Thursday, July 16, 2009

Moving Day

Don't hide away...come visit me at my new home http:/ .

The new home is undecorated, with many boxes still to sort through...but the doors are open wide.

No moving help needed, just your visits.

FYI - Just In Case

I am going to try to get through the mess...and praying there isn't any mess (like the one that Tyra helped us make from the comfortable place 5 years ago).

I am exporting blog posts to a new location. Once completed, I will link everything here to the new blog. The temporary link (area under construction, is: ) .

So...please excuse our mess...and do not worry...we will stay connected and I am hoping for better than ever!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Well...almost...but cannot quite go completely wordless, can we?

Today was paperwork day. Said I would have it done by noon. I pushed away from the desk at 11:58 A.M. . Yes! Like a school kid dismissed for the summer. I did my good deed, then I was released with a fresh mind to do the work I really love...make soap. Such a blessing.

Brewed in the shop today, Lily of the Valley goat milk soap. The fragrance this batch smells a lot closer to the real thing. I think we are going to like it, ladies (and gents)! Blended in bentonite clay for a touch of light green color and added silkiness.

Stopped and looked at the flower beds on the way back to the house. I have been weeding this bed like crazy. Something keeps eating the tops off of the zinnias. I do not think they will bloom this year, but the marigolds are pretty. This one is my favorite (sorry for the blur).

Wordless Wednesday...almost...nearly made it. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Speaking Of Milk, Do You Ever Wonder?

Do you ever look at something most every day and are oblivious to what you are seeing?

I love a tid-bit of history now and then...

I have held these milk cans close to my heart since a friend gave them to us 9 years ago. Her husband passed away and she cleaned out a lot of her possessions. Bob and I were setting up house at the time, buying a farm, and the friend said, "You will enjoy these."

A few days ago (not 9 years ago) I noticed the words on the can. The picture below is from the top of the lids, the sides of the cans are stamped Polk Milk Company, Berne Ind. I love anything related to dairy, it does not necessarily have to be related to goat milk.

Then I learned a bit more...

Before the advent of stainless steel tankers, there were milk trains that ran through dairy areas. In many cases the farmers toted their milk to small train stops (some no bigger than a garden or tool shack), and from there the milk train would carry the milk to the larger cities. Some of the private milk trains carried cans, some of the company owned trains had "milk tank" cars.

Come to find out, the milk company listed on my cans was from Indianapolis, Indiana. Berne is located in northern Indiana, known for its cow dairy farms and cheese, inhabited in the early years by Swiss Mennonites. Interesting! I can see the cans being transported back and forth between Berne and Indianapolis, both on a farmer's wagon, and on the old train.

Then I started reading about the milk trains. There are songs, movies, and all sorts of jokes floating around about milk trains. But, truly, there were actual milk trains that transported milk across the countryside. And many times people caught the milk trains if they needed a lift somewhere, some even rode the train to school.

Back on the farm...the farmers would strain and consolidate the milk into the cans, and then cool the milk in a spring house, later in history in a bulk tank. Then, either the farmer or a coop truck would come around and pick up the cans and take them to a creamery, or they went directly to the milk train.

So...perhaps I am the one slow on learning, but the next time I see one of these old milk cans...I will remember that they do hold a lot of history!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Blue Zones

As soon as my copy of the Dairy Goat Journal arrives in the mail I scan the pictures, especially those sent in from readers. It is such a treat to me. Then, for fun, I jump to the Judging Quiz section, to see if I can again select the goat that wins the class! The rest of the magazine normally is read within a week. For those of you interested in dairy goats, this is a great magazine to subscribe to. I archive the copies on a book shelf, in date order, and I do refer back to them from time to time. The dairy section always intrigues me, especially the farm journals. People out there work a lot harder than I do. I do not milk goats at 5:00 A.M.!!!!

Somehow the last magazine I received sat after I completed the judging quiz. A few days ago I picked it up and began reading an article titled Goat Milk Proven to Enhance Longevity. The benefits of goat milk are not new to me, but what did catch my eye was the source of some of the article's information, a book titled The Blue Zones, author Dan Buettner.

What are Blue Zones? They are areas and cultures where humans live much longer in comparison to people inhabiting the rest of the globe.

So, to put some salve on the itch in my curious brain, to learn more about Blue Zones, I began a Google search.

Here are bits and pieces of what I found:

Where Are These Blue Zones?The Barbargia region in Sardinia, Italy (where the Blue Zone phenomenon primarily affects men); Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Loma Linda, California.

We literally got a taste of secret number one: goat’s milk.

Daily naps - Taking a 30-minute nap at least five times a week can decrease the risk of heart attack by 35 percent. It refreshes your mind and isn't just for kids after all.

If you do a search as well, you will find other healthful longevity tips such as: eat a lean plant based diet, put family first (and elders), exercise (walking), and drink a glass or two of red wine daily (I drink 5 ounces each evening), and laugh with friends.

I need to go back and read all of the articles I linked to again! They are interesting, and there are more to read via the Google search.

Way to go, goat milk! I love it. And you know what? I do feel better when I have my cup a day. I have been known, when I have no girls in milk, to thaw out a bottle that was frozen for the kids just to fulfill my need for goat milk.

I have been thinking a great deal about getting older (I am fifty now), and how I need to be as strong and healthy as I possibly can. I feel 20-something in the head, but my body isn't so young anymore! So...with this Blue Zone idea in my head, no I will not try to live to 130, but it sure does make me think, be as healthy as possible. Be as natural as possible (skin and body). Take better care of the body that God gifted to me!

Family Portraits-Shock Therapy

I have been thinking about my childhood a lot lately, summer seems to bring back a lot of memories. Looking for photos to share. There are not very many to be dug up, but I'll get the job done little by little.

