August 31, 2010

It’s hard to believe summer is almost gone.  We’ve had ninety degree temps  the past few days with extremely high humidity, making it seem like summer will never end.

I’m not complaining….I love the heat…but fall isn’t too bad I guess.  Some cooler days will be welcome for the animals.  Winter can go someplace else this year for all I care.

I managed to get bit twice tonight by horse flies…so I’ve decided I’m glad I’m not a horse and I’m looking forward to winter only because it will mean no more of those awful biting flies!

I’ve got new soaps for the market this weekend, if I can get the labels done.  Will also have some samples of the two facial soaps.  I think the tea tree cleared up a couple of bad spots I’d had for a while.  I was surprised.  I guess I’d gotten used to always having a zit or two.

I’m looking for ideas for pine cone crafts, so if you have any please post a link in the comments section or send it to me in an email.  I’ve got medium sized pine cones and small ones and I’d like to find something fun to do with them.

Happy Wednesday!

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What’s Soaping Today?

For those of you who I shorted on Honey Bee, I got it soaped today!  I thought I had a big ole box of it on the shelf.  And I did have a big ole box, but the box was empty! Whoops!

I also got a big batch of Bay Rum done…can never have too much of that.

I got yesterday’s Lemon Grass unmolded and cut today.  This time I added some meadow sweet to it, and it made it really nice.  Meadow Sweet is a healing herb.  It’s pretty in the soap too.

Also getting unmolded today was my other new facial bar,  Oatmeal and Tea Tree.

Unfortunately, none will be ready for the market this Saturday, but we’ve got the fans going  and I’m confident they will be ready for the market on Sept. 4th.

I get to use the first one tonight!  Can’t make up my mind which one it will be, the “Pretty Faces” Naked, or the “Pretty Faces” Tea Tree and Oatmeal.  The bars turned out a lot bigger than the 4 ounces I had planned on.  After curing they will be around 5.2 ounces.  They are a nice size to fit in your hand comfortably and CG is absolutely INSISTING I round the corners on these luxury bars.  So, I guess I will.

Other Farm News

We got rain, rain and more rain this morning.  Now that the sun’s come out, you can almost see the grass growing.  I think I can hear it too!

The little beagle that came to stay is still here and letting me pet her some.  I caught her the other day and gave her another bath plus some ivermectin for the mange…hopefully she’s not loaded with heart worms, in which case, I’ve probably killed her.

If anyone has any jewel weed growing on their property, will you please let me know so I can  come and pick some?  I want to use it for a soap but can’t find it anywhere around here.

Or, if you have some dried stuff and can send it, I’d be happy to pay for it.

Thanks a trillion!

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The Holiday Season is Almost Here!

The Christmas season is bearing down on us pretty fast now, with each dwindling summer day a minute or two shorter than the previous one.  Before I moved to the country and got horses and goats and chickens, I didn’t pay nearly so much attention to the seasons.  It hardly mattered if it rained, snowed, was 120 degrees, etc.  Sure, our trips between the house and the car could be a little uncomfortable, but once inside, the weather just went away.

I didn’t have to trudge through snow and ice with feed and water, and spend hours outside each day making sure the animals were clean, dry, and well-bedded down, especially in snow storms.

Well, now I am acutely aware of changes in temperatures, seasons, etc. and can sense them changing like a real live old-timer!

With the changing seasons, come  the Holiday’s of course.  When living in the city, I could almost ignore the holiday’s, even shopping, with all the lights and glitter didn’t put me in the mood.  But something about being outdoors so much, being in tune with nature gives a lot more meaning to the seasons for me.

My crafter friends at the market can feel it to, and we are all planning now for holiday sales.  The Danville Farmers market will be all decked out for Christmas and you can bet the vendors will have extra-special hand crafted items available for the thousands of customers expected to visit the market, looking for unique Christmas gifts.

I’ve been planning new soaps, lotions, gift bags, etc. and have already begun soaping for the season in earnest.  My soap drying room with fans is about ready and I’ve got a whole list of new soaps I’ll be making.

