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Farm Chores And A Box of Tissues An Hour

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The Snow Plus Colds Make Farm Chores A ChallengeWe made it through Snowmageddon, dug out our cars, got back to work, and proceeded to get the cold of the century.  Well, that’s a slight exaggeration, but Bob came down with a cold on Wednesday, and Kathy followed close by on Friday.  By Saturday, poor, poor pitiful us, Tea And Hone Made the Farm Chores Possiblesniffling, and coughing and sneezing to beat the band.

Have you ever had your nose feeling so tickly that your eyes water constantly, and you were just begging to sneeze for the momentary relief it provided?  Have you ever gone through an entire box of tissues in an hour, and 2 boxes of vitamins in a day?  Have you ever used 5 jars of Vapo rub and drank 12 boxes of lemon tea with honey in a weekend? That is us.  Don’t get us wrong, we have had our share of colds but Snowmageddon, followed by Coldmageddon. Let’s be real!

The Farm Chores Must Go On

Yes, we are feeling slightly under the weather, but the animals still must eat, and the soap still must be made.  So we hauled water to the animals and fed them lots of yummy hay and enjoyed watching them enjoy the sunlight.  We made 2 batches of soap and did our share of resting.  We are almost restocked after the very busy holiday season we had in 2015 and are busy working on new soaps.  And we cling to the fact that 7-10 from now, all will be right with the world again . . . as long as there is no more snow.

And we sing our favorite song of this season, “OOOOHHHHH Spring Time, that’s the time that I like, every day and every night.  Ohhhh Spring Time, that’s when the birds do sing……”

Fellow farmers, how do you manage being sick and still getting the chores done? Any tips to share? 

Re-Stocking and Creating New Soaps

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Chickens Will Rooster Wherever, Even a Cold Metal Railing

Where else is a chicken to roost

The holidays are over, family is gone, and we are back to the day-to-day routine here at Wynott.  Bob and I both are back to our regular day jobs (which by themselves keep us on our toes) and back to the routine of chores for the animals and soap work.

The goats and chickens are not overly fond of the cold weather of winter.  We keep a nice thick layer of straw on the floor of the barn to keep that warm for the goats, and we try to let the chickens out to free range as much as possible.  Who wants to stay in a frozen (or muddy) run all day long?  So where does a chicken go when they get out of the run? To the walkway railing of course.  So glad we went to the effort of providing them a place to rest on their busy days of worm and bug catching….

Time to Restock These Empty Shelves with New Soap

Get a load of these empty shelves

Restocking

As I look at the shelves of soap, some of them are a bit bare, and in need of a bit of stocking.  This weekend, I wrapped 80 bars of new soap and made two batches of soap to fill up our shelves again after the busy holiday season

Look at all that new soap

Now this is the way the shelves are supposed to look…good and full

We were almost completely out of Patchouli/Rosemary and Cedarwood/Rosemary, so they are now curing on the shelf waiting for orders to start pouring in.  Next weekend, we will make even more and then . . . some creativity.

Our newest offering, liquid soap - new soap here!

Our first half a gallon of liquid soap

Trying New Soap

We consider the months of January through March our creative time.  We have some really exciting new soap ideas for 2016 and can’t wait to get started on them.  We have read lots of wonderful reviews on the benefits of Charcoal soap so that will be–Item #1.  We also have had lots of requests for a beach- scented soap.  I have ordered some coconut and vanilla oils as well as some grapefruit to start working on that–Item #2.  And lastly, we have had some requests for a liquid hand soap–Item #3.  Cant wait to get working on these after one more weekend of stock build-up.

Keep an eye out here and the table at the City Market come spring for these wonderful new soap items, and grab some to try.

What do you think of these new ideas? Any particularly entice you?  

Going Purple With Alkanet Root

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Today, I tried something new! (We’re on a roll – first badger-hair brushes and now this!)

What Sells Soap

In order to better our product, I have been looking at other soap makers’ products and wondering, “Why does their soap sell?”, or “Why does it not sell?”  One thing that seems to make soap appealing is color.  So today, I determined to add a bit of color to some of our soap.  Now, I don’t want too much color.  I really don’t think that pink polka dot soap would be nice, and one thing I have determined about our soap as we change and grow, it that it must always be a great shower bar. Only so much change is in order.

