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washing wood ash- what my grandma did

updated thu 11 dec 03


Sam or Mary Yancy on wed 10 dec 03

When I was a little one (1944) at my grandma's farm about 6 miles our of Lexington Virginia, I vividly remember helping kill two hogs, helping set them up up for smoking (not sure about this - in the outhouse - moved to another location methinks), cooking down the fat renderings in a BIG kettle outside over a wood fire to get the "chitlings" (I got to stee and sift them out), and then using the Fat/oil to make soap. If I remember right, my grandma added wood ash, a can of draino, and then I had to steer some more for about another two hours. The kettle was covered and after a while it solidified. This was our soap for the year. Was sort of a yellow-orange color and was the Best soap for washing (especially hair - my grandma was 5 ft tall and had beautiful 4ft long hair). Was a great time - all kids should spend some time on a old farm. Did not have any gloves or protective devices though. Sam in Daly City

Dave Finkelnburg wrote:Taylor Hendrix wrote, in part: "Heed Mama's warnings and wear gloves and
eye protection to wash. I'm
not lying."

Dear Taylor,
There is, I am sure, some benefit to washing ash. Not washing is
simple, though. Just mix and use. So there are at least two reasonable
approaches to using this material. In very high clay recipes such as Mark
Issenberg uses, where the ash is the full flux source, the washing step is
just extra work.
By the way, I am sure there is some reward...somewhere...for such a bad
pun. :-)
Good potting!
Dave Finkelnburg

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