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Lip balm experiment

I thought I might try making lip balm from our soapmaking leftovers. It turns out to be easy as long as your standards aren’t all that high. Really, it’s no harder than melt-and-pour soap.

My first trial batch was this:

16g olive oil
10g coconut oil
8g beeswax
6g palm oil

Melt it. Put it in a container. Let it firm up. Tah-dah. If you really want a lip balm stick, I’m pretty sure you can get the appropriate containers from Zenith Supplies, but it’s not like there aren’t plenty of perfectly great lip balms that come in little pots.

I wanted to fuss with it a bit, so I remelted it and infused it with cocoa nibs for about twenty-five minutes, adding a touch more beeswax. Then I added a few drops of clementine oil. I can’t say that the nibs added the kind of chocolateyness I was hoping for, but they did add a subtle scent and an interesting color.

I’m reasonably pleased with this as a lip balm, but it’s a tad on the oily side for my tastes. I’d like to try cocoa and shea butters in this, and knock down the liquid oil component a bit. What this batch seems great for, though, is heavy-duty skin moisturization. It’d be a good cuticle cream or a base for a homemade Badger Balm.

Chicken update

Still no eggs. The chickens are still growing, I’m pretty sure, though much more slowly now.

I’m sorry to say that Trouble is losing her beautiful pristine white color and gaining some yellowish patches. She’s also getting really good at leaping from the ground to my shoulder, and I’m having to invent new, advanced chicken dislodgement techniques to get her off me. It looks like Trouble’s going to stay a wee thing; I hope she lays well, and isn’t just a runt. (She was a small chick and had a rough start.) For all I know, she’s just right; poultry experts seem to have have varying opinions about just how substantial a Delaware ought to be. Temperamentally, she remains herself: ruthlessly inquisitive, voracious, fond of buttons.

Miss Thing is getting friendlier and more curious. She’s looking very cute these days. La Thing does express her curiosity through biting sometimes, though she’s usually fairly gentle with it. The pecking, not so gentle.

Durf, on the other hand, seems to be getting a little wilder. You can really see the meat-breed lineage in her these days — her legs are enormous, and if you grab her across the wings, she feels solid, like a big dog feels solid. She used to get a little bullied, but she seems to have noticed at last that she’s twice the size of Trouble and is now making a play to be something other than the omega chicken.

After an unfortunate incident with the first run on the 8th, they’ve been stuck in their coop until we can get the next one built. It’s a pretty plush coop, with a covered run, but they’re not too happy about it. They’ve been getting a little squabbly. And who can blame them? Being cooped up does that to me, too. I hope to get the run up for them very soon, and with luck, maybe we’ll score some fresh straw for them from one of the grocery-store pumpkin displays.

Happy car-free anniversary!

Yesterday was the second anniversary of our somewhat unscheduled switch to a car-free lifestyle. Which is to say, we haven’t owned a working car in two years.

All things considered, I think we’ve done pretty well. We haven’t really used a car much at all since ZipCar and FlexCar merged. We’ve occasionally borrowed my folks’ car for some hardware store errands, but we’ve mostly stuck with the bike and bus of late. And I don’t think it’s been much of a hardship. We do have to plan things more carefully, in general, and it’s a pain when there’s a show out in West Seattle I’d like to go to, but not really enough to want to spring for a cab back. But overall, I’m not regretting not having a car at all.

We’ve chosen where we live well, which helps a lot. There are grocery stores and farmers’ markets within easy bike/bus distance, as well as shopping malls and restaurants and libraries and most other places we’d want to go. With any luck, I’ll get another job within a few miles, otherwise that might be hard. When we bought this house, I expected that I’d be working at the UW more or less forever. And I’m still hoping that’s the case; it’s just less certain.

So, go us! As gas prices rise, that decision is looking better and better.