Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tractor Project Part Two

There is something about tractors that grabs my attention, almost as much as barns, especially old barns. An old tractor has history under its fenders. It might have helped to plow a field, clean out a dairy barn, or perhaps helped with the family farm chores.

This is the latest tractor project, a 1956 Massey Harris Model 50. Yes, I know all of that. How I went from my office position behind 4 walls to this wonderful life is beyond me, but I absorb everything I can get because I love it.

My husband was the "driver" of the tractor. She does not run, by the way. The prior tractor owner used the Bobcat to lead the old gal out (flat tires were sunk in the ground). She went up on our friend's trailer with ease.

I was going to make goat milk soap today, but I like to freeze the goat milk in one particular way, and I was not prepared. Tomorrow for sure!

Another tractor pic:

Brown Bag Goat Milk Soap

Due to the popularity of the sale, and due to the clearance of 3.5-3.7 ounce soaps in the the shop (the next generation of goat milk soaps are chunkier), the Brown Bag Special will continue through April.

After a great phone conversation with a customer a few days ago about her choice of soaps, I wanted to clarify that you can contact me if you want to place a Brown Bag order that contains your preference, your scent or type of goat milk soap. The ad states that the special order will contain soaps of "my choice," but that is not set in stone. As always, I love to be of assistance, and will do what I can to provide what you might want or need, when available.

The Brown Bag special, can be ordered via a button at the bottom of my Soap Store page.

Have a great day!

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Tractor Project

I am pretty much too tired to write tonight. We went on a road trip with our good friends today and picked up a new "tractor project," as we like to call it. Now there will be two antique tractors in our friend's garage. When we get tired of restoring the one, we will work on the other.

We had kids throughout the weekend, 8 total. The milk is coming in good and strong now. I believe I have 5 dairy girls yet to kid.

Tomorrow I will post a few more pics of the tractor. I like the front end the best, the old grill area. This will be a long project, one that will probably take a couple of years to complete.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kids On A Saturday

There are two things that seem to happen when we enter the goat kidding season. One is the Doe Code of Honor (Jennifer of Goats In The Garden) mentioned recently. This means we wait and wait, similar to the old statement about a "watched pot that never boils."

If we are not waiting, we are being surprised, as we are today. Of course, I enjoy all of this, especially when I feel refreshed and not terribly tired. But even when I am that tired, I feel honored to be involved in such a wonderful event despite the fatique.

This year I bred the dairy girls to a boer buck. I keep my farm within certain numbers, approximately 30-35 boers, and the same number of dairy does. I love the hardiness of the nubian/boer cross, and I did not want to produce more dairy kids this year.

Many dairy farmers bottle feed their kids (calve, kid and lamb). That is my choosing. It was difficult at first, but now I appreciate knowing I am the one milking the udder, knowing the condition of each udder, knowing how much milk we are producing, and knowing that the milk is being pastuerized and is not passing along anything harmful to the dairy kids. It is a lot of work, and some day I may change my mind. For now, I still hold the dream of a large milking barn, a commercial operation, with udders that produce some mighty fine milk. And I will still make goat milk soap because that is my passion!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fighting For First Place

Sometimes it is next to impossible to get one single photo of a goat. Today is a beautiful sunny day, a perfect photo day. But as soon as one of the crew sees me, one will sound the alarm. There she is, let's go!!! Goofy, aren't they?

These are some of my babies from last February. Growing up. I always dislike their spring coats. They start losing that winter fluffiness, and begin looking a little scraggly for a few weeks, until they are completely down to the smooth shorter spring/summer coat.

We had a rough night. The husband's gall bladder did a flare up. So, I trekked to the grocery for plenty of low and non-fat foods and then I worked in the office.

Today, Spike helped (Tyra's boy).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Big T Time

It is that dreaded time again...the big tax preparation time! Uncle Sam is looking for his money.

One of my goals this year was to have all of the paperwork sorted, bundled, in report format by the end of February. Oops. The date is now...um...March 26th. Gulp.

Actually, I started on the taxes yesterday and have about 2 hours of input remaining. Not bad, not bad at all. My goal is to drop printed reports to the accountant for his final tax preparation on Monday.

I received an application today for a local Artisan Folk Fair. Photos of products, a photo of (me) the artisan making the product, and a completed application must be sent (to be presented to a jury panel) for approval. If I do participate in the fair, I will be wearing period costume clothing at my booth. That brings me to one thought, what type of clothing to wear? Would it be a pioneer type of outfit? The letter stated "country" attire would also be appropriate. What to wear, what to wear?

I also got word of a local farmer's market firing up each Wednesday evening from 3-7 PM. They are looking for crafters and produce producers. Could also be a fun time for a soaper.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tyra The Obedient Boxer

This is Tyra, the very obedient boxer.

I looked at Tyra tonight and said, "Teeb, what do I write about today?" My husband replied for her, "Write about me." Okay, with as many photos I have posted of Tyra, it is time she gets some chat.

Tyra is 6 years old. She is a big girl, as you can tell. There isn't an ounce of fat on her though. She is solid as a rock. She is always at my side. Usually her back is to me as I write or work. I can see the beautiful white stripe down the back of her neck as she waits patiently. She hears and notices everything.