Alkanet Root

I took a look at options for adding color.  We do want to continue to have a natural product that doesn’t contain a lot of extra junk.  So I found this colorant for purple called Alkanet Root Powder.  I have also found that some micas add color, and I may try those in the future. But for now, I was just looking for a bit of purple to add a swirl to our lavender soap.

I made our usual batch of soap, which will give us about 120 bars. I mixed all of the ingredients as usual and then blended the soap until it just barely reached trace, that is, the point where a trace of texture is left on the surface of the soap when you pour it.  It had to be just right so that the next step would leave a pleasing swirl.  At this point, I poured 3/4 of my batch of soap into the soap mold, tapped it down, and stirred the bubbles out of the mixture.  I then added some Alkanet Root Powder to the 1/4 of the mixture left in my bucket.  I blended this a bit longer with the emersion blender to make sure that the color was well mixed into the soap, then poured the purple portion slowly into the mold along with the white portion.  I used a shiskabob skewer to swirl the purple into the white portion of the soap and set it to saponify.  Then, I let it sit until the next day . . .

The Results

Adding Color to Our Goat Milk Soap

The top of the poured soap in the mold before cutting.

Goat Milk Soap with Alkanet Root to Give it Color

The swirled soap after cutting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would love to get your opinion on the appearance of our newly swirled soap. Should I continue to add color to some of our other soaps?

Charlottesville City Market

By | Goats, soap, Uncategorized | No Comments

For the third year in a row, we are gearing up to sell our goat milk soap at the Charlottesville City Market’s Holiday Market.  It is a wonderful time of year.  Goat Milk Soap at Charlottesville City MarketThe City Market has lots of vendors–food, jewelry and holiday craft vendors as well as the produce and market vendors that are there all year long.  The air is crisp, and people are gearing up for shopping for Christmas and other winter holidays.  We, as usual, are up at the crack of dawn, getting the car packed up and ready to set up for a start time at the market of 8:00am.

Bob usually staffs the booth at the market, so you will most likely see him there talking about the wonderful benefits of goat milk soap for your skin and sharing about the ingredients and why the essential oils that we use are so much better for your skin than the chemical fragrance oils that some soap makers use.  He will also be happy to tell you about the personalities of the wonderful goats that produce the milk for our soaps or about the due dates of each of our does as we wait for them to grow babies.

Bob’s Charlottesville City Market Day Ritual

cortadoAt 5;00 AM, Bob gets up to enjoy his rich, deep, tasty cup of coffee.  His coffee drink of choice is a Cortado, which is equal parts espresso and steamed milk.  He likes a bit of syrup for flavor and then sits down for some music before starting his day.  This is a special time in the mornings that really helps him get charged up for the market and the business of his Saturdays.   He leaves our house for the market at 6:15, gets to Charlottesville City Market, and sets up the booth.  He sets out a few bars of goat milk soap of each scent, sets out our shaving soap and sets, and then decorates. Then, he is ready to go for the day.  That is when he goes around and visits with the other vendors before all of shoppers start to arrive.

Bob’s Meet and Greet

If you only knew Bob 30 years ago, you would wonder if he is the same guy.   He used to be a bit of an introvert, and he was definitely not one to go looking for people to speak to, but now, the City Market is truly one of his favorite times of the week.  He simply loves to visit with the other vendors and customers as well.  You will find that his face is almost always smiling, and he will talk to anyone  about anything. Just get him started and see……

See you at the Charlottesville City Market every Saturday between now and Christmas from 8:00am  to 1:00pm at 100 Water Street at the top row of the market furthest from Market Street. 

Goat Milk Soap on the Kitchen Floor

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Early Soap Not much has changed except the label

Early Soap – Not much has changed except the label.

Early in our goat milk soap making endeavors, we used a simple mold made out of 2 x 4s.  This mold was 36 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide.  We lined the entire mold with freezer paper, a time-consuming process, and made enough soap to pour two molds at a time, or about 56 bars in a batch.

Our typical batch was made in a 5-gallon bucket, then lifted and poured on the kitchen counter.  That was a lot of lifting and reaching.  After we poured the soap, we then tapped the sides of the mold to make sure all of the air bubbles were out of the batch, and then let it cure for 24 hours before cutting it into bars.

