A little about soap, a little about goats, and a lot about the mundane life of a dairy goat farmer!
|Posted by Stazha on December 3, 2011 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
My daughter and I are spending the afternoon at a craft show in Sandusky. The proceeds go to the Sandusky High School band. I have public access internet here but am unable to access Facebook. Is that a common school protocol? I'll assume it is. This inconvenience has prompted me to blog instead since my phone is waiting for a new SIM card due to several malnutritional functions there. My blog feeds right into my Facebook fanpage so it is the only way to let my soapy fans know where I am today!
Since I've now been forced into blogging (and the show is in the lull of lunch hour), what better time to post some pics and throw out some thoughts on craft shows in general!
Well, I like doing shows. I like displaying my products and playing with different arrangement ideas. Seasonal changes are especially fun but it starts to cost a bit to change my display for every holiday. I have a 'generic' look usually but I can't resist adding color touches for the holidays.
Today's show is on my nice list. I've been to a few that I doubt I will ever return to. Bad shows happen for a couple of reasons, poor advertising being the main reason. There's nothing worse than a show where the crafters resort to buying from each other because there just aren't any shoppers coming in the door. And this will sound mean to say but I don't go to craft shows to buy. I go to SELL! Although I do buy a few things when I find them irrisistable!
Another reason for a poor show is bad planning. If there's something going on in town that you know everyone is going to attend, that may affect the outcome of the show. For example, a marathon. People don't expect to go to craft fairs if they're attending, or running in, a marathon that day. Another situation is a kid's fair. If the event is geared towards kids, parents aren't very likely to buy things that aren't for the kiddos.
One of my pet peaves, and I am far from alone in this rant, is poor set-up. Two crafters with similar products do NOT want to be placed next to each other. And if there are only 20 crafters and 5 of them are selling similar products, say soap, it also sets a mood. And not a good one.
The conundrum is, the fairs that prevent all of these planning flaws cost so much more to book. So when I go to a show that was low cost and still had a great turn-out, I am happier than a goat in a junkyard!
(The liquid soap pictured here is something that I have been selling at shows. I've still been working on feedback before I put it on the webstore. Pretty soon!! I've also been selling lotions which has been tricky to make also.)
Some of the best shows have also been great friend-making moments! I run into the same folks from time to time and most of them are funny and creative. And a great resource for future event planning!
Looks like it's picking up again here (yay) and my laptop is giving me the low battery finger, so it's time to go!!
|Posted by Stazha on August 21, 2011 at 4:15 PM||comments (0)|
I've been searching for a way to add to the look of my soaps that politely says "Goat Milk" without being too complex and I finally selected one that I like.
I see a lot of other soapers use a mold for their goat's milk soaps, where the soap itself is shaped like a goat or have the words 'Goat Milk' imprinted from the mold. It's nice but it didn't quite grab me. Plus, the molds I use are my very own, handmade by my husband. This is an important detail and you're unlikely to find another soap in this shape.
All that led me to watch for stamping ideas and I finally found something I can be happy with. Each bar will now have a beautiful Nubian face!
I can't put the stamp on every bar of soap just yet; wish I could. They have to be stamped before they're fully cured, while they're still soft. All the soap ready for sale right now will have to rely on selling it's faceless self on it's other fine qualities. But now I can't wait to make more soap-just so I can stamp them all!
|Posted by Stazha on August 17, 2011 at 3:50 PM||comments (0)|
Beer. It's best cold. The more you drink, the faster it goes down. It feels great in the shower.
Wait a second...What? No, really! I've read up on it and beer makes a terrific bar of soap! So I gave it a try and it does look nice. It doesn't smell like beer but neither do the milk soaps smell like milk. And that's a good thing because no one really wants to go around, all clean and spiffy, smelling like either!
I have to let it cure a bit longer before I can tell ya if it's really all that but I suspect it will be just as terrific as anything else I've created. And I'll be sure to use in moderation!
|Posted by Stazha on June 8, 2011 at 8:14 AM||comments (0)|
Our spring season has finished off well with the arrival of 2 more little does. Leave it to Lilly to take as long as she possibly can to show them off to us! Much to my surprise, they were twins and not triplets. She carries so large, it's really quite a guessing game.
