Water + Lye + Lard = Soap!

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Sometimes I come across recipes that peek my interest. I’ve been fascinated with the home life of people who lived in our area back in the 1800’s. From their clothing, to the homes, transportation, health remedies, train schedules and their cooking habits. Last week while doing some research I came across a hard soap recipe from June 11, 1881. It’s hard to imagine making soap instead of just going to the store and picking up a few bars of the many brands available. I remember hearing stories from my mom about her grandmother making soap and the grand children helping. Usually the soap would be made outdoors after rendering lard from pork skins. After rendering the lard the pork skins and cracklings would be removed from the lard. The lard was then strained and the soap making would begin.

Hard soap recipe found in the Jacksonville Republican Newspaper (Alabama) from June 1881

Hard soap recipe found in the Jacksonville Republican Newspaper (Alabama) from June 1881

Since this recipe contains a few products that I’m still unsure of where to buy, I decided to try an alternative recipe that uses only three ingredients: lard, water and lye.

*As with any recipe that uses lye, extreme caution is advised! Directions should be followed exactly! Order of adding ingredients matter.

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Fermenting – Homemade Kimchi

Let’s Make Kimchi!
Instead of spending $30 for a fermenting lid and air lock I decided to make one. All it took was a gallon jar that I found at the thrift store for $.50 and a borrowed air lock from my hubby. He even helped me out by drilling a hole in the jar lid for the air lock.  The air lock will keep the funky stuff from growing on the surface by preventing oxygen from getting in but will let the excess pressure escape.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head Napa cabbage – sliced thin
  • 1 head purple cabbage – sliced thin
  • 2 cups green onions – chopped
  • 1 garlic clove – minced
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons sea salt

Mix all ingredients together in a large plastic bowl. Let sit for 10-15 minutes so the salt can draw out some moisture. It may look like a lot of cabbage, but believe me it will be a lot smaller after it gets a beating later.  After 15 minutes, pound the ingredients with a wood mallet or a cabbage pounder if you have one. More moisture will be released from the cabbage.

Homemade Kimchi

Homemade Kimchi

Pack the mixture into a glass container. Add more water if needed so that the cabbage is under the water. Place a saucer or plate on top if the mixture wants to float. Seal the lid, add the air lock and let the fermenting begin. (Keep in a place that’s about 70-75F). If you do not have an air lock then you will need to remove the lid daily to let off the pressure or you’ll end up with a messy kitchen. When the kimchi gets to the texture and taste that you like, just transfer to another container and place in the refrigerator to age. Kimchi gets better with age too!

Genealogy Research – Samuel K. Borders

When doing genealogy research on my own family tree I sometimes come across information I feel like others may need to see also.  Maybe there is another family out there doing research that hasn’t found these little details that I have stumbled across.  This week I found an article in the Jacksonville Republican, a newspaper that was published during the 1800’s in Jacksonville, Alabama. This article covers the life span of one Samuel K. Borders who was born in Jackson county Georgia in 1822.  He went to the University of Georgia and graduated with honors at the age of 21.  He married Miss S. M. Williams of South Carolina and had six daughters and one son. The full transcript can be read here:  Jacksonville History – Samuel K Borders 1822-1881

Isaac Creek Campground -Thanksgiving

We spent Thanksgiving Thursday through Sunday at Isaac Creek Campground in Franklin Alabama.  It’s located along the Alabama River and where Isaac Creek flows into the Alabama.  Reservations were easy and we could pick our spot through Reserve America.  I did a little research and found a campground map online.  I also researched some blogs to see what I could find out about the site.  I found that the sites on Isaac Creek are more private and have wooded areas between each site.  There are also docks for fishing along the creek too.  About 15 docks for 20 sites.  We arrived around 3:30pm after a 2.5 hour drive down from Montgomery Alabama.  Bring your food since this place is really remote, but Finchburg Grocery is about 8 miles away that has pretty much everything (they have bait and camper stuff too) and they open at 5am.
Site 22 From the Creek

There are 60 sites total each with electric (50 amp) and water hookups (water is soft, so if you don’t care for the taste/mouth feel bring your own water).  Sites don’t have sewer, but they do have a dual dump station close by at the park entrance.  Sites are level concrete pads, have picnic tables, lantern holders, grill and fire ring.  Sites 15-35 are premium waterfront sites, 1-6, 42-60 are standard non-waterfront sites.  There are 2 bath houses with restrooms, showers and laundry.  Showers have plenty of hot water, clean floors and are heated.  Nights dropped into the 30’s during our visit and the restrooms were a constant 60 degrees (there was a thermometer on the wall).  Sites also have large 32 gallon trashcans and someone came around on Saturday morning and emptied the trash and put a new trash bag in the can.

Park is very VERY quiet and away from any highway noise.  Boats do go up and down the creek, but it’s a no wake zone so it’s pretty quiet.  Park was full by Friday but it was still very quiet at night.  Only street lights are at the bath houses, so bring lights for making that walk to the potty.  Boy it was REAL dark!

We have Verizon cellphone service and we could only get 1X.  Occasional 3G service, but for the most part only 1X.  Our television did not pick up any channels at all so if you want to watch TV better bring your satellite service with you.

There are three play grounds, basketball court with two hoops, pavilion, large group cook out area, boat launch, fishing dock on the river and trails.  Quiet time is from 10pm to 6am.  Pets must be on a leash.  Due to the nature of the area there are no swimming areas.

We had a great time!  Our site was number 22 on the creek and had it’s own fishing dock.

Here’s a link to more pictures from Isaac Creek Campground:  More Pictures on Photobucket

I was able to take photos of 26 sites so that I could share.  If interested in seeing some of the sites before you visit Isaac Creek Campground my photos can be found here:  Specific Site Photos on Photobucket