Thursday, July 30, 2009
Chickens don't like ice and why I am scared of lye
Today Seattle reached the hottest day EVER. Not just the hottest June 30th on record, but the hottest day ever in the city of Seattle. I don't think anyone here doubts the reality of global warming-- first the biggest snow storm we've ever seen, followed by the hottest week ever-- weird weather is upon us. I am one of the lucky few in Seattle who has air conditioning-- almost no homes have it because we so seldom need it. The only reason we have a/c is because we upgraded our heating to a heat pump this year for better efficiency, and it comes with a/c.
My poor chickens are so very hot. I have been trying everything I can to keep them cool-- I let them roam the yard even when I'm not home because the coop is hot, and all they do is lay under their favorite shrub and pant. Yesterday I tried making them some slushy ice in the blender. They took a couple sips of the water but didn't like the ice. Today I tried giving them ice water with blueberries floating in it. They just picked some of the blueberries off the top and didn't bother with the water. I came back later to find the ice all melted and the blueberries on the bottom underwater.
Yesterday in 97 degree heat, my friend Allison taught me and a couple other girls to make soap. The process is simple, but scary as it involves mixing lye (a caustic base-- think the hand burning scene in "Fight Club") with water. We did this part of the process outside, but it was still strong enough to burn our lungs and make our eyes water. All of us new to soap making were a little scared of the lye and Allison did most of the pouring and measuring. The rest of the process was simple, as we mixed our melted fats (Crisco, Olive oil and coconut oil) and essential oils with the lye/water mixture and added some herbs for texture. Soap has to cure for a month to make sure all of the lye evaporates, so it will be awhile before I get to try it out.
After the soap making, two of my girlfriends came over for dinner. We made gluten free pasta with basil, tomatoes, olive oil and garlic, salad and berry cobbler. It was a really lovely meal and nice to get to spend time with my friends in my air conditioned house (it is getting so I never want to leave the house because it's so miserably hot out there!)