Sunday, May 2, 2010


Steve did it.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of having livestock. Growing up in a suburban California beach town, I couldn't understand why we couldn't have a lamb pen on the side of our house. I went to UC Davis to study biology, mainly because of the school's aggie reputation. Funny though, the only time I have ever passed out in my life was when I was learning to castrate sheep in my animal husbandry class. The hog slaughterhouse part of that class really sickened me as well. So, I decided to stick with milk goats, ones that could become pets and not have to face that fact. We've also ventured into dairy sheep, with visions of sheep milk cheese (yum.)

I have been naive to think that you can have livestock without the meat, especially when you have to breed for milk production. Well, yesterday we took the plunge and slaughtered our ram that we bought for breeding last fall. Actually, Steve did it. Himself! (with guidance from his buddy) My part is to go pick up a new chest freezer.

Here's a pic of our new ram lamb born last weekend. He's cute, but don't get too attached to this one.

Monday, February 15, 2010

kid weeks!

I've been trying to post, but everytime I start, I have to run out to catch a new kid!

We now have SEVEN baby goats on the ground (4 boys and 3 girls.) Cookie and Cupcake each gave me a girl, so I'm thrilled to have two little purebred Alpines to keep on the farm. Coca just had a beautiful jet black girl I've named Licorice. Love, love, love.
Unfortunately, I've had to learn all over again about hypocalcium, with the misnomer "milk fever." Mocha went off feed for a week and delivered a little buckling a week early. So cmpk and antibiotics, she's OK now, but I've decided not to milk her this year. Easter was not so lucky, and cmpk didn't pull her through... we lost her, and I'm so upset I cannot even think about it anymore, sorry girl :-(

But when Coca had her baby, I was ready. TUMS as soon as she went into labor, and my cmpk concoction as soon as she gave birth (thanks to my order coming in the same day!)
C = calcium
M = magnesium
P = phosphorus
K = potassium

My mix was crushed vitamins, mixed in yogurt, given with a drench syringe, the goats do not mind it:
Posture D, 1 tablet (calcium and phosphorus)
Magnesium, 1/2 tablet
Potassium, 2 tablets
1 TUMS tablet for the extra calcium ration to go with the phosphorus in the Posture D.

Coca got this mix every couple hours after giving birth, and the day after which was most important when that milk comes in. I continued to give this twice a day for several more days, and once a day for a few. IT WORKED! She still gets a TUM tablet as a treat after milking :-) And Easter's death was not in vain, as I've learned that hypocalcemia can be treated if started right away at freshening, instead of waiting for symptoms.

Apparently this problem of not having enough calcium in the blood is a result of overfeeding calcium-rich foods (like the alfalfa they were getting) during the DRY period. Too much of a good thing. So now only the girls in milk (Cookie, Cupcake, Coca) get the alfalfa, and the dry does (Mocha and Thunder) get the grass hay.

What was I saying about "just when you've got it all figured out..." Why is it that I am always having to learn the hard way???
Steve built this new kid pen a day before they all started arriving. So happy to have a nice place for them with a large play area. Everybody is now healthy and happy. After these kids are weaned, we're taking a nice, long vacation! ThenThunder is due end of May.

Monday, November 9, 2009

my dining room

my custom holiday order... getting a little extra dry time before being packaged up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nightmare before Christmas... when good soap goes bad!

Just when you think you've got it all figured out.....

The soap seizes in the pot! ALL 50 pounds of it! Yes - fifty pounds!
What all was going so well, turned terribly wrong when I used a new pine fragrance the supplier listed as "no CP (cold process) problems." Well, as soon as I added it to my nice little soap mix... BOOM... instant soap in a pot! Oh no! What do I do now??? $#%&(*!

But, I'm good at this soap making thing, right? So, I start thinking oven, like my rebatch shower soap... take it into hot process... but my pot is too big to fit in my oven. So, I put it on my burner - bad idea. I then spoon it into 3 smaller pots and cram them into the oven in my kitchen - yes, my kitchen, where soap is not welcome for a good reason! When it comes to making soap, I'm like a two year old with playdough... OH the aftermath!

Of course I'm in a hurry, because I need to drop off a UPS package before they close. Plus, Sawyer and I have to go to Linds Pharmacy to get Sean a birthday present (which is TOMORROW,) and run to the store for bday cake stuff.... so we leave the soap in the oven, and try to forget about it for a bit.

We come home, after picking Sean up, two hours later. We open the front doors, and SMOKE is billowing out. The whole house smells like PINE! Well, it smells like sage and rosemary too, which isn't too bad... but the smoke! So I turn the oven off, run around the house opening windows, turning on fans, yelling at the kids to go outside and play in the rain. I grab all the molds that I already have ready, and go check out the damage in the oven.

There's three bubbling, overflowing, green cauldrons, so halloween-like, it's scary. They are bubbling all over the oven (I always line with foil, always! But nooooo, this time I had to be in a hurry, didn't I?!) And I've got this new song from The Mother Hips in my head ("There's only one way out, and I'm trying to figure it out...") And the only other thing I can think of is "Oh, please let me get this all cleaned up before Steve comes home!" I end up filling a couple box molds and eight or nine tall 3" PVC pipes. I tell myself, "This is going to be the good stuff, that everyone loves!" I'm such the optimist. I'll just let people think this is how I meant to make it!

Sean looks for my phone to call Daddy, but can't find it, that tattletale. He comments that it's not that smoky, since the smoke detectors didn't go off (oh yea, we took them all off last time they went off... put that on the to-do list.) At least Sean did comment that the whole house smells really good. :-)

Oh and when Steve came home, most of it was cleaned up... so I told him to shut up and make me a drink!

Monday, September 14, 2009

that time of year...

Fall... the boys are back in school, the new buck is getting busy with all the girl goats, and I'm back into taking my soap business up a notch.

My little boy's first day of Kindergarten... no hesitation! Hooray!

Here's 5 of my 6 girls: starting from the top, Coca, Cookie, Thunder behind Easter, and Cupcake (Mocha was in the barn with the buck)

My other girls: "We are not sheep... we are polar bears!"Maple Hill Soap now on Facebook... look for the frame on this page.

I'm again researching my options for Packaging... which is probably the hardest part of having my own product! I'll be joining as soon as I can figure it out (all in good time I'm sure!)

p.s. I am done with farmers markets for the season.
But you can now find my Maple Hill Soap in Oak Harbor at Hummingbird Farm!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

summer farmers market schedule

Well, since I seem to be doing everything BUT blogging, I thought I could at least get my schedule down for you!
I will be at Coupeville Farmers Market the following Saturdays 10-2 :
July 18
Aug 8
Aug 29

Mukilteo Farmers Market on Wednesdays 3-7 :
today July 15
July 29

I will be at the Coupeville Arts & Crafts Festival on Aug 1 & 2

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Love the LOVE SPELL!

I'm really excited about the swirl action in this new "love spell" soap! I was a little worried at first, the fragrance is really strong! But what do I know??? According to my farmers market customers, this popular fragrance stays true in my new soap. So glad, because I made A LOT of it!!!