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Dot is also known as Dottie Girl. Insert I'm a Barbie Girl song, but change the words to I'm a Dottie Girl in a spotted world. I'm fantastic. A black and white classic! Come on, Dottie, let's go party! Oh, Oh, Oh-Ah-OOOHHH! I know, I'm a simpleton.




The Bibbed Wonder, The Bean, and I have a rather unusual lifestyle. Our business is not necessarily your everyday run-of-the-mill business. Our lifestyle choices are uncommon to some, and perhaps not everyone's cup of tea. I can honestly say we love what we do. We love where we get to do it and who we get to share this journey…that includes you. In the past, I have shared some of the most unusual comments we have encountered, some of which turned my cheeks a flaming red, even with my off-color humor. Today, I thought I would share some of the most frequently asked questions and their answers.

 

Some questions we are asked seem like the answers would be common sense that anyone should be able to answer. However, it is easy to forget that not everyone loves animals, has animals, or is knowledgeable about animals. Not everyone is familiar with the soap-making process, its ingredients, or its benefits. It's also easy to take what we do for granted. There are days we forget the charm, the dream-like quality, and the nostalgia our lifestyle and business create (Like Monday, for example…sigh). With The Bibbed Wonder and I both having a background in education, I feel we are comfortable and willing to educate individuals in all we do. I enjoy sharing our story, the journey, and the process. Although I have been making soap for seven years, I continue to learn something new every day, and the path continues to spark passion and excitement. There is never a dull day here on the farm.

 

I hope today's blog post answers some of your questions, tweaks your interest, and gives you a clear idea of what we do and why we do it. Never be afraid to ask a question. There is never a dumb question, and know we appreciate your interest in us, what we do, where we do it, and how we do it. The most frequently asked question we field is, how do you and The Bibbed Wonder work together, live together, and spend all your time together?


The honest answer is it takes self-awareness, patience, and a sense of humor. We both must be aware of our responses, tones used, presentation of information, and keeping ourselves in check. There are days when it takes all of our self-control to remain civilized. However, most days, we work in tandem to create our products. When we are both “on,” it feels like a well-practiced dance. We can anticipate the next step and what the other needs, and we get things done efficiently. The most important aspect is we continue to enjoy each other’s company and we work toward the same goal. Exercising patience is also very important. We can both be very impatient people. However, we are impatient about different areas of life and business. I believe we both feel the same frustrations, but we don’t feel these frustrations at the same time. When one of us is feeling defeated, frustrated, or overwhelmed, we are able to talk each other down, put things in perspective, and motivate each other to keep pressing forward. It’s not always easy. However, keeping a sense of humor serves us well. The Bibbed Wonder is definitely the funnier of the two. He can turn absolutely any scenario into a joke. His quick wit, epic delivery, and sheer silliness keep me in stitches…mostly. Trust me, there are days I find no humor in his antics. Being able to laugh at ourselves, our issues and our lives are part of what makes us strong.


 

What do we argue about most frequently? We are often asked this question, and it's a relevant one. Regarding the business, it’s glitter. Yes, we have some knockdown, drag-out, not going to stop until someone kisses the mat kind of arguments over the use of glitter. One of us loves glitter and understands the magical power glitter holds. The other is an anti-glitter curmudgeon who only thinks in non-magical terms, with boring rationale and practicality. Guess who is who?   In my humble opinion, everything is better with glitter, and glitter should be sprinkled liberally with abandon on all soap tops. The Bibbed Wonder believes everything in moderation is the key, especially the use of glitter. For example, yesterday, we made Valentine’s Day soap. I know, I know, Christmas is still weeks away. However, in order for it to cure properly, we must make seasonals well in advance. It’s Valentine’s Day, the holiday when glitter should fly freely and adorn EVERYTHING. One bib overall wearing glitter hater would not allow me to sprinkle glitter on the Valentine’s Day soap tops. Rude. I was informed I am like a kindergartener when I use glitter. I was also told that I am selfish with my liberal use of glitter because he is the one who must clean up the glitter mess I make and wander off when I see a squirrel/fox/goat/goose/or chicken. Again, rude. Not entirely inaccurate, but still rude. Picking and choosing battles is also a skill we have developed. I was not willing to die on the glitter hill, so I gave in relatively easily. However, there were a few minutes of tension, curt words, and a little dose of attitude.


