Saturday’s soap workshop

After a number of mornings last week up at 4am to work on a new power-point presentation for soap-making, Saturday’s workshop went off without a hitch. I am relieved and ecstatic.

soap-making workshop

Chatting while stirring ingredients on the stove.

2 women came to the farm Saturday morning to learn a new skill. We began with a tour of the farm and apiary, I introduced the ladies to the chickens and turkeys─and Michael the goose─and then we ventured inside to make ourselves comfortable at the dinning room table to go through what I refer to as “the book-work”.

We covered the hows and whys of soap-making, I passed out handouts for the ladies to take back home with them and answered their questions before we moved on to actually making a batch of soap.

It was a very relaxed atmosphere and we chatted as we measured out ingredients, adding them to the kettle on the stove.

I offered up lunch while we waited for the temperatures of the oils and the lye to come in range of each other. It was nothing fancy─ham sandwiches with lettuce on oatmeal bread from the Apple Tree Firehouse Bakery in Madison. Simple fare on this simple farm.

We made blueberry scented soap and added some Indigo powder that I happened to have on hand. I hoped to make blue soap, but because some of the oils I use in my recipe are yellow, along with the yellow beeswax, Runamuk soap is very difficult to color. Anything I add to the batch to color the soap is affected by the naturally yellow coloring, and so on Saturday we ended up making green blueberry-scented beeswax soap. Oh well.

So that I would be able to show these women how to cut and stamp the soap too, I’d made a batch ahead, and I pulled the soap-loaves out onto the kitchen table and proceeded to demonstrate the process once or twice before handing over the soap cutter. As she sliced the bars off a soap-loaf, one of these ladies said that it was “a very satisfying feeling”, and she’s quite right.

I let each of my guests pick a bar of cured soap off the shelves in the soap-room, and I’m sure they left feeling equally satisfied with their time spent at Runamuk Acres. One of them even posted this on her facebook page yesterday: “Thank you so much Samantha Burns for opening up your kitchen for a soap making workshop. Runamuk Farm is lovely.”

I think that’s a good indication of a job well-done. I’m very pleased with the workshops in general. I like teaching and sharing knowledge and experience. I like the format I’ve set up here on the farm, and I hope to bring more people to the farm in the future─to make it a place of learning. Sure it was just two people, but it’s a great start and I’m happy with it.

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