Easy “Natural” laundry soap

4If you are planing to change a few things around your home to remove and reduce chemicals and toxins, this is the easiest way to start. Clean your cloths without synthetic dyes or perfumes that can be extremely harmful to people with sensitive skin or allergies.  You will never go back to those pricey store bought laundry soaps again.

I started making this laundry soap over 6 years ago and still make it using just a few “back to basic” ingredients.

3We buy Eco-Pioneer products that we use for almost everything to clean our home. You will need:

Pure Soap Flakes (made from vegetable oils)- Forces out dirt
Pure Washing Soda- Cuts grease and softens water
Pure Baking Soda- A Natural deodorizer
Borax- Kills germs and whitens

We buy these products through Well.ca but you can find most of these ingredients at your local grocery store.

Here is the easiest DIY natural laundry soap.

In a large bowl I mix:

    • 1 cup of Soap flakes
    • half cup of Borax
    • half cup of Baking soda
    • half cup of washing soda

Add a teaspoon of your favorite essential oil and mix up very well. Best scents for laundry are Sweet orange, Lemon, Lime, Peppermint, Grapefruit, Tea tree, etc.

Once you have mixed up your laundry soap, store it in an air tight jar to keep the essential oils locked in.

2This will last you many, many washings. I add 2 to 4 tablespoons in about 2 cups of hot water to dissolve it before adding  into the wash, this helps dissolve it since I wash with cold water. I add vinegar to the final rinse to soften the cloths and to help remove any soap residue. Please note that you will not get a lot of bubbles, but it’s not needed since your cloths will come out nice and clean. This is a great laundry soap for cloth diapers, babies clothing, people with sensitive skin, and will work with HE washing machines as well.




Homestead Apprentice Wanted

 A homestead or farm presents many skill requirements and numerous young people are willing to learn these important skills. Acquiring  apprentices is an important means to assure the continuation of small farms and farming, as well as teaching youth the essential skills of basic survival. I have had the opportunity to share the many facets of my woodworking skills with several apprentices over the years but have never considered passing on the extent of my other learning in natural subsistence and sustainable survival skills. I have decided to seek out prospective applicants for a program formatted towards essential farming/homesteading skills. The mission of this endeavor is to enhance our relationship with the rural Cape Breton landscape by applying and teaching the essential skills of sustainable living and small-scale farming, thus invigorating a more functional collaborative community. Over the next few weeks I will draft an application including a detailed outline for this program.


Focus for this program will include Organic Gardening, Sustainable Forestry, Traditional Arts and Cottage Crafts, Renewable Energy, Alternative building, Herbology just to mention a few. Stay Tuned for further details!

Breath Well


Today I’ve decided to make some natural room spray. This can save on some serious cash, while saving your home environment and lungs from chemicals, toxins, and a whole lifetime of respiratory problems. Try making your very own with 100% essential oils. They don’t just smell amazing, they also have therapeutic benefits. I have been mixing essential oils with nothing more than water for years to freshen our home. I always took my favorite scents and blending them without thinking about their benefits. Now, I am reading up on the many different benefits and uses. I made a room spray to keep the cold and flu away.

Here are some essential oils that work wonders for just that:





Tea Tree:



Most of these oils are antiseptic, antibacterial, detoxifying, disinfectant, germicide, fungicide, purifying, cleansing, deodorizing….

I did have some of these oils so here’s what I’ve mixed.

20 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus

20 drops of Peppermint

10 drops of Lavender

10 drops of tea tree

This was added to a 4 oz blue glass spray bottle with spring water and shaken well. Please note that a dark glass bottle is much better than clear glass or plastic ones, the darkened glass will extend the life of your spray.

to extend the life of your spray.
to extend the life of your spray.

Outside our window

We were teased with a bit of snow and temperatures barely over freezing for the past week.  A steady fire has been burning for at least 3 weeks now in the wood stove, keeping the chill out and making for cozy evenings.

4The first row in the wood pile has a definite chew out of it and over the next few months one row after the other will slowly disappear. A blanket of bark and splinters will be left behind covered with the hundreds of cobwebs that the spiders spun between the wood over the past summer.

