A nice day for a hike

We were doing barn chores, and the goats told me very firmly that they wanted to go on a hike.  Well, I had work to do, but the poor things have been pretty cooped up with the drizzly weather.  They told me by lining up at the gate as I hauled wheelbarrows of compost through.  They didn’t sneak through.  They just looked at me hopefully.  “Walk?”  I gave in.  We went for a hike.

Our farm is too hilly for normal pastures, but it does lend itself to hiking a bit.  So I grab some tools to tackle Himalayan blackberries, call the goats, and head out to the other side of the farm.  We go down a big hill, and I stop at the bottom, turn around, and watch the goats come down.  They get so happy, they jump in the air.  While running.  Downhill.  Usually sideways jumps, 4 feet in the air, legs dancing.  Then we hike through the trees, and squeeze through a narrow pass into a wider section.  They squeeze through the pass single-file, then mass up in the wide area and run after me as a pack.  Then they spread out and nibble.

I use pallets to smush the blackberry canes.  I press them down, then climb up to use my weight to break the thicker canes.  Abbey is my partner.  Once I get the pallet stable, she climbs up.  Her weight is a big help.  I put my hand on her shoulder, and she stands still and braces me while I climb to the top edge and hop.  She waits for me to release pressure on her shoulder, and climbs up to the top edge with me.  I’m about 120 lbs., she’s about 120 lbs., she climbs up and we’ve got twice as much weight to break blackberry canes.  She puts her weight at the same edge I do – whichever edge that is.  It’s a strange method, but it works.

Abbey wandered off when I was repositioning the pallet again.  A trio of mini Nubians hopped up to help me out, but they did it all wrong.  Nobody was stabilized enough to brace me!  Abbey’s help was never requested or trained – it just sort of evolved naturally.  I didn’t realize until today how perfectly she melded into the process.  When I started, I didn’t let the goats climb the pallet until I stabilized it.  Abbey thought she was special, so she climbed up there anyway.  And she turned into a help.  When she felt that it was shaky, she braced.  When she stood solid, I used her for balance.  And she held steady for me, sensing that she was supporting me.

Abbey has been a real brat lately, but we make a good team most of the time.  She’s bratty because she’s in heat, I think, but she doesn’t like her buck.

Well, I paused on our hike, and just let the goats be goats out there.  I turned to the other side of the clearing, and Kopi was reaching for high leaves, balanced on Maggie’s back.  Maggie and Kopi don’t have a special bond.  Kopi’s big.  Maggie isn’t.  She ducked out from under, but not before giving Kopi a minute to eat high leaves.  I guess that’s what goats do for their herd – they lend a hoof.  And they give us an honorary space in the herd.

It’s kind of cool how the goats help us sometimes, deliberately.  I grew up with dogs and cats, not goats.  I didn’t expect goats to be – well, anything except a milk source, and a pasture occupier.  To see them finding ways to help us out – that’s cool.  My dog tries to help out.  He cleans up food spills and tells the UPS guy – in NO uncertain terms – to go away.  I expect that.  I was really surprised to find goats being actively helpful.

Black tea as toner

Have you ever put tea bags on your eyes to reduce puffiness?  Tea is an antioxidant and may also have astringent properties.  Black tea is the most common tea, and often used in cheap tea bags (like Pekoe tea, used in Lipton teas).

It is also considered acidic.  Know what else needs to be acidic?  Facial toner.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, either.  Apparently, brewing longer makes it a bit more acidic, but the pH is somewhere around 5, which is close to the acid mantle of the skin – that’s a good thing.

I was surprised to see a suggestion to use tea on the face for rosacea (on a web-doc site).  Green teas are a bit more alkaline, so not good toners, but it’s certainly logical that some of the astringency and antioxidant nutrients might absorb into the skin!

