Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Animal Profiles - Still Waters WH Royal Tea

Royal Tea is for Sale! - $250

Royal Tea is a first generation Mini Nubian buck.  He is a junior buck born June 5, 2012 and was used for breed service fall 2013.  Tea is a 50/50 cross - his sire is a purebred Nigerian Dwarf, and his dam is a purebred Nubian.  Both sire and dam have fine pedigrees coming from solid milking lines.  His dam, Pepper, has a very fine udder with very plumb, easily milked teats and good attachments.  Tea's full sister Saffron won Grand Champion Junior Doe at the National Goat Expo this fall.  Tea is red gold with random white markings.  He is a masculine buck with a strong topline.  Tea is currently registered with TMGR and eligible for registry with IDGR and MDGA.

Royal Tea at 2 years old

Click pedigree to enlarge

Animal Profiles - Still Waters King Solomon

King Solomon is sold!  

King Solomon is a 1st Generation (4th Generation with IDGR) Senior Herd Sire.  We used him for breed service only this year as we are focusing on out crossing a this time and not using any of our home grown bucks.  Solomon is frosted black and tan with frosted ears and blue eyes.  He is a very structurally correct buck, with alot of dairy character.  He was selected as Grand Champion Junior Buck in the MDGA Summer 2012 Virtual Show.  I consider Solomon's dam Merrylegs to be my best Mini Nubian doe.  She peaked at 10 lbs production this year.  She has very plumb, easy to milk teats, and a very firmly attached udder.  Solomon's sire entered TMGR through the Native on Appearance program, so Solomon would not be a good choice for MDGA herds.  He'd be a fine choice for an IDGR or TMGR registered herd.

Click Pedigree to Englarge

Animal Profiles - Texas Barn Stars Angie's Beau

Beau is our purebred Nigerian Dwarf herd sire.  He is registered with ADGA, AGS and NDGA.  He was born February 20, 2011. Beau has really matured nicely, and the pieces have fallen into place.  He is a nice uphill buck with a level top line. Beau comes from a line of proven milking Nigerians that have done well in the show ring as well. We are not a show herd, but Beau's daughters have done very well leading their classes at our local county fair.
Click on pedigree to enlarge

Animal Profiles - Six Point Boilermaker

Boilermaker is our purebred Nubian herd sire born February 2013.  He is registered with ADGA.  Boilermaker is a very smart looking junior buck, displaying much length of bone and body capacity.  He is brown speckled with white spots with frosted ears, muzzle and crown.  In the winter he puts on a black overcoat.  He also has a wonderful pedigree, coming from a long line of champions in the show ring and on the milk stand.

Click on Pedigree to View Larger

Boilermaker sired 2 doelings and a buckling in 2014.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Animal Profiles - HHF LGE Dutchman's Breeches

Dutch is our new 4th Generation Mini Nubian herd sire, coming from Hidden Hills Farm in Tennessee. He was born 3/2/13. He still has growing to do but is staying well put together through his adolescence. Dutch is a striking black and white, with blue eyes. He also has the sweetest temperament I've ever seen in a buck, and I have had many bucks. He is delightfully quiet.

Dutch has a lot of control to his ears. He can lay them down, but we don't see them down a lot. We are breeding him to does we feel have very good ears and noses. Dutch has a nice topline and milking genes in his pedigree. Featured in his pedigree is the Green Gables herd, which is to be commended for milk testing. I'm excited to see what this fresh infusion of genetic material does for our herd.

Click to Enlarge Pedigree

Monday, December 16, 2013

Animal Profiles - Eddy Place Nosey

Nosey is sold!

He is a 4 year old 5th generation herd sire that has thrown many daughters with excellent breed characteristics and dairy conformation. He is registered with TMGR and IDGR and can be registered with MDGA.

Nosey is available for pick up at any time.
Nosey is our 5th generation Mini Nubian herd sire. He was born 2/19/2010. As the photos show, Mini Nubians continue to grow for several years.

Nosey is tan with dark trim, frosted ears and nose. In the winter he gets a dark overcoat.

We have used Nosey for breeding for several years, and he knows his job well.  Nosey has proven to throw kids with excellent breed character and dairy conformation.
Here are a few of Nosey's progeny:

Here is Nosey's Pedigree:
Click on Pedigree to View Larger

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Breeding Plan is Posted!

Our 2014 breeding plan is now posted! - http://stillwatersfarm.blogspot.com/p/breeding-plan_28.html

I still need to update the photo and pedigree pages. Thanks for your patience!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Construction Time!