On a sad note, we lost our favorite doe in May. Penny was my best milker and a really sweet girl. It seems her calcium levels fell very quickly when she freshened, which I was suspect about but was not diligent enough to correct. We lost her on Mother's Day of all days too.
We did decide to purchase a couple of does from the Delamar's. We did this mostly because the two she had for sale were giving milk, which I don't want to run out of! I can't make soap without it! But when we got them home, an obvious solution came to us about Penny's buck, who we had been bottle feeding. These does left their big babies at the Delamar's and had milk to spare so we quit mixing goat formula and put little Red up on the milk stand with one of the does. Coincidentally, this doe is his grandma! And quite to our surprise, it seems she has been letting him suckle while they're in the pasture too.
The season has brought many unexpected changes for us. We learned a little more about goat health and we mourned the loss of a good farm friend. And we added some experienced does to our herd. The summer will be spent with endless hand milking and acrobatic kids, lots of water refills and a bit of escapee chasing. We won't be going very far from home but we will be spending a lot of time in the pool!
|Posted by Dodger on June 1, 2011 at 12:59 PM||comments (0)|
Lilly is the fattest goat on our farm. And boy, is she fat! My lady says she will have babies any day now. I cannot wait for more babies! And Lilly told me she can't wait either. I watched her get up one morning and it took her a very long time!! She moaned and groaned so much that I thought the babies were coming! But she was just trying to get off the ground. I am glad I am not a mamma goat!!
|Posted by Dodger on May 12, 2011 at 9:09 PM||comments (0)|
The ducks got too big for the basement. My lady put them outside. I was so happy to get to play with them outside! They quacked and quacked when they put their funny feet in the grass. But they was tricked! The ducks have a fence around them and they could not play with me. They were bummed.
Someday, when my lady isn't looking, I will help the ducks escape! I will dig under the fence and they will come out and play with me! But my lady is always looking...
|Posted by Dodger on May 4, 2011 at 9:58 AM||comments (2)|
I have found more friends on my ladies farm. They are rabbits! They are sooo cute and they will play good! My lady let me see one real close. I like the rabbits!
My friend Belle is a good friend. My lady says she is old but I think Belle is not old. Sometimes she likes to play with me and sometimes, she does not! One day, the people kids brought the rabbits outside to eat grass. I don't eat the grass. Belle does sometimes. The rabbits love grass! I wanted to play with the rabbits but Belle said no. I was bummed. Then I tackled Belle.
It was a good day!
|Posted by Dodger on April 26, 2011 at 12:08 PM||comments (0)|
My lady put me on a leash this week. She says I am in training. That means I am in trouble. I cannot chase the goats when I am on the leash. My lady put me on the leash and then she put me on the goat's picnic table. Maybe I am in training to be a watch dog. I would be a good herd dog! But I watched the goats. I did not chase them.
One goat said hello! Her name is Lilly. She is a nice goat. She said she likes my lady. She asked me if I was a wolf! I told her I was a doggy. I would like to be a wolf but wolves are not allowed in the house. I like to go in the house!Then she told me to be a good doggy. She is like a mommy. She is polite and says things that make me feel good. I like Lilly. Lilly likes me!
|Posted by Stazha on April 26, 2011 at 8:45 AM||comments (0)|
Play along and quote this photo!
|Posted by Stazha on April 23, 2011 at 3:00 PM||comments (0)|
If I plan it right, and this year I did pretty good, when the grass starts turning green, baby goats are born. If Mother Nature cooperates, there is seldom much snowing left to do by the first day of spring. For me, February is too early. It has to be March, preferably late March. That means making the girls wait until after Halloween to visit their buck! No one likes the wait but no one likes frostbit ears and kids born during snow storms either!
Lilly Holly freshened first with 2 doelings. We missed the birth and when we found them in their pen the morning they were born, they were quite chilled. They spent 2 days and nights in the house with me running them out to the barn every couple of hours to let them feed with their dam. I'm quite certain Vesper was on the brink of death as she was no longer shivering and was quite listless. But they turned around quickly and are a joy to watch as they bounce around the yard!
The doe herd and their babies, enjoying the morning sunlight.
Penny's bucks were a missed birth as well. But there were no problems with either of them. In no time, they were following the herd around. Of course, Penny would have it no other way! She is very vocal and attentive with her kids, almost to the point of paranoia. Luckily she is very accepting of human involvement. Dodger, however, a constant target for her!