So I’m going to try some cheap tea as a facial toner.  It shouldn’t be brewed too strong, because it can also be used as a fake-tanner in high concentrations!  It shouldn’t be hot – cold or barely warm is the warmest that should ever be used on sensitive skin (and rosacea is the ultimate sensitivity!).  And, of course, it is food – it shouldn’t sit out at room temperature for days.  But at 4 cents per tea bag, it would only cost $1.20 a month to brew a fresh cup every day.  Hate to waste most of a cup of tea?  Dark-haired folks can pour it over their hair for an acidic hair rinse; the used tea bags can be used to perk up puffy eyes (chill them and then rest against closed eyelids for up to 15 minutes); pour tea over your feet (or soak in it) to fight foot odor; or even hold the warm tea bag against a blemish for a bit to reduce acneic symptoms!  (Hat tip to http://www.care2.com/greenliving/black-tea-kitchen-cupboard-beauty.html)

As a side note, hibiscus tea is apparently even more acidic than black tea, with a pH below 3.  That may be why it’s often recommended as a hair rinse.  Wet hair might be able to tolerate a more acidic rinse because the tea has to dilute all the water in the hair before it can lower the pH; and many people rinse the tea out, anyway.

Don’t you hurt my Ma!

I had to run to the house for something near the end of barn chores.  The family dog begged to come back to the barn with me.  A rare treat for him, but I agreed.

He stayed on the non-goat side of the barn.  The goats stayed on the goat side of the barn.  I went back and forth, gathering hay and delivering it to the goat feeders.

When I stepped to the goat side of the barn, the goats surrounded me, asking for hugs.

When I stepped to the non-goat side, the dog came looking for pets.

When I squatted down to give the goats their good-night hugs, the dog went on alert.  “Don’t you hurt my Mom!”

When i squatted down to give reassuring pets to the dog, the goats went on alert.  “Don’t you hurt our Ma!”

It’s my job to keep my goats and dog safe.  But it’s charming that they want to return the favor.  I hope, every time, that watching the dog hug me like they do, watching him obey (like they don’t!) and watching him be harmless, will assure the goats that this dog is a good one.  They crowd close, and Abbey stands up against the fence, ready to leap over it if I need her.   Hannah reached her head as far as it would stretch, coming as close as she could to gauge the dog’s intention, to smell for any fear emanating from me.

Sigh, I guess the goats will never accept the family dog as a friend.  They’ve either known him for over 2 years, or grown up with him.  He free-ranges with the chickens sometimes, and they’ve had many hours to observe him through the fence.  He’s never so much as chased a single animal.  He has no prey drive in him.  He appreciates wildlife and farm animals like a bird-watcher appreciates birds – something to watch from a distance, just to enjoy the sight.  He learned as a baby that chasing makes them leave.

Only Lisa ignored the dog.  She spends as much of her life as possible with her head buried in alfalfa.

Always on-trend: DHMO (no kidding)

Goat milk is a potent life force, rich in sugars, protein, nutrients, and it’s a natural source of dyhodrogen monoxide (DHMO), one of the most potent beautifiers known to humankind.  DHMO is naturally found in organic kale, healthy soil, aloe vera leaf, and the human body.  It can plump cells and remove toxins from the body.  DHMO can be isolated from milk, vegetables, and even human urine.  In fact, I believe that our goats would not survive without it.  It is so potent that many experts recommend drinking pure DHMO to support health, energy, and beauty.  Studies have shown that drinking as much as 8 to 10 cups of DHMO per day “improves brain performance by as much as 30 percent.”

With a name like Dyhdrogen Monoxide (DHMO), you might think this beautifying wonder comes from a lab.  Don’t let the chemistry types fool you – DHMO was invented by mother nature, and the vast majority of industrial DHMO comes directly from natural sources.

Super models, royals, and movie stars all use DHMO, and their radiant beauty shows its benefits.  Rumor has it, many of the wealthiest beauties through history have soaked in entire tubs of DHMO!  It is said that DHMO plumps the skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.  It can even enhance the oxygenation of cells, supporting the life cycle of healthy skin.  Warm DHMO reputedly opens pores to enhance cleansing and reduce clogged pores.  Cold DHMO is claimed to enhance glossiness in hair.