We live in the country, but in an older home that sits very close to a busy road. Behind us there are no houses. So Tyra, the only boxer of ours that can be let out the back door with little supervision, knows that she can go anywhere behind the house, even down to the barn, but not one step in the front or side of the house.

On very nice days she walks down the hill, and when she is ready, she darts back up. She runs so swift and smooth, with her big lips pressing back. It is a wonderful, happy site. Sometimes we still get the "poodle jump," too. The poodle jump consists of jumps up in the air and twists of the body that lands her in the opposite direction, back up in the air again twisting, landing face towards you, and then she repeats it over and over again. I have no idea how that child gets that big body up in the air, but she does it well.

Tyra was a mistreated youngster. We bought her when she was 9 months old for $100.00 . She was being replaced with a dog "much less hyper." Her papers, crate, toys, collar, dog treats, and her horrible fears were all sold to us (cash only). The poor girl was afraid to go outside by herself, even though she had a beautiful fenced in yard. I had to fool her by going out with her and sneaking back inside quietly. To this day, when you leave her alone, outside of her crate, she will cower when you enter the room. She has never been in that type of trouble in our home. Sad, isn't it?

I registered her as Zipporah Sarai and decided to breed her to my (late) boxer Samson. 10 beautiful pups were born, including Spike, the monstrous big son that we still have. He is not as obedient as momma, but he is just as precious. I was not going to put momma into the breeding business, so we only had one more litter. I believe in good solid boxer dogs, and I hope each one of mine has proven that much.

That is the story behind Tyra (Tyra Byra, Teeb, T.B., Mother, Momma). You will see a lot of her, she is a constant companion.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Many Uses Of Soap

With other tasks on the agenda, today was not a day to make soap in the shop, but I did think about it!

I like to think a pretty bar of soap, one that smells wonderful, or is healthy for the skin, is used for the obvious, but there are so many other uses for soap.

Remove laundry stains. A good bar of soap sometimes removes stains from fabric when pre-treating better than a commercial bottle of stain remover. I learned this trick back when my boys were babies. Baby formula stains were quite the task, until I discovered how a white bar of soap, wet and rubbed in before laundering seemed to remove the stains, they vanished!

Deodorize your car. I have done this myself. Place a bar of soap in an area of your vehicle, perhaps under the seat, and you have an instant air freshener that certainly smells better than fake pine (unless you prefer fake pine, and that is okay)! Be careful to not use the type of soap that melts easily in heat.

Make a pin holder. We hardly ever use diaper pins these days, however, needles and safety pins, and for the seamstresses, straight pins, all glide in fabric so much easier and have a safe storage space when they come from a pin cushion/bar of soap.

Freshen luggage. A bar of soap that is mildly scented, without loud colors, placed in luggage, keeps it fresh scented between uses.

Freshen clothes. I love to place a bar of soap in a closet or clothes drawer.

Soap slivers. I do not throw them away. Of course, I love to see how tiny the sliver can get before my soap actually can no longer be used. It becomes translucent, to be honest, before I lose its use. But, if you want, save the slivers, put them in a white cotton sock. Kids love to wash with them. Or, place the slivers in a slit in a sponge. The lather just billows for many uses.

Stuck zippers. Rubbing a bar of soap across a zipper, especially a metal zipper that has a tendency to stick, will help prevent it from sticking.

Insect bites. I find relief in dampening a bar of soap and rubbing it on a stubborn insect bite, especially one that itches.

Dirty fingernails. I have done this one as well. If you have to put your hands into a task where you do not want to wear gloves, you can dig your fingernails into a bar of soap before completing the task. The soap will prevent the nails from filling with dirt (or whatever substance you are trying to prevent).

Preventing soot on campfire pots. Okay, I have to admit, this one I have not tried, but did find it worth noting! If you rub the bottom of a cast iron pot or frying pan prior to placing it over the campfire, the soap will prevent the bottom of the pot from collecting soot. Interesting!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fun Soap

The bars cut from yesterday's batches of soap. How about that funky fun look? My husband is not fond of the green bar. He isn't a vegetable person and he seems to relate the soap to pea soup. Funny, and fun!

And, another pic of my photogenic Tyra. She helped me grab a few shipping boxes this evening, and got her picture taken in the process.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Soap On The Sunday Menu

How about some pea or carrot soup?

After taking care of goats, and more goats, and kids, in a big way for almost a month, this afternoon I took a "me" day. We all need them. My favorite kind of "me" day is one when I do something that I enjoy, uninterrupted. Today was the perfect day, a soap day. Soap crafting is not work to me because I enjoy it so much.

The soaps are darker in color than I had intended, how about that pea soup soap with chunks of ham? Actually, it should lighten up, and should make for a pretty cutting tomorrow, with a surprise within the dark gold color. Instead of pea or carrot soup, it sort of reminds me of 70's carpet colors. I am glad I have a sense of humor!

Last night my 60-something year old neighbor came over and bought armloads of soap and lotion. He was like a kid in a candy store. He went from bar to bar on the curing rack, "Oh, I like that. It smells like it came out of a field! Do you have anything that really smells weird? How about that two toned soap?" The funny this is, he and I clicked in the soap shop. I need someone around just like him. Not that my husband isn't a big help, he is a tremendous help, but Bob cannot pick up on the scents like I can. Kellis really understood the combinations of scents and it was a world of fun to see him bopping around.

