Old West homemakers churned their own butter as part of a time-intensive process. Churning butter depends upon much more than simply agitating cream–temperature matters. Can you imagine trying to churn butter on a bitterly cold day or in the heat of the summer when the process depended upon a narrow range of temperatures?
Laundry, back in the day, was accomplished in a kettle over an outdoor fire. Every bucket of water was carried from a river, lake, well, or pump. In this secret recipe from a Kentucky grandmother to her newlywed granddaughter, learn how laundry was accomplished on the homestead pre-washing machine era (which did occur in the 19th century). This time-intensive chore required skill and elbow grease.
Twenty-first century people have it easy. In fact, most of us don’t know how to make soap–much less the ingredients (found on the Old West homestead) that should be saved in the process of living so that soap could be made. Soap did become readily available through catalog orders, but it cost money, and the more remove a settler, or the earlier a man or family found themselves on a frontier, the dirty, hot job of soap making was a necessary one. This article sheds light on the process, basic ingredients, methodology, as well as the rise of commercially prepared soap products.