horses, goats, and ice, yuk!

This morning we awoke to an icy mess! The porches were treacherous as usual and we salted them immediately, but even the grass and mud and gravel driveway was slippery! The paved road, however, was pretty good and I didn’t slide at all when I walked out on it in my bedroom slippers and pajamas. Here are a few pictures of the animals this morning.

Michalangela…AKA Miss Mikey, and her belly

This is our Miss Mikey and her pregnant belly.  She’s only a month away from kidding, and frankly, I don’t see how she can get any bigger!  She’s stayed in shape though, none of this lying around moaning and complaining.  She gets out and walks every day, and although the girls have hay in hay feeders in the barn, she insists on going out into the pasture twice a day and eating with the horses.  The first picture is of her belly right before kidding two years ago.  She had two beautiful 6 pound girls that year.  I’m betting she’s got a few more than two in there this time, or else they are HUGE!  Can’t wait to see what she’s got!

Colorful New Soaps

Last night I decided to try a couple batches of soap using a few of my new colorants.  I used Peacock colors, mica’s and a clay.  The peacock colors took more than just the few drops I’d heard I’d need to use.  The mica’s colored true and some even added a little glitter to the soap, although you can’t see it in the pictures.  The first soap is an essential oil soap using lime, orange, lavender, peppermint and litsea.  It has an orange bottom and a purple top.  The second soap is “Winter Candy Apple”, which is a lovely fragranced oil.  I went for a red base and a green top with a little bit of swirl.  The soap is pretty enough to eat and both will be listed in my shop ASAP although won’t ship for about 2 weeks due to cure time.  I only made 8 of each, so get them while you can!

We’ve got HEAT!

Our new wood stove was installed this morning, right after we finished grouting the tiles on the hearth.  Not the ideal time to grout, I know, but at least it got done and they only chipped one tile and made a tiny hairline fracture in another which doesn’t go all the way through the tile, and is only barely visible.  I was all excited about starting a fire but the installer told me to wait until tomorrow to let whatever they used on the pipes dry and then to start three small fires to cure the stove before starting a roaring fire.  The stove is a soapstone by Hearthside.  Isn’t is pretty?  I LOVE it!

coupon sale

Hi!

I’m having a sale in my ArtFire Studio, you can use the coupon code A34BFBA456-4845F67342 to get a free gift (purchase three soaps get one soap FREE) on Select Studio Categories in my studio. Hope to see you soon,
Shantara

Additional Info:Buy three soaps from my ARTFIRE shop and get ONE soap FREE! Shipping is only 4.95 on this order. Enjoy!

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ArtFire.com

Mud Control

They say that invention is born of frustration. Well, that has to be true! True frustration has often been a stepping stone for me into something better. I remember reading one of Tony Robbins books a few years ago and although I cannot locate the book right now to quote him, I remember him talking about frustration as a good thing, and how highly successful people used frustration to create new things and make their life better. Well, I have become totally frustrated with our mud problem. I have had to put farm visits on hold because most folks who visit the farm come in nice shoes and clean clothes and walking out to the barn has become impossible without hip waders!

The problem really stems from the fact that I live on leased property and have always been leery of investing money in property I only planned to occupy temporarily. Well, since we will be moving to our own property soon, I’ve really got a keen interest in making it as mud-free as possible. It’s not as easy as it seems, but there are folks out there who have done it before and are good at it. Mud control will also prevent erosion and runoff of nitrates from manure and other minerals that need to stay put and not end up in our water supplies. It’s a big problem, especially around “factory farm” type establishments, and the residents downstream are the ones who pay the price.

There is a website called http://www.horsesforcleanwater.com that supplies a world of information to people on creating mud-free environments for their horses. Goats are much easier on the land than horses, but I figure if I can control mud in my horse areas, how much easier it will be to control mud in my goat areas! Yesterday I contacted the nice folks at “Horses for Clean Water” and told them I was interested in learning more about mud management in my area of Central Virginia, and that I couldn’t come to Washington State, but would love to find someone to link up with out here on the east coast. Well, a nice person named Alayne emailed me back and told me she would be doing a seminar in Middleburg at the end of Jan. How lucky! It is only $15 so I downloaded the form and will send it off…with the hopes that Mikey will have kidded by then. I’ll probably have to take the babies with me as I won’t be home to feed at noon, but I’ve done that before!

If anyone is interested they can go to the Horses for Clean Water website. You’ll find the link in the right hand column of this page. The Seminar is called “Healthy Horses and a Healthier Chesapeake Bay Seminar.” It is Thursday, Jan. 28th, 2010 at the MARE Center at 5527 Sullivans Mill Road, Middleburg, Va 20117-9701. The seminar lasts from 9:30am to 3:30pm with a snow date of Friday, January 29th.

Topics include:

Mud and Runoff management Techniques

Chesapeake Bay Friendly horse farm project

Whys and ways to slowly feed hay

making conservation work-local horse owners share opinions

$15 fee includes coffee, lunch, raffle prizes, and handouts

registration form is available at http://www.pwswcd.org under “Horse Owners”

Hope to see you there! Or, if you’re NOT going, you can feed my baby goats and I’ll bring back all my notes and share them with you!