Our New Junior Herdsire

Here he is! Drinking a gallon of milk a day and eating grain and alfalfa hay like it’s going out style, tearing up paper, jumping on furniture, unplugging appliances by wrapping himself in the cords, and generally being a goat-nut. His name is Sunrising Danziger Elijah and we LOVE him! He was a little wild and crazy the first couple of days, but now he leads with a collar and leash pretty well, loves to be scratched on his hinney and follows me everywhere!

He’s moved to an outdoor pen beside the girls for exercise, but still comes inside at night. Since our livestock guardian dog is on the other side of the fence, he might not be able protect him from wild coyotes or wolverines…(luckily we have few of either of those around here). Plus, the girls usually go inside the barn at night, and we don’t want him getting lonely….and being inside with us has helped him tame down tremendously.

We look forward to him having kids on the ground early next spring, and us having more milk to use in soap making too!

Click here for info on his awesome sire!




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).

Animals and Children…go great together.

These are some pictures my daughter took of me and her son (my grandson) Ryland this week.  It’s amazing to me how children just naturally gravitate toward animals that are so much larger than they are.  Animals who can be naughty to each other, but in the presence of a child, are much more careful and inquisitive than normal.

Our Newest Addition to the Goat Herd

"Alpine dairy goat getting ready to kid"
Jada about an hour befoe kidding.

You can see my sweatshirt behind Jada.  I was worn out so laid the shirt on the hay so I would have some place to rest.  Jada came over and laid right next to me.  She didn’t get up and paw and do a million circles or anything, just laid down calmly beside me and breathed heavily.

"Pregnant goat"
Jada just before kidding.

When this goat stands up, she barely looks pregnant at all, but laying down positioned the kid so you could clearly tell she either had a couple of kids in there or one really big one.

"baby goat"
Cherry Blossom

It ended up being one 9 pound doe kid!  Seven pound kids are average for us, so this doe was quite a bit bigger than average.  Her mom needed a little help birthing the head, but the kid was positioned correctly and that certainly made things easier.  This is our first kid out of Bold Type, which is a nice buck owned by my friend at Nightskyfarm.  I named her Cherry Blossom.

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It’s Time To Garden

Well, for lots of people, gardening started much earlier, but for me, I’ve been busy working on the pasture grass and hadn’t done much work in the garden.

Hadn’t done much work on the blog either.  And the grass is four feet high.


But, as for the garden.  I have been spreading paper feed bags and thick layers of hay and mulch over my garden spot.  Today was the day to move back some of that wet hay and put some plants in.

I planted jewel weed, milkweed, strawberries, onions, and some berry bushes.  I had bought some potted lavender, but forgot to water it and it looks pretty dead so probably won’t plant it.  Well, I guess if I buried it, that would be appropriate.  I’ll just call it burying the dead, instead of planting.

Anyway, I didn’t till anything, and have some space left over, plus endless piles of old hay and manure.

I made a bucket of manure tea too.  I made it with fresh manure because I couldn’t remember if I should use fresh or old and fresh sounded better.  Then I read online that I should have used old manure or compost.  So now I have a bucket of yuk sitting in the back yard waiting for me to do something with it.  I don’t think I have the stomach for it right now.

I also bought a new sprayer.  I decided I wanted to try using raw milk for fertilizer.  I sprayed one whole pasture with it about 5 days ago.  It hasn’t stopped growing yet, but I don’t know if it has increased it’s rate of growth.

Again, I didn’t look up the instructions before doing it.  Just remembered reading about it and wanting to try it last season.

We had a new little baby goat girl born the day before Easter.  She’s just a doll.  I named her Cherry Blossom.

Aside from growing things and trying to stop things from growing, (the yard grass), summer is sneaking up and attacking very quickly.  It’s been in the 80’s and very warm at night.  I love it, love it, even the humidity.  The only thing I don’t like about summer are the bugs.  And we have a lot of them.  I set off 5 foggers in the house the other day to get rid of the stink bugs that had overwintered in the wall cracks and had started coming out by the dozens.  Don’t know if I killed them all, but I haven’t seen a live once since.  Except for two of them.  Hopefully, we’ll see no more.

Okay, the grass is screaming at me to come and cut it, so I guess I must.  One less thing to have to do tomorrow.


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Ahh, fall is here!

The walnut and chestnut trees are hanging low with their nuts, and the acorns and hickories are already falling to the ground…so far nobody’s eating them.

The leaves are slowly turning, and we’re almost needing to rake the yard already.  Some of the chickens are molting, all of them are laying, and the guineas are  positively LOUD!

The mornings are cool and we no longer need the fan most nights.

The horses are shedding their short summer coats and the bucks smell like….well, bucks.  YUKK!!

I’ve been working on a new website for our soaps and goats.  The address is still the same www.shantaraacres.com but all the old information is gone and I’m working on new info, new pictures, etc.   I tried to install a shopping cart but failed miserably so I am creating an online catalog of all of our products.  Each product is coded with it’s own pay pal button and it’s taking me about a day and half to do each variety, so I haven’t got very many listed yet.

Not a single picture of a goat either!  I’m far ahead of where I was yesterday though, which was no where, and so I gave up.  Oh boy…I’m getting ready to launch into technical computer jargon which will just confuse me, so I’m going to stop talking about it.

I already have a headache.

But anyway, if anyone would like to stop in at www.shantaraacres.com and order some soap just to see if my shopping cart works, well, that would be great.

If no one takes me up on it, I may just order some soap from myself.  Just to try it out.

We’ve got about 5 soaps listed so far, and I’ll do a few more every day.  I think we’ve got around 30 varieties right now, so it will certainly take me awhile.  Have a bunch more to make too.

Now, just to get rid of this headache.

Oh, here’s a picture of four of our chicks who actually made it half way to adulthood without committing suicide in a water bucket.  They just love this nice Hawaiian breeze we have out there today ruffling up their feathers.

Too bad I was on the computer all day…it was a perfect day to hang clothes out to dry.

chickens scratching in the hay pile

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