Annie has a problem. I have never had a respiratory problem in a grown goat, and she appears to have developed just that. I am going to start her kids on a round of bottles today, but keep the kids with her. They do not seem to be nursing, but I am afraid if I steal them away Annie is not going to get well. I'll accept the challenge. I work hard on kids that lag behind. Kids are such a blessing, animals are a blessing (to me). I always love this time period, after everyone has kidded (even though we are still not finished). Things slow down and the real enjoyment begins.

It is a beautiful spring day here today. Bob is working out in his wood shop. We both are suffering with allergies, but headed out to our shops to get some creativity in. He is cleaning up some old barn siding to make a rustic mirror frame.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Goats And A Beautiful Saturday

On this gorgeous Saturday, I thought it would be nice to share with you a (not yet) 24 hour old boer cross doeling born to us yesterday from Cammille. Spots galore!

I am here on the farm pretty much every day, and sometimes a break is good (like yesterday's road trip). But today, the good feeling is to be on the farm doing the things that I feel I need to do to organize a bit. It makes me happy. I am far from being where I want to be, I need an entire crew to be at that perfect state. But the most perfect place to be is where the heart is, and that is shear happiness.

I hope you are having a bright Saturday too!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Joy and Thankfulness

I am brimming with joy and thankfulness.

I am thankful for life itself. Life throws some very hard balls at us. Such as, my husband not getting the job he interviewed for several times (he found out today). My sister called with a piece of disappointing news as well. And life gets difficult with so much work. But I asked for the life that I have, and I love the life that I have. And so I take the responsibilities and I run with them. I strongly believe people make a lot of the lives that they have so very unhappy because they fail to recognize the good things that surround them! Life is beautiful in itself.

My husband asked me to join him on an electrical inspection today. It meant travelling for over an hour, south and east of us. I took a pic as we drove down the highway. It was an absolutely gorgeous day!

Before I let her out of her stall, I talked to Cammille this morning (a beautiful spotted nubian doe, dam to the spotted doeling in Tuesday's post). I used to call Cammille "Snake Eyes" when she was young because she would get an ornery look in her eyes and head butt every doeling that surrounded her, meaner than a snake! As I had my little conversation with Cammille earlier today, I asked her, "Can you give me a beautiful spotted boer cross doeling with your snake eyes?" She gave me exactly that! Such a bundle of joy.

I might have a long evening. Annie is heading into labor as I write this. I love it when life progresses. Today she did something surprising. After a number of years to her name, and 3 sets of twins under her own belt, she attempted to steal a bottle full of milk from me. Yes, I had to retrieve it. She definitely reverted back! When I got the bottle back, she turned around and nipped the bottle kid that I was feeding on the rear end! I am still giggling over that one! Nobody was hurt.

I try to remember the funny things that we have happen around here. I guess I should take notes. I could write books!

I still have not started the soap project that I discussed a few days back, but I'll get there. My plans just get better as I sit on them!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring is Popping Up

The spring flowers are pushing through the ground. The daffodils always amaze me how they barely appear one day and seem to grow 6" the next.

I have been busy these past few days. In fact, I missed posting on Wednesday. I moved the last of the bottle kids to their new barn suite yesterday (except for one still in special care), and guess what happened? Twins were born early, and the mother had no colostrum. All of this occured within 2 hours. I thought the tiny babies were dead when I found them, but good news, they just needed some nutrition. The buckling's front hooves are no larger than my thumbnail. They are quiet little house guests at the moment.

I hope to make it out to the shop this evening. I am itching to try an idea I have for a new soap. I will share pics as soon as the process starts!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March Goat Milk Soap Thank You Pack

On this bright and beautiful March day, with green grass sprouting, the world is full of new things, and good news.

As I have been saying, and I am far from being an expert, I think we will see our economy on an upswing. I developed the attitude to not worry. Why worry? Worry does not change a thing. Well, let's back into that, worry does change our happiness. It does change our demeanor. But worry does not change the circumstances that led to the problem. And, as I have been saying, I encourage everyone to be creative, if you feel you want to be, start that Etsy store, fire up a website, promote your hand-crafted products in a farmer's market, or start a small business. You will be in the train car on the down side and you will be in the front car on the swing back up. For about a week the "experts" have been reporting that the economy is strengthening. I am not worried. I do hope people begin to rebuild their lives, however (those that have lost jobs and homes). But whatever it brings, be happy, do not worry.

On this bright and beautiful day it is good to see the animals outside, enjoying the sun. Occasionally stopping to munch, as Aleecia is in this photo. But more often I see the girls kicking up their heels and playing chase across their lot. Carefree worry-less animals!

And on this bright and beautiful spring day I am announcing a package on the way to Florida, destination Casa Hice. A random pick of commenters on this blog resulted in pulling Alix's name from the hat. Thank you, Alix. Her package consists of one of her favorite scents, a lilac based soap, and a lilac goat milk lotion, very fitting for spring. I see my lilac bushes are budding out green today, and I cannot wait to smell their scent in a month or so! I agree with Alix, a very nice scent.

