Soap making and almond blossom, a magical winter wonderland

Dusted white, pale pink, deeper too, meadow green, warm southern sun, fading fast and lying low, setting behind charcoal black trunks, colder nights, winter glow.

almond blossom andalucia

The New Year begins with the first almond blossom, usually a lone tree on a south facing slope. As well as the New Year's Day holiday, Spain celebrates Epiphany on the 6th with 'La Epifanía del Señor' or Kings Day.

Occasionally we get snow on the distant mountain range where it peaks at 1500m. La Maroma, overlooking the lake is over 2000m and is often snowcapped, looking very much like Mount Fuji in Japan.

We begin our soap making process, combining olive oil, lye and spring water. We heat the oil separately and add lye to the water, which generates its own heat. When both are at an exact temperature the lye water is added to the oil.

It is then stirred constantly for some time until 'trace' occurs, a specific thickening of the liquid. It is poured into large stainless steel insulated trays and left to cure for about three months.

natural soaps

Later on the soap is re batched, adding in extra ingredients such as botanicals, clays and essential oils.

The bars are cut out by hand, packaged and labelled.

Whilst the almond trees are busy blooming we continue to prune the olives, clear the ground and collect firewood to store.

And by the end of the month it's a pretty spectacular sight.