WebMD reports that exercise can reduce body stores of DHMO.  DHMO is so beneficial, deficiency can lead to death.  Oral supplementation is more effective than topical products for restoring DHMO lost to exercise.  But if you’re not a fan of the taste, don’t worry.  DHMO is naturally present in many foods and beverages, is added to many manufactured food and drinks, and it can be added to coffee or tea for luxurious boost.  In fact, WebMD recommends consuming DHMO with every meal or snack.  It’s just that good!  In its pure form, DHMO is low-calorie and a welcome addition to a healthy diet (but, as always, it is most effective in it’s natural form, and highly-processed versions may contain salt, sugars, synthetic colors and flavors and other diet-busters and beauty-busters).

DHMO gives ice cream a rich mouth-feel, and improves flavor and texture in many cooked foods.  The finest restaurants literally pipe it in to ensure that customers enjoy a truly unforgettable dining experience, and DHMO is found in some of the most expensive wines and liquors in the world.  Discriminating consumers frequently seek out DHMO-rich products, and happily pay a premium price for them.

DHMO is an amazing solvent for soap, enhancing lather and improving rinse effectiveness.  As a component of goat milk, it is an integral part of our soapmaking process.  In moisturizer, it can boost skin levels of DHMO, while the luxurious lotion additives reduce evaporation of DHMO through the skin.  It is so effective, we encourage customers to use DHMO with bar soaps for enhanced skin feel.

In agriculture, DHMO helps plants bloom and flourish.  It can boost milk production in organic dairies, and it is a critical dietary supplement for free-range chickens.  It can be used to alleviate heat stress in livestock, and duck farms often use it to promote mental health and exercise.  Some farms mix it with probiotics or herbs to make natural veterinary supplements.  It can be used to warm hypothermic livestock, and some alpaca farms spray it directly on the alpacas to provide natural cooling.  Yet, DHMO is not eligible for organic certification.

Like all miracle beauty boosters, moderation is key.  Massive amounts of DHMO have required Federal disaster assistance in locations as diverse as Florida, Louisiana, and New York.  Excessive consumption can have health repercussions.  And DHMO is a major constituent in agricultural runoff and sewer flows.  But normal topical use in skincare is considered not only safe, but beneficial.  Fortunately, the toxic dose for DHMO is extremely high, and quantities as high as 2600 mL per day have been considered as safe and beneficial even for breastfeeding mothers.  Yet, some over-reaching local governments have proposed to ban, restrict, tax, or regulate DHMO.  Our goat farm friends in California are experiencing severe restrictions.  Well-meaning but misguided activists have encouraged this regulatory over-reach.  And Oregon farmers are subject legal restrictions on its use.

There is no validity to the controversy regarding DHMO.  People use it safely every day.  Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents survived years of unregulated use with little to no side-effects.  Like many natural ingredients, DHMO has been “field tested” over millenia and we won’t let modern rabble-rousers stop us from enjoying the traditional benefits of sensible DHMO use.

Yes, we supplement our goats with this amazing natural complex.  It boosts milk production and supports goat health.  DHMO is allowed under organic certification standards for uses as diverse as cleaning udders and treating heat stress.  In fact, no government anywhere in the world has ever banned feeding DHMO to livestock.  Not even in Europe.  Not even in California.  Not even in France.

By offering our goats DHMO every day, we ensure that their milk is rich with DHMO along with other water-soluble nutrients.  Their kids drink the DHMO-rich milk, and even consume pure DHMO on the side sometimes.  We believe that DHMO is the most important foundation of our nutrition program for producing rich milk and healthy babies.  And the results speak for themselves!  Our goats enjoy glossy, soft coats, sparkling eyes, vibrant energy, and supple skin.

Let yourself in on the beauty secret goats and royalty have known for millennia – try DHMO today!

If you’re having trouble finding DHMO in stores, look for it under its many names: H20, hydric acid, water, Dihydrogen Oxide, aqua, Hydrogen Hydroxide, or Hydronium Hydroxide.  In beauty products, it is usually simply labeled as “Water” but European brands often prefer to label it as “Aqua.”

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukkah, and Happy New Year’s, y’all!

New way to pasteurize milk

“Researchers in Oregon State University’s Department of Food Science and Technology are using an emerging high-pressure technology to process milk at lower temperatures while still maintaining the safety of heat-pasteurized milk. The result is safe milk that tastes fresher and has a longer shelf life than conventionally processed milk.”


