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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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

Candler, NC – An Offline Vacation

A short six hour drive and we finally arrived at our destination.

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We planned on arriving around 3pm but traffic and heavy rain delayed us about an hour.  About 15 minutes out from Pisagh View Ranch my cellphone rang and they wanted to know if we’d be on time for for dinner.  We gave them an update on our location and we arrived in time to eat dinner with the rest of the guests.  See meals are served family style at specific times, so don’t forget to let them know you are skipping a meal or if you are arriving late.  Dinner was awesome!  Homemade pot roast, grilled vegetables, homemade rolls, and polenta.  Stuffed, they surprised us with dessert, apple crumble with ice cream on top.   After dinner we checked in to our log cabin which was built in the 1940s, complete with rocking chairs on the front porch.
The reason behind the title of this post is there are no televisions in the cabins and there is no cellphone service.  WiFi is available at the main house and if you need to use the phone to make a call there is one that you can use for free.

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And it was my first time back on a horse since 1982…
Pisgah View Ranch, Candler, NC

Horseback Riding at Pisgah View Ranch