One fateful day, we decided that it would save us a little energy by pouring the batch on the floor.  We lined the molds and placed them on the kitchen floor.  We proceeded to mix our batch of soap as usual and poured it easy as pie into the molds.  We tapped the sides and got them all ready to cure.  Only then did we think about the fact that we had to get these molds from the floor to the kitchen counter.

You see, we have 3 indoor dogs–a boxer, who at 13 years of age still acts like a puppy, and 2 energetic and curious miniature schnauzers.  We could not leave the soap on the floor for their sniffing pleasure as not only would it ruin the soap to have little nose marks in it, but it could also burn their little noses.   In the first 24 hours after making the soap, the soap is caustic.  The chemical reaction of saponification is taking place, and there is still caustic lye in the liquid soap mixture.  So we HAD to move it up to the kitchen counter to cure.

Bob took one end of the 36-inch long mold, and I took the other.  “On the count of 3, lift slowly and steadily,” Bob said.  One, Two, Three . . . Bob lifted faster than I did, and the soap sloshed just a little, then he slowed down and I sped up, and it sloshed the other way. Then he slowed down, and I sped up and over the sides of the mold went the liquid soap.  A good half of the soap ended up on the kitchen floor.

Thankfully, we had taken appropriate safety precautions.  The dogs were all safely closed in the pantry, and both Bob and I had our long utility gloves on.  No burns, no injuries, just a bit of spilled soap.  And what do they say, Don’t cry over spilled soap?   Oh, perhaps my liquid is wrong.Soap Making

In any case, we both had a good laugh and decided that pouring on the floor was not a great idea after all.  We let the soap mixture firm up a little on the floor and scooped it up with a large spoon, then had a sudsy mopping up of the rest…. No harm, no foul, and a great lesson learned.

Not much has changed here either except the size of our pots.

Our First Experience with Goat Milk Soap

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Up until now, our posts  have been about “farm life.”  Today, let’s talk about our first experience with goat milk soap. In many ways, our journey into the soap-making business happened as an “accident” of sorts.  An experiment gone wonderfully right!

Our First Experience with Goat Milk Soap

Our refrigerator gets fully quickly.

After we got goats, started enjoying the milking and enjoying the goats, the next question in our minds was what we could do with the glut of goat’s milk we were developing.  After reading a bit about soap making, we thought trying our hand at making soap would be fun.

At first, I was really concerned about the use of lye in the soap-making process.  It scared me.  I read stories about people spilling lye on themselves and getting burns.  I even read one story about a woman who was making soap and spilled the lye mixture on her dog, giving her dog some burns.  That put some fear in me, but I was still intrigued with the process. I did more reading, including blogs from soap makers who, with careful safety practices, never had accidents and seemed to really have fun with their soap making.  I also read about soap makers who made soap using goat milk for their families , whose problems with dry, flakey skin just disappeared.  I was ready to give it a try.

Bob and I went shopping.  We got safety equipment – goggles, utility gloves, special pots, and utensils to be reserved just for soap making – and some other items – a scale, olive oil, coconut oil, and essential oils.  Then, I used a wonderful website called Soapcalc to calculate the recipe that I wanted to use and the amount of Lye to use in my recipe, and we made our first batch of soap.

Our First Experience with Goat Milk Soap

Soap in the mold.

There is a bit of a delayed satisfaction with soap making. We had thought it would be a fun science experiment and would be nice to have some soap to use for our family.   After making our first batch, we had to leave it on a shelf in our guest bedroom for four weeks before we could try it out because it needs to cure for that long after making it.  It needs that time to dry out to a nice hard bar of soap and also to mellow as it were and to allow the ph of the soap to come closer to that of our skin so it is not too harsh.

After a long 4 weeks of waiting, we tried our first bar of soap. Wow were we pleased!  It not only smelled wonderful, but it was so gentle on our skin and was nice and bubbly.  We were so pleased with the outcome and really thought we would like to try again.

Our First Experience with Goat Milk Soap

Ready to Use!

So on to batch #2.  We made a few changes to our recipe, tweeking it to be just what we wanted it to be, made a bit larger mold to pour it into so we could make more than 10 bars at a time, and started all over again.  For the next 2 weeks in a row, we tried 2 more batches of soap with two different scents.  Again, we were so totally pleased with the outcome and anxiously awaited the four weeks of soap curing, and again, after four weeks, we were very pleased with the results.

