Many parts of the country are experiencing record-breaking cold temperatures right now and here in Virginia, we’re experiencing that cold, dry air too. Winter weather used to mean that my hands, which spend a lot of time in water, washing milk buckets, water troughs, and general cleaning both indoors and out, would become raw, red, cracked and bleeding and they HURT! Well, those severely dry hands are a thing of the past since I got rid of commercial, detergent-based soaps and started using hand made goats milk soaps. The vitamins, minerals, fats, and oils in hand-made, cold-processed soaps don’t suck moisture out of my skin, and in fact, actually add moisture back in every time I wash my hands. And when I add a nice goats milk lotion or salve over freshly washed hands, VIOLA! Comfort at last!
Christmas Eve has donned cold and rainy. Now, why didn’t I know they were calling for rain? I fed the goats outside last night and so of course, their hay is ruined. Dang it. Luckily, they had leftover hay in their “barn” which is really part of my garage, which I will be stealing back from them just as soon as their new barn is delivered early this spring. I can’t wait.
This has been a nice Christmas season. School is over for me for the time being and I’m slowly letting the sand out of my head and can think again. Maybe not like a sane person, but at least now when I am trying to learn something new I don’t get the vision of my brain as a giant canvas bag of sand floating around inside my head. Someone mentioned to me that by exercising my brain it might actually be expanding, or at least getting less senile and feeble. I might even try some of that calculus soon. But not today. And not tomorrow either.
None of the goats have been bred this year…or last year either. I am still milking three of the seven does from their kiddings two years ago and I am getting all the milk I need for soap and household use. I have heard of goats milking up to three years without having been bred again, but I’ve not heard of any going any longer. I have a line that is very milky and nearly impossible to dry up, so maybe they will milk forever.
Of course, none of the girls are very happy about not being bred this fall. In fact, they are all very vocal about their lack of “dates” and stand at the gates wagging their tails in hopes of alerting me to the fact that they’d really like a visit from a stinky and ugly old Santa Buck. Nope. Aint happening sweeties.
Well, that is about all the news I can think of for today. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year.
These eggs are in a birdhouse my daughter made for me years and years ago. The lid flips up so we can spy on the babies whenever mom and dad aren’t looking. These little eggs just made my day. :)
This is our little pup Foxy Brown who was a roadside resident until the day my daughter and I saw her. We picked her up and brought her flea and tick-covered little self home and she’s been a happy dog ever since. (She goes to the doggie doctor this week for spaying. )
Fluffy is a rooster. He popped up in a litter of chicks and he was very scruffy looking. Instead of calling him “Scruffy”, I decided to call him “Fluffy”…because his feathers were always fluffed up and didn’t really look like feathers anyway…more like hair with quills.
From the time Fluffy was a baby, all the other roosters would pick on him and not let him near any of the hens. I took pity on him and brought him inside sometimes, but mostly he hung around by himself and he eventually started following me around everywhere and pecking my feet. He let me pick him up whenever I wanted to and for a while I was worried he thought I was his “hen”. And in fact, he DID think that I was his hen. All that weird behavior stopped however, the day all the other roosters, who had been fighting amongst themselves, went to live on a goat farm to protect a goat farmers hens and eat bugs.
Fluffy started crowing the very next morning after all the roosters were gone. His crow sounded like someone getting murdered, but over time his voice evened out and he no longer croaks when he crows. He adopted the only two hens on the property, even though they did not seem impressed by his small size and creepy crow. He’s a persistent fellow though, and he finally talked the two hens into being herded around by him in a loving fashion, dust bathing with him under the cedar trees, and tearing up the garden whenever the chance arose. Yes, he traded his strange friendship with me in for two hens, and I couldn’t have been happier.
However, things have changed a bit over the last two weeks and Fluffy is a lonely rooster once again. BOTH of his hens have gone broody at the same time. And not only that, they are both setting on the same clutch of eggs in the same nest and refuse to have anything to do with Fluffy at all. They won’t roost with him on the hay bales, or scratch for bugs in the manure pile, or eat dog food from the guardian dog’s bowl when he isn’t looking. Fluffy is very sad.
His hens, however, are very happy with their new egg-sitting job.
I’ve tried separating the hens numerous times, giving them each 5 of the 10 hatching eggs and making them a nice new nest of their own. But, they’ll have none of that. By the end of the day, the hens have rolled all of the eggs back together and are stuck like glue to each other in this heat. I can’t imagine. It’s kind of cool though to think about these two hens sitting on eggs in the same nest. They were hatched out together as chicks. I don’t know if they shared the same parents, but they had the same mother hen.
The eggs should hatch next weekend if they are fertile and not too dizzy from being rolled around by the hens from nest to nest.
Meanwhile, Fluffy will just have to be content with hunting and pecking and dust-bathing by himself until his eggs hatch and I’m keeping my fingers crossed he won’t take to following me around and pecking my feet again.
