Sunday, January 24, 2016

Of soap-making and soap-eating...

Winter is a great time for indoor projects, and for me, lately anyway, that means making soap.

So far I have three batches done.  We have decided to be vendors at the Aitkin Farmer's Market next summer, so having soap to put out for sale will be a nice steady product for times when produce isn't happening.  The thing about making soap is that it needs to cure for four to six weeks before you use it.  So I won't really know how it is for a while.  The first batch (lowest in the photo) was made partly from beef tallow, the second has lard from our pigs in it, and the third is deer tallow and beef tallow.  That third one may be a bomb because it was setting up practically before I could get it in the mold.  Time will tell on that I guess.  Some of the soaps I make, and will be making have coconut oil and olive oil in them too, and there will be other ingredients too as I experiment to find out what works best for me.  And of course all of them will have goat milk in them.  So, that is it about soap-making.

About soap-eating... I have decided to recount here in the blog "The Story of the Soap-eating Dog". 

This is Mickey and Kurt, heading out for a walk this morning.  Mickey looks like a nice dog, doesn't he?  And he is most of the time...

A couple of summers ago I purchased a lovely bar of soap at the Isle Farmers Market.  It had sunflower oil, honey, oatmeal, and other good ingredients in it and I just had to buy it.  So I handed over my $5.00 (which at the time I thought was a lot for one bar of soap, but now that I am making it myself, I know how expensive it is to make) and took that bar home.  I put it in our little bathroom off the bedroom on the sink.  A logical place to put a bar of soap I would say.  Not a logical place to put dog treats. Fast forward a few hours, while getting ready for bed, I would like to use this wonderful soap on my face.  It was gone.  Vanished.  Nowhere to be found.  A search ensued and I found tell-tale crumbs of my soap.  On Mickey's blanket! 

I sure was mad at that dog.  It didn't help that Kevin thought this was hilarious.  He made jokes about us waking up to find the house full of bubbles... I was not amused.  Mickey didn't even throw up or anything!  He just licked his chops for a while.

So, enough about the dog.  In other farm news, yesterday was Vinca's last milking for a while.  She's been down to once a day for a couple of weeks and now we are done until she makes a fresh supply in April.  I have jars of milk in the freezer so I can keep making soap on the weekends.

And, lastly I want to mention that Ole Lake Farm is now on Facebook.  We have held out for years on this, but we have been advised that if we are trying to sell farm products, it would be helpful for the farm to be on Facebook.  So, if you are a face-booker, and you like us, please "like" us or "friend" us, or whatever it is people do.  I guess it helps to make our farm page easier to find.   I just don't know much about this yet! (no kidding!)

So, I will close this blog with a few critter pictures, and please folks whether you are enjoying the winter, or just enduring it, be safe and be well.

After being literally cooped up by cold weather quite a bit recently, some of the hens ventured out this morning to the hog hut for some fresh air.

Ranger poses for his portrait... handsome fellow isn't he?

Spot and Lily spend a lot of time on the heater in the shop.  It doesn't look all that comfortable to me but they seem to like it.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Hello 2016!

The number 2015 is another marker on our timeline of life.  When we look back at that marker, what will we recall?  

The passing of some much loved elders who lived good lives.  Other lives tragically cut short.  Letting our horses go.  Kevin getting a new knee.  And a new job.  A pretty good garden.  The baler finally working right, a successful hunting season…

Happy New Year All!  We hope you had a good holiday season.  We had some good family time and (yeah!) snow!  I figure if it has to be winter and cold, we might as well have some snow to enjoy.  I’ve been out on the snowshoes just once so far, but that is already one more time than last year. 

I have to tell you what the kids gave us for Christmas… for Kevin, a smoker.  For me, a wine fridge.  It’s not for wine, it’s for aging cheese.  Guess they really want me to make some cheddar!  Since milking season is winding down, they will have to wait a bit for that. Kevin has been talking about getting a smoker for years so he's excited about his gift too.

If you are a gardener, you’ve been getting seed catalogs in the mail for some weeks now.  Here are just a few; my favorites.  I have disposed of or given away at least another half dozen.  I need to make time to sit down with them and do some planning.

Kevin and Rollie have really been at it out in the woods, cutting down many trees for future firewood.  Kevin reports that the boiler is using a lot less wood more efficiently since we have replaced that underground waterline.

The following are some photos from the woods taken on Saturday January 2 when Kori and I went out to see the progress of the woodsmen:
One of eleven turkeys that crossed the logging road ahead of us

Kevin cuts the trees down, Rollie drags them out to the clearing

Kori couldn't resist making a snow angel!
Out in the coop, then hens are still not laying that great, but  better than they were I guess.  The odd thing is I hear from other folks even worse reports than mine.  What is up with the chickens this year? 

Diego and some of the hens check out the crushed eggshells I just added to their grit feeder.
This cornish checks me out when I came to the coop.  There is a lot of glare from the sun streaming in the windows, but I just love the look on her face!  She looks wise to me.
I guess that is all for this evening.  Again, I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.  Be well.