Two new soaps that I’m really excited about, because I’ve gotten so many requests for them are a new facial bar called “Pretty Faces”, which for now comes in two varieties, Naked, with no scent, and Oatmeal and Tea Tree.  These soaps contain more than 1 oz each of shea butter per 4 oz bar.  That’s a lot of shea!  Shea butter is very expensive, so the bars will be a little smaller than our normal bar, but the pricing will be the same, ($5 per bar). The bars also contain local raw honey, castor bean oil, and organic olive oil, plus our goats milk of course!

The other new soap is a Dead Sea Salt bar.  This will be available in several varieties, which have not been decided on yet.  They will be scented with only essential oils, and of course, one bar will contain no scent.

My normal salt bars contain  sea salt and I’ve sold quite a few of those and love them myself, but those will be replaced with the Dead Sea bars because the salts are superior in mineral content and quality.  Dead Sea Salts are quite expensive, so once again, these bars will be a tad smaller, but priced the same.

Other than the addition of these two new types of soaps, we will also carry all the same soaps we have now, which are about 34 different varieties/scents, but will be adding 6-10 new scents, in addition to the facial and dead sea bars for the holiday season.  (We expect to have around 40 different soaps for you to choose from!)

Have a favorite?  Have a suggestion?

Here are the scents/varieties currently available.

Fragrance oil soaps:

1)black raspberry vanilla

2)bay rum

3)frankincense and myrrh

4)black sandalwood

5)cleopatra’s treasure

6)sex on the beach

7)coconut lime verbena

8)tara marie

9)love spell

10)lemon curd

11)honey bee

12)dragon’s blood

12)summer candy apple

13)apple jack and peel

14)lay me down by the river

15)nag champa

16)american pie

Essential Oil Soaps:

17)lavender canoe

18)lavender/orange/with ground chamomile flowers

19)cedarwood/fir

20)cedarwood/orange

21)morning sunrise

22)peppermint/eucalyptus

23)spearmint/eucalyptus

24)patchouli

25)tea tree

26)lemongrass

27)Guinevere’

28)ugly betty

Unscented soap:

29)oatmeal, milk and honey

Salt Bars:

30)patchouli/orange

31)tea tree/orange

32)miss miley’s citrus (1 bar left)

Kitchen Sink Bar:

dragon’s blood/litsea with ground coffee beans, sea salt and blueberry seeds…odor removing.

Facial Bars:

33)naked

34)tea tree and oatmeal

Dead Sea Salt Bars:

5 varieties, probably lavender/rosemary, tea tree, peppermint/eucalyptus, spearmint/eucalyptus, and unscented.

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Happy Sunday

A few things that have made me smile lately.

1)The neighbors puppy…or someone’s puppy.  She’s been to visit twice now.  Is scratching like crazy and I can’t catch her to de-bug her..but she’s cute as a button and wags her tail and smiles at me.

2)Tara, waiting out by the fence this morning for me.  Just sure as she could be that I’m going to turn her back out into the yard today to eat this tall grass.

3) Ciara, running to me when I come outside…bucking and jumping all around.  Never jumps on me though.  Gives a cute little “maaa, maaa.”  Very soft.

4) CG coming home at night.  That always makes me smile.

5) Calling for a hay delivery tomorrow, and getting the hay BEFORE I run out.  Always good.

6) The goat girls waiting patiently in line to be milked.  No pulling on their collars, or having to coerce them into the milking shed.

7) Listening to the horses and goats munch hay contentedly in the dark after all the chores have been done.

8) The truck breaking down, but getting fixed the same day.  Whewww.

9) A clean kitchen! A clean bathroom! A clean livingroom! Bedroom slowly getting organized.

10) a pickup load of trash pulled out of the woods…just a dent in the trash piles we have around here, but a dent, nevertheless. Lots of board with nails…gone away!

11) FOUR chicks with their mama. That’s the number, four.  None have perished in the water buckets or anywhere else.   Keeping my fingers crossed.