So, today, to steer away from any prior topics altogether, and to add some humor, I thought I would share this hilarious photo of me and my sister and brothers (L to R, Robert, myself, Georgia, and John).

This photo was taken after my sister's high school graduation. So, it dates right at 21 years old.

Dig my big glasses! I thought those were the coolest! A boss at work, a really funny one, used to say she loved my Vogue glasses, but she pronounced it as Vog (bog) - ue (you). Hysterical! The round face, the perm, and there were more than likely combs in my wild hair. That was quite the style in 1988! We have all put on a few pounds (except me, I have lost a number, thankfully). And we now have either more grey hair, and some (not me) prefer to add blond to cover the grey. Tee hee. My sister will whack me for saying that!

Hope you all are enjoying your Saturday! I am...I am feeling very much better, still have a climb to go, but the sprint in the step is coming back. about some of your lovely past photos? Dare to share?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Simple Mozzarella Cheese

I am a cheese fiend. I absolutely cannot keep much cheese in the house. How about you?

In my spare time (uh huh) I make goat milk cheese. Chevre is my favorite, especially when garlic and fresh chives are included. I love seeing the muslin bag hanging in my kitchen for 8 hours! It feels old world, along with a great a sense of accomplishment.

I also enjoy feta goat milk cheese. Oh man, my diet is on the line when I make a batch of feta. I bottled it up once with dried rosemary infused in olive oil. I dipped in that jar enough to give myself a belly ache!

But, the easiest and quickest way to get fresh cheese in the house is to make some mozzarella.

Here is the (partial microwave)recipe:

1 gallon milk
1.5 to 2 tsp. citric acid
1/4 tsp. liquid rennet
1/2 C cool water (not chlorinated)
Kosher salt to taste (not iodized)

Dissolve the citric acid in 1/4 C water.

Dissolve the rennet in 1/4 C water.

Pour the milk into a stainless steel or enamel pan. Add the citric acid solution. Stir well. Slowly heat the milk to 90 degrees. You will notice the milk begin to curdle.

At 90 degrees, add your rennet solution. Stir gently, in a top to bottom motion for approximately 1 minute.

Remove the pot from the heat source.

Allow the milk to set for 5 minutes. This allows the curd to form.

Using a long knife, cut the curd in a checkered or cubed pattern, in an approximate 1" pattern.

Scoop the curds into a microwave safe bowl.

Press the curd with your hands. The goal is to release and pour off as much liquid (whey) as possible.

Microwave the curd on high for 1 minute.

Note: Use caution, the cheese and bowl will get hot! I wear thick rubber gloves during the process.

Remove the bowl from the microwave and quickly work the cheese with a spoon or your hands. Drain off the whey again.

Microwave 2 more times, 35 seconds each. Repeat the kneading, handling and draining each time.

Knead quickly now, as you would bread dough. You will begin to see the cheese firm up and become shiny. Add salt at this time, to taste.

The cheese should now be pliable, and able to be stretched.

You can form the cheese into a ball and drop it into ice water to cool, or you can roll it out and wrap it in wax paper. I prefer the wax paper.

The cheese is ready to eat once cooled.

It will stay fresh for many days wrapped in plastic wrap (after the original cooling).

-cow milk can be used (I cannot personally attest to that statement)
-lipase powder can be added (to give a stronger Italian taste, I prefer without)
-do not use aluminum pans when making this cheese
-do not use iodized salt..that is unless you like green cheese.

Have fun!

This recipe is a combination of 3 that I originally worked from.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vintage Finds and Handcrafted Soap

As I moved into my adult years I discovered my passion for vintage, primitive and antique furniture and other collectables. Show me something very old and I generally go ga-ga over it. When I bought this house I was looking for an older home with rooms that still held some of their old-time charm. I got it, alright, along with the problems that come with it. This old house = money pit, but I love the house and there could be worse things than a work in progress, correct? I am very happy. And very glad this old house is a part of my life.

Some of you already know my passion for soap began at a young age, around 8 years old, when I bought a "ball" of very primitive soap. I will tell that story again some day. I bought all kinds of soap throughout my childhood. Soap was an inexpensive thing to spend money on, thankfully! In my adult years I still bought different soap here and there, but mainly the Yardley variety that could be purchased at the neighborhood drug store. But then...I found it!

It was about 15 years ago when I was shopping in my favorite small Indiana town. I walked into the herb shop. I was admiring the scent of sage, eucalyptus, and other dried herbs, and I saw it. I saw the vintage butcher block table (very similar to the one pictured above) with handcrafted soap stacked on top. And for all of those years (since my high school days) I had no idea what the fragrance was called, but that bar of soap had it. I read the index card next to the soap, patchouli. Patchouli! The bars were not cut in a straight fashion, definitely hand cut, definitely handmade, yellow to tan in color, and smelled devine. The bars were not wrapped. A stack of brown paper bags was provided. I think you could buy 5 bars, get the 6th free. Oh yes, I bagged up 6 bars! My heart was thumping...this was exactly what I had been looking for, and I had just realized it. This was THE soap!

To this day I do not know who made that soap. I know it was good. It was wonderful on my skin. I did not leave it in the bathroom for my kids to use (bad me)! Besides that, as I said a few days ago, patchouli is a love or hate essential oil. I returned to the shop 3 or 4 times a year to make my soap purchase. There was also a soap shop down the path. They sold every kind of soap imaginable. Boxed soap, soap made somewhere else, many looked mass-made, interesting to me...but it definitely did not resemble the rustic handmade soap that I had learned to love. I never spent a dime on soap in that shop.

