When I get the time I hope to be able to do a few things that I can add to this blog from experience, not academics.
Hard Bar Potassium Hydroxide Soap
Usually Hard bar soap is made with Sodium Hydroxide and liquid soap is made with Potassium Hydroxide. Through history, soap was made with Potassium Hydroxide because it was easily obtained by filtering water through ash (potash). The concentration was reached when it dissolved a feather and floated an egg. This was a soft soap and probably quite hit and miss with its quality.
Salt thickens liquid soap and would harden soap that has the smaller quantity of water.
I found found a French site (with the help of google translate) that gave an apporximate measurement of salt to be added to harden it. Several places state that KOH soap is better for the skin than NaOH.
This would be a salt bar and I will use Himalayan rock salt for the added benefit of the minerals and the pink colour. Some people said they used sea water. If Japanese did that, their soap might pulsate a green glow and be called something like Fukushima Bubbles.
I can get Potassium Hydroxide a lot cheaper than Sodium Hydroxide, but that benefit would be lost using salt. When I do it, I will work out the costs.
This is the organic version of hydroponics and fish farming.
The fish used depends on your climate and government regulation. Trout would be good for cold climates, Tilapia and Perch for warmer climates. Barramundi for hot. I think Tilapia are not permitted in Australia.
As much as I can work out at this stage, if the system is balanced well you can have 1 fish per 10 litres of grow bed/ 10 litres of water (you can't exceed the least of these). I am not sure how this works with larger fish.
The fish mess the water which is pumped up to the garden which used by the plants to grow, which in turn filter the water.
The plants do better than in a standard garden as there is no competition for water.
Chemicals can't be used as they will kill the fish. The only input is fish food. A worm farm would supply a lot of the fish food needed.
It takes about 12-18 months for fish to get to plate size. Large growing fish grow quicker, but it is more difficult to use Barraundi or Murray Cod as they are territorial and can damage each other fighting.
This system is more water efficient than growing a garden in the ground because a lot of the water just dissipates into the soil and is not used by the plants.
My husband wont help me start this until we finish some other projects.
Essential Oil Distillation
It isn't hard to distil oils but you do need equipment. I am not going to pay over $300 for a little glass distillery that does a tiny amount, so I need a little help drilling out a stainless steel pot lid, arranging the copper piping etc.
The copper piping needs to be inserted into a sealed hole or valve in the lid, then lead to a coil which sits in a plastic container of cold or ice water and descends through a sealed hole at the base to drain into a glass container.
The leaves are stuffed into the pot, a little water is added then the lid secured. This is heated. The steam from the water and leaves can only exit through the copper pipe and becomes liquid when it gets to the coils in the water bath. Gravity allows it to dribble out into your container.
The oil being lighter than water floats on the surface and can be decanted off. The remaining water can be used as it does have molecules of the oil in it. This is what you'd call, Rose Water or Lavender Water depending on your plant matter.
First though, I need to my plants to grow to a size that they can be cut back enough. I would like to do Rosemary, Oregano, Basil, Lemongrass, and Geranium oil.
Another tree I am interested in Moringa Oleifea which should grow in our climate. Even though it grows to 10m it can be cut back to 2m for harvest (you eat the leaves and flowers and make oil from the wood, seed and seed pods).
I should be able to get Eucalyptus leaves. May be not Blue Mallee which is said to be the best, but at least Blue Gum.
I would love to grow Lemon Myrtle but I don't have the space and I don't think the neighbours are going to let me grow my trees in their place.