12) Still have FIVE guineas.  Had six to begin with.  Lost one.  But the rest are still here and doing well. Nice little animals.  Intent bug hunters.

13) Chickens scratching horse piles into the ground so I don’t have to pick them up.

14) A dung beattle rolling around a horse biscuit in the dark.  First one I’ve ever seen.

15) Six nice, clean, round bales of hay delivered, and he even gave me one for free because it had some wild dandelions in it!  But, my goats LOVE those things!

16) Mama hen hatched out three new baby chicks.  She abandoned her nest after the three hatched, so I’ve got the rest of the eggs in the house.  And they are making little noises. So cute.

17) A successful market day Sat.  Sold lots of soap.  Got lots of requests.

18) Got my named changed officially to my birth name.  After my divorce, I had just assumed my maiden name, but it wasn’t really legal.  My petition surfed around in 3 different courts, all requiring documentation I didn’t have…the last court had some sense and signed the thing without requiring me to jump through hula hoops.  A true miracle.

19) Relief from the oppressive heat.  Cooler nights.  Fewer flies and creepy things.

20) Caught the puppy and gave her a bath. Got some medicine for her yesterday, now have to catch her again!

21) I’m alive, and so is everyone else that I love.

A Fine and Pleasant Way to Wake Up

You ever meet Rancid Crabtree?  Me either, but I think I was dreaming about him this morning…trapping a skunk or something in one of Patrick McManus’s stories.

Or maybe I was dreaming about the stinky cheese I made the other day, or the present my dog left for me on the porch last week.

There’s nothing like a morning thunderstorm to wake a person out of a dead sleep as the first vestiges of light filter through the bedroom curtain.

Crack! Boom! Bang! Heavy Downpour! Muffled crowing of roosters! Dog barks lost in the wind! Electricity flickering!  House Shuddering!  Roof making noises like heard never before!

It’s hard to sleep through something like that.

For some reason I thought thunderstorms occured just before it got dark in the evening.

As I rubbed my eyes, trying to wake up, I thought it was evening.

Until I saw CG getting out his work clothes and ironing them.

It’s a very confusing time between being asleep and being awake..

At least for me.  Before my coffee.

We got a good 2 and a half inches of rain this morning in about 30 minutes.

The pastures have new rivers running through them and a lake formed in front of the porch.

It eventually stopped though, and we were able to drive safely down the road…CG to go to work, and me to go to the feed store for grain before milking.

About a mile down the road though, we had to stop.  A tree was lying in the middle of the road.  CG came and got his gloves out of the truck and helped about 6 people cut up the tree and take it off the road so we could all get to wherever we were going.

I had sandals on though, so decided to stay in the truck to protect my feet and watched while all the guys and ladies in dresses and high heels moved branches off the road.

It was quite a display of neighborliness.  The tree took out somebody’s mailbox, right in front of their house, but that somebody never showed their head out of their house…cars were still in the driveway…even though he had a downed tree and fifty neighbors standing in his yard, not to mention a line up of cars in both directions up and down the road.

Maybe a bolt of lightening came in through the window and knocked him out.

In any case CG and all those nice people got the tree out of his yard and off the road.

I sat in the truck with my bare toes, monitoring my blinking hazard lights….a big help I’m sure.

What I’m really happy about is that with all this rain, my turnips ought to get REALLY growing good.  I’ve got em planted in all my future flower beds and right now they are so cute…just these tiny little sprouts that I’m hoping the chickens won’t see.

I’ve got their milk feeders filled with old bread and fresh milk.  Baby turnips shouldn’t be too appetizing.

I’m hoping.

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Making Feta Cheese the Right Way

Feta from Greece
Image via Wikipedia

What is your favorite kind of cheese?  Mine is probably cottage or ricotta or something similar.  I like creamy, milky cheeses.  Luckily I like white cheese too because most of the cheeses I make out of our goats milk are various shades of white.

Unless I mess up and overheat them or add too many herbs, or forget about them on the counter.  Then they end up various shades of green.

Not too appetizing.