That is when I decided to make my own soap. That is when I started reading and learning. To this day, I am still on the natural path. I love boxing my soaps in brown Kraft boxes, stamped with my Annie's Goat Hill logo. I love the simple labels. If I could sell you soap over the internet off of an old worn primitive butcher block table, I would.

We all have our own styles, and I appreciate each and every one...but this was the beginnings to mine. I can see it and smell it. And I am crazy about it!

How about you, special passions or talents that you discovered, sparked through something simple, simple as handcrafted soap sold on a worn vintage table?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Plans and More Plans

Welcome to my corner of the office.

I am feeling better today. But somehow I woke at 2:30 a.m., and have not been asleep since. My face is beginning to lose the Frankenstein monster look. My vision is slightly out of sorts, ibuprofen does that to me after a few days of regular doses. So, the hubby took me to the grocery this morning. That felt rather silly, but oh well, things will improve, and I was grateful. Again, I am writing from the phone, waiting for the start of today's headache to slip away.

The remainder of today (and during some of my own quiet wee hours) included planning a new business. Bob has been unemployed for well over a year. So, we are putting our creative juices into action to put him back to work. I can dig it. I love business planning. I am of the type that likes to learn as much as possible so I can act as a resource when needed, and when I can be creative it really sparks me.

We will find a way to beat this economy...I am determined! One thing I seldom do is lose confidence in the silver lining, there always is one. Prayer is amazing. And I strongly believe things happen for a reason, ears and eyes open!

Have you had to be creative with work as well?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Under The Weather

I am writing from my phone again today...fingers crossed that the post works out!

Took some photos earlier this morning of my beautiful rose blooms. I love to grow roses. I am very excited to have found a spot where they are flourishing.

I am under the weather. I look like a bad advertisement for Botox. No wrinkles on the right side of my face, but it looks like it is going to spill out some collagen soon, pop, LOL. To make a long story a bit shorter, what was a terrific headache last week turned into an infected sinus, and now it is working its way down the face. It generally hurts to lay my head down, which makes for poor sleep. But this afternoon I am getting a lovely break. It feels better to rest my head. Ha, ha, ha...I think I will live.

Today I did make a batch of patchouli blend soap. I have always been a patchouli fan. Patchouli is one of those fragrances that people either truly love, or hate with much disgust. Patchouli essential oil was too expensive to buy for a while, and some suppliers quit selling it for a while. I am glad it is back! FYI...we might experience a similar issue with peppermint essential oil soon due to a bad crop overall.

Anyhow...that is the latest. Oh...I wanted to add, I hardly ever get sick. But I am allowing antibiotics this time. A person needs to be well (to breathe, chew, and smile).

Going to hit send now...wish me luck!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Product Monday - New Lotion Size

As announced in the June newsletter, some of my goat milk lotion fragrances are now available in 16 oz. bottles, with a handy pump top. Lavender and unscented are the first in stock, with more to be added in the upcoming weeks. And, if you want a scent in particular that you do not see on the site, you can always drop me an email, I will be more than happy to try to help (

I have been testing the larger (than normal 8 oz.) bottle out myself. I love it! Having a bottle with a pump leaves me hands free after stepping out of the bath or shower, which is leaving me less likely to skip the moisturizing step this mature skinned woman needs. Oops, yep, I said it, mature skin. :)

I am having a beautiful Monday here. Got up with the chickens, before sunlight hit, made lotion before 7:00 A.M. . Crazy goat lady I am! Accomplished a lot, and now I am being treated with a beautiful day with work behind me. Hope you enjoy the day too!

New Product-Peppermint and Pumice

I am focusing and catching up with odds and ends on the website, on the blog, and in the shop today! It feels super to make progress!

As announced in the June newsletter, the new product has arrived, Peppermint and Pumice:

Most of us deal with rough spots on our feet. Calluses and rough spots can be less than pretty, but can also make us uncomfortable in our shoes as well.

One of the best pampering remedies I have found for the problem is to soak my feet, or even take a long bath, and then use a pumice stone to gently slough off the rough spots.

Followed up immediately with an application of cooling and soothing peppermint goat milk lotion.

Next, a pair of white cotton socks goes on the feet, and then...relax!

This is one special treatment, especially when shutting down at the end of the day. Your feet will love you for it, and the next day you reap the benefits. Soft feet!

Peppermint and Pumice is available in the goat milk soap store under gift sets and/or lotion. The product is packaged in a cellophane bag, raffia tied.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

What is it, blah?!

What is it?

Isn't that a very general question?

The photo represents a general feeling towards all of the hype. Are you tired of the hype too?

I do not watch a lot of television, but I do watch a bit of the morning news (out of Cincinnati) and a few movies here and there. Yesterday I vegged out, which I do not do often. I watched Uncle Buck, twice. I miss John Candy. I am certainly not ashamed to admit I like some of the old corny things in life.

The news and other newsy channels, and media, seem to be filled with constant trash, constant repeats, and the running down of anyone and everyone it can get its hands on.

I realize the situation regarding Michael Jackson, or the death of any famous person (which I feel should be a very private thing), can be tragic, but what is up with the hype? Here we go again...Palin is going to resign, and possibly move on to other things? Okay, more power to her. I may or may not agree with their lifestyle or pursuits, but aren't we all created equally?

Perhaps I am living in a fairy tale world, but I do not feel like idolizing any single human being. People are talented, and I admire their God given talents. People should expand upon their own talents, the passions are there for a reason. But to idolize a human, or even to chop up, or cut down, why is that necessary?

What do you think, it is all about making money? I love social media, and I love media in general, we can learn a lot in today's society, but do we know too much, too fast, too often?

