Saturday, February 2, 2013

Spontaneous Me

It's on days like today that I get a lot of stuff done. Blue sky as far as the eye could see, a balmy 55 degree day, and I was high on caffeine. Oooh yes... It was one of those days. :)

I got my Saturday chores done in record time and by 11am I was working on the day's mad idea. I was making soap. Normally I hate making soap; it's tedious, my stick blender messes up, I have to wash a bunch of dishes afterwards, I'm always out of wax paper right when I need it... So the sudden urge to make soap took me by surprise. But I went with it, and pulled out 10 lbs. of lard, 3 lbs. of frozen goat milk, and almost 2 lbs. of lye. I had just read about a different technique on bringing my soap to trace and I wanted to see if it was true. I had always been told that you had to stiiiiiiiiiiir that soap until it thickens, and whatever you do -- don't stop!! Thus my lack of enthusiasm when it came to soap making. After the second hour of stirring a bowlful of fat and lye, I really start to think that I would rather buy my own soap. But then I read a new way: Stir for 15 minutes. Then wait 15 minutes. After that, stir for 5 minutes, at 15 minute intervals. I tried it today, on the biggest batch of soap I've ever done, and my total stirring time came out to 25 minutes. MUCH better!!! I think I could totally come to love making soap if this technique continues to work. I scented the soap with a fragrance called "oatmeal, milk, and honey" (which ,despite the name, smells nothing like those three things), and for kicks, I threw in a handful of ground, rolled oats. Sometimes it's just fun to be spontaneous. The soap is sitting quietly now. Tomorrow or Monday I will unmold it and cut it up. This was a new recipe, and a new method of making it, so I have my fingers crossed that it will turn out nice.

I was on a roll after that batch and *almost* made another one, but this time with olive oil, palm oil, shea butter, and more goat milk. In the end I decided to wait. No need to experience burn out on the first day, right? So that batch will be either tomorrow or Monday. I don't know what fragrance I'll use for this "fun batch" yet; some readers over on Facebook have been giving me suggestions, and I'm hearing a lot of votes for vanilla, lavender, or ginger. Now that I think about it, it might be fun to throw some cocoa powder in the batch and scent it lightly with vanilla. Hmmm. I think I might be on to something here. ;) No! -- must -- wait -- until -- tomorrow -- to -- make -- more -- soap. *valiantly holds self back from starting another batch of soap at 5pm*

The afternoon fled from me with the speed of goats who hear the grain bucket, and at 4pm I noticed the setting sun giving its grand finale as it began dipping behind the mountains which I have come to love so much. I wanted to be out in it as it bid adieu. So I grabbed the long bow, put four arrows into the quiver that I had clipped to my jeans, and strode outside once I had also accumulated my carhartt coat and some leather gloves. I didn't feel like shooting at a target today... Something fierce and wild inside me just wanted to let loose and see my shafts fly. Even soapmakers have a wild side. With this feeling swirling around me like a playful breeze, I decided to simply practice my long range shooting. I want to go bow hunting this fall. I want to see about bringing down a stag, even if it is a young one. So long range practice is every bit as necessary as close range target practice. I must admit I love the impulsiveness that comes along with long range shooting. It's like the difference between writing in cursive, and writing slap dash. One is refined, methodical, and lovely to look at. The other is crazy, impetuous, and perfectly lovable in its own awkward, quirky way. I didn't want cursive today. I wanted Belligrent Madness. I had no target in mind as I stood at the northern edge of the pasture. I simply drew the bow string, inhaling deeply, and let my arrow fly to the southern end; my mind willing it to go farther, farther, farther. It is so fun, you just can't know.

Today's best shot hit 185 feet. The farthest I've shot yet. I dog-trotted up to the arrow and to my delight I found the shaft half buried into the earth. You see, my arrows are not supposed to go into the ground, and it's very rare when they go more than 2 or 3 inches. I have a special tip that I put on them called a "zwickey scorpio" (if that isn't fun to say, then I don't know what is!) which works like a grappling hook and keeps you from losing your arrows to the ground. Before I had scorpios, I was terrible at permanently losing arrows, since the bow's force would shove them beneath a layer of earth with no trace of it's whereabouts. Since getting them, I haven't lost a single one. The prongs on the scorpio don't allow an arrow to embed itself deeply into anything.

So to find one of my arrows 185 feet away and slammed halfway into the ground... Well, it just about made me giddy. A shot like that just might could bring down a young stag. Just maybe? I'm not after any huge prize in my hunting dreams. Just some venison for the freezer. If a big one came along, great; hopefully my bow and arrows will be able to take it down. But just a young buck would please me... 

I shot more arrows; all of them coming close to my record shot, but none surpassing it. I shot fast, I shot furious. I was in my element. One of these days I'm going to have to splurge and buy ma'self a utility kilt. I think that would be awesome. Eventually the sun dipped lower and I knew I needed to stop, or else I would start having trouble finding my arrows in the falling dusk. My left hand is slowly becoming calloused and used to the driving pain that my bow string inflicts. Someday I will get a better bow that won't hurt so much, but until then I bear the bruises and swelling with a smile. After today's practice, my hand hurt with a dull throb, but that was all. Last time I practiced, I came away with a bloody hand, despite the leather glove. I'm getting there. I'm getting better. I have until Autumn to perfect this craft. I know all the deer trails and nesting sights on my neighbor's property. Come autumn, I want to stalk these spots, but with a bow in my hand this time. I look forward to it with more excitement than an average person could understand. 

Looks can be deceiving. Your normal looking soapmaker just might turn out to be an archer who wants a kilt. You never can tell with some people... 

Spontaneity. I love it. We'll make soap in the morning, and shoot arrows like a Scottish lass/lad in the evening. Care to join me?


Nancy po said...

I loved archery when I took it in high school, very elegant...

Illinois Lori said...

You are too funny! Bryan and his brother, Nathan, were part of a JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) club for years. Because it was junior olympic competition, they shot recurve bows...gorgeous, elegant, cool. They were good, too! We used to do that in the summer, go out to the range, aim 45 degrees into the sky, and let 'em rip, see how far they'd fly. It IS a freeing thing to do! What did you mean by "utility kit?" What would be in that? We don't shoot any longer, but we have a lot of maintenance repair arrows (fletching), and stuff...maybe I could send it to you? What are you looking for?