The Lonely Rooster

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.012


His hens, however, are very happy with their new egg-sitting job.


020I’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.

022Meanwhile, 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.



A Liquid Soap Experience


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!


After The Rain

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).

Spammers Got The Boot! I Hope :)

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.

I Missed The Snow!

It came in sneakily last night while we were sleeping.  The fire was burning warmly, I had visited the loo before climbing under 4 big quilts and all the critters were quiet so I really didn’t feel a need to get up out of my bed and look for it. I thought it might announce itself somehow.  But it didn’t.  And I missed it.  There wasn’t a lot to see, apparently.  This morning there are a few sprinkles stubbornly glued to the windshield of my car, and from what I hear, the road is slick in spots.  But sadly, the snow cloud zoomed silently over my farmhouse and went on its merry way, dropping bits of crystallized water on other folks in other places….maybe it they got to see it?

In any case, I am not HOPING for snow.  Makes life much harder around here.  But if it comes my way, dang it, I’d at least like to see it.

Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve and it has turned cold again.  I was sort of hoping for a 70 degree Christmas day but it doesn’t seem like that is going to happen.  I haven’t wrapped any presents yet, in fact, I only started shopping yesterday.  I know, bad me.  I get so caught up in helping other people with their Christmas gifts that I forget that its even Christmas! 

We are up to our eyeballs in mud here from all the rain we got over about a 48 hour period.  It stopped raining sometime during the day yesterday, but oh my goodness, the mud!  I hope that the horses still have feet when I go to trim them this week…for all I know, they might not have feet anymore.  😦  (Don’t worry, no one is limping except the TB who always limps a little)…still, I’d like a mud-free pasture for everyone for Christmas…or at least new year…that is my Christmas wish for the animals…a mud-free pasture…except the pig…she would not be happy without mud. 

2013 On The Way Out

This year has been both a really tough year, as well as a really great year for us here at Shantara Acres Farm.  It started out last January with me (the head milkmaid and soap maker) going back to school full time.  I have always and forever wanted to finish my degree, and when the financing came through I decided to go for it.  Sure, I’ll owe money probably forever, but in the face of a dream, what is money?

I’ve learned a few things this year that I’d like to share with everyone today, in hopes of providing a little encouragement to those who might be feeling just a little lost.

The first thing is that if you have a dream, and you must have a dream, you must follow that dream wherever it leads you.  Nobody is going to give you permission to go after your dream, and in fact, even people who love you may stand in your way, worried about you and what will become of the you they knew.  We are here on this Earth for just a short time.  Every second counts and we must spend as many of those seconds as we can in a forward motion towards the highest goals of our hearts…towards what makes our souls sing and shine.

I’ve learned that despite what others may say, the acquisition of money should never be the goal, instead, money is what flows naturally to you, when you are engaged in your dream and connecting with the great spirit.  (however you define that great spirit).  The greatest success in life is doing what you love.  And that may look different from day to day.

I’ve learned that Art and Creativity are NOT options to engage in when all the chores are done.  I’ve learned that Art and Creativity are the REASON for life…we still have to brush our teeth and go to work, but when we live from our hearts, and our souls are flourishing, we are at our highest best, and are a much bigger light in the world than when we are simply chasing around trying to get the bills paid.  The bills will get paid, we might as well enjoy the doing of it.

I’ve discovered, through my farm life, that the business end of the farm does not always need to make sense on paper to be successful.  Sometimes the smallest goat in the herd steps up her milk production in the fall, when everyone else is dropping down, and becomes the most amazing milker ever.  Sometimes the babies who don’t get sold in the fall hang around in the cold and bitter winter to provide hugs, kisses, and sweetness to humans who might not get that from those they love.  Sometimes those hay-burning horses out in the pasture provide enough beauty to last a whole day…and keep their caretakers out of the mental hospitals…who can put a price on that?

While I’ve never enjoyed the killing of things, I’ve discovered that a whole freezer full of my own, humanely raised and loved pork can provide a degree of freedom and relief as I pass by the conventionally raised meats in the grocery store…steaks and chops from animals that lived a life of stress and confinement, with happy moments few and far between.  I’ve learned that there is a certain rhythm that exists between humans, animals, and the planet, and that by living closer to the land, I’m able to connect with that rhythm and exist with it, without exploiting it.

I’ve learned that the people that you love don’t always love you back, at least not in the way that you’d hoped, but that life goes on and we can be happy despite being disappointed.  And in fact, it’s those disappointments and the realization that we might never truly please the one we think we love the most, that can catapult us into becoming our very best self.  And trying new things.  And going out on that limb.  Just when we think all is lost, we realize, finally, that we actually have nothing to lose.  Nothing.  And when we lose that fear, we gain our soul.  Again.

I wish you all a beautiful, peaceful end to 2013, and hope to see you all on the other side of January, fully engaged in living  your dreams.


My youngest son Brandon a few years ago!

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