We can shut off the television, no doubt about it. We can turn off our radios as well. But I do think we need a certain amount of current event knowledge under each of our belts. Learning and soaking in of information goes back to the beginning of time, even then people were not recluses. They visited and travelled about, on foot.

I am not bitter, not at all, I simply get tired of it all from time to time. I am not impressed. Do you feel the same? I would love to see the focus shift to really positive things, and I believe there is a lot still out there!

I am hitting the publish post key NOW. This is one of those posts where I keep thinking, erase Mary, erase, but then, I will probably be proven wrong again. I would love to hear your comments.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Whatever you do, wherever you go, I wish you a happy and safe 4th of July!

Summer Bundles

The Brown Bag special has been archived.

Today the Summer Bundles sale kicked in. It is a great bargain as well.

The current bundle consists of 5 bars of lavender goat milk soap, average bar size 3.5 ounces.

Silky smooth, all natural goat milk soap!

The total cost is $2o.oo, which includes a $5.oo flat rate shipping and handling fee.

The soaps are packaged in a cellophane bag, raffia or ribbon tied.

The Summer Bundles sale button is located at the bottom of my site's store page.

I am writing this blog post on my phone...hope it works. My PC is doing funky things today.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Spy The Great Escape

One of my younger nubian does, Aralynn, has been showing up outside of the lot each day. When I arrive at the barn in the evening she has been waiting for me in the driveway, next to the barn door. One morning I carried the full milk cans to my truck, and there she stood already. She didn't wait long to escape that day. The good thing is, like many goats, she ends up in a place where she waits for me, she does not run off. With much unease, I kept thinking, "How and where is she coming out of the fence?," seemingly right under my nose.

Sunday morning we made a trip around that particular lot with wire cutters, fence posts, fence post driver, the entire works in tow. We thought we had any possible escape route fixed.


I was very concerned about her getting out in the road. Concerned for her own safety, and for my liability. I already pay more than double farm insurance premium because of a similar accident involving one of our horses.

So this morning, as a final attempt, I asked my husband to help me spy.

As soon as I put that particular group of goats out of the barn I gave Bob a call.

He watched as well as he could from afar, and I glanced out of the barn window as often as I could.

Aralynn ate grain, ate some hay, then wandered up the hill.

I thought we had her spot figured out. Wrong. And, of course, she sensed that we were watching.

She came back down the hill. I watched her from inside the barn, through an old window. I could see she was not intent upon staying with the herd.

10 minutes later I saw her interest in some weeds outside of the fence. She was about 30 feet away from the barn, along the fence line.

At that moment I saw it happen. I saw one long dairy leg go outside of the fence. Then the second leg stepped forward. Like a well-oiled cat that could get slink through a mouse hole, the rest of her body slid through, lickity split, just like that.

There she was, in all of her glory, happily munching on goodies on the side of the embankment.


She was slipping through a break in the fence where we had to cut horns loose last year, a gap no larger than 6"x6". The fence would bounce back after her departure, so the gap looked innocent enough to us. No kidding, this small hole did not look big enough for a cat to squeeze through.

They always say, "If you can see through the might not hold the goats."

I hardly have a bit of trouble with fencing, but this one got me good!

Problem solved...for now...until next time!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Good,The Bad, And The Ugly

The good, the pretty...the roses continue to bloom. These looked so delicate to me. White and dainty.

I had a good day. I rode with my husband to Columbus. He passed his test this week, his hard work was rewarded. So, he went to get one of his certifications today. It was good to see him go, and it was good for me as well. I talked with people away from home, away from the grocery store, away from Wal-Mart, you name it. I love living here, and I love working alone, but sometimes I need the pinch of a reminder of the busy society that still exists out there!

I got some grass mowing in when I came home. It was a great day!

Now I have to share with you something that doesn't quite fit into the realm of a woman that is trying to sell crisp, clean products. Soap?

For the weak hearted, or, instead, those that have a weak stomach, you may or may not want to look at what I am going to show you next.

My girl, Tyra, my 6 year old boxer, my constant companion, never does (much) wrong. She has to know everything that is going on around her, therefore she makes her twice a day rounds throughout the house. Generally she never leaves any indication that she has checked the premises out.

I have a small entry way at the front door. I am the only one that uses it. I have a red bench that I sit on to put on shoes, and I also plop down various things that I am taking out the door (milk cans, mail, udder wipes). The bench is my "reminder" spot. Sometimes I leave notes for myself there as well.

Now comes the bad and the ugly (not really)...

Look real hard at the center of the photo, in the middle...yeah, you see it, it is not a scratch in the red paint. No, it isn't.


A little string of it.

Ha ha ha...

Obviously my girl was very interested in what I had sat out for the day.

She left me a surprise, along with a giggle, as I headed out to the mailbox on my way to the barn this morning.

Sorry...had to share.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just What Is It About Goat Milk Soap?

I have often wondered, just what is it about the goat milk soap that seems to help my skin, and per many customers, seems to help their skin (and their family members) as well?

I no longer suffer from acne, those types of break outs ended in my late 30's. What I do suffer from, however, is dry skin, and itchy bumpy skin especially in the winter months. I get the sandpaper skin effect behind the arms and the legs during the coldest of months.

I had a wonderful email conversation with an allergist/dermatologist out of Pennsylvania last week. She asked me several really good questions. I answered her as well as I could. I told her that I do not know if the benefits from goat milk products (that she is hearing about and observing from her patients) came from the soap itself (no added chemicals), or if the sensitive skin help came from the milk itself, or if the benefits came from the fact that it is pure soap (look on your store bought soap wrappers, most cannot legally describe themselves as soap)! The physician agreed, she did not know either, but she thought it was a combination of all of the above. She said many of her patients had come to her with improved skin, improved after using goat milk products, and that she was wondering why all of the benefits herself. So, I decided to do a bit of snooping around. I am a teach me type of person.

