Flora and Fauna (To lard or not to lard...)

I am not a vegetarian, so I use animal products in some of my soaps, both milk and milk products, honey and fat.  I have no problem with that, seeing as I eat the animals without any moral dilemma.  Being an omnivore I think it makes sense to use as many parts of the animals we kill to eat as possible and I think it is great that I can easily get hold of lard fairly cheaply and easily.  It is already rendered, pure white and practically without any smell.  Lard has many really nice qualities in soap, it is pure white in colour, it gives hardness to the soaps, it gives a soft and long lasting lather and is conditioning for the skin.

I also tried to use sheep's fat.  Probably the most common animal fat here, but the fat that I could find had a bit too much meat smell for my liking.  Although I did make a laundry soap with it (and used it for the first time yesterday).  It still smells a bit, but it has cured to a nice hard laundry soap that seems to clean well. The blue Alkanet colour had completely vanished, replaced by a very, very slight pink tinge.  Rather disappointing, but it's just for laundry so it doesn't matter.

I have also made soap using milk and yoghurt.  The soap was really nice and creamy so I want to do some more experiments.  I use cows milk and milk products only.  Goats milk sounds very tempting to use, but we do not have many goat farmers and you can't buy the milk in stores.  Goats milk here is used almost solely for premature babies and I wouldn't dream of trying to take some away from them.  But I like the challenge of making soap with milk.  I freeze the milk products and try to dissolve the lye without burning the milk, but I usually get a tan colour from my soaps anyway.  As I understand it, the goal for many milk soapers is to get the soap to be as white as possible.  I may achieve that one day.

Honey in soap is another favorite and I have read that others are using a little bit of beeswax.   I have never tried that but think I might since I use that in the creams I make.  I have read that it makes soap harder, so that might be a good additive to the Sea Buckthorn soap that was a tad too soft.  Honey smells great and gives the characteristic honey colour to soaps and is supposed to be moisturizing.  I have suggested to my husband that we get a beehive, but his enthusiasm was underwhelming, to say the least.  So we are not doing that.

The strangest animal products that I have used (or rather am contemplating using) is eggshell.  I read about it's use in a book and I thought "What a great idea. Lets try that".  So now I'm waiting to try it.  I have amassed a large quanty of egg shells from baking for the wedding and I have pounded that in my mortel to make it into tiny pieces.  I will post the results as soon as I am done.

I really enjoy using local ingredients where I can.  I'm planning to head to the shore (somewhere far away from the city) to gather some seaweed and kelp.  I need to read up on those plants since I don't know them like I do land plants.  I have planted Comfrey in my allotment garden and have started to dry a few leaves.  I need to get a nettle to grow close to home too.  Just haven't figured out where to plant something like that.  Both are fantastic plants to have access to.  I did sow a lot of Calendula, but didn't have much luck with the seed.  Im hoping to get a few plants to flower and to macerate a few petals and use in soaps.

The garden is getting to it's best at the end of June and I'm getting a bit excited for the wedding on Saturday.  There is a lot to do.  The wedding ceremony is to be outdoors and the reception is at home and we are having 80 people over for coffee and cakes.  And then some 30 for dinner and about 40 for a party into the night.  The house really isn't all that large so it will be a bit crowded.  So I'm hoping and praying for nice weather so that the guests can sit outside too.  Right now the forecast is for a bit of drizzle, so please send you warmest sunniest thoughts :)  But I know that even if we need umbrellas it will be lovely.
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Pure and white, this is the best soap.  It sits on a flower pot that has a lovely rose pattern.  I have three of them and they hold some of my summer flowers.

Comments

  1. I admit I also don't have an issue using animal products and I have considering using lard as I am signing up for a programme where I get half a pig from a farm, and I want to get the fat and render it down for use.

    Honey is great, and one of my best bars was made with it, but you have to soap VERY cold as it will heat up fast - put it in the fridge when you pour it.

    Can you get powdered goat's milk from a supplier where you are? That's what I do.

    I'm going to miss doing business, but I'm going to make soap now and again for myself and friends, so I won't totally miss out.

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  2. I love honey in soap! We just mad a new batch of Oatmeal Honey last night, as we'd run out and really needed it.

    We haven't tried milk, but we do use lard in a few of our soaps. I've been torn about that; I'm an omnivore but still think a lot of customers appreciate a vegetarian approach. I guess I shouldn't worry so much. The lard really *is* nice.

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  3. Hathor's Bath - I have had honey soap in a log mold and it almost overheated! Next time: The fridge. I haven't seen powdered goats milk here. We have import restrictions on agricultural products, but I guess I could order it from somewhere. The problem with that is the shipping costs, they can be double or more the purchase price and then there is 25,5% VAT!

    Larissa - Yes, I make 100% vegetable soaps for the Vegan, but the lard is so good when one doesn't use Palm oil :) And I really like milk/yoghurt in soap. It make for a very gentle soap. Perfect for delicate parts and babies.

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