This year, Lilly had to wait to be bred. She became very thin last fall and I just couldn't see breeding her until I knew she had recovered from her twins of last spring and what was probably a difficult worm infestation. She's the worst one for intestinal worms! Her winter coat never did come in like the other does either. In fact, and I wish I had taken a picture, she wore one of my kids jackets the entire winter! When I finally removed the jacket in March, I was happy to see how round and healthy she looked! She should freshen the last week in May. And, if her current size is any indication, she will probably have triplets again. Hopefully, they will all make it this time.
Kidding season is exciting but it can be stressful. And it's easy to get to a point of concern that we are running to the barn constantly, hoping to catch a birth in progress. This year, we were all so busy with other things, we didn't have time to worry over it much. And everything turned out just fine!
|Posted by Dodger on April 20, 2011 at 1:54 PM||comments (0)|
My boy got ducks a couple weeks ago. They are cute and they are wiggly! They are in the basement. I like the basement. But I do not like the stairs. I am too small for the steep stairs. Today, my lady carried me down the stairs and I got to see the ducks. They are big! If I could grow that fast, I would be big!
The ducks are fast and I want to chase them. They are in a big circle and I cannot climb it. If I could, I would catch them cuz I am fast! And they cannot climb over the circle! My lady will not leave me in the basement. If she did, I would try to climb in with the ducks. I like them!
Someday, I will be big. Then I can go down the stairs by myself. I will wait until my people are not looking. And I will chase the ducks. The ducks will like that. I know it!
|Posted by Dodger on April 20, 2011 at 8:50 AM||comments (0)|
Hi, my name is Dodger and I am a young Shih Tzu boy.
I live with a family that raises goats! At first, I was afraid of the goats. But now, I just wanna eat some goat legs! I get yelled at for that! Especially if I chase the baby goats cuz then the momma's chase me back and that makes me happy! So I chase more and then I REALLY get yelled at! Yesturday, my lady caught me and carried me to the house to stay inside while she finished the chores. I was bummed.
Those momma goats are funny. The one named Penny pushes me around a lot. She used to just hide from me. But since she had her babies, she got mean. Holly doesn't care if I'm in the pen and she has babies too. I don't know why Penny does that. Maybe it's cuz Holly's momma watches over Holly's babies too. I mean, she is the gramma. Maybe Holly just figures her momma will take care of the babies. I like chasing the babies! But I get yelled at for it.
My lady takes me to the barn every morning. Unless it's raining. I LOVE the barn! But I don't go in there without her. Neither does Belle. Belle never goes to the barn. I think she's afraid of Penny. Belle always waits on the porch. Unless the man goes to the barn. Belle always follows the man. But the man leaves me in the house. Then I am bummed.
But I LOVE going out to the barn! All the little berries on the ground are so yummy too! My lady scowls at me when I eat them. So I wait until she turns her back! I is sneaky like that!
Today, it is raining. I am bummed. But I don't like to leave the back porch when it is raining anyway. I get yelled at if I don't leave the back porch. The porch is wet already. I don't see what the big deal is!
|Posted by Stazha on October 11, 2010 at 11:32 AM||comments (0)|
I attended the Tuscola County Pumpkin Festival this past weekend and had a great time! Thank you to everyone that came by my booth! It was a successful weekend and the weather was fantastic!
And I always enjoy decorating for this season...see my Soap Witch on the right?
|Posted by Stazha on September 22, 2010 at 8:25 AM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Stazha on September 9, 2010 at 7:51 AM||comments (0)|
The house smells wonderful as I continue to make new scents! With the holidays coming up, I've gladly been experimenting with those edible scents that smell so good, I can't help but smile! On the drying rack, I've got "Peppermint", "Chocolate", "Cranberry", a collaboration of baking spices I've named "Yule" and a combination of peppermint and chocolate that I've named "Merry Christmas". There's also a new scent called "Snowstorm Berries" that I just got started on.
|Posted by Stazha on August 21, 2010 at 1:15 PM||comments (0)|
Every year, we plant all sorts of delicious hopes in the garden. And while it seems we get too busy to keep the weeds down, we always find lots of treasures that we forgot we planted because we didn't see them hiding under all those weeds!
