Summer in Vermont

I think Mr. S has the potential makings of a farm hand. Perhaps next summer he can come back and work the farm for the whole summer! He’s helped catch a pig, collect eggs from the chickens and helped move the herds of cows. Now he just needs to learn how to drive the tractor.

Kelvey got a new puppy the day they returned from Peru, so he’s been with them for nearly a week now. I really do not miss puppyhood. He’s an English Shepard and very cute, but doesn’t do too well in this heat, preferring to hang out on the air grate. Their other dogs are finally warming up to him now, which means active play spurts and barking sessions usually taking place under your chair or on top of your legs. He hasn’t seemed to figure out that he needs to do his business OUTside. Ugh. He also has taken a fancy to every toy, shoe or mitten he can sink his teeth into.

Jason has been busy doing his design work and running puppy interference.

The kids have been playing on the trampoline and getting their MineCraft fix whenever they can. The boys also teamed up can caught a sizable garter snake. Divagirl and Adventure Girl have been going through gobs of clothing every day playing dress-up.

I am covered in no-see-um bites from the party. I am failing miserably at trying not to itch! Anti-itch creams are useless!!

I’ve been busy helping Kelvey weed out some closets that she doesn’t usually have time to do with her work schedule.

Kelvey took me down to the von Trapp’s for some quarts of maple syrup on tap. Martin and his brother, Toby, run the farm and greenhouse down the road. They are the sons of Werner von Trapp, son of the famed Georg von Trapp made famous from the movie The Sound of Music. They tap some of Kelvey’s trees for syrup so its truly local.

I also made a new batch of all-purpose spray cleaner and a 6 month supply of laundry detergent. (After 7 months, I finally ran out of our last batch) If anyone is interested, the recipes are quite simple and require just a few ingredients to keep on hand.

All-Purpose Spray Cleaner with some modifications from Beautiful Nest

(Originally this recipe also came from The Grocery Cart Challenge but I was unable to find it on her site anymore.)

  • 18 oz. empty clean spray bottle (I reused an old cleaner bottle)
  • 1 Tablespoon Borax
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 15 drops Lavender essential oil (optional)
  • 10 drops Grapefruit essential oil (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/8 teaspoon concentrated liquid dish soap (I use Seventh Generation)

First mix the Borax and the hot water in a liquid measuring cup until dissolved. Add to your spray bottle. Add cold water. Add the essential oils and and vinegar and give it a swirl. Add in the dish soap last, replace the spray nozzle tightly and gently tip to incorporate; too vigorous of shaking will result in a bubble over. Shake gently before each use. Feel free to experiment with different essential oils for another scent.

Liquid Laundry Detergent (HE Friendly) courtesy Gayle Bryant of The Grocery Cart Challenge

(This is a double recipe which makes enough for a family of five to wash laundry for about 6 months. If you’d like to see the original recipe click on the title link.)

  • 2/3 bar of Fels Naptha soap
  • 1 cup Borax powder
  • 1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda OR sodium carbonate (It is a pool chemical used to raise the pH–they are the same thing!)
  • Bucket (3-5 gallon)
  • Water

Use a cheese grater to grate the soap bar. (it will look like cheese, do not eat!) Heat 12 cups of water on the stove in a pot. Add the soap flakes and stir until dissolved. Turn off heat. Measure out borax and sodium carbonate and add to dissolved soap mixture, stir until powder has dissolved. Add 8 cups hot tap water to your bucket. Add dissolved mixture to your bucket of water and stir to combine. Add an additional 44 cups of tap water to the bucket. Give it a final mix and let it set overnight to firm up. Some will gel a bit and some will be liquid. I haven’t found a difference in cleaning powder between the two states of matter. Use 2T to 1/4 c. per load depending on size. This will not create suds so it is safe for High Efficiency (HE) machines. I used it in ours for 6 years before going on the road.

Enjoy saving money while you clean!


One reply on “Summer in Vermont”

What an inspiring way to make a good GREEN laundry detergent. Am considering how I could make a batch to share with the two family households I’m in between now, as I settle into a studio apartment minimum kitchen-retirement home. Enjoy every post from you all is so much enjoyed. Many thanks.

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