This slideshow requires JavaScript.


More Snow Today

I’ve been outside and it sure is pretty! This is our firewood pile.  To the right of the picture you can see part of a tarp which covers a tree cut up into lengths, but not yet split. Our front porch is also covered with firewood.   Our firewood pile grew by leaps and bounds Christmas Eve morning, right after Santa gave CG his Christmas present early…a new Husqvarna Chainsaw!  No more cutting wood with a broken chainsaw, or our other “new” chainsaw that was 30 years old!"snow in va, wood pile, oak firewood"

This next tarp is covering a months worth of hay that was delivered on Friday.  We go through 800 pounds of hay every week for our 5 horses and 9 goats.  Luckily, we found a really great hay farmer that sells these to us for a great price and delivers too!  And, it’s really nice, really clean, barn-kept  hay.  This is one of those things that has really made my life a lot easier….not having to scourge the country side every week or two for hay.  Now THAT was stressful!

"storing hay outdoors in winter"

This next picture was taken from the front porch. (actually they all were, I was still in my pj’s)  The first big tree is a Chestnut tree which drops thousands of sharp spiked chestnuts in the fall, and smells like a dead animal in the spring!  The tree behind it is a big cedar tree that we love, but that we will have to take down or top out because it’s growing right in front of our yard light.  The baby goats were fenced under these trees during the summer and ate the bark off the lower half of the cedar tree, but it’s still green.  Must be a pretty hardy tree.   Plus it’s grown around an old dog chain that is still attached to the trunk.  Most  of the trees here on the property are growing around either old dog chains or collapsing fences, making them worthless as lumber.  Behind the trees is our fall-rut buck pen.  Atticus and Finland have been out with the horses until the snow.  We moved them back up to the pen for the snowstorm.

"snow, goats, winter in Virginia"Hope your day after Christmas is warm and cozy!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Shantara Acres Farm Blog is One Year Old!

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since my very first post.

It was actually a year yesterday, the 23rd.  We were busy working outside and I didn’t get time to post it then.

We were working on turning one of those old barns made out of logs with a roof that’s much too big and heavy into a chicken house.  It’s probably about 12 feet wide by 16 feet long, with plenty of room for everything a chicken could need.  We had been using it to store old fence boards and other things we had torn down, but we think it would be better used as a chicken house.

Now we just have to talk the chickens into staying inside at night.  The house has an electrified chicken yard around it, but just before dusk all the chickens started flying the coop and doing what they always do, roosting in trees.

I haven’t given up.

I’ll try again over the weekend.

Right now we’re waiting on a load of 8 round bales to be delivered.  They weigh about 400 pounds each and we go through 2 a week.  Finding someone to deliver them to us was a true blessing, because before that I was having to go get hay every week. Our truck can’t haul a months worth.

Well, gotta get my hat and coat and get outside.  I wish everyone a very merry Christmas!  We’re expecting snow, are you?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cold Enough To Bring The Chickens In To Sleep Beside The Fire!

Well, not all of them, just one little hen whose mother roosts in a tree and leaves baby on the ground to fend for herself.

What’s wrong with mothers in America anymore!

Well, Pricilla, as I’ve named her got to sleep in a box  beside the fire last night and we never heard a peep out of her.

"chicken gets to sleep in a box beside the wood stove on cold nights"
Pricilla in a box, with her head tucked under her wing...sleeping beside the fire.

Until this morning.

At the crack of a very cold dawn.

She started squawking like crazy, apparently just realizing she was in a box beside the fire and not outside with mummy dearest.

Good news is, the snow and sleet stopped earlier than expected last night.  Both the vehicles started up without problem, and the pipes didn’t freeze.  The roads are still a mess but we’re expecting sunshine in a little while and hopefully that will melt everything away.

If you’re living somewhere sunny and warm right now…don’t even talk to me. 😦

Enhanced by Zemanta

4 Feet High and Rising!

Well, it’s not actually 4 feet high…yet, but who knows how long this is going to go on?  We could be buried 10 feet under when it’s done!

It’s still early, and these were the only two pictures I could get from the front porch in my robe and slippers.  Brrr..

At least my unthawing attempts yesterday worked on both the outside water hose and the kitchen hot water pipe, which were frozen  solid for nearly two days.

We had to haul hot water out of the bathtub to the animals….quite a chore for us, but they loved it!  They didn’t even complain that it didn’t have cream and sugar in it…let alone coffee or hot chocolate.

I draw the line at giving them coffee or chocolate.


"Horses in the snow in central Virginia"
Caritas, waiting for breakfast.

Caritas is wearing Epic hoof boots with thick pads because he has such a hard time getting around when the ground is frozen.  The pretty green leg wraps and Rhino horse blanket help him stay warm.  He moves less than the other horses so we keep him wrapped up in really cold weather.


