March 31, 2009

Goat Milk Soap

Update - Thanks to all for their interest in the soaps. However all soaps have been sold. Thank you so much Cathy.

Like many that raise dairy goats, I make goat milk soap. I have been crafting soap for a few years, originally just for our own personal use. I then gave family and friends samples to try. We had a good response with many requests for more.
Sister loved my soaps. She loved them so much she decided to add soaps and such to her product line. What product line you might ask, she has a cottage business creating and selling handcrafted items such as clothing (peasant shirts and skirts), bags, purses, quilts, pillows, jewelry, etc. sold on line and on a craft vending circuit.
I was game for the idea so I made lots of soaps and bath salts. She then added handcrafted lotions, sprays, lip and healing balms and sugar scrubs to match the soap scents.
Sister did all the work on the sales end, she traveled, advertised and hobnobbed with the customers (she is a people person where I am a homebody). My contribution was just to make soaps. Although when sister had a vending event close to the farm I would go with her to help.

Recently sister has taken ill. Having appointments at the Mayo Clinic ill.

So she is closing up shop. She is not happy having to do so and will continue to craft things as she feels up to it for her regular customers.

After loading up the family and stocking up the farm with soap we have a few bars remaining. 22 bars to be exact. Different scents made from my signature goat milk soap recipe I inherited from my late grandmother. I normally don’t advertise any products from the farm on the blog, but thought this one time I would in case anyone might be interested.

The bars are 3.5 – 4 ounces in size. Made by the cold process method and chocked full of good things for your skin. Ingredients are saponified oils of soy and coconut, goat milk, water, shea butter, fragrance or essential oils. Other natural ingredients used include honey, colloidal oatmeal and coffee grounds.

The remaining scents are listed below, the number of bars available in that scent are in (parentheses).

Apple Jack (2) Apple, cinnamon and clove scent
Berry Bliss (3) Blackberry, raspberry, musk and vanilla scent
Coffee Scrub (2) The same pure and natural goat milk soap with coffee grinds. The coffee absorbs odor as well as removes the dirt and grime.
Grandma's Recipe (1) Unscented plain old fashion goat milk soap
Honey Almond (2) A touch of honey with a sweet almond scent, dusted with colloidal oatmeal.
Honey Oatmeal (4) Unscented with added honey & colloidal oatmeal.
Mountain Breeze (3) Fresh, woody, earthy masculine scent. Made with Fir and Cedar essential oils.
Patchouli (1) Fragrance of Patchouli
Red Clay & Citrus (3) Tangy and fresh, this is a great summer soap scent. Contains a citrus fusion of Orange, Grapefruit, Sweet Orange Essential Oils and red clay.
Sandalwood (1) Fragrance of Sandalwood

If you would like more information on the scents and ingredients please do not hesitate to ask.
The soaps normally sell for $4.50 per bar. Since we are closing up shop I will sell the soaps individually for $3.00 a bar. Buyer to pay postage.
If you are interested in buying all 22 bars make a reasonable offer and I will throw in the remaining bath salts we have at no charge. I would consider barter. For anyone local I would even consider trading all 22 bars and bath salts for a couple of lambs.

March 30, 2009

Little Lambsie Divy

With the better half being home on vacation come many changes to the daily activities on the farm. Not only is more work getting done it takes less time to accomplish. Leaving time to get out and about, away from the farm for short periods. I rarely leave the farm when I am home alone. Just so much to do and I hate leaving the critters unattended. So his being on vacation allows us to get out and about and I also consider it a mini vacation for myself.

You know you don’t get away from the farm much when the friendly employees at the local farm/feed store holler across the store as you come through the door " Wow! They let you off the farm to come in to visit".

The last few days have been busy. We have welcomed a few new critters to the farmstead, the feeder piglets (photos and info to come later), replacement chicks and our new lambsies.

Excuse the poor quality photos, as you know I am so not the photographer and "el cheapo" digital camera seems to be on it's last leg.