Pasteurizing at lower temperatures should retain more of the nutrients, as well.   This could be a win for raw-milk drinkers and cheese-makers, as well as farmers.

You want pictures?

Alright, let’s give this a shot!


Little Bart, growing up.


Butters, aka Butterball, aka Nibbly Nibblet #1 (and ma’s boy).

brookinflight Brook

Beautiful Brook has Mamma Abbey’s athletic grace.


Kopi peering over the hill



Monk (Abbey’s son)





The triplets on the right, Ice in back, Token on the left.  Lisa is in the front on the right, and Maggie honored us with a picture of her butt.

Working on a new product

The baby goats love to nibble on my hair.

Now, I do pretty well taking care of the goats, but not so much for my hair.  A haircut for me goes like this:

“Phil, I need a haircut.  Find some scissors.”

I put my hair in a ponytail, and he hacks off the end.

Seriously.  If I have time for going to a hairdresser, I’ll use that time to fix things the goats broke.  I used to have an amazing hairdresser.  I used to put gobs of products in my hair to make it silky-smooth.  Who has time for that when there are adorable baby goats that need hugs?

So when the goats nibble on my hair, I yell at them “I don’t care if it looks like straw!  You can’t eat it!”

A couple days ago, Paddy had a baby flashback.  She’s almost 2 years old now, but she got behind me and nibbled my hair.

But today, I can’t stop petting my hair.  It feels as nice as Sweetie’s fur, and Sweeties fur feels amazing.

We’re not ready for sale yet, but daanng, we’re on the right track.  Good stuff coming your way this summer.

Grrrr. No pics

Abbey was doing her thing – standing at the gate, wondering when we’d come back.  I decided to snap a pic, so you could see Abbey the way we sooo often see her.

Well, I had the big camera out, so I headed down to the barn to finally get pics of the Nibbly Nibblets, and pics of our beautiful new Nubian, Sweet Romance (Sweetie).

Still no decent shots of Butters and Token (the Nibbly-Nibblets).  And Sweetie seems to think she looks best in profile.  Every time I pointed the camera at her, she looked away, so I got profile pics of her lovely Roman nose and big floppy ears.

I walked around to the other side to try to get a front-face shot.  Sweetie looked at Kit, Kit looked at Sweetie, and they silently agreed to kiss for the camera.  And I got the shot!!  OMG, soooo cute!  She IS a sweetie!  Well, I snapped some other cute shots of other adorable goats, too.

And I grabbed the memory card reader to download the pics – and found the memory card in the reader rather than in the camera. 🙁  🙁  🙁


It’s a Cannon camera, and Cannon doesn’t support drivers for it anymore.  So the pictures are lost.

Saturday: Goat milk lotion, too

Well, we sold out of the goat milk lotion.

We sold out in a flash.  I think we had one person who tried the tester but didn’t buy.  Everyone else had to have it once they felt it on their skin.

And I ran out of some of the ingredients to make more!  But I got ’em restocked, and I whipped up some fresh lotion.

Now we’ve got lavender lotion with a more traditional lotion feel (but the same goaty goodness), and lemongrass lotion with the quick-dry feel but lots of moisturizing protection.

Maybe you’ve been reading about what a brat Abbey has been lately and thinking she’s spoiled.  Once you try the lotion she made, I bet you’ll understand why she gets hugs every day.  She’s a good goaty.

But, you know, it’s not all Abbey’s doing.  I put some organic virgin coconut oil in there (among other luscious ingredients).  Virgin coconut oil is sooo much closer to a real coconut than the coconut oil you usually see in a lotion.   There is a even tiny hint of coconut smell under the essential oils.  It’s yummy.  Sooo, if you want a gift that makes skin really happy (yours OR someone else’s!), hurry on down on Saturday.

Nope, it’s not “all natural”.  You’ve gotta have a preservative.  And there’s some silicone in there to give it that amazing feel (and it helps reduce moisture loss through the skin).  But it’s mostly natural, and the other stuff is in there for good reason.  We’ll have testers, so you can try before you buy.  Use the natural soap to gently clean and moisturize, slather on some quick-absorbing lotion to lock in the moisture, and have a very skin-happy holiday season.