The Supervisor died on June 30th. His absence leaves a massive emptiness. He had been my companion for nearly a quarter of my life. I miss him immensely.
He sleeps now beneath the earth in our backyard – up the back under the grevilleas where tiny birds hold loud meetings, and hundreds of bees hum. It was a space he liked to just stand sometimes, just “be”ing, as dogs can do. It’s comforting having him there. And a little rosemary is growing with him, for remembrance – he loved rosemary, used to walk through our bushy plants and perfume himself – he’d come inside smelling like roast lamb!
So, life at the moment is adjustment. The new normal. The old timetable no longer applies. Like removing one object which was holding others in balance, everything shifts. My days have been thrown to the wind.
And yet really, everything stays the same. The sun still rises – spectacularly some days, like today:
My half-time work affords me some days at home. Soap making has been minimal – reduced to necessity, except for one friend who has a special order. It is a sandalwood, spice and citrus soap with colloidal oatmeal, made specially with her preferred ingredients. She buys the entire batch and emails me when she needs more.
Incredible pictures of fancy swirled soaps keep flying past my facebook eyes, and I am tempted to lash out and make something “pretty”. So much so that I even bought some natural colourings …
I infused one of them (the madder root I think) in oil for a week or so, and used it in my rose soap – but then I also used my friend’s red red rose petals tea’d in the lye water. The soap was pink, but I lost energy for swirls.
The trouble with being Gemini-acal, is the two distinct voices inside my skull:
Voice A – “Make cold process, try the swirls – make it pretty…”
Voice B – “What’s the point? It’s soap! And if you make blue soap will it stain your skin? And you make hot process, so the soap is not liquid enough to swirl well…”
And then I get stuck, and do what I always did – well, almost.
I have found that I only need to cook the hot process soap for about 15 minutes on “HOT” in the slow cooker. This takes the soap mix close to 180 degrees, which seems to be the magic number for saponification. A decent stir with the hand whisk then gets the process continuing, and the soap mix will often heat itself up a little further – an exothermic process. I do prefer hot process – it’s more consistent for me.
I don’t have the patience for cold process soap – mine gets uneven gel, it gets all sorts of things that I can’t be bothered faffing around to sort! Maybe I should let Voice A win one day (Voice B usually wins), and try the cold process and the swirl – especially having bought the colours (Voice A won that day)!! That day will come.
For now – my soap still looks boring – think Fred Flintstone. I don’t trim edges because after the first wash they are as smooth and shiny as butter…
If only I could add aroma to this post – think chamomile and lemon-scented teatree (my fave soap) – it’s delightful to use, and full of goodies for happy skin!! Between our family use and presents for friends, it doesn’t last long. I haven’t had time to make extra, and the little market I used to go to has folded I think.
It’s also bitter orange time again, so the next load of golden marmalade is cooked!
The tree is so loaded, I could could make about ten times this much – but what to do with it all?!! Anyone local who wants marmalade (or bitter oranges), please send a message.
As I write, there is a man stomping on the roof above my head – we have had winter fronts through with heavy rains, and a waterfall in the doorway in the centre of our house. Whilst today’s sun shines, the gutter guy is hard at work. More rain is forecast tonight, so the fruits of his labour either will or will not become evident soon.
E’s dog is still looking round the house for her friend. She has also changed since he left us in some subtle way – a little shift. We all miss him.
So – Vale, Pete, my little friend – I will continue, unsupervised, and see where life goes without you in it – my heart misses you every day.
Until next time,