Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Making Goat's Milk Lotion

The second thing I tackled after experimenting with making goats milk soaps was making lotions. I searched the internet for ideas and recipes and began to figure out what I did and didn't like to get my recipe just how I wanted it. 

One of the first videos I can across was from the website Our Simple Farm. There is also a wealth of information on (including information on the proper way to label your products). There are also many websites that offer information on exactly what different oils do for your skin. So do some research when you start working to make your own recipe, there is a ton of information out there! 

Here is a VERY basic recipe to start with. Play with the oils and butters to decide what you like the best.

  • 10.5 oz Pasteurized Goat's Milk
  • 10.5 oz Distilled Water
  • 1.2 oz Shea Butter (or butters of your choice- cocoa butter, avocado butter are also very nice in lotions)
  • 2.7 oz of oils of your choice. You can mix and match oils to fill this amount. Sweet Almond, Avocado, Jojoba, Coconut, and Argan Oils are all very nice on your skin)
  • 1.2 oz Emulsifying Wax
  • 1 oz Stearic Acid
  • .3-.4 oz Preservative of your choice. I use Germall Powder. Optiphen is also a good choice 
  • .2 oz Fragrance or essential oil
Tools You Will Need

  •  Bleach
  • Stick Blender
  • Stainless Steal spoons
  • 4 Cup measuring cups (2)
  • Digital scale
  • Your Lotion Ingredients
  • Lotion Bottles in your choice of size
  • Thermometer 
Gather your supplies

Pasteurize Your Milk

Sanitize your utensils, measuring cups, and stick blender in a hot water and bleach solution

Measure your liquids and warm them to about 80- 100*

Measure your Oils and Butters

Heat Your Oils and Butters and Add your Stearic Acid and Emulsifying Wax- Stir to melt

Add your liquids to your oil mixture

Blend with your stick blender (it will thicken) 

Test the temperature of your lotion to make sure it is within the recommended allowances of your preservative 

Add your preservative

Add your fragrance oil

Blend with your stick blender once again

Your lotion it ready! 

Pour your lotion into bottles

Label Your Product! 

Description and the amount of product in ounces and milliliters should be listed on the front

Ingredients listed with INCI Names should be on the back along with the name of your shop, web address and physical location where the lotion was made.  It is also advised to include a statement that your product has not been tested if you have not done so with the FDA.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Making Salted Soap Bars

Salted Soap Bars are absolutely luxurious! 
Filled with moisturizing oils and sea salts to exfoliate your skin. 
They are divine!

Measure out all of your ingredients. I use my standard goats milk soap recipe and add sea salt and kaolin clay. 

Mix your goats milk (or water) and lye until the lye is dissolved into your liquid.

Heat your oils and butters until they reach 120*

Add your oils to your milk/lye mixture 

Blend oil and milk mixture until it comes to a light trace.

Add your colorant. I use colored micas or pigments in my soaps

Add your fragrance or essential oils

Blend until your soap becomes slightly thick but still workable and add your salt. Mixing it in with a spatula.

Pour into your mold and sprinkle the top with salt.

Let your soap sit for 24-48 hours in the mold before you cut it into bars. 

Allow your soap bars to cure for 4-6 weeks at the very least before you use them.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Peter...........the accidental goat

We breed our goats each year to refresh them so that they can supply us with milk. We never had any intention of keeping any of the babies. I was happy with the amount of goat we had. Two pygmies, just for pets (one doe, one whether) and three nigerian dwarf goats (two does and one buck). Only the nigerian dwarfs are breed for milk. Our pygmy doe, Roxy was not supposed to have babies. 

And then this happened........

Roxy had the cutest, friendliest baby EVER!

So we named him Peter, which we probably should never have done. But we had to because he was adorable and we loved him so. But once you name them, they stay.

Even our son, who thinks we are crazy for having all of these animals, loves Peter.

How can you not love this goat? He snuggles you and sits on your lap! (I refuse to acknowledge the issues this will cause when he is full sized) He follows you around and is so, so soft! Let's not even mention the fact that he is spotted like a tiny cow. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

An Unexpected Gift

It's been nearly 2 years now since we lost my father. It wasn't something any of us were prepared for. There was no long  illness to lead up to the phone call that made me feel like my heart was being ripped from my body.

Some days I can still feel him with me.

Today was one of those days.

Starting with the crazy urge to call him early in the morning to talk about the weekend coming up, and all the things we have planned. To tell him about my son's first high school baseball game, and how the kids are. There are days still when it feels like it just happened. 

I shook off the feeling and went about my day prepping for the upcoming show this weekend, cleaning coops and ponds. And then the oddest thing happened. I walked into the garage to get an extension cord to run the water pump to clean the pond and found this little bird desperately trying to escape through a closed window.

Which oddly enough brought back a flood of childhood memories of my Dad. 

When I was a little girl I found a humming bird with a broken wing, which of course I had to save. I dead set and determined to mend this little bird and set it free. I named it Sunny. My Dad borrowed a bird cage from my Aunt, helped me build a nest, and helped me make humming bird food. I was probably only 11 or 12 years old. I was sure I could save Sunny. I'm sure my Dad knew my chances were not good. But he supported me the entire way through. Because that's what he always did.