Speaking of glitter, we are frequently asked why we use glitter and how can we say our soap is natural if we use glitter. Fun fact: this question is usually posed by a man…just saying. The answer is there is an entire industry dedicated to creating products for use in handmade soap. Some of these products are natural, while others, well, not so much. This is where research, diligence, and knowledge come into play. We use biodegradable natural glitters from a trusted small company located in Florida. The glitters are cruelty-free (not tested on animals, harvested from any living creature, and no living creature is harmed in its making). The glitters are biodegradable and will not clog up waterways/sewage systems/or build up in the environment. It is the same product used for making natural cosmetics. All of these factors are important to me. One must understand we do not just go to Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby, load up on glitter, and throw it into our products. That’s not how we work. With each new product chosen, I research, question, and don’t stop until I have the answers I need. Also, an interesting fact: all those soaps, scrubs, and face care products that have microbeads for exfoliation build up in the environment, waterways, and sewage system, and they NEVER DISAPPEAR….EVER. Your great, great, great-grandchildren will still be battling these tiny microbeads you use daily or weekly to keep your skin smooth and soft. Guess what? Poppy seeds to the same thing, and they are all natural. Just a wee tidbit of information…wink.


We are also asked why we use titanium dioxide in some of our soaps. This question is usually posed by some snotty, college-age boy with overly styled hair and a super expensive watch…just saying. Titanium dioxide is a natural derivative of certain minerals. Titanium dioxide is often found in foods, cosmetics, and natural self-care products. We use titanium dioxide to help whiten our soaps when my vision requires a white background. Milk-based soaps often turn a light tan or even dark brown due to the natural sugars contained in the milk. Titanium dioxide helps combat the natural browning tendencies. There is a misconception that titanium dioxide is terrible, cancer-causing, and dangerous. However, the "nanoparticles" used in products like sunscreen and aerosol deodorants are dangerous and believed to cause lung cancer. Titanium dioxide in its purest form cannot penetrate the skin and is proven safe both topically and if ingested. The bottom line is don't use aerosol sunscreen or aerosol deodorants. We have known for decades aerosol products are harmful to the environment, and nanoparticles can enter through the skin.

 


We are also frequently asked why we use milk in our products. The answer to this question is two-fold. The most literal interpretation is I had too much milk from my pet goats and had to figure out a way to use said milk and justify the twice-a-day milking that is necessary when keeping dairy goats. I don’t have a long-drawn-out inspirational story. God did not speak to me in a dream and tell me to make soap. I am fortunate that I don’t have a child with severe allergies or skin issues. I simply got pet goats for enjoyment, had an excess of fresh milk, and found a way to create something useful, natural, good for you, and, I think, beautiful. Making soap was therapeutic for me during a very difficult time. I am blessed in that I can support my family by doing something I love and am passionate about, and I get to do it with creatures and people I adore.


The second, more complicated response is that goat’s milk is gentle, rich in vitamins and minerals that are soothing to the skin, and that ingesting goat’s milk and using it in topical products often offers soothing qualities to the body. I won’t bore you with a complex, in-depth chemistry lesson. It is the chemical make-up of goat’s milk that makes it easier for some individuals to digest and makes it soothing for one’s skin. I’m kind of crazy in believing that goat’s milk can aid in healing the body both inside and out. I often use the anecdote of The Bean and her eczema. Jordan suffers from seasonal eczema breakouts. She usually develops dry, itchy, stubborn patches this time of year and throughout the winter. I add a half-gallon of fresh, raw goat’s milk to her bath water, she soaks for 20-30 minutes, and when she steps out of the tub, her dry, red, inflamed skin is almost clear. I call it a goat’s milk miracle. However, it is proof to me that using natural products aids in healing and maintaining healthy skin.


