Saturday, March 24, 2018

Slicing Soap

Yesterday I unmolded all the soaps poured on Wednesday and today I sliced them into bars. I now have a stunning array of beautiful goat milk soap. Unfortunately, these pictures do not really do them justice~ my house is really dark due to yet another rainy day.
This one was made with lime essential oil and swirled with sting nettle powder.
Orange essential oil and colored with turmeric
This is a fragrance oil called cleaned cotton and swirled with indigo
Another favorite fragrance oil that colors itself this dark orange called Russian Tea
Lavender and chamomile essential oils with ground lavender buds
Lastly rosemary and tea tree essential oils colored with stinging nettle powder.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Soaping Up A Storm

Yet ANOTHER rainy day on the homestead. It just won't quit. I decided some soap making was in order to keep me sane. By 3:00 I had 13 molds poured and set to cure overnight before unmolding.

I am super excited about some of these scents. I did a lime that is swirled with stinging nettle and an orange colored with turmeric. Lots of pics coming in the next couple of days. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Done and Done

For the the last 6 months or so I have been fostering for a local rescue. The first was a fun and crazy little coon hound. The second one to come was a surrender from the shelter. I was asked to take him because of having some experience dealing with slightly aggressive dogs. He had a history of biting. I did. After some decompression time I started trying to introduce him to the farm and people. He did great on the farm. People, well not so much. He became extremely attached to me and I to him. However, he bite my hubby 4 times and a trainer friend of mine in the face. All attacks unprovoked. As a matter of fact, he was sitting by my side looking off in the distance when he leaped up and bit the trainer.
I contacted the rescue. I explained that as much as I loved him I love my hubby more and he was a very unsafe dog with very deep issues. I have young children that come to visit and I shudder to think if he were to get loose while they were here. Simply put, the dog was unadoptable. Well, I was verbally attacked for not being willing to keep him. Finally after much discussion they agreed to put him in boarding. The next day they posted that he was extremely aggressive with the kennel personnel and were debating what to do with him. I was offered some semblance of an apology. In the interim another dog needed to be taken out of boarding. They asked. I did. When I asked his story I was told that his first foster couldn't keep him because she was pregnant and the second dropped him off to be boarded while she was out of town and never went back to pick him up.

Now for the real story. He was taken to boarding because he chased her horses. NEVER was this information given to me. If it had he would never have come here. I would never allow my animals to be in jeopardy. Ever. He was an escape artist. I had to constantly keep my eye on him and he was not allowed to run loose. He climbed, he dug under and pushed out of almost every pen or crate I have. On one occasion he did manage to grab a chicken but that didn't really set off an alarms since my granddog, a rescue rattie, will chase and grab a chicken in a skinny minute.
Last week he slipped away from me and before I could grab him, he ran down to the barn, climbed a fence and viciously attacked a goat. By the grace of God, my son happened to be here. We had to choke him off, literally to the point he almost passed out before he would let go.
Once again I contacted the rescue asking if another foster could step up. Well, I have never in my life been so shocked at how quick some people are to judge people they don't even know. First they said that they didn't know I had a farm. Untrue since I sent pics of the coon hound with the sheep. Then it became my fault for letting him get loose and I was accused of lying about not knowing he wasn't good with livestock. I was told that chasing the chicken should be a give away. Between the two rescue people I spoke with I felt like I had been tossed into a tank of piranhas. I was hurt beyond words. I gave them a week for a new foster to step up.
That wasn't even the worst of it. They then posted on Facebook how I left him loose and unattended. They also said I kept him penned where he had to sit and watch the goats all day. Just to name a  few things. Unbelievable. My character and integrity was attacked by numerous responses to that post by people who once again have never met me and never knew the truth.

My faith in humanity has been severely shaken this past week. Social media has gotten completely out of control. It is my hope that this post will makes us all stop and think, even for a second, that there is a human on the other side of your conversation. And I also hope that we are reminded that there are two sides to every story.

Done and done and never again.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Very Intensive Gardening

Not by choice I must say! It has rained again. The broccoli and cabbage are ready to come out of the green house and need to go in the ground for there to be any chance of having a spring harvest.

All of the big gardens are still a mud bog and so out of desperation I planted in the beds beside the house. I had hoped to have all these available for medicinal herbs this year but will find a different spot I guess.
Approximately 42 plants are crammed into the 3 beds. I will have to be vigilant in watering and fertilizing. I have broccoli, broccolini, red and green cabbage and a few brussels sprouts. Crossing my fingers on this one folks!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fire Cider

Today I added a jar of fire cider to the pantry. I will need to cure for about a month before I strain it and sweeten it with a bit of honey.
Fire cider is a tonic that helps support the immune system among other things. I made mine with ginger, garlic, horseradish root, jalapeno peppers, turmeric, onion, lemon and a few other spices. A tablespoon a day is said the keep the doctor away!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Boot-y Call

My dogs have a terrible habit of grabbing whatever is on the front porch and taking off with it. I have a terrible habit of leaving my barn boots on the front porch. Last night that became a recipe for disaster. Doug went out to shut up the shop and I was warming milk for the baby goats. Ludovic flew out the door and grabbed one of my boots.( I missed that part) At 3:30 this morning I realized said boot was MIA.  When I inquired about it this morning I was told, yes, Ludo had it and was running through the blueberry bushes with it and was also behind the sheep barn. Great.