Of course Sunny didn't make it. We gave him a proper funeral in the back yard.

So when I walked in and saw this humming bird trapped and helpless in my garage, all of these thoughts and images came to mind. I thought surely I could shoo this scared bird out through the open door. But she kept hitting the window over and over. I made my way over boxes and toys to get to the window and remarkably the bird sat on the window sill. I picked her up and took her outside, snapped this picture and let her go on her way.

And memories of my Dad flooded my mind. It was just going to be a Dad filled day.

My sister sent me a text asking if the package she sent came in the mail. So off I went to the mail box, and it was there.

And while I was expecting a gift, I was not expecting this. A beautiful handmade ring deigned by my sister. Which in itself should be expected after all she is a jewelry designer.  It's the story behind the ring that brought me to tears.

After my Dad passed my sister and I found a list he had written himself on the back of an envelope in his things. Like so many of us when changes are happening in our lives he wrote himself a list of all the things the changes in his life would bring. On it he wrote "You will always have the love of your children"

From that note my sister designed this ring. Using my father's handwriting to create a little piece of him to carry with me. 

My heart melted and the tears flowed and I felt my father all around me. 

My beautiful sister could not have created a more amazing and unexpected gift.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tortilla Soup 2 Ways!

Fall is here and the temps are cooling every so slightly here in the California high desert. Time for cozy dinners and food that can warm you up! One of our favorites is Tortilla Soup, but because some of the family doesn't eat meat I am always looking for recipes I can adjust to make every one happy. This one works out perfect! (We have a big family and LOVE leftovers for work and school lunches so this makes a lot of soup)


2-3 zucchini chopped in small bite sized pieces
1    yellow onion diced
1 C  (or more) of frozen white corn
2-3  cloves of garlic minced
1    Serrano pepper, minced
Diced Roasted Red Peppers to taste
2-3 small cans of black beans rinsed and drained
3    32 oz containers of vegetable stock
1    28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1    lime juiced
1    small can of diced green chilies
Chopped Fresh cilantro to taste
Cooked Shredded Chicken (a rotisserie chicken from the market works great)

~Spices to taste~

Roasted Cumin
Chipotle or Ancho Chili Pepper (or a mixture of both)
Dried Oregano


Cooked White Rice
Diced Avocado
Shredded jack Cheese
Tortilla Chips
Sliced Olives

~The Prep Work~

In a large pot saute all of the vegetables until slightly tender (do not add the beans yet). Add spices. Add Vegetable stock, crushed tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a simmer and adjust seasonings. Add Cilantro and the juice of 1 lime. If adding chicken add it here and simmer until meat is heated through. (This is where I separate out a pot full for the non meat eaters in the family).

Serve over white rice and top with your choice of toppings.

The husband loves this the next day. This can also be made in a crock pot. Just dump all of the ingredients in in the morning and slow cook until you get home.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Automatic Poultry Watering System On The Cheap

Keeping up with keeping the waterers filled in the desert heat can be stressful. It's a constant worry that the birds will run out of water on a hot day when I'm not home. And filling waters for 18 runs of birds takes up quite a bit of time every day. But every automatic system I have researched is either too small, too expensive, or came with bad reviews from people I personally know that have used them.

And then I went over to a very dear friends house (who I have properly enabled into becoming a chicken keeper) and saw what her husband had designed after they came home from a weekend away to find that the person caring for their birds had let the waterers run dry in the middle of the summer heat. It was simply an extension off their drip system for their backyard plants.

I ran the idea past the husband (just to check and see if he thought I was crazy) and we came up with a plan. We already had a bunch of left over parts to our drip system and a water faucet right in the middle of one of the runs. Our only expense was some extra tubing (we got a lot extra in case we want to put more around the yard for trees and plants) and dog water dishes. Total cost around $70.

We ran the tubing along the fencing in the runs, put the water dishes up on bricks we already had and put a little drip tube into each bowl.

We also used an automatic battery operated timer from the garden and set it to come on for a few minutes every few hours throughout the day. Right now it is set for 15 minutes every 4 hours, but we may need to adjust that as we see how it works.
The birds went right for it. I even ran a dripper into the goat water just to make sure they are also well hydrated at all times. You just cant risk your birds being without with temperatures over 100* daily in the summer.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Simple Tip To Keep Your Brooder A Little Dryer When Brooding Ducklings

As much as I LOVE me some baby ducks,  because lets face it they are the cutest things ever. I am not at all fond of brooding them!

They stink, they are messy and they get EVERYTHING wet! And honestly it is the moisture, in my opinion, that makes them so smelly.

Here is a simple tip to help keep the brooder a little dryer when brooding ducklings. Notice I say "a little dryer" because there is just NO WAY you will keep a duck brooder 100% dry.

Get a rectangular baking pan and a cookie cooling rack from the kitchen

Put the rack over the baking pan.
 I make sure the edges of the pan are inside of the cooling rack feet for added security

Place in the brooder and put the food and water on top

This way my water will fall into the baking pan and not into your shavings