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.