Thank you everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Antique Chest and Goat Milk Soap

Occasionally I share something fun that I furnish or decorate with. I found this one at a Goodwill store a year ago. When the attendant told me I could have the chest for $25.00, I quickly loaded it onto the back of my pick up truck! Someone prior to me inadvertently painted the chest. What you are looking at, in the darker areas, is painted leather, hand nailed so neatly to the chest when it was crafted. Such a shame. I cannot see removing paint from leather. But I do not care. I saw value, not so much monetary. There are other places on the chest that someone prior painted yellow and silver (on some of the wood slats across the top), again, I do not care, it is a treasure to me! I love the thing! Inside is wonderful silky-cottony fabric lining, in excellent condition. Makes me smile! It appears to be either an old passenger train chest (tiny wheels up inside the base), or an old steamer chest, and I even saw one on a Western movie, being unloaded from a stagecoach (I doubt that mine is that old). I love these types of items. Some have a history that we know of, and some, as this one, was used without knowing the history, not known by who or when, but I can use my imagination vividly and see it!

I posted yesterday that I thought Annie was in labor, false alarm. She ate much better today. I need to go check on her again. She appears uncomfortable, probably just big with kids. Today is day 145. I am less concerned, but still very watchful.

I worked in the shop today! I whipped out a batch of lavender/plum colored soap with a scent that smells fresh. It felt good to be working with soap again, very good!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Does In Waiting This Sunday

The best plans sometimes get set aside when there are does in waiting.

This is a photo of Annie. It was taken 4 months ago. If she looks large in the pic, she is very large now!

Today is day 144 of Annie's gestation. She normally kids around day 149-151. The earliest a doe should kid is day 145.

This morning Annie did not eat in her normal full-fledged herd queen fashion (she resides with the dairy herd). She ate a little grain, ate a little hay, and then went off by herself. She looked sunken in, as if her unborn kids had moved. I checked her ligaments, yes, they are gone. Her body is preparing for birth.

So, instead of visiting with friends, we smiled and stayed home. It was actually a very nice day. Beautiful, sunny, relaxing, just as a Sunday should be. So, it was a blessing in disguise. There are lots of those blessings when we watch for them! As far as our friends are concerned, we will make it another afternoon this week, perhaps have some lunch together then.

As far as Annie is concerned, we are still waiting. A doe in waiting...!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Goat Milk Belly

Does it look like something other than a goat to you? It is a young buckling, nearing a couple of weeks old, that develops quite the "beer belly," well, more like a goat milk belly, each time he takes his bottle. The pic doesn't even do the boy justice! He is a pig, a hog-cow as I call him.

Young goats, and all goats, will eat themselves to a serious state of illness if you let them. I always have my bottle kids on a schedule, which is part of the reason why I shun the sippy buckets, even though bottles are a tremendous amount of work for us.

Our schedule at this point includes 3 bottles a day (for 13 kids), aproximately 16 ounces each, no more than that (buddy)! This kid eats, and eats, and eats, until he is ready to pop. "Stick a fork in me, I am done," is a perfect statement! But he does not think he is done.

The story behind this little fellow is he started his life in the barn on a very cold morning. His momma rejected him, but accepted the twin sister. We bottle fed him from that day forward. One day he took his bottle in his normal gusto fashion but could not walk immediately afterwards. He drug himself around unlike any youngster I have ever seen. I scooped him up for special house treatment. I determined it was pneumonia. The boy rattled, coughed, spit up mucous, but the fight for life was strong (which means a great deal in a goat). Today he is back to being a normal goat buckling, eating like a pig, and soon to move back to the barn (as soon as we have a less than 20 degree temperature variance, my rules).

Yes, I am the resident vet. Do I enjoy it? Yes. Do I feel frustrated by the chore? No. I feel frustrated when my house is dirty, and when the barn needs a serious mucking out, and when my routine is shattered. But all of that does not matter. I sacrifice for something greater than myself.

I do not want to bring up business today on one hand, this is the weekend, but I wanted to remind everyone in this circle of friends and customers that I do have a monthly newsletter. I try to include newsworthy items (related to farm sustainability, small business, etc...), and Annie's Goat Hill news. This month I was a little short winded because my brain is still in the kidding fog, so bear with me. If you want to sign up for the newsletter, or if you wish to send a friend to sign up, the envelope (button) to sign up is located towards the bottom of my site index page: http://www.anniesgoathill.com/ . I appreciate the contact!

Before I sign off, it was late yesterday, and it definitely felt like a Friday. I looked out of the window above the sink as I washed kid goat milk supplies and felt warm and fuzzy, comfortable, and then I realized where part of the coziness was coming from. It was nearly 8:00 in the evening, and I could still see daylight. I saw the pair of geese, heard the beginnings of frogs, and saw the starting of green buds on the lilac bushes. It was wonderful, and this is what I saw:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bottle Goat Kids...Cold Brings Back Necessary Barn Attire

Today I wanted to do an update on Chandra's kids, amongst a few other things fresh on my mind. The boys are doing well. This particular buckling, my husband nic-named "Hoppity," has had a rough time but he is moving forwards by leaps and bounds. He has shown a lot of strength and perseverance, similar to the thoughts I wrote about the day the c-section was done that brought Chandra's twins into the world last week.

Every year we encounter a special kid goat project or two. Some are our own projects, some have been projects given to us by friends. Annie was such a project. She came from a difficult birth. My friend lost both her dam and her brother, and I was given the task of bringing Annie home and nursing her to strength that very cold and wet morning. It worked out very well. She is one hefty boer gal now. There is Amelie, also given to us by a friend. When we first saw Amelie she was coiled up in a Rubbermaid tote. It was not a pretty site. After a month of "goat therapy," as we call it, we got her to stand, strengthened her spine, and now she is a beautiful, healthy, nubian doeling at a year old. The list goes on.