So, I began my Google search looking for studies on goat milk soap and goat milk products. I looked for results from actual studies. I did not find any. But what I did find satisfied by interest.

Here we go:

From the American Academy of Dermatology I began looking at their various online brochures. One in particular drew my interest. For dry skin it was recommended to use a mild soap, okay, we probably learned that in first grade. But, next (and I copy):

For severely dry skin, a moisturizer that contains urea or lactic acid may be helpful. Both ingredients help the skin hold water. These ingredients are so effective that over-the-counter and prescription moisturizers contain them. The one drawback is that these ingredients can be irritating if you have eczema or cracked skin.

Goat milk...high in lactic acid. There you go, bingo!

I continued to read on, do a bit of self-diagnosis, see the photo above, and I found other photos looking very familiar. My winter skin condition is called keratosis pilaris. It consists of tiny bumps, sometimes itchy, harmless, but bothersome...the treatment (to diminish the appearance and itching of the rash) also included creams and lotions that contain lactic acid. The condition never completely goes away it just looks better after treatment. Yes, I agree, I can attest to it diminishing!

I cannot rightfully say my products can cure your skin problems, I am not licensed to sell my products as a drug or medication. And I try so very hard to not sound like an irritating infomercial for goat milk soap, but my customers with sensitive and allergic skin are very happy campers, and so am I. Why? I believe it is a combination of things (as stated above) mild soap, no added preservatives, stabilizers or chemicals (other than those that contain fragrance and/or non-natural colorants), and the lactic acid (which works with the skin's PH balance).

Interesting...and I loved sharing it with you!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Water, the Sustainer Of Life

We all know about water. Our bodies, without me looking the exact numbers up, are probably comprised of 95% water (if not more). All living life depends upon water.

Now to my story...

We bought a farm, not known to us, with a low water table. We generally have enough water for livestock, and then we conserve some for our own use.

We burned up a well pump recently because we had done so much laundry (from kidding season, winter, etc...). So, we installed a brand new pump, water a-plenty. But now?

Last night, an hour after I returned from the barn and cooled off (it was nearing 100 degrees), I began to prepare for dinner, no water. I knew, just knew, something was amiss. An hour later, no water. By then the water should have regenerated itself.

This morning, no water.

When I went to the barn to feed this morning I found the hose on the ground and a water spigot turned on. Yes, a goat had worked the handle up and away from the spigot. It had ran all evening and all night.

Bonnie sure was proud of herself, especially the spot on her head worn down to the skin. Guess what Bonnie's famous trick/line/title is, from her prior owner? "Back Rub Bonnie." Yes, she gives some serious back rubs. Plant your feed on the ground, space them apart, because when you get a back rub you need to retain your balance. Apparently she did a major back rub on the spigot, enough to move the handle up and allow the water to flow.

Is the well pump okay? I really do not know yet. It is working, but it will take quite some time to know if we are going to have to spend the bucks again for a replacement. The good news is, we do the job ourselves. It is still very costly.

There is now a lock on the water supply at the barn. No head rubs will ever move that arm again.

Life on the farm...tee hee...
By the way, as I wrote this blog post I looked up the water composition in a human body, 60%.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Weekend Tractor Project Part III

The old gal is starting to receive a new coat of paint, one section at a time. This is her instrument panel. The old Massey Ferguson red sure is a nice hue, not too bright, a beautiful deep cherry type of red.

New gauges await the instrument panel. We will need to let the panel sit for several days now, since it was just painted today.

The faded gal is going to love her new red!

It was good visiting with our friends today. We have been busy for a number of weekends. My husband has been studying, I have been working in the soap shop, and it has been too hot to throw open the garage doors (even though our friends have air inside the shop). Today we enjoyed our great friendship once again!

You can follow prior tractor project posts here.

Girls On The Hill...Beautiful June Day

Sometimes we write about a little bit of nothing...

And Aleecia says, as she stretches her neck way out, "That fencepost sure tastes good!" She is quite the attraction, spots and all. A beautiful, big girl. Always the first to come see what I am up to, and "chat."

Now, take a gander at Anona, her twin sister. Aleecia has the same markings, only with white spots on top. Anona has the long ear-thing a'goin' on! Can you tell, I love my nubians?

I still get called Annie from time to time. I just smile. Annie was our first bottle baby. She is very independant, yet, she does not know that she lumbers in the exact spot she did while young, waiting for her bottle. Goofy gal!!!
They are are all entertaining, a lot of work, but I would not trade it for the world.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Folded On The Boxer Raising

From an earlier endeavor...this is my boy, Spike.

My 5 year old boy weighs in at 90 pounds. A big one. I know how innocent he is. He would kill you upon contact...kill you by means of licking. I have heard him growl once, perhaps bark the trash truck. You know, that big machine that puts mankind at risk?

Spike is quite the snorer, Even when awake, you always know when he is around. My sister says, "Get that boy some sinus medicine!" He is loud. When he lays down he sounds like the air brake being released on a semi truck.

We think there is nothing between Spike's ears, empty headed. He just hangs around. His favorite things in life are tomatoes and apples (just like his late father, Samson). Forget the steaks, my boy is happy with the healthy stuff. And guess what he has to have done every single night? Mom is required to rub him right between his eyes. The natural sleeping pill. The big head and neck just sinks down. The eyes go dull. Down he goes. Hilarious.

Years ago I wanted to raise boxers. I still have 3, but I no longer breed. It is a huge responsibility. I had nice puppies, large litters, good sized pups, beautiful boxers but...after carefully raising two sets of litters, 20 puppies total, I decided to stick with goats. Puppies are a lot of work! And I tend to get too attached to them.