Ultimately, there is an individual at almost every event that asks us how our goats can be smiling when we chop them up and put them in soap. Believe it or not, most are joking, but a few truly believe that when the sign says goat soap, it is filled with parts of deceased goats…sigh. I’m kind of over this joke. I also can’t believe there are individuals who would think using goat parts in soap would be an acceptable practice. However, considering how most of the world views and treats animals as a commodity, I guess it really isn’t a stretch. It’s a shameful, cruel, and inhumane world these beautiful creatures inhabit. The reality for us and our goats is that they are loved. They are treated with kindness, respect, and adoration, and we provide them with the best life possible.

 

First and foremost, we love them. They are not just farm animals we use to make money. They are an extension of our family. When they are sick, injured, or under the weather, we make every effort to heal them, keep them safe, and protect them. It is not unusual for us to spend the night with them or make multiple visits to the barn throughout the night to check on them if something is wrong. We do not throw our goats away to auction or to be slaughtered if they can no longer produce. We give them sanctuary and respite from a well-served life and a caring retirement to enjoy the remainder of their days. Red, Lily, and Mama Boo are retiring this year. They will no longer have babies and produce milk. These girls have earned a peaceful, gentle retirement. They will live out their days with their family, and we will make every effort to keep them safe and healthy. A little teaser: expect an invitation to multiple retirement events here at the farm this year to celebrate these lovely, sweet, giving, intelligent creatures' retirement. They deserve to be celebrated.

 

I could create a list of more than a dozen frequently asked questions. I will no longer bore you today with that extensive list. However, I believe I will create a blog series dedicated to this list of questions. I hope I provided you with some insight and answers to how and why we do what we do. On this chilly December day, stay safe, be smart, never stop being excited to learn something new, and keep washing your hands.   

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Welcome to yet another Tuesday Spotlight, dear reader. Today, our spotlight is on our classic Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey soap. Oatmeal is a wonderful addition to soap. Using an oatmeal soap has so many benefits for one’s skin. Oatmeal adds gentle exfoliation, which is particularly excellent this time of year. It helps to remove dry, dead, itchy skin and helps repair cells for new and healthy skin. Oatmeal is also considered to have anti-inflammatory properties, which could offer some relief to those who suffer from dry, itchy skin conditions.

 

We blend organic oatmeal with local honey derived from our friend’s hives. Honey acts as an emollient, which helps dry skin retain moisture. Honey also has natural anti-inflammatory properties and antibacterial properties. Some believe the inclusion of honey could aid in healing and also help to lighten scars. We make no medical claims. Soap is meant for one thing: cleaning the skin. However, using a natural soap filled with high-quality, natural ingredients free from chemicals and fillers often gives some relief to those who suffer from skin issues. Chemicals and fillers can act as irritants, and the very act of removing those irritants from your care routine can be beneficial. It’s purely common sense.

 

We make all our soaps the old-fashioned way using the cold process soap method. Each bar is lovingly created using the highest quality ingredients, beginning with our fresh, raw goat’s milk from our well-loved ladies. My girls may not have an impressive pedigree a mile long, but they are sweet, eager to please, and simply lovely. I would not trade them for all the show goats in the world. With the addition of coconut oil, olive oil, canola oil, and castor oil, our bars are packed with moisturizing goodness.

 

This week, Milk, Honey, and Oatmeal bars, along with Milk and Honey Moisturizer are on special. Save four dollars on bars and jars only on the website. Milk, Honey, and Oatmeal bars make a lovely gift, especially if you know someone who suffers from dry skin. Pair our Milk, Honey, and Oatmeal bars with our Milk and Honey hand soap and Milk and Honey moisturizer; add a beautiful hand towel or soap dish, and you have an affordable, practical, thoughtful gift. To enjoy the savings exclusively on the website, no promo code is needed, and the savings will be applied at checkout.