Always the entrepreneur, Bob’s mind was clearly turning.  It was not long before he started thinking about how we could wrap the soap to look nice and how we could start to sell the soap . . . but more about that another day.

 

Our soap is always available to buy.  Just click Soap on our website and place your order.  Thanks. 

A Day in the Life of Goat Milk Soap Makers

By | Blog, Goats, soap | One Comment

That’s right, we have THE life.  I never imagined we would have the life that I have right now.  About 15 years ago, we were building our house and enjoying life in a beautiful spot while raising our family.  We were taking our kids to a multitude of children activities and loving raising a family.  As I reflect, we had a wonderful life then too, but as our children left home, we had to find a new life and new activities to do together, to learn to enjoy a new kind of family life.  Life as a couple with grown children.  As we looked at what we wanted to do, of course raising a few chickens seemed nice, and then, raising a few goats seemed nice.  Now, a day in our life with animals seems really, really nice.IMG_4335

This morning, I woke up, and even though we have no hot water (not to be fixed for 4 more days 🙁  Oh well!) showered in cold water, and sat down for a lovely cup of coffee.  We went out to care for the animals for the morning and got a lovely greeting from Lucy.
IMG_4321

The goats really enjoyed their morning grain and their morning hay and then marched single file up to the field to eat a bit more.  It was a really pretty morning and following them up to the field seemed like a great idea, so we sat out with them enjoying the sunshine and what just might be one of the last warmish days of the fall.IMG_4359

After running some farm-like errands–taking the lawn tractor to be repaired, stopping by Costco for some olive oil with which we will make soap, and dropping by the rental place to fill the propane tank for son Derek–we returned home for a bit of rest before the afternoon chores.IMG_4374

In the  afternoon, I made soap, and Bob shoveled out the barn.  Then, after dinner, we settled in for an evening movie.  I  sewed on a quilt that I am working on, and at the end of the day, I will enjoy sleep on my comfy pillow.  It is the type of day that makes me feel like I  accomplished something.  I feel tired at the end of the day and look back on the day, realizing how very blessed I am to have the wonderful, fulfilling life that I have.

Thanks God, for this amazing day!!!

 

Don’t forget to stop by our shop and place your order of goat milk soap for the holidays.  Our soap makes a great stocking stuffer, a wonderful teacher’s gift, and a lovely component of a gift basket.  

Lovely Fall at Wynott Farm

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Today was a lovely fall day here at Wynott Farm.  The weather was a lovely, crisp 60 degrees.  The leaves are falling, but there are still enough on the branches with beautiful colors to give a warm glow to the area.  The chickens are out pecking at the ground getting the last of the worms and grubs before the first frost sets in, and the fall flowers are in full bloom.  I just love this time of year.IMG_4095

Apparently, so do Bramble and Bianca as was evidenced by their amorous behavior through the fence.  The blubbering and tongue wagging that Bramble was displaying was just wonderful, and Bianca responded with a lovely flick of her little tail.  Need I say more.

Looks like kids are set to arrive in the middle of March, everyone.  Something to look forward to during the short, dark, cold days of winter.  We always like to plan on kids during March and April.  That allows the weather to warm just a bit before we wait with the does in the barn as they labor (we really like to attend every birth if at all possible), but it is still cool enough that the kids seem to avoid some of the worm and coccidia problems that seem to arrive with the really warm weather.IMG_4058

We will have 5 does due to kid next spring.  Take a look at our goat breeding plan if you are interested in seeing more. It will give you an idea of who we plan to breed to whom and when they should be due to kid if all works according to plan.

So today, as the fall days grow shorter, and the nights get cooler (do you believe 30’s last night?) we enjoy these last days of time outside.  We watch the chickens in the yard, we enjoy the sounds of amorous goats and lawn mowers clipping those last tall blades of grass, and we look forward to spring…….(Can you tell that I would like to just skip by winter? But more about that another day.)

We are ramping up for holiday goat milk soap orders, and we’d love to get your order for holiday stocking stuffers.  Stop by the shop and get your shopping underway with us.

