I am a bit of a practical, crafty, frugal greenie who likes to garden, cook, preserve, ferment and bake bread. I live with a bunch of chooks, a flock of quails, sixteen native bee hives, a cat, a dog and a husband. Please join us in our homesteading adventures! :)
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Wordless Wednesday - Some days just require a hot chocolate...
We live in Queensland. We have cockroaches. Lots of cockroaches! Why the NSW rugby team is called the Cockroaches is a mystery to me - surely ours are not only bigger but more plentiful??? At any rate, I don't like living with them (and I'm quite sure they are not so fond of me at the moment!!) and I have been going through the usual gauntlet of sprays, solutions and bombs to get rid of them...
But I'm not so keen on the chemical aspect of all this spraying and bombing. I hate the smell and can almost feel disease and cancer growing in me every time I spray. I'm OK with the resident cockies getting a lungful of chemicals and then keeling over but I feel its impolite (and probably illegal) if my guests and family members do the same thing!!!
We went through a faze of killing them by hand (and flyswatter and rolled up newspaper and underfoot) but its hard and frustrating work and it probably was only culling the dumb and slow ones - leaving the smart fast ones to breed!!!
We have an eight year old cat who we got as a stray about six years ago. The vet reckoned she was about two when we got her and we did all the right things and got her spayed and vaccinated and all that stuff. She loves people and no matter where you are in the house or garden, she will not be far away. She really good with kids and will put up with the squishiest cuddles and a far bit of toddler tail fascination before bolting out the door to escape. She is well fed (despite the look she is giving me and the empty bowl below...) but not fat - but still the urge to hunt and subsequently kill still seems to be quite strong.
Last weekend, she pounced out of nowhere on a rainbow lorrikeet - thankfully my husband and a band of teenage boys were also there and managed to grab the bird before the cat had done more than pounce. Now we have a slightly mangled still alive but obviously unwell bird on our hands - what do you do?
At work recently, we cooked up 3,000 lamb shanks (yes that was three thousand- and it took us a week!) for a feast which gave a us a huge amount of unwanted fat.
Normally that would have been thrown into the skip but I had remembered reading somewhere that animal fat - or tallow - can be used for making soap. If you have a look on a commercial packet of soap you will see something called sodium tallowate - that's scientific speak for rendered beef fat.
I have been making my own olive oil soap for a few years now with reasonable success, so I collected up all the fat I could, rendered it and gave making soap from fat a go!
Here's what I did...
I rendered the fat, which basically involves heating it to melting point and then filtering it through sieves that get finer and finer and then adding water (don't boil the fat or adding water will make it explode) and leaving the fat to set - on top of the water. The impurities should fall to the bottom and be caught in the water -…