The New Chicks

Some of our layers are quite old with a couple being our original birds and they have stopped producing completely. We stopped by the Cackle Hatchery to see what they had in-store. I was hoping for a few new Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks and Arucanas. None available that day so we chose a few California Whites, Dominique’s and Black Sex Links. Jim really likes the California Whites. He has a great story about one of our old CW’s that I’ll share another day. In a nutshell that old CW loved to lay her daily egg in the back of the pick-up, not in the hen house and actually took a trip to town. I am happy with the Dominique’s, they remind me of my grandmother, those were all she raised.

As most of you who read our blog regularly know, we raise our own meat. In the past we had been raising our own lamb/mutton though dispersed the flock when our goat numbers grew to over 150 head.
By my bringing the Shetland wether boys back to the farm for their fleece I think it made the better half remember how much he enjoyed raising sheep (other than shearing). We have also had customers requesting lamb, actually more so than goat. This also goes along with changing our direction on the farm.

Soooo ....
say hello to our new bottle baby sheepies. Scarlet and Pittypat
(Can you tell I watched Gone With The Wind not too long ago LOL).
Pittypat white with brown spots
Scarlet brown and white all over

Eating their breakfast (you can get an idea how colorful Scarlet is)
They are St. Croix/Katahdin cross ewe lambs. These breeds are hair sheep as well as meat breeds. They do not need to be sheared. They shed their coats. This was the main selling point for the better half, no shearing required.
Scarlet and Pittypat will be our foundation ewes. Their offspring ram lambs will be for terminal lambs. Their ewe lambs will stay to increase our flock. Of course this is all future planning, Scarlet and Pittypat are only a month old. When they are a year or better we plan to find a stud ram to borrow. I really do not want a ram on the farm.
Sunday after church we picked the lambs up at a fellow bloggers farm. All Natural Simple Life It was so nice to meet her and her family, plus visit with like-minded folks that were only just a few miles away from us. It actually is a small blog world. I would have not known they were even close if it had not been for blogging.
I have to share I was so impressed with her daughters. All were lovely, polite young ladies and obviously not afraid of hard work. They were out in the thick of things, caring for the animals, working side by side with their parents. Makes me wish I had granddaughters I could share our farm life with.
I also wish I could have brought home all 5 little ewe lambs they had. They were all so adorable.
Thanks so much Tonia, we love the girls.

March 28, 2009

In Like a Lion and Out Like a Lamb

Or is that in like a lamb and out like a lion? Isn’t this weather crazy? For our area, we are expecting rain today and snow this afternoon. Really hard to take after being in the 60’s and 70’s lately. Thought Spring was really here, guess not.

Managed to snap a quick photo yesterday of the Shetlands after shearing. Angus in the front, Kirby in the back looking so tiny next to the unsheared boys.

I want to thank everyone for the comments on shearing. They help so much.
Deb, as you suggested I think we will attempt shearing the last two in late May. I have been doing a bit more reading about the sticky rise and contacted another Shetland breeder for more info. She also stated it is best to shear after the "rise" when the wool twists and makes the "roo line".
For those not familiar with the Shetland they are considered a primitive breed with a double coat. The outer coat is hair like, the undercoat is downy and soft. The wool tends (this can vary sheep to sheep) not to be very greasy and also keeps the sheep dry. The outer coat stays constant, but the inner coat sheds out once a year (called "rooing").
The roo line is also often called the "rise" by Shetland owners and shearers. It's a weak spot and not an actual break in the wool. In a perfect world you would want to shear just before the "rise" hits in the early spring otherwise the weak spot ends up in the fleece itself. She also said only two breeds of sheep "roo", the Soay and the Shetland.
The equipment we use is the Premier 4000c with coarse blade. Just purchased early spring. The blades were sharp and kept oiled so I do believe it was just our being inexperienced with the Shetland wool. We also have the Oster Clipmaster with fine blade and a hand shearer (which looks like a dangerous weapon to me).

