Judy (or was it Ann?) and I were discussing the method of preserving eggs for the winter when the laying hens would get too cold and quit laying. (Ann's hens are so coddled, they continue to lay during this extremely cold weather - no Sunday dinner there.) The large crock would go into the cellar, filled with eggs and a substance called water glass, which was a gelatin-like substance that gave one shivers when dipping into the crock to get an egg for a cake or eggs for scrambled eggs.
Water glass was again brought to my attention during a sculpture class at the U of Wyo. We made clay busts of a model, then had to go through the casting process (just plaster of Paris). In order to do that, I first covered the clay bust with Plaster of Paris, using copper shims in strategic places so that when the plaster had sent, I could remove the mold, and prepare to cast a solid Plaster of Paris bust. (The initial clay bust was usually ruined during this process.) The next step was to coat the inside of the plaster bust with water glass so that when the Plaster of Paris was poured into the mold, it could set up, and then be separated from the mold. So far, so good. I was industriously coating the inside of my mold when some water glass splashed on my glasses, obscuring my vision. I quickly wiped the offending liquid off, only to discover that my glasses lens had been coated with the stuff and it could not be removed. Panic set in. I had only two weeks until finals, and no money to get new lenses, and knew that I could not see the test materials without them. When I went home that day, there was some mail for me - a letter informing me that I had received a $100 stipend, and that it was available for me at the Student Financial Office. The amazing part was that there was to be no payback. The miracle had happened, the optical shop rushed my new lenses, and I must have passed all of my tests, because I got my B.A. that year. I still consider that a great miracle in the scheme of things on this earth, and am thankful for experiences like this that confirm that miracles to happen in this day and age of cynicsism.