Chandra's boy had double trouble given to him last week. In the process of figuring out the bad birthing presentation, he was pushed back, pulled forward. He was the one huge kid laying twisted under the other. And, he also had the thin rope around his neck as the vet proceeded to try to fish the boys out. Eventually, after the c-section was done, he sat with his head up, but was purple in the lips, requiring oxygen several times. His brother by that time was walking around on the examination table.

This week Hoppity went from not being able to walk, to walking on a bent leg (day 4), to my husband stinting his leg, to swelling badly in the hoof, to now limping, and sometimes walking on all 3-s, to hopping around as a baby goat should, to beginning to eat like a horse and put weight on. You can see the sparkle in his eyes.

I still have 4 of these critters in my house, why? They are the weakest. One developed pneumonia, one had pink eye (of all things), and then there are Chandra's two that I am not ready to put in a barn pen yet. They need to continue to regain strength, but we are going to do it!

As far as I am concerned. I really am ready for spring weather. I am ready to hang up the old warm barn coat. The Muck Boots have proven well for me this year, and they will do a great service year round. Funny how years ago I went from black pumps and a briefcase, to the barn boots that I love, to the heavy coat that is growing frazzled, but ever so warm, and the constant attire of jeans and a sweatshirt. I would trade it all to a farm again tomorrow, yes I would! When I made the switch from the office to the barn, I learned very quickly that not only did I need the proper equipment to run the farm, I also needed the proper attire. But again, I am ready for warm sunshine, and 80 or 90 degrees, and yes, I will still wear the boots with shorts while cleaning the milk room, or the barn. I am a farm chick!

Enjoy your day, whatever you do!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It Isn't Just A Dog's World...The Opportunity Is Now

Me and the boy spent some time together today...the boy is a 90 pound boxer named Spike. More on that later in this article...

No, it isn't just a dog's world, the opportunity is now. What am I referring to? I am thinking on terms of today's economy, both business and personal opportunity.

I have done a lot of talking recently regarding the positive side to the downturn in our pocketbooks, with many references to what I think the opportunities are.

I do a lot of business reading. One of my favorite spots is Entrepreneur.com. I also focus in on stories that relate to businesses that are succeeding in today's world because they remember who they are, where they started, and the basics in life (caring for the backbone, the people that do the work), along with good products at low prices, such as Chick-fil-A and Dunkin' Donuts.

Today is a grand opportunity to start a small business, even in the current downturn. It is also the time to sharpen up your own personal people skills, and believe me, it goes very much hand in hand.

If you were dealing with a person, or a business, wouldn't you want to have contact with them again if they were honest, hard working, not afraid to show up early or work late, with old fashioned values? I would. I talked with a customer service rep the other day regarding my internet service. He actually took the time to speak with me on a personal level. I felt he was interested in fixing the problem. He gave me a very positive feeling about the company that he works for. Customer service gets a gold star when you talk to a person that emits respect for you. They fix the problem for you, or offer a good solution, and do not doubt your value. That is true customer service, and is true on the personal level, caring for the neighbor (as you want to be cared for yourself).

On a strictly business level, what about making sure every dollar counts? What about sound business practices (not cheating on the accounting)?

I see a lot of back to the basics in business and personal lives. I pat you on the back first (because I care about you). Yes, it can happen, and I believe it is happening! We can all succeed with a bit of effort. I love it. And I do think we are learning a lot from our world today. It isn't all about money (I want to see happy customers, and people that feel valued first), it is about who we are, and those that we care for. True success in life follows.

Now...back to the boy. Spike is from my first litter of boxers. The boxer boy did not get the training that his (late) father, Samson, got from me. He rode in the truck with me this morning when I ran a few chores. He has a lot to learn, almost wore me out! But he is worth it. I should have started on him when he was a 25 pound puppy, not a 90 pound, 4 year old boy. Does he look worn out in the pic? He was. But it was worth the trip, and the effort.

Enjoy your life!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rest for Success

Yesterday I talked about how skin care goes to the wayside when I am in the middle of kidding season, and last night, by the way, I whipped up some beneficial body butter! The other malady during kidding season is a lack of sleep.

Without sleep we find ourselves with less control of our thoughts and our emotions. It becomes difficult to focus, and it can even be dangerous to be a "walking zombie," as I sometimes call it.

My dear beloved sister recently expressed the humour that she finds in my very short and beneficial naps. To prove my napping point I did some research!

There are 5 stages of sleep. The first stage, drifting in and out, lasts approximately 10 minutes. The next stage, when the brain activity slow, lasts about 10 minutes as well. The 10-20 minute power nap is so very beneficial because it carries a person into the stage where the brain is no longer hard at work. It has been noted that when a nap exceeds 30 minutes, it can actually cause the napper to not be able to shake off the grogginess, stemming from the napper entering into too deep of a sleep (past stage 2).

The most beneficial power nap time is between 1PM and 3PM for most folks, when the afternoon dreariness sets in.

