The Ranch…Unplugged

Every so often, we just have to unplug.  In this day of electronic devices and extremely cold temperatures, it is very easy for us to squirrel away in our own corners of the house and never see one another.  I declared the house ‘unplugged’ yesterday (yes boy, that includes the Wii) but then offered a whole slew of projects we could work on together.  The kiddos and I got A LOT of tasks done, and we had some fun along the way.

First up was making some homemade applesauce.  Saturday brought my in-laws to Madison for our belated holiday get together and I received THE BEST present.  I have been coveting a food mill to process apples easier, and hopefully we will also do tomatoes and salsa during the summer.

Here are the lovely apples ready to be cooked down.  Clearly apples aren’t in season but we are looking forward to local apples next fall from our favorite apple orchard.

apple3

Here is my new favorite appliance in action:

apple2Wow does it work great.  It took a bit of monkeying around to get everything in order, but processing 6 lbs of apples took maybe 5 minutes.  AND there was NO WASTE! The apple skins/cores/seeds all get separated out and spit out the other side-and our goofy chickens were more than happy to gobble them up for us.

We ended up with quite a bit of applesauce.  This of course meant we needed to have pork roast, saur kraut and mashed potatoes for dinner….my favorite meal!

apple4

So we got this project all cleaned and then it was onto my next wacky adventure…making homemade laundry soap.  I did a bit of research for a ‘tried and true’ recipe and I came across this one that the family with ’19 kids and counting’ uses (and let’s face it…they MUST know laundry…in fact I am not certain how they have time for anything BUT laundry) and decided to go with it.

First up is grating a bar of Fels-Naptha which is a perfect job for the girl in my book:

soap1

Next you cook the grated soap on the stove top with hot water until it all melts.

Finally you find a 5 gallon bucket and mix in the rest of the ingredients with hot water.  Then let it sit over night.

soap3 The next day you stir it up and pour into empty laundry soap containers.  50% the made up solution and 50% hot water.  That’s it.  The girl and I calculated we can make 100 gallons of laundry soap for <$20!  Now….that being said….I have not washed a single thing with the soap yet…so before we go all crazy on you I will report back on how the soap works…but I am fairly confident it will be fine.

Finally, we had to make bread…because it was just that kind of day.  I can’t recommend this book enough and the recipe for challah.  It turns out every time!

challah

We also played outside, red books, danced to music, the girl took a nap, the boy played with his microscope, I finished the laundry/knit up a cowl/worked on my mystery knit along gauntlet and watched the Golden Globe Red Carpet (yes…the maker of the ‘unplugged rule’ broke the rules…because gosh darnit I love me a Red Carpet!)

Then I fell into bed…exhausted…..

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