Nancy, I don’t think I have the patiences to roo a whole sheep. I did roo the boy’s private areas instead of trying to use scissors. The rooing worked great in that area.

There is a fiber festival/fair coming up May 16 in Marshfield Missouri at the Webster County Fairgrounds. We attend it every year. The festival is hosted and produced by the Highland Fiber Artists Guild.
Here’s a little plug for it.
Going Green is the theme for this year's Fiber Fair!
Free Admission & Parking - Sorry, No Pets!
Showing: Alpacas, Llamas, Sheep, Goats, Bunnies & More!
Free Mini-Workshops & Children's Crafts w Knitting & Crocheting - Speed Contests w Fashion Show w Fleece & Skein Competitions w Young Crafters' Contest and Demonstrations: Sheep Shearing, Spinning, Weaving, Knitting, Crochet, Tatting, Lace making, Quilting & More!

Some have asked what I do with the fleece. We do sell the raw fleeces (what we don’t use) and I like to try everything at least once in fiber crafts. We have a spinning wheel and just purchased the carder. I keep coming back to fiber processing being my favorite and working hands on with the animal. Then felting, dyeing and weaving are my favorites when I have down time. I'd love to do more, though there just isn’t enough hours in the day for my fiber pursuits. My mother and sister n laws crochet and knit. We feel it is very rewarding to produce our own fiber and yarn for crafts and clothing adding to our self-sufficiency.

March 27, 2009

Shearing - Day 2 - Shetland Sheep

So does anyone know a good sheep shearer who would do a small flock of Shetlands, a very small flock.

I remember now why we took our first flock to be sheared by a professional. Unfortunately our shearer passed away a couple of years ago. So we thought we would/could shear our sheep and goats ourselves.

Shearing the Shetlands is new to us. Our old flock was a mixture of Suffolk and Polypay. We sheared the Suffolk with only a bit of trouble. The main issue was our equipment, what we used back then was old. Not wanting to invest in new equipment back then we found our shearer.

Now we have invested the money in shearing equipment, we find we just can't do it properly. Know too little about it even though we have watched educational videos, visited others who shear and watched our late shearer.

We worked through shearing Angus first. He did well handling the stress of being man handled and sheared. He looks a bit rough because we did not do a good job of getting him sheared smoothly. Next we sheared Kirby, he did well being handled also, but Jim knicked and cut him. Jim was so upset he hurt Kirby he didn't want to continue. I managed to finish his shearing with scissors. Kirby too is a bit raggedy looking and patchy.

No photos this go around, I was too pre-occupied.

March 26, 2009

Shearing - Day 1- Angoras

Shearing diagram for the Angoras

We constructed a similar holding device for shearing the Angoras. It is actually an old picnic table that is waist high. The head piece is actually an old milk stand head gate bolted to the end. Nothing pretty but it works. It actually saves your back from the aching of bending over.
Aurora being sheared.

Aurora not so happy about being sheared.

Bella having touch ups around her face.

The better half did an excellant job. Not one nick or scratch on nary an animal.
All are sheared, had their yearly CDT vaccinations, hooves trimmed, de-wormed and Boss applied(lice preventative). The boys were checked for pizzle problems.

Sheep shearing is scheduled for this afternoon if all goes according to plan.

Follow Up on Lap Band Surgery
Not long ago I mentioned that the better half was checking into having the lap band surgery. The Dr. who treated him at the Emergency room (when he hurt his back awhile ago), stated he was a prime candidate.
He had his consultation appt. for the surgery to find out our insurance does not cover the surgery. So as much as he may need or want the surgery. He will not have the surgery. He refuses to go roughly $20,000 into debt. Well and to be perfectly honest we can't afford for him to go that far into debt for weight loss surgery.

March 24, 2009

It Was A Kodak Moment

The farm hand yelled through the screen door, "Need your help." I scurried out to see what was the matter. There sit Jim a top the running tractor with bush hog attached. On top of the bush hog stood 4 sheep happily munching on the remains of the field that had collected and settled on the equipment.