We are fixin' to start breeding season in October.  For anyone checking my website right now, please bear with me for a few weeks as I update my website.  My herd photos and breeding plan sections are all outdated.  We've had a great year and have seen much improvement in our herd.  I look forward to sharing everything as I get a chance.  Once I get the breeding plan up, then I will start accepting deposits for 2014 kids.  Thanks!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tips for making beautiful hand milled soap!

Hand milling is the process of melting down lye soap (cold or hot process soap), adding additional liquid, colorants, botanicals, and fragrance oils and remolding it.  Some people call this "rebatch".  I don't care for that label for a few reasons that will become clear through this tutorial.  The primary reason I hand mill my soap is because it allows milk and botanical ingredients to be added to soap without it coming in contact with active lye, which heats and alters these ingredients.  Hand milling is supposed to produce a harder bar of soap.  I think it does, but only after it cures for a few months. Hand milled soap can be used though as soon as it dries.  Hand milling is a similar process but not the same as melt and pour - melt and pour soap has a different chemical make up, making it easier to melt smoothly.

Hand milling has received bad press, and I think this is mostly due to being lumped in the same same category with rebatch, which is actually a method for reclaiming cold process soap that isn't up to par.     Despite what you read elsewhere, I assure you hand milled soap can be smooth and pretty.  The effects you can get with hand milling are only limited by your imagination.  Here are some tips for making beautiful hand milled soap.

1. Start with quality cold process soap.  You are not going to produce superior soap with an inferior base.  You need a properly cured basic cold process soap.  I've recently started buying shredded castille (olive oil) soap from brambleberry.com to save myself the time of making the soap first.  This base is wonderful and melts down very smoothly.

2. Work in small batches.  I work in one pound batches.  When I'm soaping bulk quantities, I just make one pound batches is rapid succession.  One pound of soap flakes fits neatly in a medium saucepan.  I have noticed when I move to a larger pot with more flakes, the process is slowed down, and it becomes more difficult to control the heat in the pot.

3. Control the heat in the pot!  I do not use the oven or the crockpot - those are for melting down large quantities which I just advised against.  I'm not a fan of that method.  I tried the crockpot once and scorched my soap.  I use a saucepan over low heat.  A double boiler might be a good idea if you have one, but I haven't found it necessary.  It takes me 15 min to make a batch.  Through the cooking time, I sometimes turn the heat off.  There is a sweet spot where the soap will melt smoothly.  Try to fill your molds with the soap too cool, and it will be too lumpy.  Get the pot too hot, and it will scorch.  Temperature control is, in my opinion, the make or break factor in producing a beautiful hand milled soap.  I mess it up when I get in a hurry.  Like with any art, you need to time to work free of distraction.

4.  Use milk.  Milk does not form suds in the pot the way water does.  It makes the soap very smooth and silky.  I use 4-5 oz milk to 1lb soap flakes.  More than that and the soap will be very soft out of the mold and contract as it dries.  I like to heat my soap flakes gently, being careful not to scorch, then take the pot off the heat to add the milk to avoid boiling off my milk.  Another method is to add the milk to the flakes first and let the soap absorb the milk, then turn on the heat.  Unscented soap will sometimes have a slight sour smell for a few weeks, but that smell goes away as the soap cures.  I've never had any trouble with the soap going bad, but if you are concerned you can add a preservative.

5.  Use the electric mixer.  Once my soap is heated and my milk is added, I turn off the heat and use the electric hand mixer to whip the soap.  This produces a smooth pudding like consistency.  You don't want to over whip.  If you get too much air in the soap, it will contract as it dries and won't be as pretty. You just want to whip it enough to combine everything.  I spoon the "pudding" into my molds and tap them gently to get out any air holes.  If you really want to be particular, use clear molds and use a toothpick to take out any little air bubbles that might be on the surface.  I've decided they aren't that big of deal, so I don't worry about it.  Tiny air bubbles can often be removed by rubbing the spot with a wet finger after un-molding.

6.  Use your imagination!  The effects you can get are truly only limited by your imagination.   I like to use individual molds.  I fill the molds then pop them in the freezer.  When they are frozen through they come out of the molds easily.  I like a rustic look and love to put fresh and dries flowers and herbs in my soap.  Flower petals can be mixed into the "batter."  I also lay herbs and flowers in my molds, then spoon the soap gently on top of them.  Spices and clays can be used as colorants.  This is the real fun of the method.  It is fun to think up new ways to make decorative soap.  Happy soaping!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Peaceful Dream Cheese!