While researching naps, I remembered some very successful folks that also take a daily power nap. The nap that revives the person so they can concentrate, and be successful throughout the afternoon. One such person is George Armani, I recently read about his mid-day power naps on his blog. Albert Einstein was another that swore by power naps, as well as many past presidents, and Thomas Edison.

To wrap this up, if you need a nap, you are not being lazy, you could possibly use the 15-20 minutes to slow the brain down a bit and revive! I wish you great success with it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Whipped Shea Butter

As you all know, I have had a mess of kids born these past couple of weeks.

During kidding season each year I develop a myriad of thoughts such as happiness, wonder (awe to mother nature), weariness, and if I do not watch myself, the grand feeling of being overwhelmed.

I like my patterns in life. I am not a person that likes to sit around, nor do I like to be bored, but I like my work to be in some sort of order.

When kids are born the pattern changes somewhat, especially when the cold weather brings forth a number of bottle kids. Soon, though, the patterns begin to fall into place again. This evening, with a warm breeze blowing through the barn, I sat in the near darkness and bottle fed the hungry kids. Despite the noise of the complaining grown goats (waiting for water buckets to be filled), I enjoyed the quiet with the kids.

During these few weeks each year another thing happens. I tend to not take such good care of myself. I do pay attention to the bare basics, such as bathing, sleeping and eating, but other things tend to go to the wayside, such as skin care.

Today I regained some of my old self. Right before dinner I worked in my shop, made a fresh batch of whipped shea butter. This batch has shea butter, olive oil, and a few other minor ingredients, including sweet orange essential oil for a touch of fragrance. Skin care is back on the agenda!

I plan to whip some jars up for customers, for the website. What types of scents would you like to see? I went all natural with this one, but I can add a fragrance as well.

Warm and Sunny Goat Kid Day

I am working on a project in a few hours in the shop...but first wanted to post a few pics from today's kid goat antics!

They love the stumps that Bob dumped into the pen a few weeks ago. I had to move the stumps further away from the fence. The kids were ready to jump on out!

Monday, March 9, 2009

New Goat Milk Soap Project

I missed blogging this weekend. I have some catching up to do!

We visit friends each Sunday afternoon. When I called yesterday morning they invited us out to a later dinner, instead of the Sunday afternoon visit. They said, "You guys need a break, you have been hitting the (kidding) hard on the farm now for over a week." I hesitated at first. Wondered how I would fit a trip away in. But, common sense told me it would be good for us. It was.

Today has been wrapped around deskwork, chore running, feeding bottle kids, and a new goat milk soap project.

Some of you know that my love of soap began when I was right at 8 years old, when I bought primitive soap balls on a school field trip at a pioneer farm. I never thought I would try to make soap myself (not back then), I just fell in love with soap without realizing it. I collected soap through my childhood, never gave that a thought either.

After lunch today I headed out to my shop and got some activity and energy flowing. It does not not look like much right now, except perhaps balls of cookie dough! Here are the starts to my primitive soap balls. Once they are cured, I am taking some to a shop placement. I'll post pics of that final project later this week...my ideas are rounding up!

Tyra says..."Mom, can you do something with these goat kids?" My boxers love it when I bring a bottle baby in. Even Spike, the 90 pound male, gets to be a spring board from time to time. He just looks at me with an empty stare.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Reclaimed Lumber A Treasure This Saturday

Call the couple that lives at Annie's Goat Hill a little on the different side. But are we?

Bob likes to work with wood, especially reclaimed lumber.

I love old things. I have several things around the house that others have asked, "Why did you want that?"

These past few months, each time we drove to pick up a load of hay, we noticed an old red barn being dismantled (but never caught anyone at the job site). Once it became obvious that the barn was being taken down very carefully, Bob decided to find out who owned the property. We live amongst of community of Amish and Mennonites. Someone normally knows something, if you start asking. The person working on the barn project, cool as can be, does indeed rebuild old barns! He gave us permission to remove any lumber or materials left on the ground (not a structural part).

We claimed red bead board siding, other types of red painted lumber, and my treasures are...(drum roll)...an old barn door with rusty hardware! I am thinking about having it hinged in 3 places and using it as a screen in my living room. Yep, you read that right! And, under the huge piles of rickety lumber I found an old primitive dresser. The dresser was beyond repair but the drawers looked like keepsakes to me. As you can see in the picture above, they are heavy duty drawers. I actually could see them hanging on the wall in the front room of my house. Some of the drawers have 4 compartments. But they are too heavy, despite my plaster walls, I still think I would create troubles. So, we are going to build a rustic desk of sorts, and attach the drawers to the back, as if they were shelves, compartments. I am way too excited!

Annie's Goat Hill sells gift sets in wooden crates, and when I say they are made from reclaimed lumber, you can trust that they are. You may be getting a part of a 100 year old barn, you may be getting a part of an old piece of non-repairable furniture, you never know. And in these times, I try to go as green as possible (re-use paper, packing materials, and wood). It is no longer tacky, it is smart to the environment and economical!

Some of the barn siding...

Goat Kids On The Farm

For those that said they want to come back for more kid goat pics, here are a few for you today.

Apparently one of my nubian bucks (Emery) visited the boer pen last fall. One day last week we had 3 kids born that look much like their sire. This doeling is a beauty! To the right is Sarah. Sarah was a bottle kid, born on a -5 degree morning. She was very spoiled, gave birth last week, and was interested in us, not her newborn. We are having to bottle raise her buckling.