"Horses in the snow in centrl virginia"
Caritas on the right, Lyrik and Tara on the Left.

They all got extra hay last night, but now they are out moving around so I guess they are ready for more.  I hate the thought of going out.  At least it’s warmer out there today.  28 degrees instead of 7.

Are we having a happy holiday yet?

Enhanced by Zemanta

We’re Back To Winter Weather Again!

The weather report last night said a dusting of snow…but all the schools would be starting late.  We wondered why.

This morning I figured out why…it’s 15 degrees out there, and SLICK!

This is our driveway that leads down to the road…I tried walking out there for a moment.  YIKES!"snow falls in central virginia"

Luckily, we got another load of wood that burns nice and HOT!  It’s white oak and it keeps the fire going all night long.  In this picture we’ve been limbing some cedar trees that are a little too close to our chimney.  The goats get all of these boughs and strip every needle and every piece of bark off of them.  They also do that to live trees standing in their pasture…not so good for tree health. "limbing a cedar tree and stacked firewood"

Hope that wherever you are you are staying warm and dry!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Dorothy’s Red Shoes

"dorothys red shoes"

The little girl wearing these shoes really didn’t want to part with them.  And I can’t blame her.  They had the pretty heels, the glitter, the shine, everything.  I’m sure if she had clicked her heels together, she would have been transported back to Kansas.

She probably wanted to stay where she was though…in line to see Santa and Mrs. Clause at the Community Market in Lynchburg, Va.

The line was long, and Santa had to break for lunch…lest his belly start to shrink."Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause at the market in Lynchburg Va."

Christmas brings crowds of people everywhere Santa and shopping are to be found, and the crowd at the market was not unlike crowds elsewhere in town, only smaller, and people didn’t get stuck in traffic for three hours like at the mall this time of year.  There was beautiful  Christmas music, hot chocolate and coffee, tons of crafts, uniquely designed wreaths, ornaments and more."Christmas lines in Lynchburg, Va.""handmade Christmas gifts"

Of course, we had soap for the shoppers and it was flying off the shelves fairly fast.  We are out of pure Patchouli and won’t have any ready until after the first of the year, unless you’d like to buy it in a soap log.  Patchouli will be one of the soap log flavors for the last Sat. Market before Christmas.  These logs are uncut, unwrapped, and uncured.  You get the fun of all that, plus adding personal touches to your soap gifts.  If you’d like to special order a log, let me know before Wed.  I will be making the logs on Thursday to be ready for Sat.  "soap logs for sale"

Lotions: We sold out of Apple Jack lotion on Saturday, but we will be making more this week.  If there is a lotion scent you’d like to special order, let me know as soon as possible.  We are low on lotion, but still have an unscented batch of about 5 pounds left for special orders.  The oils in these lotions are coconut, shea and walnut.  It is extremely thick and rich.  The 8oz bottle comes with a pump, the 4 0z bottle has a flip-disc top and is perfect for purse use.

Hope to see you this Saturday at the VERY LAST Mistletoe Market at the Community Market in historic Lynchburg, Va.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Help For Winter-Weary Skin

100% Natural African Shea Butter
Image by daveynin via Flickr

It happens every winter. With the cold temperatures, wind, and dry air, my hands start to look like my old leather gloves. And they don’t feel much better either.

I did some research to see why my hands became so afflicted during this season of joy and merry-making, and here are a few tips I found by Julyne Derreck with my own suggestions added in parenthesis.

In winter, low temperatures, low humidity and strong, harsh winds deplete skin of its natural lipid layer, which keeps the skin from drying out. The dry air from furnaces and other heating sources also suck the moisture out of skin. To keep skin soft and supple, your goal is not to add moisture to skin, but to keep moisture in.  Here are a few tips I found (with my own (realistic) commentary added to each)  to help with winter-weary skin.

Keep Water Lukewarm, Not Hot

Hot water robs skin of moisture causing dry skin, so it’s best to shower in lukewarm water.  (Maybe I’ll try that tip NEXT year.)The same rule applies to hand-washing: Wash hands in lukewarm, never hot, water.  (If I didn’t have to spend so much time washing milk buckets, stainless totes, and containers with hot bleach water, this might be a little easier.  Gloves are great…when I remember to wear them and they don’t have holes.)

Dry Skin Tip: Moisturize After Showers or Hand Washing

Moisturizer is the key to soft, supple skin. Apply product when skin is slightly damp. For best effect, pat skin dry instead of rubbing with your towel before application. (Patting dry sounds fine for the summer…but not in this old drafty house during the winter…The water would freeze on me if I didn’t get it off as fast as I can!)