This really amazes me, that the sheep have no fear of a running tractor. They wouldn’t budge. Normally our critters run when large machinery, especially loud large machinery at that, approaches. I had to laugh. It was actually quite cute. Looked like the boys were hitching a ride on the tractor. I wish I had remembered the camera.

I grabbed a small can of grain and bribed the boys into their feed area so Jim could move on down to the bottom field without fear of the sheep getting in the way, following behind or being hurt.

While the guys were busy outside I made a batch of vanilla yogurt and a batch of cracked pepper with green olive Chevre. Had hoped to start some feta when the phone began to ring with news of customers wanting to come by to pick up their weekly supply of eggs and goat milk. Hopefully today will have time for the feta.

Today is reworking and expanding the pigpen while the ground is moist from the rain, easier to put in T posts. Weather permitting the guys also hope to set-up the shearing area for Wednesday morning.

I definitely will have the camera ready for shearing time.

Pleased to report that the bush hogging is complete. The better half being the nice guy that he is, even bush hogged the neighbors few acres while he was at it.
Hope everyone has a great day!

March 23, 2009

Oldie But Goodie

The tractor a FarmAll H, made in I think 1952... ahh well maybe a 53. Anyways just three or four years older than I am. Use to be frequently in need of repairs before each use though believe the guys have gotten it up and running pretty smoothly now. They have spent the last three weekends the better half was home working on the thing to prepare for spring use. Mechanics and farm equipment are not my thing. Don't know how to operate or care to know how to operate them. Just know the ole' girl still works and gets the job done.
The guys come in fussing about parts and pieces needing replaced, I just nodd my head and pretend as if I do understand and acknowledge their complaints. Usually just hand over the check book and say be careful as they head out the door to town.

It's bush hog and tilling time.

March 22, 2009

This & That & Pie

It has been a busy weekend here so far and looks like the week ahead will be no different.

Had company from the city on Friday and Saturday.

Friday was sister and her hubby. They made a quick one day trip down and back. Was so good to see them. Haven't seen them since Thanksgiving.

Saturday a few members of the better half's family showed up unexpectedly. A short but pleasant visit there also.

On the coming weeks calendar is shearing, butchering the roosters, garden prep, starting more seeds, reworking and expanding the pig pen plus assorted other tasks. Sounds like alot? Normally it would be but while the better half is on vacation for 10 days we are hoping to knock out many things on the "To Do List".

I am so glad Sister came for a visit. It gave me a chance to try out a new recipe recently posted over at Antiquity Oaks . Creme Brulee Pie made with goat milk and farm fresh eggs.
I'm normally hesitate in making a cake or pie. It's just me most of the time and Jim is home on weekends. Hate for anything to go to waste, so you know we would eat the whole thing and we really don't need it.

It was delightful. So easy, peasy to make (makes it's own crust). Everyone loved it. Not a single crumb left.

March 20, 2009

Spring Begins

I remember wishing the days of winter away, looking forward to spring. It's been lovely weather the last few days, highs in the 60's lows in the 40's. However this morning, the first day of spring it was 30 degrees. Go figure.

Around the farm this morning...
Buffy relaxing while the boys are out and about playing
Hammer seeing what was going on at the front door

Anvil not too far behind Hammer.

For Jacob's Chance
a short nap

and as you can tell it is definitely time for spring shearing.

Hope everyone has a wonderful first day of spring.

March 19, 2009

It's Here!

My new carder just arrived! Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy! Not a moment too soon :-)
Shearing begins Monday.
The better half is taking a weeks vacation for shearing and a bit of work around the farm.

Like kids in a candy store we are! I promised I would only take it out of the box, wouldn't unwrap or test it out before he arrived home.

Spring & Rain

Seems like over night our old wild cherry tree blooms
adorned from top to bottom with beautiful white blossoms

It rained, really rained overnight. A good old fashioned spring rain downpour with thunder and lightning. The fires all should be out.