Today they had fun on the stumps that my husband dumped into the lot a few weeks ago.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Refreshing Things


Today seems to be a good day.

So far I have moved 4 kids to the barn. Graduation day we call it. Sometimes we have bottle kids in the house. Kids nearly frozen from very cold weather births, some too weak to nurse on their dams. Always a wonderful day to see the kids healthy, strong, moving into their warm new barn suite. A refreshing site!

My husband is heading to a job interview today. Also refreshing. After a year of unemployment, and oodles of job applications and resumes, he has received 2 calls for interviews this week alone. If you believe in prayer or positive thinking, we can use it!

If I weren't so tired, and I might do it anyhow, I might work on more soap today. Refreshing soap like the peppermint goat milk soap pictured in this post. I love that soap! I had a customer that had problems with infected skin, and swore the soap helped her to heal, and her doctor sided with the soap. Now, I cannot tell you that my soap is medicinal, but the use of essential oils goes back a long way!

What is most refreshing today is the bright sunshine, the spring-like strong breezes, and to see the kids outside having the ball of their life!

I hope you are having a good day too!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Strength and Happiness

I have been writing about goals, happiness, staying focused, and keeping a balance in life, amongst other things.

At times we are faced with unexpected challenges. Today's challenge is a good example.

One of my saanan does, Chandra, and I rode in the bed of the pick up truck last March, 55 MPH all the way, in an emergency attempt to rescue her badly tangled twins. Surgery was not required, and one of the twins was saved. All of us felt it would be a one-time occurance, never would Chandra have that same kidding problem again. However, once again today, we made an emergency run to the vet's office, this time it resulted in a C-section. Two huge bucklings and a very sore Chandra. And a Chandra that is now going to be retired.

Early this morning, as I realized that I could not fix the problem the doe was having, I calmly accepted that I had done my best. I then waited for good things to unfold. I put my mind in the right position to march forward and handle whatever was being dealt to me. This is the wisdom that I referred in my last post, this is the happiness in life that I referred to in another post. It is up to us how we advance in life, how much happiness we allow ourselves. It truly is.

At the vet's office I wanted to take names and phone numbers. There was a woman, probably in her mid 60's, that wanted to watch the C-section. I smiled as Dr. Junk, not the one performing surgery, asked the non-medical person if she wanted to watch the surgery through the glass. Dr. Junk smiled at me at one point, winked, and said, "Onwards and upwards." Yes, sir, you betcha'!

There was another women in the office with her "terrible 2's" boxer. I have 3. She and I talked about the economy, and how much we are learning, and how it really can be a positive thing (my post 2 days ago). We talked about Annie's Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps, and the getting down to sustaining ourselves.

No, it was not a good thing that poor Chandra had suffered, but it was good to know that there are people in the world that are human, good genuine people. People that did not care that I smelled like the barn floor, nor that I had blood and dried birthing fluids on my jeans, nor that I had on my most raggedy barn coat (that has to see the dumpster this spring), nor my mud packed muck boots.

We all make the best of things, and that is how we allow ourselves to be, and that is how we are successful in our own lives.

Remember to look for the good things in life, they are there!

By the way, the kid in the photo is one of my bottle kids this year. The middle-aged men across the road get together once a week to play old classic rock. They shake the ground. After we did our bottle feeding a few evenings ago, Bob scooped up one of the kids and took him to visit with the band. I heard the music stop. Bob said the cameras and laughter came out. The kid came back zipped up inside of the work overhauls, and I had to snap the adorable photo as his head came out!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cheap Is The Rave?

Just what I have been thinking! Exactly!

When I tell my friends that the recession is good for us because we are learning, I am seeing proof of that.

We are learning to change our way of purchasing (buying carefully). We are looking beyond what we would have bought in the past (without a second thought in prior years). And we are living with things that we might have quickly thrown aside before our economy flip-flopped. What is that doing for us? We are learning! We are growing!

Not only are we learning to spend wisely, we are learning to deal with more challenges, and we are gaining wisdom as I write this. I love it.

I have learned to look at the glass as half full, an integral part of my personal being. Because of that it, I have looked for the silver lining since our economy challenge has unfolded into what it is today.

Before I go on, I do feel sorry for people that have lost their homes, their vehicles, and worst of all, their jobs! Please do not begin to feel I am making light of those horrible situations. I have shed many tears for loved ones that have not been able to hold onto the roofs over their heads, or their source of income. Better days are ahead, they truly are. You will look back on this period of time as a bridge to better waters, there is no doubt about it!

Last week, Annie's Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps started a Brown Bag Special. It is booming. I am helping my customers make wise decisions in buying good for their skin soap (no wrappers, no frills, just the soap), and they are helping me by buying soaps that I might not have otherwise sold. I am cleaning the store shelves of bars of soap that weigh a little less than 4 ounces (to sell in the brighter days ahead). And, I am making room for the Sunshine Packs that are in the works (more on the packs later). Spring is going to come, and so is Sunshine! And I want to spread it around!

Back to my real topic, and it goes hand in hand with wise spending, cheap is the rave? Look what CNN wrote today: http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/03/04/cheap.new.chic/index.html?eref=rss_topstories. Granted, not too many of us can buy $7,000 watches or purses, but we know what it means to cut back. And yes, I agree, Cheap is the New Chic!!!