Mason and I were trudging through recently when we came across this dandy surprize. We've planted watermelon before but have never had much success. The difference this year is that the watermelon were planted near the manure pile from winter's barn cleaning. Bless those goats! There's about 5 more of these beauties still growing and I spotted a few canteloupe as well. I hope you have had success this growing season as well!
|Posted by Stazha on August 21, 2010 at 1:00 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Stazha on July 22, 2010 at 3:44 PM||comments (1)|
After much pleading and promises of continued enthusiasm, my daughter, Erin, has her rabbit. But what was planned to be just one is now six. Boy, they really do multiply quickly! Actually, my sister-in-law opted to sell her herd of Californian rabbits right when we were in the midst of negotiations with Erin. How convenient for both of them! hehe
I think Erin had thoughts of adorable, floppy-eared, fuzzy bunnies. Californians are are certainly a good looking rabbit but they are a meat breed and lack the fulldrawn 'awwwwe' factor. (They get an 'awwe' with two w's.) Nevertheless, Erin is very happy with her choice and she worked very hard to clean and prepare the area we chose to house the rabbits. Her dad and I look forward to Erin's long-lasting devotion to the responsibility of rabbit raising. Time will tell...
|Posted by Stazha on July 15, 2010 at 2:58 PM||comments (1)|
Nightshade. Some call it Bella Donna. I call it deadly. The variety around my home is either Common Nightshade or Eastern Black Nightshade. It's a pretty little weed with white or purple flowers and it's related to the potato and tomato. It looks like a tomato plant too, but the fruit are small and black. Each berry is loaded with tiny little seeds.
Nightshade is the suspected culprit in the poisoning of my goat herd last summer. I lost one doeling and struggled to keep two others alive. Those two survived but it took several weeks for them to return to normal. Now, I can spot Nightshade in an instant! And I pull it as fast as I find it.
These pictures were taken near my home, as I find the plant everywhere I walk it seems! And, as you can see, it is actually growing in a pot! A formidable opponant indeed.
|Posted by Stazha on June 23, 2010 at 12:50 AM||comments (0)|
Homer called olive oil "liquid gold" and it 's pretty much the superstar of oils, both for food consumption and for soap making, and it has been used for centuries in both applications. Olive oil was (and is still) used as a direct skin cleanser. According to ExploreCrete.com, the Egyptians used it to remove dirt from their skin by applying the oil and then scraping it off, the oil clinging to the dirt, thus removing it. An olive oil soap factory was established as early as the 6th century in Marseilles (not suggesting it was the FIRST factory).
Now, the history of soap making is not a clear one and neither is it known for certain how anyone came to mix lye with oils and then used it to wash anything, but the uncertainty, it seems to me, suggests that it is a very old practice indeed! Take that and the abundance and significance of the olive in history (the Bible, for example) and it seems clear why olive oil would be chosen.
Here are some facts: Olive is an evergreen tree grown predominently in the Mediterranean. It grows to 27 feet tall and takes 15 years to bear olives. Most of global production of olive oil comes from Southern Europe, North Africa and the Near East with Australia and the Republic of South Africa also growing Olive trees for oil.(wikipedia)
Soaps containing only vegetable oils, olive oil in particular, are called castile soaps. Olive oil is known for its mildness on skin. "The oil has a heavy texture and can vary in color from a pale golden yellow to dark green. The purest form is from the "extra virgin" and it is lightest in color. Olive oil has many antioxidant properties. Olive oil absorbs UV radiation and is very efficient in lowering metabolism rate of the body cells. Thus assisting in repairing cells and in preventing cell damage. Olive oil is soothing and healing to all skin types". You can read about more topical uses of olive oil on eHow.com
Until I started making soap, I was unaware of the use of oils directly on skin, aside from moisturizer. Being fair skinned, oils frighten me. (I'm thinking fried chicken here) Not sure I would use it as a UV blocker! But I have enjoyed it for years in my cooking. And now, I am happy to use it in my soap. In fact, olive oil is the predominent oil used in all my soap recipes. A fine oil to mix with that wonderful goat milk!
Here's a a two part video (about 16 minutes total) from Morocco showing the process of olive oil making from the land it is grown on to the press. It's a more primitive process here and the camera is shaky but I really enjoyed watching it. And if you listen closely, you can even hear goats in the first one! Sweet!