And don’t taste very good either.

Anyway, I decided to try a strong feta cheese for last night’s cheese adventure.

Between watching a movie and talking to CG  I managed to  made my feta a little backwards.

I put the milk in the cheese pot, added the rennet and the liapase…I wanted this to be a strong, deep bodied feta, put the lid on the pot and went back to watching “Avatar.”

A couple hours later…at the time I was supposed to be draining the cheese, I realized I had forgotten to add the culture.

Darn.

Well, I lifted the lid off the pot and it had already separated into cheese, but I didn’t know what kind of cheese, and since I had decided on feta cheese, I went ahead and added the culture at that point, hoping to still be able to create feta, and not a pot of “mystery cheese.”

I’ve made my share of those.

This morning I had something that looked a lot like cottage cheese, but tasted more like linburger!

I hung it to drain, exactly 8 hours after I was supposed to drain and hang it.  It drained beautifully, but instead of slicing it and layering it with salt, I had to crumble and layer it with salt.

It tastes great though.

I already ate half of it.

I want to put it in olive oil for a few days after it cures.  Never tried that before.  The liapase makes it very strong.  Smells like stinky feet.

There are only about  7000 more different cheeses to make that I haven’t tried yet.  But, I need to find a cheese eater….try as I may, I just cannot eat all this cheese!  My chickens are absolutely loving me right now!

CG just tolerates my nightly kitchen messes of kefir, kombucha, non-stretchy mozzarella, chevre, forgotten-about green cheese, (he can detect the odor long before I can), fly breeding colonies in the compost bucket, soap and lotion fragrances in his dinner, etc.

Tonight I vow, NO SMELLY KITCHEN CATASTROPHIES!

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Levi Johnston , Wasilla Alaska’s Next Mayor?

Levi Johnston with Sarah Palin's family at the...
Image via Wikipedia

Did you know a high school drop out, barely 20 years old, could perhaps become the next mayor of the town of Wasilla, Alaska?

I don’t even know where Wasilla, Alaska is.

But it’s in the news because it seems that Levi Johnston, Sarah Palin’s almost-son-in-law, has announced his plan to run in the 2012 race for mayor of that town.

I guess he’ll be 22 by then.  And maybe have his high school diploma.

That should help win votes.

Plus, he’s going to take some college courses.

That’s another fly in his fishing hat.

I’m laughing because people have criticized President Obama for lacking experience.

I’m wondering what they’ll say about this Levi kid if he gets into office?

Or even makes a half-hearted attempt to get into office.

That’s all it will be anyway, half-hearted.  He’ll sit around drinking melted snow cones and eating moose steaks and gravy while the idiots who back him round up money for him and go fishing for votes.  Levi will be able to kick back and play video games to his hearts content.

Maybe it’s becoming a new trend to vote for the candidate with the least experience…you know…then the public can mold them into the persona they want them to be?

It’s a thought.  I guess it could work.  But what do I know?

I don’t think I’ve experienced enough life to know much of anything or to comment on it intelligently.

I think I’ll be ready to voice my opinion and speak with authority when I’m about 80.  Right before I kick the bucket.  Then I think I’ll really know what’s important.

Do we kill copperheads in our yard or let them be?

How many goats is too many?

How many times can someone flunk 9th grade before they just pass them on?

Is  the love of money really the root of all evil, or is evil the root of all evil?

Does God exist?

Will I go to heaven?

Does the world exist, or am I just a figment of someone’s imagination?

Have you read “Sophie’s World“?  It’s a great philosophy novel by author Jostein Gaarder, originally written in Norwegian as “Sofies Verden,  and suggests that we are all characters in God’s mind and that no matter what, he orchestrates the outcome and we just play along like puppets.

I think the author had a point.

But, I probably didn’t get enough sleep last night, and yep I think I was a little flabbergasted to read, before I’d had 45 cups of coffee, that a 20 year old high school dropout plans to run for mayor in the very near future.

The nerve of some people!

What do you think?  Have I fell off my rocker?

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