallow
soybean oil 
coconut oil
olive oil
sweet almond oil
shea butter
pine tar






  






Whether or not Pine Tar Soap appeals to you,
what appeals to me is that it is
reminiscent of a day gone by when
homesteaders made their own necessities
instead of going to a store to buy them.  

Today, we are all busy and the "chores" are different.  
Some chores (such as soapmaking) that were considered
a necessity for life on the prairie 
are now considered a craft.

The pioneers went through much hardship
to establish life here on the prairie. 
Life was very difficult back then
...
and it is still difficult today,
but let's not forget to appreciate the advances
we have made in meeting our most basic needs. 

Drawing by my son, Ryan
Medicine Rocks Park
between Baker and Ekalaka, Montana





Monday, April 23, 2012

Oatmeal Scrub Soap


Oatmeal Scrub Soap





I have lost track of the number of times I have made this particular soap.  It's one of my personal favorites!  I simply love lathering up with the yummy fragrance and the ground oatmeal texture.  Rather than repeat previous posts, I will just post updated photos.  Enjoy! 









Oatmeal Scrub Soap



tallow
soybean oil
coconut oil
olive oil
sweet almond oil
shea butter
milk
fragrance oil
ground oatmeal







Oatmeal Scrub Soap
Works For Cowboys!



“Been workin' like a dawg slavin' on the fence line stretchin' those wires tight, diggin' and tappin' and sweatin' in the sunshine, but I get off tonight. 

I got a date with a girl, a perdy rancher’s daughter, green as her golden hair.  Gonna pick her up at eight after some soap and water and we're headin' to the county fair.

Well, there's a full moon in the western sky and there's magic in the air.  Ain't nothin' I know of can make you fall in love like a night at the county fair ..."  Chris LeDoux