March 18, 2009

Still Burning

New fires popped up yesterday according to the local Fire Department, plus some are still burning and smoldering from previous fires around the area. The air is heavy with smoke, ash and dust.
Early yesterday afternoon our little valley was covered in white from downwind drifts.
I became concerned we may be at risk again from the ever changing direction of the strong winds and fires on the west side of the farm (Saturday's fires came from the north and northeast). I called the Fire Dept. for an update (used the non-emergency number). The very nice gentleman on the other end of the line reassured me that all was well for our little valley. The fires had moved on farther. He also stated that the Dept. of Forrestry, Dept. of Conservation plus many firefighters were in our area and would be on scene if any problems happened to arise.

The air quality is very poor.

If you visit Tonia over at All Natural Simple Life she has shared some photos taken out and about our area.

In the photo above follow the black top road to the far end... see the smoke? Look to the left of the tree...see the smoke? If you were closer you could see that the skyline in the photo is covered end to end in the grey white haze. Looking to the left of the photo find the red X. That is the general area of our farm. More fires are burning beyond the red X.

Last nights weather forecast predicts showers this evening.

March 17, 2009

Are You Wearing Green?

Wishing you always
Walls for the wind
And a roof for rain
And tea beside the fire.
Laughter to cheer you,
And those you love near you,
And all that your heart might desire!

March 16, 2009

My Beautiful Boys

We had hoped to shear this past weekend. Didn't happen, the fires popping up changed our plans.
I can't wait to get the boys sheared. They are big fluff, puff balls. With the weather starting to warm up I know they will increasingly become more uncomfortable.


Kelly(black) & Kirby

Angus and Aberdeen checking out the milk room

Kelly & Kirby resting by the house

Angus scratching on the livestock racks

Gotta scratch the tail end a bit.

The Angoras are first on the shearing schedule, especially Bella. She is expanding through her mid section. Could be she just gained a tad bit of weight over the winter months.

March 15, 2009

Field Fires

Saturday morning the 80-acre farm directly behind us called to say they had called in a controlled burn.

Saturday afternoon fire departments from 3 counties and the Dept. of Conservation were set up in our back pasture attempting to keep the fires from crossing onto our property and spreading through the surrounding heavily wooded areas. The winds had changed directions, causing the controlled fire to quickly become uncontrolled.

A controlled burn of farmland if done properly can improve the quality of grass and put nutrients back into the soil. Fires remove dead materials and encourage the growth of valuable seed-producing plants. Small controlled burns are often used to clear areas too steep for tillage or mowing.

All is well on the farm this morning. The fire fighters began leaving shortly before 1:00 a.m. after containing and putting out the blazes.

From my understanding 1400 acres of farmland in our area were burnt yesterday from careless and improper burning.

March 13, 2009

This Little Piggie

Our pig farmer friend called to say the feeder piglets would be weaned within 3 – 4 weeks.

For those of you unfamiliar with feeder pigs - they are piglets raised for home use, market, or as a 4-H or FFA project for summer fairs.

Our pig farmer friend has school age children who raise pigs for 4-H. The extra piglets not used by the children are sold to folks like us who raise their own farm food allowing the kids to make a bit of cash to fund their project.

Why We Buy the Piglets

1. Buying a whole pig is buying in bulk. That saves money.
2. We grow the pigs without hormones or antibiotics. We know we have healthy, safe meat without chemicals.
3. The meat tastes better than store bought and is much healthier which is the most important point in our opinion.

We offer our family and close friends the same opportunity. We house and care for the animal; they pay the cost of their piglet, it's feed and processing for their animal.

Normally we don’t have too many takers (maybe 3) who participate each year. This year everyone surprised me (though I suppose I shouldn’t be with todays economy). We reserved 10 piglets to raise for 8 families.