Now that the babies are mostly out the door, we are having to find things to do with our milk.  I made yogurt cheese this week, and I have to say it is sooooo good!  Here are the instructions:

Monday, June 10, 2013

Standlee Hay Company Review

I was recently contacted and invited to try Standlee's hay products in exchange for a review.  This was a no-brainer for me, as I have enjoyed Standlee's products for years and have no difficulty spreading the news about their fine products.  I purchase Standlee products at Tractor Supply Company.

They have a whole variety of products, but I would like to focus on two products that I feel are especially useful to those raising dairy goats - alfalfa hay pellets and beet pulp pellets

Dairy goats have a special need for calcium.  Does need it for producing milk and avoiding milk fever of course, but growing kids also need it to grow to their potential with strong bones.  Bucks and wethers also need calcium in proper proportion to phosphorus to to avoid urinary blockages.  The proper ration of Ca:P is 2:1.  Alfalfa is an excellent source of calcium, and therefore is a recommended backbone to any good dairy goat feed regime.  The alfalfa pellets sold by Standlee are a nice size for goats - not too large, nor to fine.  I recommend the pellets over the cubes, as cubes are rather difficult for goats to manage.  Standlee's pellets are a joy to use because in my experience they are never dusty, and always fresh and brightly green.  I have used other brands, and Standlee is by far one of the best around.  The pellets come in aroud 16% protein which also makes them a reliable source of protein for your goats, making high protein feeds based on alternative legumes (or yikes, animal proteins) uneccesary.

The second product I recommend are their beet pulp pellets.  I do not use beet pulp year round, but I enjoy having this product as an option when quality forage is scarce - such as during the droughts we recently endured first in Texas and next in Indiana.  Soaking beet pulp makes it go alot further as a feed source.  Although we all know to feed by weight, our goats don't know that and expect a certain volume.  Soaked beet pulp is an excellent source of bulk fiber in the diet.  I also enjoy using soaked beet pulp in the winter when the goats are drinking less water due to the cold.  The reason I like the pellets over the shreds is that it is a lot easier to scoop pellets than the shreds.  I'll put a 3 quart measure of beet pulp pellets in a 3 gallon buck and fill it half way with water.  In a few hours I'll have a 3 gallon bucked full of soaked beet pulp.  The extra carbohydrates in the beet pulp sometimes help put weight on goats that are lagging behind, and I have seen an increase in milk production using soaked beet pulp in drought conditions - which I attribute in part to the increased water consumption that would mirror the water content in pasture.

Next time you are looking for a forage product, consider Standlee Hay Company!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Winter on the Farm

Winter brings special challenges to farm life, and as Indiana plunges toward sub-zero temperatures, I have had the opportunity to reflect on these challenges. It's not just the challenges that warrant reflection, but the many blessings of our little farm that make the cold work tolerable. When we learned we would be moving to Indiana, the task of finding a new home within our price range seemed monumental. Not many people attempt to move an entire small farm. The New Still Waters Farm has turned out to be just perfect for us.

A mobile home on virgin land, may be fine for starting a homestead in the south. Throw up a fence and nail together some range shelters, and you are ready for goats. If you live in an area where winter temperatures are more brutal, I recommend you carefully think through your infrastructure before bringing home livestock.

The first winter blessing of our property is an insulated garage that is practically heated. OK, my husband says the garage it is not supposed to be heated. The furnace is in the garage and some heat is going into the garage. At any rate it is nice. We keep the kid's bunnies in there, and I don't have to worry about frozen little annoying water bottles. Tonight the dogs were brought in to their kennels. They are very tolerant of the cold, but since this is especially bad, I brought them in. It's also a convenient place to keep bottle babies. In the winter I bring my water hose into the garage so it won't freeze in between feeding times.

The next winter blessing is that our farm came with a nice sized barn and outbuildings. I'm able to do most of my work out of the wind. That makes a huge difference in comfort level. Tonight I had to break down and pull out my coveralls. It's very important when temperatures plunge below freezing to minimize the amount of skin exposed to the cold air. The goats are stalled in the barn. I use a deep bedding system. As the bedding composts underneath them, it creates warmth. The horse and pony have a round bale, so they are happy. The chickens got an extra treat tonight - I finally plugged in the heat lamp. I had to unplug their water heater in order to do it, but I figured they wouldn't be trying to drink at night anyway. I'll have to go out and plug it back in in the morning.

Water is of great concern in the winter with water buckets freezing over. Bucket heaters require alot of energy, so we provide water the old fashioned way. I go out and break the ice and haul buckets of water from the frost free pump. Frigid temperatures require extra time and attention to details, but I have to say I really do enjoy getting out doing my work. I don't think there can be anything healthier than GOING OUTSIDE!