House of Curios and Clean Clothes

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August 3, 2012 by lytlejoc

The clock ticks inevitably forward and though we’ve finally spent a night in the camper, it’s still not quite ready for us. The water is not yet hooked up but we have been filling the existing tank with large jugs that we are in turn filling up at my sister’s house, and our extremely friendly neighbors have graciously granted us permission to fill the tanks from their hoses should we need to. We are something of a minor celebrity on the road and pretty much everyone has come by to meet the crazy couple who bought the long vacant house. In true Maritime form, they are all eager to help us out in some way, a desire which I suspect is also fueled by their belief that we can’t possibly live easily in the manner we are attempting.

The good life.

Overall, however, the night we spent in our very humble abode was a success — measured largely by the fact that Toby slept peacefully for most of the night. We had ourselves a campfire, some hot dogs and a few bottles of suds while we watched the sun set spectacularly over the sea, and I can now say that even if we aren’t 100% comfortable all the time in our current set up, it is more than a little bit enjoyable to be there.

In the meantime, we are continuing to excavate a whole lot of weirdness from the house. We had the proprietor of a local antique shop come over to look at the random things that we’ve been pulling out and he went away with a few dishes, some board games and oddly enough, a bottle full of DDT (yep, the banned substance), leaving us $50 richer. I say that’s better than a kick in the face, especially since it’s pretty much free money – we would have had to pay to toss most of this stuff out otherwise. Some of the things we’ve found are most definitely garbage, but most definitely interesting. We’re planning a yard sale for the weekend which will likely have a decent turn out, based on the amount of interest our neighbors seem to have in the house and its contents. (Oh, hey, free advertising… ahem… Come one, come all to the junk hidden treasures sale in Blandford this Saturday! Everything must go!)

A few of the curios we’ve unearthed:

You read that right. Denatured Whale Meat. As it is unfit for food, I’m pretty sure it was used for fishing.

More fishing stuff. Note the old watering can to the left – I’ve called dibs on this.

Do not drink this… unless you want an excuse to also drink whiskey.

Who needs electricity? This old drill runs on elbow grease.

Pepsi used to make this drink. The date on the bottom of the bottle says 68.

Pretty sure child safety advocates would not let you use this crib today.

Ok. Now for the DIY segment of this post.

Have you ever wanted to spend less money on laundry detergent? Well, now you can! (Why in god’s name is it so bloody expensive, anyway?? It’s just soap and chemicals and fake fragrance and full of irritants and… etc. etc…) Why not make

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I made a batch before I left Vancouver and methinks it got lost in the move, so I decided to make a new one, here at my sister’s place. Before you go thinking that it would be too much work to make your own detergent, allow me to assure you, it’s not. All you need are three things:

Soap granules – In some places, you can actually buy a bag of soap granules. If you are not in one of those places, you can grate a bar of your favorite soap. I usually use Jergen’s Mild because it’s mild. And very, very inexpensive. This time I used Lever 2000 because that’s what my sister had (I owe you a bar of soap, Cheryl). But you can use any gosh darn bar of soap you like.

Borax – Found in the laundry aisle in most places, Borax is not as sinister as some people think. Yes, it is used as a pesticide in some cases, but it’s a very low-risk pesticide. It’s just a naturally occurring mineral salt and while you can’t exactly eat it, Borax is actually used in a lot of cosmetics already – you just don’t know about it – along with a whole lot of other way worse things. If you’re still not convinced, see what Mountain Rose Herbs has to say about it.

Washing Soda – Here on the East Coast, washing soda doesn’t seem to be as common as it is on the West Coast and so I’ve been having trouble tracking it down. However, I went to my beloved interwebs and discovered that you can bake baking soda to make washing soda. As I am not chemically inclined, I have no idea how valid the science is behind her reasoning, but I gave it a try anyway, and my batch of detergent seems to be working just fine.

So all you do is mix 1 cup of soap granules (about one regular sized bar of soap), 1/2 cup of Borax and 1/2 cup washing soda together. That is it. Oh, and try not to inhale the dust that might puff up because you will sneeze. Use 1 to 2 Tbsp. per load of laundry. Warm or hot water is best as Borax doesn’t dissolve in cold water, but you could always dissolve a scoop of detergent in hot water and add it to the cold water load if you really don’t want to use warm water. I haven’t figured out the dollar value but let’s just say this: It’s cheap. Real cheap. Cheap enough to make my frugal soul sing with glee. And it really, really does work. Your clothes won’t smell like flowers in a meadow or tropical ocean breeze, but they WILL smell clean. Like plain old fresh air. Borax and washing soda work wonders for removing what I call the “Evil Spirits” out of the armpits of your shirts and sweaters, so this detergent has a very nice deodorizing boost.

Until next time, then, do you make your own laundry detergent? What is your favorite recipe for it? And if you are a science-minded kinda person, IS that chemical explanation for baking-soda-to-washing-soda a valid one??

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