Spike is from our first litter.

Here is Spike at 4 weeks old, always weighed in 3 times more than his litter mates.

And again, below with his father at an even younger age.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Just Like The Rose, Blossom!

Do you remember what happens when I feel compelled, overwhelmed with thoughts that I feel I need to share?

The thoughts go to the blog.

If there is one piece of advice that I cannot give enough of, it is: Take care of yourself. If you do not do it, do not expect anyone else to do it for you.

Does that sound rather harsh?


I am not just referring to physically taking care of yourself, even though mental can greatly affect your physical health, and in turn your physical well-being can put a huge stress on your mental health. What I was specifically referring to was, nurture yourself.

Allow yourself to blossom.

This particular idea (not a new one) has been on my mind a lot recently. And today when I saw the beautiful rose blossom opening with it's own brilliancy I saw the connection before my eyes.

Before the rose bud opened it looked normal. As it began to open I saw a bit of what appeared to be rust around the edges. Just like a person that is rusty at remembering to take care of themselves. The person that forgets, or does not realize, that the world is at their fingertips. And then the blossom opened with wonderful colors, and the more it opened, the more anticipation came with it for the future.

If you have a passion, act on it. If you have a talent, allow it to grow. If you love something, make sure it is in your life. Sometimes the smallest of things are the biggest of things in our own hearts.

I am going to go through a list of people that I have noticed blossoming (leaving names out, sorry peeps):

A lovely lady lost her home, but now has a nice apartment and a new car. She is secure in her job, yet she is not happy. Someone listened to her one day, she talked about "everything that she had lost." So the listener bought her a hummingbird feeder for her patio. Within a few hours she saw her first hummingbird. She cried. She realized that she had not lost everything, she just needed to remember what she loves, and she needed to remember that what she loves does not go away, it stays in her heart (the tiniest of things). And today she continues to grow, realizing the small things in life. And she is pursuing so much. She is no longer shut in to the pain, the world has many possibilities.

A wonderful friend is going through a tough time. She is taking better care of herself because it makes her feel good. She has had her hair re-done, her apartment painted (in the colors that makes her feel happy), and she is pursuing her dreams as a soap artist. Yes, a talented artisan! Through all of her troubles, she can still make her own heart sing.

A great friend has lost a lot of weight. She did not feel all that well before she lost the weight. She could have laid on the couch, moped, cried, allowed depression to take over, but no, she began daily and deliberate exercise. Today she revels in her new size, her new (younger) looks, but best of all, she feels fantastic, and she is vibrant and glowing. Not gloating. She took care of herself. Nobody else could have done it for her. She should be proud!

A dear friend has decided to build on her special talents. She decided to take her beautiful wares and sell them, offer them to others, open a shop where she takes the products that she has lovingly crafted to the public, and somewhere in her heart she has the urge to share that sense of joy with everyone that crosses her path. It took courage, but she has done it...for herself!

Do not forget what you love, despite the busyness and disappointments in life, do not forget who you are. You are special, and you have your own needs. Fulfill those needs.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ocean Breeze Comedy Scene

Today I was making great progress in the soap room. I made a batch of lotion for a new product set (to be announced) and I prepared another batch of lilac lotion for a potential customer who owns a lovely shop in Michigan.

I knew I needed to make a batch of Ocean Breeze goat milk soap. It is a must to keep 2 or 3 large batches on the curing racks at all times. And I have to agree with you all, it is good soap. It smells good. It lathers up softly, silky, and it leaves the skin feeling smooth, conditioned. I am not left with a dry skin feeling at all after bathing with Ocean Breeze.

So, today I prepared all of the ingredients, weighed, melted, etc..., and then I headed to the house for lunch.

20 minutes later I arrived back in the shop. I lined the large mold for the soap batch. Mixed the soap ingredients and immediately realized the batch seemed too small. My thought initially was, "Did I make a 1/2 batch?" I make smaller batches when I am testing a new recipe or fragrance. I thought through today's steps, all of them, and determined that I had measured out the full amounts of all ingredients.

As I questioned myself, the batch appeared to be going into trace (thickening) quicker than normal. "Think, Mary, think!" I told myself, as calmly as possible. You can start giggling here, by the way

As some of you are aware, Ocean Breeze also contains chips of white unscented goat milk soap (reminds me of a gently rolling ocean, white sand, sea foam).

I headed to the mold with the batch of very thick soap. Lined the mold with the chips, poured the soap. Well...there was NO pouring to it. I was having to lift it out by the large spoon full. As I pushed the last bits of white goat milk soap into the globs of soap, and saw that the mold was only 1/2 full, I suspected the culprit.

I had only added 1/2 of the oils!

What to do? What to do?

I knew I had a bad batch of soap either way I went, so I emptied the contents of the mold back into the soaping pot. And, yes, most definitely found the missing oils, right where I had left them. Again, could have already ruined the batch, so what the hay...might as well try it.

I began stirring all of that missing oil into the nearly solid mass of what should have been Ocean Breeze soap. To my surprise, it looked like lumpy pea soup with white chunks added. Ha ha ha. Lovely? Oh yeah, you betcha'.

My old arms got the work out. There was no electric gadget to whip through that mess. Stir and stir and stir. I had a vision of my restaurant quality stainless steel slotted spoon bending in half. Tee hee. Okay...stirred, and I finally figured it was time to try it again.

As I lifted the pot to carry it to the make table behind me I caught the corner of a container full of large utensils. Each and every knife, pail opener, you name it, fell handle first into the pot. So, each and every utensil was adorned with a nice thick blob of Ocean Breeze goat milk soap. I put the utensils on ignore status. I laid them on newspaper.

