bees are calling me

NH Homesteader

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Yep- wood ash. There are some good YouTube videos about it. I do want to try it someday.
 

Mini Horses

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Hardwood wood ashes & rainwater. Basically drips thru, catch results. You have a lot to mess with , LOL. Then you "guess" strength. You can test it with eggs -- how they float, or not -- to get some idea of strength.

Nice to know how. For me, buying food grade is a better solution and a stable product.
 

sumi

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I've looked into beekeeping briefly some time ago. I know from what I heard that it's a great hobby, but not without challenges! I'd suggest doing as much research as you can bear before committing, to give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding. And make sure no-one in your immediate family, neighbours etc is allergic to bee stings! I've seen first hand how bad that can get with man I knew years ago, that got stung on his face.
 

CrealCritter

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I make soap with oils as well. I would like to try it with lard, but I have heard the complaint that the soap kinda smells like pig, lol. Now I'm scared to try it. I have a bunch of lard I need to render though, and will have even more soon when we butcher the next pig.

I've tried making my own laundry detergent. I've never managed to be able to actually get clothes very clean with homemade stuff so I go with the most natural detergents I can buy.

My wife makes our own laundry detergent out of store bought stuff - my nasty clothes come clean. I'll ask her about the "recipe" I know it's borax,oxy clean and some kind of soap she grates with a cheese grater - I'll get ingredients & measures.

She started mixing her own when P&G did their weird internal policy thing that caused a boycott many years ago. We take that kind of stuff seriously around here and when we say we will never buy a product from that company again, we mean it.
 
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Mini Horses

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Most probably the grated item is a bar soap...Fels Naptha &/or Zote. I keep those at hand (never know when I'll need to whip out the washboard!) and use depending on the clothes, fabrics, etc. Zote is milder on fabric.
 

freemotion

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Google around for your local beekeeping Club. Most of them have classes in the winter. Here's where you can find out how to keep bees in your location. I'm in New England, and it's very different from, say, Texas.

What you will learn is probably a miniature version of commercial beekeeping. That's generally what you will find in books and classes for the most part with any livestock. But you don't have to do it that way. Go to the classes to learn, and if you can find a mentor who does it more naturally, you will be in great shape. Otherwise, find a mentor who helped you do it the standard way and once you feel comfortable with the basics you can do some research and find out things like how to regress your bees and where to find locally raised and overwintered queens so you can get genetics that are correct for your area. Your survival rate will shoot up.

Once you have genetics that are strong and survive well and have regressed them to smaller sizes so they are not so vulnerable to varroa mites, you can make splits. You can encourage them to make new queens or you can buy more locally-grown Queens. This is how I have increased the number of my hives. I started with 2 and now have 12.

If you have some woodworking skills, you can make your own wooden ware. Or at least part of it. It still might be worth it to buy certain parts.

Don't expect to turn a profit for a while, though. Sooner if you're in the South, later if you're in the North. I'm keeping bees to be self-sufficient, but also as something to make a few bucks in retirement.
 
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