A Rainy Day with the Goats Again

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Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day!!!20151003_181913

Today is day 9 of rain. We have gone 9 days since seeing the lovely, yellow, shining ball of warm, bright sunlight. Can you tell that I am ready for the rain to stop? As much as I am done with the rain, the animals here at Wynott are even more ready for it to cease. Why Esther (goat extraodinare) told me yesterday that she just doesn’t understand why the big water trough in the sky keeps leaking. And Bramble keeps asking me to do something about the mud in the yard as it is really hard on his hoofs and is preventing him from communicating with his girls as he must stay in his barn instead of being out in his pasture, calling to them.

In times of days upon days of continuous rain, I often think about Noah and wonder how he kept it together. I mean, stuck on a boat, albeit an enormous boat, with family and some others and an unimaginable amount of wildlife, with rain falling down steadily and hard for 40 days and 40 nights. So, Noah must have been quite a man in my opinion, ’cause it’s only been a week and I’m not happy about it.

The rain is just wonderful for our field and for the water level in our well, but it sure does a job on farm life. The mud, the wet grass,  the animals not wanting to venture out of the barn, and the joys of doing chores in the rain are just a few of the things that await us outside.   I wonder if all of the other farmers like us have this struggle. After talking with my friend AIMG_3341my about her sheep and goats, I believe that they do. She also has a lovely layer of muck in her farm yard. And her sheep and goats are talking to her, I am sure, of the excessive moisture and their desire to walk and play in the field again instead of huddling in her barn.

But alas, we are thankful that the hurricane that might have hit us is far out to sea, and that this rain will end, and that the sun will come out, and the goats will eat in the field again soon. Rain is critical to our life, and we are thankful for it. So today, we stay inside, we make goat milk soap, we enjoy a movie, and maybe quilt a little as we wait for that lovely sunshine to come out . . . tomorrow.

 

How We Got Into Goat Milk Soap

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Welcome to the Wynott Farm BlogTo blog, to blog, to blog.  Ah, an opportunity to share all that goes on here at Wynott Farm.

Introductions are in order. Then we can start to share our heart about all that goes on here.  Bob is an underwriter at a major insurance company, and Kathy is a nurse at a local family doctor’s office.  We have 3 wonderful adult children, 1 extraordinary grandson, 5 dogs, 14 chickens, and last but certainly not least, 6 mini nubian dairy goats.  We live near extended family and would not have it any other way.  We work hard and play hard, and as our previous buck told us one day, we are happy folks with happy goats.

One day, after milking our goats and looking in the fridge at the 3 gallons of milk in there, Bob said,”Let’s try making soap,” and that is where Wynott began.  We made our first batch of goat milk soap after doing lots of research on what makes a good soap and coming up with a recipe that seemed to have all of the qualities that we wanted.  We used it and gave it away to friends; then, we made some more tweaks to the recipe and made some more.  We found that, really, it was quite fun to make and a very nice product.

One Saturday, I said to Bob “Why don’t you try selling some at the local community market?” Bob thought it would be a good idea, so one fall Saturday, with 60 bars in hand he went to the market to sell soap.  We both thought that if we sold 5 bars, we would count the day a success and would try it again.  So when we sold 9 bars, we could hardly believe it.  A success it was, and we have grown from there.  We continued to make soap,and tried to come up with new scents.  We moved after a few months to a larger community market called the Charlottesville City Market and continued to do well.  We have been absolutely thrilled with the reception our soap has received and can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Bob is the marketer of the business.  Indeed, one day when he came home from work with a new store interested in selling the soap, my comment to him was “Can you not keep your mouth shut?” He just loves talking about soap; he can’t help himself.  The City Market is one of his favorite places to be, and he loves the people he meets there.  While Bob is the marketer, I am the head of the production department.  I make and wrap soap, always working on making sure that our recipe continues to have the qualities we desire and that the scents are just perfect.  I keep track of inventory and fill orders.  (If you’re interested in buying some soap, check out our online shop.)

So that is us, in a nutshell. We both look forward to sharing more about life here at Wynott and about our wonderful animals. Thanks for joining us on this adventure we call life.

We’d love to hear from you too. Tell us your perspectives on Wynott Goat Milk Soaps.  We love hearing stories about how our friends, family and customers love our product or thoughts about how we can improve our soaps or make new offerings. 

 

If you would like to get regular updates on the farm, stay on top of our soap offerings, and be the first to receive news about new sales locations and discounts, please subscribe to our mailing list at the top of this page.  We will never share or sell your contact information because we value your privacy.