Monday, January 23, 2012

A New January Tradition

We all have a nasty virus.  Oliver's fever has been as high as 104 twice today and Pearl is getting her molars (on top of having the bug).  Last January, I was feeling pretty stressed about Oliver's upcoming surgery.  He dragged Pearl and me to the beach and we ended up having a wonderful day.  A couple of weeks ago, Oliver asked if we could have another January day at the beach.  To keep myself in a happy mood, I have been editing those pictures.

Someday soon, I know we will again be dancing in the waves and eating banana ice cream.  From now on, we will start the year off with one perfect day in January.  For the kids it will be a day of carefree digging and running and for me it will be a day to reflect on the gift of motherhood.          

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Good and Gross of Goat Ownership

When people hear about our farm many people say, "I would love to have goats and make cheese and soap!"  And, yes, that part of it is really fun.  I want to ask, "Are you willing to put your entire arm into a goat's vagina at midnight or chase it around to gather its feces?  If so, you are ready to be a goat owner!"  This post will review the "work" and "play" aspects of goat ownership.


My mom makes natural goat worming balls for our goats.  Since we are not treating them with chemicals, it is important we check their feces for worm eggs.  She purchased a microscope and we spent an afternoon searching for eggs.  First we had to collect fresh specimens from each goat.

Pearl must have thought we were crazy!

We asked Glenn to do the boys because they are more difficult.  In the picture below, Glenn is thinking how much easier his life would have been if he had married a city girl.

Once we collected samples from each goat, we brought the poop into the kitchen.  We mashed it up with sticks and added a salty solution to it.  It was then strained and put into test tubes.  We waited for 15 minutes for the worm eggs to float to the top of the tubes.

While we waited, Oliver's mind was being blown by frog blood and cheek cells.  

Finally, the slides were ready to view.  We found a few worm eggs on each slide.  We were very happy to find less than ten eggs each.  Our goats have healthy guts!


My mom and I took a soap making class when I was pregnant with Pearl.  She has been reading everything she can gets her hands on about goat-milk soap.  Finally, she was ready to make her first batch.  We assembled a team to help with our first attempt at soap.

First my mom added all of the liquid oils to a pot.  She then added lye to our frozen goat milk.  Pop's job was to entertain Pearl during the lye process.

All of the ingredients (oils and goat milk/lye mixture) and essential oil (grapefruit, in our case) were mixed together until they were the consistency of pudding.

My mom carefully poured the mixture into molds.

The final product smells wonderful and makes an excellent lather in the shower!  Look for goat-milk soap in our shop soon!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Mouse Saga: Part Two

After the death of Sophia, Oliver could not stop talking about being a mouse owner.  He even wrote a book about getting a mouse for Christmas.  I started doing some online research about being a responsible mouse owner.  Number one?  Never bring a wild mouse into your house to keep as a pet.  Whoopsie.  Number two?  Don't get your mouse from a pet store.  Whoopsie again.  Glenn and I figured if we were going to do the mouse thing again, we would do it right.  I stumbled across a mouse breeder in our town while searching online.  I called her and set up a time to meet her fancy mice.  The mice were unbelievably beautiful.  She had several different kinds: golden, seal point, cream and black and white.  I was transformed into a true mouse lover on the spot.  We celebrated Christmas early with my family because we were leaving for Seattle.  My mom and dad bought Oliver a fancy mouse pad for Christmas.  He was the happiest boy on Earth.

Oliver made sure to ask Santa for a mouse before we left for Seattle.  My mom went to pick up the mice (I thought two would be nicer than one) while we were gone.  Christmas morning came and Oliver anxiously opened each gift, hoping for a live mouse.  Finally he open his last gift.  The gift contained a mouse igloo with a tiny plastic black and white mouse.  Because Santa is so awesome, she wrote a poem for Oliver about his mouse.  This is the moment in the poem when Oliver realized he had a mouse in his habitat at home.

Then Pearl opened a similar box and learned she had a new mouse at home named Florence.  Flo and Harry have turned out to be great pets for Oliver and Pearl.  Pearl loves to watch them in their habitat and Oliver likes to hold them both at least once a day.  They have the most silky fur and are very sweet.  I'm starting to worry about the short life expectancy of a mouse.

Please meet Florence
and Harry!

I know what you are thinking.  Harry is neutered, so we won't have to worry about having oodles of mouse babies.  Thanks Santa, Grammy and Pop for our cute new pets and their cool house!