I poured the soap. It looked really peculiar. A little peculiar?

And the rest of the story is...the soap appears to be going through its normal process now. I think I saved it. I try to make Ocean Breeze a wavy type of soap. I want it to be irregular, but hmmm...not quite THAT irregular!

And the utensils...upon my return, I had to use a paring knife to clean the soap off of each and every handle.

I need a nap!

Normal Ocean Breeze...(today's batch above):

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Organization is Working

How is everyone? I am fine, great, happy...even though I still cannot arrange the photos within my blog again today...I am being tested!

I worked today...yes...I know, it is Sunday. The husband went to visit his tutor for assistance with an exam that he is re-taking this week and I decided to catch up a bit more in the soap shop while he was out.

I love the photo of the new Yuzu fragranced goat milk soap. I think my phone took a good shot of it. I took a new mug shot for the lotions. I'll work on it again. Gone are the kraft labels. As much as I would have liked to make them work they simply had no stickability (I made that word up, it might exist though). Uh huh.

Lotions are my focus this week. Even though I leave the lotions on the website, they never show a back order, I can tell you, especially this week. I was sold out! Very few bottles remained. But I like 'em fresh, so that is how they go out whenever I cannot replinish the entire supply. goal is to have the supply completely refreshed by Wednesday, all 10 scents.

I have been doing some cleaning and organizing as well. See the planner on the desk? It is working! The corner in the photos is my shop "office" so to speak. I have a real office in the house, where I am sitting now. I am considering moving my old PC into the shop so I can hook up an unused printer for labels. But...I am sort of (hmmm) out of room. The husband has suggested that I begin using a part of his wood shop for storage. He says he is going to have to build a new building. Nooo...nooo....and noooo.

Since I took you for a visit into the shop today. I thought I would show you what I was listening to as well. The CD is called Church In The Wildwood, Volume II. I think it was put together specifically for the Cracker Barrel stores. There are no vocals, the instruments are: hammered dulcimer, autoharp, guitar, fiddle and mandelin. Beautiful! Peaceful. I listen to many different kinds of music. If you knew what I was playing in my truck this week you would think I was reverting back to the early 70's. So I will leave that up to your imagination.

Is anyone else having problems with posting photos, specifically when you post more than one, does Blogger still allow you to move the photos within the post? Starting yesterday I have not been able to. It looks rather dorky to me to post 3 or 4 photos in a row with no verbiage. But that is what I will do until I get the problem resolved.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The First Day of Summer - Tomorrow

Having Blogger problems. So, I decided (just for today) to leave the photos where they are and leave the writing where it is at! I am NOT going to fight it today.

I am not one that likes to complain about weather, nor do I like to make it a point of conversation everywhere that I go. I know it is hot for many of us, but somehow I just had to share. Photo taken in my truck on my way back up to the house from the evening feeding (20 minutes ago).

This is Ohio, pretty much north, and tomorrow is the first day of summer, so what gives with 93 degrees?

I love summer, dearly, dearly love it. I love heat. I do not like cold. I appreciate heat. Can I say that again so I will convince myself? I love heat.

We do not have central air. We cool the back of the house (where we lounge and where we sleep) with a large window unit. The front of the house (including the kitchen, this office, and 3 other rooms are not cooled). I have a ceiling fan in here with me. Ha. At night I love to hear the frogs and I love the fresh air. Seldom do I want the windows shut.
Yesterday I changed the ink in one of the printers. The page kept smearing afterwards. I began to think I had a bad ink cartridge. Hmmm...guess what the problem was? Humidity. The paper was bunching up. Uh huh...good clean crisp white paper taken right out of the ream. Crisp? NOT!!

I am summer gal, though. Give me 6 months of summer. I will take it. Just tell me the animals and world will not suffer from such a drastic change first. pic. Remember the tiny little rose plants I bought for 2.99 each? One is going to bloom! I have had beautiful roses in the past, not at this property. By the looks of this bud and the growth that I am seeing in all of the plants, I think I found a good spot for a rose display.

I did not put out a large garden this year. I need to rethink my kidding season timing next year because I need to work freezing and canning into my schedule. I miss those tasks. They give me peace a joy. As I sprinkled plant food amongst the beds today I saw 6 new green tomatoes. I need a big garden again. Did I ever tell you who taught me how to can? My husband. When we first married he converted a small "barn" in our yard, with loft to a summer kitchen for me. It was complete with a propane range, a small wall A/C unit, a table to work with, and storage for the canned goods. Nobody taught him how to can, he taught me out of memory from watching his mother when he was a child. Amazing.

I worked in the soap room for a while today. It is heated, cooled, very well insulated (put together better than this old house). And I am heading back out there for a bit later. Moved soaps down from the curing rack. Adding them to the website at some point this weekend. And Now I need to fill the empty curing rack spots with new soap! I sold all of my lotion this week. Lotion is something that I make without a lot of hassle, but that does not mean a thing. I need to eat, sleep, dream about lotion for one full day. Fill the warehouse as one of my good friends tell me. Then he turns right around and says in the next breath, "You need to rest." When I ask him about his contradiction, he giggles and says, "Well, you know me." Thank you!

Have any of you updated to Windows Explorer 8? And if the answer is yes, are you having any problems? It sure is messing with my use of Blogger! Sometimes I cannot leave comments. Sometimes I cannot see photos. And right now I cannot move photos within a non-published post. Arghhhh...computers, love them, don't love them, cannot live without them! And all the same...I am praying for patience. Loads of patience.

Stay cool...and hope you are enjoying your weekend, filled with many blessings!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Website Payment Problems...Head Still On Straight?