So, the biggest hurdle I’ve found to selling my bar soaps to some folks is that long ago, a certain percentage of the population here in the United States gave up trying to get clean with regular-old bars of soap. Now, these folks had probably NOT tried and became hooked on OUR bars of soap…soaps like Sparkling Raspberry, Lavender and Oatmeal, Gold Rush, Cranberry Marmalade, White Tea and Ginger, and the likes of those, but hey, there are still people in remote areas of the globe that haven’t tried our soap, so I’ll give them a pass and just get on with the point of this post, is which is our LIQUID SOAP.
Over the past 4 years I’ve made quite a few batches of a dark brown liquid soap that smelled a little funny, even after adding scent to it. Forget about color, nothing could cover up that brown. The brown color came from the caramelizing of the milk sugars…after all, we DO make goats milk soaps. But, lately I’ve delved heavily into adding fruits, yogurt, herbs, fancy oils and spices to our soaps, along with the goats milk, and have been very pleased with the results, and have seen an increase in sales to boot. But, we’re still missing out on selling to those remote people living amongst us who have sworn off bar soap, so I wanted to make a soap especially for them. One that they could write home to mom about (in a Facebook message) and sing it’s holy praises and all that and such. So I went back to my test kitchen, which also doubles as a regular soap kitchen and also just a regular food kitchen on the rare occasion that I decide to cook something other than soap, and started experimenting with liquid soap again. THIS time, some kind of light bulb suddenly went off in my head, and the complicated sets of instuctions for making liquid soap suddenly made sense and I actually made a sucessful batch that neither smelled funny, or looked funny. In fact, I added only a tiny bit of scent and color and as you can see in the picture at the top of the page, it was waaayyyyyy too much of both! Well, you can’t smell it of course through a computer screen, but rest assured, nobody anywhere would ever want their hands or body to smell THAT strongly of Sparkling Raspberry, no matter how wonderful it smells.
But, that isn’t the point. The point is that I have successfully and accidentally made liquid soap that I can actually feel good about selling. No, it does not contain goats milk, but most of the liquid soaps that people buy also do not contain goat milk. In the very near future I will again play with adding goats milk to an acceptable level that won’t discolor the whole batch. Goats milk in bar soap does not act the same way at all because bar soap does not require the long cook time that liquid soap does…and some other stuff that I haven’t figured out yet. Goats milk in bar soap is the absolute bomb, but in liquid soap, as the only liquid, it fails miserably for me. Maybe in the future I can figure out how to get clear soap using goats milk but for now our small and growing soap company will make our liquid soap in the vegan variety in lots of cool colors and scents. It will be packaged in the 16 ounce bottle you see in the picture, and 32 oz refills will be available too.
Ah crud, I’ve gone over my word count goal…so, see you next time!
Do you ever notice how after a good rainstorm everything seems fresh and clean? Well, around here things seem mostly muddy and dirty and everything smells like a wet dog, but this morning, we are decidedly under the spell of fresh-and-clean. It’s probably because of all the other rainstorms we’ve had lately that have made the Virginian greenery grow out of control. It’s hard to make mud out of grass and tomatoes. So here are a few pictures of lightening-induced-nitrogen-fertilized garden plants and greenery from our farm this morning.
Pictures left to right. #1 Tomatoes, #2 Peppers and Cucumbers, #3 Cucumbers being trained up a pretty wimpy treslis, #4 LAVENDER PLANTS FROM SEED! First time I’ve ever gotten lavender seeds to sprout, let alone grow into actual plants, (although yes I do know that lavender from seed form whacky plants that in no way resemble their biological parents), #5 Bird House Gourds (the tall plants) and sweet potatoes (the shorter plants in the foreground), #6 Bird House Gourds trying to take over the entire garden. (right now I’m winning the battle, but each night I have to go out and uncurl their tendrils from around other helpless garden plants who are being smothered).
I think I may have finally got rid of my spammers! I’ll see if anything shows up in the next couple of days. If it doesn’t, then I can quit holding my breath before I pass out. I was going to delete the whole blog, but then I realized it’s a nice way to hang onto lots of pictures and articles I’ve written so I really didn’t want to do that. Hopefully, they will be unable to access the blog again in the same way. But then again, there are people sitting around in dark basement offices right now, trying to figure out ways to hack into peoples accounts and steal their info and post sexual-dysfunction medication info to anyone’s blog that they can get into. Sheesh, what fun is that? Why don’t they grow a garden or something?
I learned not long ago that one of the major obstacles to men, young and old, doing anything valuable with their lives, is their addiction to filmed prostitution. Also known as “porn”, but hey, I say call it like it is. In my dictionary, the definition of a prostitute is: Person who engages in sexual activity for payment. It may be the oldest profession in existence, but people no longer need to leave their homes to engage in it, or pay enormous sums of money for it. It’s free, right at anyone’s fingertips. And like any other addiction, it clouds good judgement and important decision-making abilities. College-aged men are becoming impotent in record numbers because they have been engaging in filmed prostitution for so many years that they can’t get erections with a real woman due to their habit of “self medicating” with filmed prostitution many times a day. That’s why this country relies so heavily on viagra. Bet all you women out there didn’t know that did you? And that is why hoodlum spammers sit around all day in their parents dark and dreary basements and hack into people’s computers and attempt to sell the only thing they can think about; prostitution, and anything that will help them and their limp ding a lings engage in more and more of it.
Okay, my rant is over.