I say, get on the bandwagon. Decide what is most important (the topic I posted on yesterday). We can beat this thing. Perhaps not painlessly, but we can do it with fun, and with a fresh new outlook on life. Goodwill clothes on the runway? Yes!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

International Women's Day and Balance In Life

I have reflected on many things today. When I am tired, I have to think in a more guarded way, remain very focused, and prioritize my day that much more.

Women have, in my opinion, the unique ability to hold wisdom, and to be many good things. Many of us can multi-task, perform many jobs at once. And I am one of those. I love to have several projects at hand, it keeps life at an interesting level.

But sometimes we must remember to take care of ourselves, or we will not have the ability to take care of the things that we truly love to focus on.

My business goals were put on paper when 2009 began. I try to meet the goals daily, and on most days I do meet them. My personal goals, put on paper as well, have taken a step back, my social goals are right where I wanted them to be. I have spoken about balance and need to do so again today. I have several different bulletin boards, one houses keepsakes such as thank you cards. Another, the board that I looked at a while ago holds family pictures, goat pictures, dog pictures, a new truck picture, personal goals, business goals, and even a photo of my husband taken 30 years ago by his brother. All of these things can be parts of our often busy lives when we make sure there is a balance!

The balance consists of the important things in life: financial, physical, social, family, mental, and spiritual. My tune up and re-evaluation is on the way. It is time to stop and smell the roses, put all goals in gear, focus on what is most important in my life, and remain true to the woman that I am. You need to do the same! But remember, you are in charge of pampering you, with a balance! Take care of you!

Sunday is International Women's Day, a day where women across the globe celebrate women's economic, political and social achievements of the past, present and future. Perhaps some of these women made big waves, some made smaller ripples in the sea of life, and some were just as happy to make a difference without rocking the boat at all, and that is okay, but there is no doubt that every successful women (thank to you each one of them) has focused on the balance in her life from time to time! No doubt at all.

Happy Women's Day to each of you!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Herbs For The Goat Milk Soap

I just returned from a lunch break. This morning I fed the bottle kids, checked on the expectant mothers (two does should kid today), and then headed to the quiet office to put my head into some much needed desk work. I am better rested today. My dear husband stayed up past midnight, making several trips to the barn last night. The does were still kidding late into the evening. He made sure the newborns were dry and well fed by their dams before he turned in after midnight.

My mind and eyes keep wandering out the office window. It is a bright sunny day, but with a single digit wind chill of 7 degrees. Very warm out there! I am happy to report that the kids in the barn are fine, in fact, some are romping outdoors. I like to give them a choice after they are a few days old. Similar to human kids, playing outdoors seem to make for healthier kids.

So, with the glimpse of the bright blue sky occasionally on my mind, I also rummaged through some of the recent seed and garden catalogs received in the mail. The beautiful photographs, and listing of seeds just makes me long to begin digging in the soil. This spring I hope to begin a garden with a corner dedicated to herbs only. I love to cook, and I love to can, but I also love dried herbs in soap. I want at least 1/4 of the garden to be dedicated to future soap. I would absolutely love to make infusions, and to dabble in essential oils. But the latter would be a very costly venture, and I think I will stay away from that thought for now. Never hurts to dream!

The catalogs that I show in the picture (above) are from Country Corners Greenhouse and Garden Store, Gardener's Supply Company, and the Sand Hill Preservation Center. The magazine on the bottom left, turned sideways, with a "Think Spring" message and photograph, is from a company called Andy H Weaver. It is an Amish catalog. The Amish used to own our house. I still receive their mail. The catalogs intrigue me. And the gloves I have bought from Mr. Weaver's company, oh my, they are white nylon, but are the best work gloves I have ever worn! So very warm. Stick them in the washing machine in a lingerie bag, along with the rest of the wash load. They wash and dry to a perfection for years!

The photograph below (sorry for the quality) are items sold in the Amish magazine, all from the state of Ohio. Imagine a gasoline powered wringer type washer machine! I actually own a wringer washer, I am going to plant flowers in it this spring. I bought it at a farm auction a few months back.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Goat Kids In The House

You are seeing exactly what you think you are seeing, a diaper on a kid goat.

As hard as I try, I always end up with a few kids in the house. We have had gorgeous weather, but now the wind chill has turned dangerous. With my does giving birth with so much ease, practically no signs of labor beforehand, no sounds while kidding, I am doing double watch duty.

I have four kids in the house at this point.

They do not wear diapers all of the time. Luckily, as expensive as diapers are these days, I found a package in the linen closet from last year.

Often times the baby goats, if needed, will move into one or several of our large dog crates until the wind chill climbs back up into a safety zone.

The first two kids are in the house because they were a part of triplets born (not the same dam). With the cold and wind, and does that seemed overwhelmed, I ended up rescuing one each. The last two were born at 5:00 this morning and never dried off well enough to ward off the cold. I worked on all four to bring their body temperature back up. Two were "iffy," but all are happy and healthy right now!

I have been busy this Sunday, and still trying to sneak in a nap. We just had two more born within the hour. I helped the mommas dry the kids. I am hoping they gain their own body temperature quick enough so I do not need to remove them from the barn.

I give a lot of credit to my husband, Bob, for being right there, helping as he can.

Our kid goat hotel until Wednesday (when the barn temperatures should be safe again):