2Several days ago I began construction on a small drying shed for the lumber I am cutting. It’s not a very big enclosure but will be helpful to store the sawn lumber out of the weather. I’m using marginal material for this shed, lumber which has some defects yet is structurally stable enough to use for this purpose.

1The siding is random width edge boards and creates an appealing wall that has adequate spacing for ventilation to help dry the lumber.


The cold damp weather halted construction for several days however today the skies cleared and brought with it very warm temperatures. I was able to finish boarding in the walls and the roof.


I was also able to cut up a cord of firewood from the slab pile. This will be going to the neighbors up on the mountain. Nothing at the mill goes to waste, I bag the sawdust to use for bedding animals and for mulching beds in the garden.


With more fine weather in the forecast I may be able to catch up with the many errands still to be done before the real snow starts flying.





Beeswax Hemp fabric wrap

Something has been bugging me lately with our children’s lunches. Before school started we bought them stainless steel containers so that we wouldn’t use plastic for their lunches. These are wonderful, however they just don’t hold enough food to send a child to school for the day.  We have been sending them with an extra plastic bag to hold muffins, cookies, fruit, etc… but it’s killing me.


Every time I pull out plastic, I’m thinking, what a waist, how harmful, what am I teaching my children.

We’ve seen beeswax food wraps a few times. These are available in some lovely on-line shops but we already have hemp scraps and beeswax and lots of it too. I really wanted to try this myself so I looked up a few tutorials and got busy.


Here’s what I did.


 I cut some Hemp/cotton muslin into 10″ by 10″ squares to start  off for the first try. I surged all 4 sides and tucked in the threads. If you try this out you can cut your fabric to any size you wish, there is no need to surge your edges.


I used 100% pure beeswax. You can try this with a beeswax candle if you have one. Grate the beeswax into fine shavings. Preheat oven to 150 – 170 °F. My oven was at 200 because that’s as low as I can get it.

Take a cookie sheet and apply a layer of tin foil over it.


Sprinkle the beeswax shavings onto your fabric. I first added a small amount but had to add more so the cloth was evenly soaked with wax.

The photo above was my first try.

Place in the oven, the wax will melt in less then 10 minutes. Keep an eye on your cloth. Once the wax is fully melted, take it out of oven and quickly remove the fabric from the tin foil.

I had a string suspended over my sink and hung the fabric there with clothespins to harden.



The first 2 turned out perfect. You can use these to place over bowls instead of plastic wrap. They are also great to wrap up sandwiches, cheese, veg’s, etc.  Just use the warmth of your hands to mold them into place.

Care for these is so easy, cold water to rinse and wipe down with a cloth. Do not use hot water because you will melt the beeswax again.

If you just don’t want to make your own but would love to buy some, check out this company here: ABEEGO

We met this lady a few years ago at a small farmer’s market in Vancouver. It was wonderful to see how well they are doing today.


Saw Shed


Yesterday and Today, among other tasks and errands, I’ve taken some time to build a small shed for the sawmill which will arrive soon. So far this little structure has been made with scrap rough lumber except for the floor which is left over 2 x 6 material  and plywood from previous work.

saw-shedAll the framing is either simple lap joints or mortise and tenons. I’ve used bolts and lag screws in place of wooden dowels. I’ve also applied a protective oil to the entire structure since we may be getting some wet weather in the next few days.


If the weather does hold through the weekend I may be able to close in this shed and start setting up the platform assembly for the Mill.


Once the the Saw arrives the job of milling the logs into dimensional lumber and beams will begin. These logs and many more from our property will all go into building our house. I can’t wait to cut into the first log.


Out the front door….Garden walk


Small onions






My Bad… This is a gourd

Today we are getting ready for a storm.

The garden may not look the same by tomorrow so I took a walk through to pick some tomatoes and onions.  Our good friend Jody shares this garden with us and has also stopped by to grab some goodies out of the garden before things get crazy here.

Out the front door has been inspired by Homesteadhoney