Clothesline Daydreams.

It’s 5:30 am. Mr. Darcey and Vince are already atop the hen house, serenading the sun to rise, to burn off the morning dew, to warm the fruits on the vine.  Rooster’s crowing at our little homestead nestled in the pines and echoing across cornfields, is in fact music to my ears.
So much has been happening around here over the past couple of weeks! We’re weeding gardens, canning vegetables and fruits, planting our next round of seed, sketching out plans for a new coop and scratch yard for the impending arrival of 30(ish) new meat birds and prioritizing our Fall ‘to do’ list. Yes, I’m well aware of the fact that it’s still 90 degrees on a cool day around here in coastal Virginia. We’re certainly not ones to wish away the warm weather and summer fun, but this type of lifestyle requires us to be ahead of the game as much as possible. After all, so much of what we do around here requires significant financial consideration, and we live on a budget. Allocating material funds for fencing and coop construction, chicken feed and cords of wood is imperative in the NOW, or we’ll find ourselves coming up short and ‘licking our wounds’ LATER. I’d be lying if I said all of this planning hasn’t sparked a little fire in my heart for the scents of autumn. I hung clothes on the line in the scorching hot sun over the weekend, daydreaming of wood smoke wafting on cool, crisp, country air, clove candles, pumpkin spice and freshly brewed java! So much gratitude is found in embracing the present, but dreaming of the near future from time to time is often a worthy ‘space out’ as well.
So we’ve been experimenting with homemade laundry detergent this summer. I snapped a few photos while I was making a batch the other day and I’ve included the recipe below for anyone who wishes to give it a shot. There are lots of variations of this particular recipe and of course, one can tailor the scent to one’s liking. I use lavender essential oil, but a citrus blend or even something bold like patchouli might be a preferable option for other folks. I’ve been using a similar recipe for homemade dishwasher detergent as well, but opted for orange essential oil and it smells wonderful, so fresh and clean! Of course, the smelly good factor is not vital and can easily be omitted from either detergent. I’ve not tried any other laundry detergent recipes besides this one in particular, but so far, so good. From what I can tell it’s much cheaper than store-bought laundry detergent. In fact, I can make gallons upon gallons of these homemade suds for the same price as a couple average size containers of the commercial brands. Not to mention, I’m refilling the same container again, again, again & again. A teensy, weensy feel good contribution to the worldwide pollution solution effort!
So accompanying the usual everyday happenings here on the homestead came the recent joyful celebration of our middle love’s 12th birthday last week. So often we hear folks say, “where does the time go?” Well, I asked myself that question the other day while thumbing through old photos of the kids. You might be surprised to know that I did indeed, find out where our time went. It apparently went on many a picnic in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Time merrily kayaked its way through the Mississippi bayous and caught catfish in the Gulf of Mexico. It bicycled its way through the streets of a historic coastal Virginia town beneath a canopy of crepe myrtles. Time is presently a wayfarer wearing beach bum with sun-kissed, sea salted locks, bronzed skin, an adoration for barred rock hens and an obsession with sushi. Time has turned and twisted and danced it’s way from the Midwest to the Deep South and managed to land somewhere in-between. Celebrating birthdays and our children’s milestones remind us that the clock is ticking. As the years slip away, the scenery changes and we reflect on the omnipresent evolution of our goals, our dreams, our spirits and our love for one another. Watching our daughter blow out 12 candles encouraged me to meander down memory lane with a gracious heart and an open mind. It’s crystal clear to me, that for better or worse all of the paths we’ve taken and experiences we’ve shared as a family up to this point will influence her personal journey and decision-making for the rest of her life. This sort of shrewd observation either leaves a mother basking in the warm glow of gratifying certainty, or breathless as the raw awakening to truth sucker punches her straight to the gut. These moments where we ‘take stock’ of our lives and our present circumstance are what move us – physically, spiritually and emotionally. I’ve never been more confident as a mother, wife, friend, daughter, but most importantly as an individual than I am in this moment. Those 12 candles serve as an affirmation that as long as we keep doing life our way, we’ll always know where the time went because it will reflect in our children’s choices, futures, hearts and souls.

ABOVE: This is the large pot I use for everything under the sun these days. Most recently it cooked up my latest batch of laundry detergent. You will need a stock pot about this size if you plan to make multiple batches at once. SEE RECIPE BELOW.


 ABOVE: You will find that a grated bar of soap is required for this particular recipe. I choose to use Fels-Naptha. It can be found with most laundry detergents in your local grocery store. But from what I understand, any average size bar of plain soap can be used in this recipe. I’ve only ever tried this type as I read somewhere it’s great for removing poison ivy oil from fabrics. We have an abundance of ivy out here, so it seemed like the wise choice. Also it apparently tends to work better with well water, which we have out here too.

ABOVE: Grated Fels-Naptha melting in the pot makes my kitchen smell squeeky clean!


ABOVE: This is a small, single batch of detergent boiling down. SEE RECIPE BELOW.
ABOVE: I found this old pickle jar at my Grandparent’s house once. I’ve been dying to find a use for it! I scrubbed it up very well & now it lives on the shelf above my washing machine & houses my detergent. I use an old detergent container for daily use. When it starts running low, I just ladle detergent out of my pickle jar & add it to the reusable bottle. It’s fun, it reminds me of my grandparents & it makes me happy!
1 bar Fels-Naptha soap
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup baking soda
Essential oil of choice
1 quart of super hot water
6 quarts of cold water
Grate the bar soap. Heat 6 cups of water on stovetop in large stock pot. Add grated soap & stir occasionally until it’s all melted. Once soap is melted completely, add Borax, washing soda & baking soda. Keep stirring mixture until all is dissolved. Now add one quart jar of extremely hot water (but does not have to be boiling) stir well & then add six more quarts of cold water. Stir in 11 drops of lavender oil (or whatever scent you prefer)… You can add more or less essential oil based on how pretty of a scent you wish to make. 11 is my number. At this point you can transfer your sudsy masterpiece to whatever storage containers you like – many folks use regular old buckets with lids. This recipe suggests 1/2 cup per load for high efficiency washing machines. I get by with much less per load, so just experiment. Also, this detergent clumps up as it sits. Sometimes it’s more liquidy & sometimes it’s more clumpy. This is not a big deal & I think it varies based on the temperature in the garage where I keep it stored. Sometimes I just lightly shake up my container to mix it around a bit before adding it to the washer. Either way, it works fine. Happy WaSHiNG & SAVING $$$ y’all!

ABOVE: 12 candles for our 12-year-old beauty!


ABOVE: I leave you all with Mr. Darcey… Looking so dapper on this fine morn! Have a beautiful day friends!


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