Thursday, May 31, 2012

The simple part of simple living, and it really is simple!

What started this latest bout of DIY activity was a trip to a local health food store.   I wanted to see if they had some castile soap that I thought I've seen there before and I needed some for a concoction I wanted to try out.  As it happens, they didn't have any, which was just as well because the reason I've passed on the said soap in the past was the price tag, which was significant.  Soon after, I was reading up on soap making (something I also wanted to try out for a while) in a book I've recently acquired called Making It -- Radical Home Ec for the Post Consumer World, a compendium of sorts of all kinds of interesting DIY projects for the house for people like me:)  So, there I was, reading about a simple soap making recipe that only involved 3 ingredients and a blender (so far so good, at this stage in my life I only have time for quick and simple anyway) and it mentioned that this recipe is what is known as castile soap- the most basic, gentlest of soaps.  I read that again. You mean, that's it?  And sure enough.  That was it -- water, lye + olive oil = castile soap, only a whole lot less expensive and incidentally as far as soap making is concerned the lower grade oil is preferable, who would have thought! I am really looking forward to trying this out, I just need to find a blender that comes with a glass pitcher because the chemical reaction just might melt down my plastic one, but I digress. I have had many occasions in recent weeks to reexperience this "you mean this is all there is to it?" reaction.  Now, dozens of yogurt batches, sourdough breads, salve, jam, kombucha and citrus cleaner experiments later, I could safely say -- it really is very simple.  Very simple as far as just a few basic ingredients and even simpler as far as the actual process.  The hardest part about some of these is the waiting time and for some it's pretty much instant gratification.  I will revisit each one of these in separate posts with the notes on the particulars.  But frankly I was shocked at how easy it was to make these things and how much of a price, both figuratively and literally we pay as a society for not doing these things ourselves. This has been a very rewarding series of experiments, but I also see it as a sort of a spiritual martial arts program to detox oneself from all kinds of unwholesome notions that modern living has hoisted upon mankind.  It takes discipline, but it really is simple and even when practiced minimally  enriches one's life with goodness and a whole lot of delight.  So these days, when inspiration strikes, I first look up if I could make it myself and it's amazing how many things could be made at home, often easily, more healthfully and at a considerable discount.


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