Just what is the goat lady up to today? The rolling head, still on straight? Has she lost her mind completely? Nah! Just almost.

Actually, I began the day by cutting the large batch of lemongrass poppyseed goat milk soap I made yesterday. It looked so pretty I picked up my phone and clicked a pic before the soap bars headed to the curing rack.

Afterwards, I made two large batches of goat milk soap. The first unscented. Seems rather popular these days. The second batch is lavender rosemary. Purposely, quite a bit lighter on the rosemary end of the soap this batch. Rosemary is a wonderful essential oil. I love the scent, but it also has such good skin care properties, such as antiseptic and assistant to dandruff and scaly skin. But it sure can wake up the old nose!

Then the day broke loose. The head starting spinning, rolling along (as I told Alix of Casa Hice) in an email.

If you experienced payment problems today, if the website did not accept your payment, or if you ever do experience problems, please carefully note what occurred and give me a call, or shoot me an email. As we all know, one tiny problem can mean one big problem is brewing. Luckily all of the customer payment issues were told to be unrelated, but my doubting mind (because I want perfection) still wonders...but life rolls on (and right now it feels like my head is off rolling somewhere).

I had a great conversation with a good customer from California today. Yesterday her husband asked, "Do we have any more of THAT soap?" The phone call was rather on the desperate end. The payment was not being accepted and the husband wanted more of THAT soap. People that call me get what they get, they get me, I am never going to try to be anyone else. If I break out in laughter, please laugh along with me. This is one short life, and I intend upon making it all that it can be. We got the order resolved, and Mr. CA is going to have some of THAT soap to shave with. By the way, THAT soap is Moroccan Dreams, and Sandalwood Blend, as well as Patchouli Blend. Mr. CA shaves with THAT soap. So do I (my legs love it).

Have a beautiful evening, day, morning, whenever you read this...and if you find my head anywhere...treat it nicely. I need it folks!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cinnamon Rose Goat Milk Soap

The past several weeks have been busy times in the shop with the filling of orders and keeping the inventory of soap and lotion stocked. You would think I would get sick of soap, but no, I still love to marvel at the soaps before I box them up and send them out. I even love to look at the lotions, and there isn't anything colorful about them. Silly goat woman I am!

I am limping along temporarily with the camera on my phone this week. I wanted to get a good photo of this soap, but it blurred to a point. This is the cinnamon rose soap that I told you about. It also contains rhassoul clay, which is rich in minerals and helps to tone the skin. Rhassoul clay removes surface oil effectively, yet it assists with reducing flakiness and dryness from both the skin and the scalp. Honestly, I thought I would not like the scent when the customer requested it, but I love it! It will most likely be a keeper. It is not overpowering! I have not ran off with an end piece yet to test in the bath, soap is always "people" tested for quality on my farm, but from the looks of it, and based on the oils and clay used, I think I am going to love it. It looks nice, almost creamy-like, smooth, and smells terrific. It will hit the website within a couple of weeks (to be announced here).

And, last but not least, I had to take a photo of my helping friends tonight. A goat is geared towards food. They always think they are hungry, it is what drives them! You can separate a bale of hay, divide it up, and the herd always shifts towards the last morsel you placed in the feeder. Go figure. Hey kids...the hay is the same from beginning to end! Thankfully this bale was still tied. The kids knocked the wheel barrow over as soon as I snapped the photo...the munchkins!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday's Dairy Goats and Sheep

Dairy goats and sheep? Wait a minute...that looks like a kitten to me. My apologies, my better camera is out of order. Pictures today are delivered via my phone and my old "bad" digital camera. But not so bad that we turn kittens into dairy goats and sheep.

Do you think these two could pass as future Mr. Yellow Tom's? Mr. Yellow Tom loves to rough house with one of these look-alikes already.

Nothing like a good old kitten fight. This is what I see and hear when the goats are not mulling around.

Moving on to the feeding of the boer goats. Dusty (a lovely boer/alpine) always needs a good head rub.

Moving on to the milk stand. Chandra the saanan says, "Hey, you have my let me go dive into the hay with my buddy Cammille."

And Cammille the nubian says, "You have my milk too...hold on Chandra, wait for me!"

And after everyone is milked out, and the final (2) bottle kids are fed, and the goats are humming and crunching happily on their hay, bedded down for the night...up the barn driveway the goat lady goes...toting warm goat milk back to the house on the hill...reflecting on her many blessings.

And what does the goat lady find when she enters the house? Visitors? There are two new sheep, Wee Little Sheep, beautiful Nativity Sheep on the kitchen table.

The beautiful sheep pair arrived on Friday in a postal box decorated in sheep photos, marked fragile. These beautiful sheep are indeed fragile, beautifully made from clay and covered with lambs' wool, lovingly handmade by Kathy. Sent to my Ohio home, chosen as winnings from being a commenter on Kathy's blog, Spot On Cedar Pond.

Not only was the shipping box beautifully decorated in photos of Kathy's wonderful Jacob Sheep, Kathy also added some additional personal touches. A stunning handmade card arrived with the package, displaying the yarn that Kathy so lovingly crafts (from shearing her sheep, to spinning and dyeing the yarn). With some beautiful spun strands of lamb's wool threaded through the card. I keep repeating the word beautiful, it really was awesome!

Now I will show you the gorgeous "decorating" of the shipping box!

Kathy is a good friend, an inspiration to me. She is one of the women in my life that have kept me on my toes, in faith. I look for her daily blog inspirations. I hope you visit Kathy's blog as well, and please do not forget to visit her Etsy shop either, where you will find her wonderful lamb's wool creations, Cedar Pond Wool Craft.
Have a relaxing Sunday evening!