So today I spent 3 hours scouring every square inch of the immediate fenced in area. To make this even more fun the darn thing is camouflage. So far it has not turned up. It's not like it is a small boot they are quite large (and new..grr). I will continue to look. I mean, really it can't have just disappeared. Right?

So, in the mean time, if anyone has a size 7 left foot tall barn boot missing it's mate, I will gladly take it off your hands or foot, so to speak!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Today's chore was to separate and tag all of the animals slated for the sale barn on Wednesday. I had to get them all to the barn and had to do this alone since they are used to me and usually spook when others come around. This took a while as I had sheep and goats divided in 3 different pastures. Once everyone was up, I called in my helpers (hubby and son) to catch and hold while I put scrapie tags in their ears. It went smoothly enough with the exception of one big ewe destined for the sale that refused to come in. She has a terrible attitude and almost always tosses my poor shearer here and there come shearing time. This past fall was no different and I decided then she could be someone else's problem! (you are welcome Jess!)

She took another hour to round up and by the time I finally coerced her into the barn my help was long gone. I will tag her the day of the sale. I culled heavily and when all was said and done 12 animals will be loaded up. 10 boys that have been free loading for the past year and 2 girls, both of whom are crazy as a fruit fly. 

It was 2:30 by the time I had all the animals back where they needed to be. Hubby was off to the gun range to practice for an upcoming charity shoot and I headed to the shower. I was filthy and still needed to grab some cream at the grocery for our weekly Sunday family get together.

I had grand plans to actually put on some makeup, dry my hair and not look like a dirty farm hand at the supper table. Yeah, right. I had no sooner stepped out of the shower when I heard our driveway alarm go off. I figured Doug had forgotten something. Then it went of again. And again. And again.
I looked out the window to see all of the girls, sheep and goats. meandering up the drive eating everything in site. Namely my rose bushes. I threw my dirty clothes back on and ran screeching out with my hair wrapped in a towel. (I swear I thought I had checked that latch!~) I got them back in the pasture and by this time I was carrying my towel and my hair was almost dry. No time for makeup since I still had to mix up some french bread before I ran to the store. So tonight at the supper table I didn't look like a dirty farm hand. I looked like a clean one.

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Sad Day On The Homestead

Death on the homestead is never easy. Today I lost a beloved old lady of a sheep. "Mystery" crossed the rainbow bridge and is now grazing peacefully with her mother. Mystery got her name because when she was very small her mom died. She was a spunky little snot and I seriously could never get my hands on her to try and bottle feed. She must have snuck milk from other moms though I can't say for sure and so it was a mystery of how she survived.
If you read my blog you know that last Saturday I found her off to herself in the woods. She was supposed to retire this year at the ripe old age of 10. She apparently had other plans and somehow was bred. I thought I had the retirees separated early enough. I brought her down to the barn to keep a close eye on her. She was doing ok, still drinking but not eating a lot. She was huge and I was afraid she may be carrying triplets. Wednesday afternoon I couldn't get her to get up. Yesterday the vet was called. Since she was still very alert and seemingly ok he was optimistic. This morning I could tell she was very uncomfortable and I still couldn't get her up. I have had sheep for 22 years. I know after one has been down over 24 hours odds are not good they will get back up. I could also tell she was starting to go downhill. After a tearful conversation with my vet and a lot of soul searching, I made the decision to take her in the morning, have her sedated, try and save the babies that were going to be at least two weeks early and then humanely have her put to sleep. Otherwise all would be lost. Late today I was finishing up chores and trying to get her to drink a bit more water. Mystery had a seizure and died. I am heartbroken. Life is not always easy on the homestead.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Yet another rainy day on the homestead. Sigh. I am so looking forward to warm days and sunshine!
Though I would have loved to curl up with a good book, hot tea and a fire I had plenty of other things to do.

First was to call the vet. The old ewe I brought down Saturday was acting like she was in labor. She laid down yesterday and has refused to get up. Part of it is that she is the size of a bean bag chair!
Not in labor yet but getting close. The vet hopes she will go soon and get back on her feet. She is alert but very uncomfortable and is having a hard time breathing because of her size. Fingers crossed I can pull her through along with her unborn lambs. For now it is a waiting game.
I canned another 7 quarts of stock to add to the pantry. I also finally got the 25 pounds of pintos that have been waiting in the pantry for a month packed in mylar bags and added them to long term food storage.
I did finally get to build that cozy fire. I baked a loaf of red wheat bread for sandwiches to accompany the pot of soup simmering on the stove.
And now I think I'll try and grab 30 minutes of reading til hubby gets home!