March 12, 2009

Things Are Changing

For those that have been reading for awhile may remember my mentioning we have been and were attempting to change directions on the farm. Trying to get back to our original farm goals.
For newcomers a brief rewind would be that years ago when we moved to the farm our original plan was to simply raise the foods we wished to eat and become as self-sufficient as we possibly could. We became sidetracked early on when the better half felt we could supplement the farm income by raising a commercial meat goat herd and I became obsessed with raising every breed of goat in existence.
Fast-forward to present, we are close to having things sorted out. Though we love the SA Boer goat breed, raising 150 head of meat goats was not as profitable as we had hoped and much, much more work than I could handle alone. We had downsized to all but 5 of the Boer herd. I had also downsized and sorted out my dairy and fiber herds a couple of years ago so I could bring back a small flock of sheep to the farm. We were slowly getting back to basics.
Yesterday we sold the 2 remaining Boer does from the meat herd. Leaving only Jim’s favorite, our ABGA registered herdsire Breezy Hill Axle.

We were planning on keeping Axle to breed our dairy does.
The crossbred offspring could be sold for either meat or dairy kids or terminal sales.
Not too long ago Jim hesitatingly mentioned he might consider selling Axle if the right person/farm would come along. I don’t think either one of us expected or thought the right person would ever come along. Never thought the big guy would really part with Axle to be honest. It took us a couple of years, a bit of traveling and cost a pretty penny to locate a herdsire of Axle’s quality.
Surprisingly and unexpectedly someone did come along. Axle soon will be leaving the farm, literally going to greener pastures with a large (very large) show and commercial meat herd. Axle will be doing the job he was meant to do, herdsire and breed. And is very possible the new owners may show him.

March 11, 2009

Not Heaven's Scent

The guardian dogs were pitching a fit last night. All 4 of them, usually it is only the 2 Great Pyrenees that patrol and sound off all hours of the night.
I have almost become conditioned to sleep through their nightly howls and barks. But I knew something was up at 3:00 a.m. when all 4 of the dogs were seemingly disturbed and doing some heavy duty barking.
I was debating if I should go and check out the situation. Listening to them I could actually tell it was not their knock down drag out serious, I mean business bark. It was more or less a get the heck out of here bark like they throw at the neighbors dogs when they wander over. Including a few of the same growls as if a barn cat was trying to eat out of their feed bowls just thrown in for good measure. The only reason I moved from my comfy covers was due to their being so close to the house.
Not 2 seconds after I decided to step into my houseshoes, down the hall and open the door did the most ill smelling, foul, disgusting stench fill the house. A SKUNK! The darn dogs had cornered a skunk up close to the house.
"OH GAG" takes on a new meaning and is not even close to how ill the smell can make a person.

March 10, 2009

Beau’s Pneumonia - For Joanna

He was an adoption from a large Fiber Farm 2 years ago and was buck wild when we got him. The poor little guy was a shy little fellow, a loner, low man on the herd totem pole and was constantly being picked on. Always stood away from the main herd, waited until everyone else ate and drank before he would indulge. He never would rush the gate when I entered and definitely did not want hugs and pets like everyone else. Over time he had settled down to where he didn’t run from me, though did not let me walk directly up to him. I could get my hands on him when I would sit with cookies as treats for everyone. Just had to bribe him to get close.
When a goat is like Beau, stands off away from the main herd and secluding himself is his normal behavior, it becomes very hard to notice a change in his health. I feel responsible for not catching his illness quicker.
He was seemingly normal one day, the next day I was outside working in the area of the Angora paddock when I heard him cough a couple of times. Coughing can sometimes be nothing (change in type of hay can cause a cough, allergies also can cause a cough) sometimes it can be something (worm load, cold or pneumonia). We checked his temperature - it wasn’t abnormal. He was due for his yearly vaccinations next week, so we went ahead and vaccinated, dewormed him etc. while we had him in hand.
We turned him back out, but I noticed he was still had a cough a day later. We again pulled him out of the main herd. He had developed a clear nasal drainage. So we started him on the antibiotic we had on hand. After a 3 day treatment of our meds, the cough had stopped, though he still had a slight nasal discharge and I thought he sounded a bit wheezy and congested in breathing.
We took him to the vet;he had a slightly elevated temp. The vet ran a couple of blood tests, said he was not anemic (means he was not ill from a worm load) and felt it was respiratory (pneumonia). The antibiotic we were giving must not have touched the problem Beau had. The vet gave us a prescription antibiotic, a better broad-spectrum antibiotic. That day we started Beau on that round of prescription meds, on the second day we thought Beau was sleeping, but he had passed away.
Over the years of owning goats I have found that if a goat is ill, it can and will go down quickly. One day they are seemingly fine, the next they are down. I also find that some goats have a strong will to live and others may just not want to fight.
I have dealt with different goat illnesses such as Coccidiosis, Listeriosis, Enterotoxemia, Goat Polio, Pneumonia – different goats can and do react differently to the same treatment. Some recover, some do not.
We also try to avoid using antibiotics. With Beau we felt it was life-threatening situation so we did use antibiotics plus when I was at the point I did not know what to do to help him we took him to the vet. The medication the vet prescribed was $75.00 for the bottle. The office visit was $30. No it was not a waste of $100.00 because I feel in my heart I did all I could do to save his life. I just wish I could or would have noticed something sooner indicating he was ill.
Not long ago I mentioned our crazy weather pattern, being in the 70’s one day and freezing rain and snow the next. I jinxed it…I said it’s a wonder everyone didn’t catch pneumonia. :-(
Beau was also the last of the "untouchables". I refuse to have another goat that is not hand tame.

March 8, 2009

This, That & The Other

On a good note today...Today is his birthday, my sweet baby boy is 30 today. Happy, Happy Birthday baby!

Elly the stray dog that showed up at the house has now been placed in a wonderful new home. An elderly couple, friends of the family were looking for a pet. They adopted Elly.

I would like to welcome all the new visitors and welcome Tonia a new follower to the blog. Thanks for visiting.

Sadly, we say good bye to Beau our colored Angora wether. Beau developed pneumonia and we could not save him.

We will miss you little guy.

Hope everyone has a blessed Sunday.

March 6, 2009

Throw Open the Windows

Our weather is simply gorgeous!

Be Green - Line Dry :-)

On The Calendar for March
Watch the weather
Start spring clean up - cut downed trees that fell during winter storms off of fence line, mend fence.
Start garden plants from seed
Begin shearing, yearly vaccinations and hoof trimming
Add new piglets and poultry

March 4, 2009

Leaky Washer and Spring Cleaning

Saturday while washing house goat blankets, dog pillows and throw rugs I noticed water leaking out from under the washer. Just a very small trickle thankfully not a gusher. The better half was out in his shop working on man stuff so I yelled out the back door…" I think we have a problem."
Luckily it was not a problem with the washer; it was a problem with the loader (me). A corner of a dog pillow was not submerged below the water line, during the spin cycle the water was ricocheting off the pillow under the lid and down the back and side of the washer.
For the better half to look over the situation, determine the problem and find the source of the leak we had to pull the washer and dryer out from the wall. The washer/dryer area is in the mudroom, beside the back door we use to go in and out to the barnyard also where we hang our farm overalls, coats and kick off our boots. Ewwww, the mess that was under there! The bits and pieces of hay, leaves, gunk and a stray goat berry or two was disgusting. Especially since I had pulled the appliances out only a couple of months ago to clean behind them.
Having the better half handy I also ask if he would pull the kitchen stove out so I could retrieve a spice jar I accidentally knocked behind it. Thankfully no mess hiding behind the stove, while he had it pulled out I decided to clean the sides, sweep behind and do an over all cleaning of the stove. Why stop there, he pulled the refrig out and spring-cleaning began.
It’s a bit too chilly to open up and air the house out which I love to do while deep cleaning. I am working a room at a time, starting with the master bedroom - cleaning, vacuuming and flipping the mattress (get rid of any possible dust mites there you know), sorting, decluttering, and organizing. If all goes well with only minor interruptions I could finish the entire house within a week. Hummm, may do a bit of spring cleaning on computer and the blog also.
Hope everyone has a great day!

March 3, 2009

Feast to Famine Egg Supply

Bless their little hearts, the hens are back into the swing of things. Egg production is on the rise.
We allow our hens to go with the flow of nature...less daylight= less eggs. Winter is normally fresh eggless for us. I do freeze eggs(not in the shell) to carry us through the winter months.
A dozen a day now, ranging from small to large. Don't mind the small eggs one bit, after all they have the same nutrients. I even have a couple of customers who prefer the small eggs.
My favorites are the green eggs from my Araucanas. The color of the shell has no bearing on the quality of egg. Egg shells vary in color due to characteristic of the breed of chicken laying the egg.
I just love green eggs and ham :-)

March 2, 2009

Butter and Butter Bell

We usually have lots of fresh goat milk around here for making any and all of our own farmstead dairy products. Especially back when I was milking 6 does. Those 6 does gave over 6 gallons a day. There was plenty of milk for everything from yogurt to cheeses to ice cream to supplying the entire extended family and a few friends with fresh milk to drink plus quite a bit left over. With that left over is when I started to make butter.
A quick overview on how to make butter…
You take some cream, whip it in a bowl for as long as it takes (around 8 or 9 minutes) to go from being liquid to whipped to curdled and then to butter. Drain the liquid (buttermilk) from the butter then kneaded the butter in a strainer until it is creamy and dense and you have squeezed most of the liquid out. Wella…homemade butter.
OK, I admit I am leaving out a few details of making butter when using goat milk, I will save all those details for another day.
We are very lucky to have a cow dairy just 3 miles away. When I began making butter I bought fresh cows milk from the dairy to practice the art of making butter. Why? Cows milk separates (cream rises to the top) itself. Goat milk does also but not as easily as cows. This is where those pesky little details I will share later of making goat milk butter came from.
But you can easily make butter too. Especially if you were to buy fresh cream from the grocer, local dairy or health food store.

Any hoo, so after you have fresh butter, you know that fresh anything from butter to bread will not keep as long as preservative laden foodstuff you buy at the grocer. Storing my fresh butter so it would not go rancid but yet be spreadable was problematic. I kept a small covered ramekin in the refrig of butter to use on a daily basis and froze the remainder. Like store bought stick butter it had to be left out at room temp to soften. Soured quickly.

Enter the butter bell or French butter crock.
The butter crock I have (above photo) is made of stoneware and holds the equivalent of one stick of butter for up to 30 days without requiring refrigeration. I pack the lid of the pot with butter. Then add enough water to the bottom of the pot to cover the lower edge of the lid. Now return the lid to the crock. The evaporation of the water keeps the butter cool. The water also creates a seal, keeping air out and your butter safe from spoiling. The water should be changed every 2 or 3 days and the crock kept out of direct heat or sunlight.

If by chance you are interested in reading more on making butter from goat milk and don't feel like waiting on me to explain the little details check this site out ...

A neat, thrifty cooking tip -if you buy stick butter at the grocer save the butter wrappers in a freezer baggie for buttering pans, etc.

March 1, 2009

House Goat Update

The set of twin SA Boers bucklings that were born on Jan. 12th have out grown diapers, the playpen and they are almost too large for their cage. They have been growing at a very rapid rate. They weighed 6 lbs. at birth, 13 lbs. at week 1, now at week 6 weigh 30 and 31 lbs.
When the weather turned spring like in the 40-60 range I put them on the screened in porch. Then mother nature threw a curve ball, it snowed and is 18 degrees.
They are back in the house for a short period. This for some odd reason is their favorite place to curl up and relax.

Hope everyone has a blessed day.