Saturday, January 9, 2016

Soaping

I spent the time between Christmas and New Year refreshing my goat milk soap inventory. 

I have gotten a lot of my ideas from YouTube videos produced by Handmade in Florida. Her soaps are so beautiful they sell out in minutes. She does a release of new soaps a few times a year and I was lucky enough to get my hands on some. Okay, let's be honest, I set an alarm to be online right at the release time and still only managed to get my hands on 4 of the 6 kinds I wanted. 

Her soaps are wonderful! While I prefer some of my fragrances, I like the hardness of her bars, the packaging and the way she polishes and bevels them. 
Inspired, I sat at the kitchen table for several hours with a vegetable peeler and my soap cutter and cleaned up all my remaining 2015 bars. I am thrilled with how they look now. 
 

Then I began to play with my recipe to add more high quality oils and a higher percentage of butters to make a firmer bar. These have all kinds of good stuff in them- mango butter, shea butter, cocoa butter, apricot oil, rice bran oil, sweet almond oil, kaolin clay, and more. I love the feel of them already and can't wait to be able to try them out once they have cured. The two kinds above are Indonesian Teakwood and Purification with activated charcoal to draw out impurities. 

This is Beach. 

Winterberry

More Purification (without a swirl) and Cactus Flower

Not only that, my son and I had some success at making bath bombs. We are still tweaking the recipe but are sure enjoying the Research and Development process with these!

My other son got me started on a new website. It is about 90% complete now. When live, we will have soap sales available online! Here's a sneak preview.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

December

Not much to report. The weather has been really nice here. It hardly feels like December and it's been nearly impossible to get into the Christmas spirit. 

I am anxiously awaiting the beginning of kidding season and still trying to get all the girls bred. Trixie (above) looks like she's having twins this year. Thank goodness. I did not want to deal with more triplets and toxemia on her.
I'm afraid Kat is carrying quads.  She is way bigger than she was with the triplets last year. She's due January 30.
Love Song aborted a couple weeks ago. She was back in heat yesterday. I am hoping we can get her rebred. Betty Buttercup must have absorbed her AI pregnancy. After a positive pregnancy test, she went back into heat at 32 days and then short cycled three weeks in a row. I'm hoping she's finally bred now.

Aren't these gray eggs the coolest things you've ever seen?


Sunday, November 8, 2015

November Update

We have baby bunnies! The first litter died a couple of weeks ago; mama didn't quite know what to do with them. The other doe is proving to be a better mama. One of the little guys keeps wandering out of the nest though. I found him cold on the wire again this morning. I hope he makes it.  

I got a good deal on some rabbit hutches and cages from a local "Valley Homesteaders" couple. If it wasn't pouring rain (again), I'd try to get some of the rabbits moved around.
Ysabel and Posey on the wall
 
Yesterday, my friends at Simply Dutch Farm helped me trim the bucks' feet and draw blood for CAE and pregnancy tests on nine of the goats. We will do the rest of them in December when the other does are 30 days post breeding. There goes another $100!

Ilona is the only doe I have left to breed. She should go back in heat Thursday or Friday and I think she's finally big enough. I have been stuffing her full of alfalfa.

I also hope Kami settles this time. If she doesn't, I will be taking her to Auburn to have her checked out.
Kat is absolutely enormous! I think she has at least triplets again and I'm beginning to get scared there may be more than three in there. I believe Trixie is having twins. I want to look back at pictures from last year, but she's not giving me any reason to think there are three. That's a relief because I am not sure I could nurse her through another triplet pregnancy.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Gray Day


Rainy days = dirty barn. Everything is a mucky mess with these girls hunkering down out of the rain. They were very happy for a bag of dry shavings. 


Today is 23 days since we artificially inseminated Betty Buttercup. She's shown no sign of being in heat, so I'm hoping my first AI was a success! I've been stuffing the girls full of alfalfa to get weight on Ilona and Buttercup's production has spiked back up. I think we'll do one more milk test on her and Maddy before calling it a year.
Ilona is the only doeling not yet at 80 pounds. The other four are averaging over 90 lbs. Illi will go back in heat a week from Friday and I'd really like to be able to breed her this month. I just keep stuffing her full of alfalfa. She's growing.

All the other girls should be bred now. Kami is the only one I'm having a tough time getting settled. She's been through three heat cycles now. Fingers crossed she's pregnant this time!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Dry

I'm calling it a year. We didn't have milk for our cereal yesterday and I am scrambling to fill orders. It's time to say we are done for the year. 

Thank you everyone for your support. The milk will be flowing again in February. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Rain, Rain Go Away!

It's raining. Again.  Here in Georgia, we sweat through the summer looking forward to our beautiful fall. It hardly rains in October. The sky turns a glorious, deep shade of blue deserving of its own name- October Sky Blue. The days are warm and dry. There is a crispness in the air in the evening. 

But not this year. It has been raining for well over a week now. Everything is wet. The treated wood of the barn is starting to sport a nice coat of green. I have a fan on the hay in the loft; after so many days of 100% humidity, it's only a matter of time before it's a total loss.
We have two boarders from out of town come to get bred. These are Bambi and Amelia. Amelia has the same sire as "Star" who we lost to mycoplasma and pseudomonas mastitis shortly after she arrived here last summer. They look so much alike. It's almost like having Star back.
Breeding season is in full swing. I have 4 I am sure are pregnant. Seven have been bred. Kami came back into heat. I had a feeling three weeks ago that I should have stuck her back in with Whiskey after I saw how long her heat cycle was. Hindsight.

I hope she settles this time. She just doesn't seem like a good fit for Whiskey. Even though he was riding her around the pen, I'm not sure how successful the couplings were. Then I put Olivia in, and I could tell he was successful each time with her. He's settled three does already and I saw his sperm under the microscope at collection. He has what it takes. If Kami comes back into heat in three weeks, she's going to Bubba.

I think we will try AI on Buttercup. I plan to AI her to Heart Mt. Conquistador. 

Time to go out and brave the mud. As much as I'd like to crawl back under the covers with a book and another cup of coffee, I'm late already. Only nine more days and no more evening milking!