Today almost felt like spring. So I did almost-springlike things. I started a flat of seeds, fixed the Squirrel-Proof Net Tent after its unfortunate collapse beneath the weight of snow last weekend, and weeded and harvested a few bits of yum from inside it.
But my most ambitious act in celebration of almost-spring involved laundry. I have been excited about laundry this week.
Why, you ask, would I be excited about laundry?
A few months ago, a friend of mine gave me a recipe to make my own laundry soap. I’ve been meaning to try it and finally got around to it this week. It’s easy, and my laundry detergent now costs $.01 per load. This is the kind of thing that really excites me.
So I mixed up a batch. Here’s the recipe:
- 3 pints water (6 cups)
- 1/3 bar Fels-Naptha soap, grated
- 1/2 cup Super Washing Soda
- 1/2 cup borax
- 2 gallon bucket
- 1 quart hot water
- 6 cups + 1 gallon hot water
Grate the bar of Fels-Naptha as you would a chunk of cheese. Mix the grated soap in a medium sized saucepan with 3 pints of water, and heat on low until dissolved. Stir in Washing Soap and Borax. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. Pour one quart hot water into a two-gallon bucket. Add soap mixture and scented oil (optional) and mix well. Fill bucket with additonal hot water and mix well. Set aside for 24 hours until mixture thickens. It will have a slight gel consistency. Use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mixture per load, depending on the hardness of your water (harder water, more detergent). This is a non-sudsing, fragrance-free (unless you add the optional scented oil) laundry product.
I added some lavender essential oil I happened to have on hand. Here’s the result. (And a word of warning — if you try this, wash your hands thoroughly before putting them anywhere near your eyes. Trust me on this! But that’s a whole nother story.)
And then the most exciting almost-spring part. In classic Southern Urban Homestead style, I washed my laundry with my homemade detergent, and I hung it out to dry in the winter sun on my clothesline. I love doing this so much that I actually wrote a song about my laundry last year. Here, in case you don’t believe me, are the first few lines:
Prayer flags in the spring sunshine.
When I get to heaven,
I’ll hang my laundry on the line.
It will be on my next CD, due out later this year.