Massage  coconut oil all over the body. Trust me, this will get rid of dry, itchy skin and the oil isn’t sticky like lotion tends to be. (This sounds great if I can then run naked for 2 hours while my skin absorbs the oil.  So far, I haven’t invested in any oil-application-wear-while-it-soaks-in-sweat-suits.  But I think that might be what I need…although the only area of my body that suffers from dryness in winter are my hands.  Well, hopefully these tips will be helpful for that too.)

Love lotion? Consider 100 percent shea butter. Gambian model Fatma Dabo swears by shea butter from West Africa. She even puts it on her hair! (Shea butter is great and I have about 5 pounds of it if anyone would like to try some.  We use it in all the soaps we make.  It’s fair-trade, unrefined, African shea butter.  I don’t think your husband will love on you much while you wear this.  Sorry.)Antibacterial soap in public places can be harsh on hands, so I keep hand salve in my purse (my hands-down favorite is Kiehls). To keep cuticles soft, massage in olive oil.  (This is true, I can vouch for it, unfortunately, I often need to use public soap to get  stinky horse feet off my hands,  (I’m a farrier), before I can eat.  Since I only make bar soap, I haven’t tried carrying any in my purse although I should.)

Dry Skin Tip: Exfoliate on a Weekly or Semi-Weekly Basis

Moisturizer is much more effective on properly exfoliated skin. Use a salt or sugar scrub in the shower and exfoliate your face with a mild scrub made for the face.   (I don’t make either of these, although do make several varieties of salt bars and dead sea salt bars.  People seem to especially love the spearmint dead sea salt bar in the winter. )
It’s best to scrub skin when it’s dry, according to Marcia Kilgore, the founder of Bliss Spa in New York, in InStyle Magazine. Apply scrub to dry skin before you turn on the water (mix with lotion if it’s not moist enough). Massage the scrub into skin for a few minutes for best results.  (Again, if your house feels anything like mine…you better hurry up doing this, or stand in front of the wood stove!)

Dry Skin Tip: Invest in a Humidifier

Ever notice how older people in desert climates look like leather? The moisture in the air is actually good for skin. If you live in a low-humidity climate or you are around furnaces in the winter, invest in a humidifier. (I’ve thought about that a lot.  We do have a big pan of water sitting on the wood heater at all times.  We’re hoping this helps.)
I once read that your skin needs more than 30 percent humidity to stay properly moisturized. A room heated by a furnace can have as little as 10 percent moisture. In the winter, consider sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom. Keep doors closed so the moist air doesn’t escape the room.  (Oh heck, here she goes trying to freeze a person to death again.  I’m beginning to see why my hands are so dry in the winter.)

Dry Skin Tip: Hands and feet can suffer terribly from dry, itchy skin. Put on moisturizer and gloves BEFORE you head outdoors in the winter, and consider lathering up your feet in thick moisturizer and sleeping in cotton socks at night.
(That’s only if you don’t actually have to DO anything while outside.  I’ve found that lotion and hand cream  makes hay seeds stick to my hands like ticks, and no matter how I try, I can’t get a grip on a frozen water hose when my hands are covered in slather. Gloves work great…until you actually need to use your hands to do things….)

Extra tip: Cover feet in a thick moisturizer, wrap feet in Saran Wrap, then pull on a pair of socks for a couple hours. Try to sit or lie down while the moisturizer soaks in or risk sliding into a full split and pulling your groin muscles. The same treatment can be done on hands, except try plastic bags and keep hands in a pair of socks. A half-hour should do you.  (This sounds fairly do-able if done indoors and I don’t have to actually do anything for awhile.)

Dry Skin Tip: Stay Hydrated But Don’t Go Overboard

Many people believe if they drink more water, they’ll hydrate skin. But I’ve read time and time again that this is a myth and you simply cannot moisturize skin from the inside out.That said, a small study recently published by the University of Hamburg (and reported in Allure magazine), suggests people who drink relatively little water could see a significant benefit in skin hydration if they started drinking nine eight-ounce glasses of water per day. What does this mean? Probably that dehydration does affect skin, but a normally hydrated person isn’t going to see major benefits by drinking even more water.  (We feed horses with dry, rough looking coats a cup or two a day of corn or olive oil. It works beautifully and they are sleek and shiny in no time.  Wonder if that works for humans too?)

My advice: don’t expect bottled water to save you from dry skin and the winter itch.  (But maybe bottled vegetable oil will?)

I hope you’ve enjoyed my list of hints.  It was copied from another site and I added my own two cents worth.  I did learn the secret to soft, uncracked, winter hands though…always wear gloves, DO NOT expose hands to bleach water, and oh…always wear gloves…………goats milk soaps and lotions help too.



Enhanced by Zemanta

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: