April has brought snow showers to Michigan, one too many times, in my opinion. I am so ready for May and sunshine, and maybe even an end to lockdown! May also brings Mother's Day and the beginning of the show season for us but, I am not holding out a lot of hope that any of our arts/craft shows will be going forward for 2020. I am, however, still going to release my May Flower's Historical Scents.
We are still waiting to hear from Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling, Michigan as to the status of Wood Shaving and Black Iron Days, at both of which we would be giving historical soap making demonstrations. Using lard (pig fat), and lye made from leaching water through wood ash. Wood ash lye, or Pot Ash is Potassium Hydroxide lye and is used to make soap paste and liquid soap. Salt is needed to create a hard bar. Most historically home made soap was a paste usually stored in a crock and often lye heavy or having a high pH level. This high pH was great for cleaning, not so great for the skin. The "scientific" way of knowing if the leached lye water was the correct strength for making soap was to float a raw egg in the lye water, and if a quarter size of the egg shell floated, it was "good" to use. Now, we have calculations and ways of testing pH.
Mrs. Nerger had it easier with cans of lye from the hardware store!
In our area, homesteaders would have used lard, beef tallow, or bear fat to make their soaps. It would have been an expensive and special gift to have a bar of store purchased soap with vegetable oils and perfumes. Our version of historical soap, using lard, is scented with modern fragrances in five common turn of the 20th century scents. We will also have matching whipped tallow "Skin-Glo Creme" available.
Also on May 1st, Lakester will return to the lineup for summer! Lakesters were the belly gas tanks of WWII aircraft, retrofitted into race cars which ran at the Salt Flat races in the 1950's.
The scent is our take of an Aquatic cologne. With a citrus start of bergamot and orange, the scent is paired with ginger and patchouli, and warmed at the end with vetiver, cardamom, and sage. We will re-release the Lakester for the 4th year on May 1st in matching shaving and beard care products. Mark your calendars, this is a limited summer scent for us!
I hope you are enjoying learning a little more about us and if you get the chance to try your hand at making bar soap, the 100% lard recipe is my absolute favorite. Just please be careful, watch a couple of videos and be safe since lye is caustic and can cause burns.