On this chilly December day, with the scent of snow in the air, stay safe, be smart, enjoy the savings, and keep washing those hands.

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  • Writer's pictureTina

Holding Eddie's bowl at just the right angle so she can eat comfortably and stay covered up



Well, dear reader, it has been a Monday to top all Mondays! At seven o'clock this morning, The Bibbed Wonder stuck his head in the door and yelled, "Hey-yo! I need help!" That never bodes well…ever. Eric's now elderly pig, Eddie, short for Edwina, was injured in a nasty fight with Cleetus, the boar. Her back leg appears to be stoved up and sore. Eddie has had enough of Cletus and his picking, antagonizing, and tormenting. Earlier in the week, she moved outside to sleep in the hay bales to escape Cletus. I get that; I do. Cletus is not happy unless he has everyone stirred up and fussing. He is the source of all the barn drama.

 

In Eddie's attempt to escape the annoying Cletus, she moves outside only to be followed and tormented by Cletus. Eddie ended up in the middle of the field in a mud waddle. We believe that she could not maneuver out of the mud waddle with her injured leg and got stuck. Eric needed me to help him get Big Ed out of the mud. I wore my rubber muck boots out into the field. As I carefully tried to get on the other side of Eddie to help her stand, my boot got stuck in the mud. When I say stuck, I mean I was S-T-U-C-K! Eric had to get off the tractor to help me "unstuck" myself. I could break the suction from my left foot and plant it on the bank of the waddle. I balanced on one foot with The Bibbed Wonder's help, pulled my foot out of the boot, and had him free the boot from the vacuum the muck and water created. My boot came loose with a satisfying slurp. Much to my annoyance, pulling myself from the suction of the mud made me pee a little…. I announced loudly, "Dammit, I peed!" Once out of the mud, I slid my foot back inside the boot and tried to avoid going back into the mud. I'm sure The Bibbed Wonder had all kinds of unpleasant thoughts about me as I got stuck in the mud. Sigh…

 

There was simply no way we would get Big Ed out of the mud without the aid of large equipment. We created a sling of sorts with two tow ropes. One rope was around Eddie's waist, and the other was just behind her front legs. Trying to get Eddie to stand long enough to get the tow ropes around her was a feat in itself. Once the tow ropes were in place, Eric attached them to the tractor's bucket. He then lifted her as gently as he could from the mud. I stood off to the side, spotting her as he slowly lifted her from the sucking mud puddle. If she had just been still, all would have been well. However, pigs are not known for their cooperation or calmness.

 

The noises Eddie made were nothing short of frightening. Angry pigs, injured pigs, annoyed pigs, playful pigs, horny pigs, and hungry pigs sound like monsters. Their voices are so low, so loud, and quite frightening. I'm sure our neighbors were wondering what was going on. The noise was so unnerving that I dribbled in my drawers just a bit…again…sigh. Poor Eddie dangled in midair, squealing like, well, a stuck hog…stuck like couldn't move, not stabbed. The other girls and Cletus were roused from their slumber and came sauntering across the field to investigate.

 

Pigs protect their own. They are fierce in their protection of each other. Once they saw poor Eddie hanging just above the ground, fighting furiously to free herself, they came charging across the field. As they got closer, The Bibbed Wonder yelled, "Get in the tractor! Hurry up!" I did not waste a second. As I stood precariously hanging onto the side of the tractor, Eric yelled, "Get down! Get down! Get down!" I then jumped down from the tractor footrest; he threw the tractor in the park and jumped down to literally beat the pigs away from Eddie.

 

Pigs are jerks. They are like older siblings in that they can beat up and torment each other, but no one else better mess with them. If one shows weakness, they will be knocked about and bullied until they are injured or even die. Cletus knocked Eddie about from the back while one of the Large Black Hogs picked at her from the side. Eric had to kick them both in the snout to chase them off. Charlotte, who is the least trustworthy in temperament, charged at Eric. She, too, was met with a swift kick to the snout. Eric does not make it practice to knock about any of the animals. Like people, all animals respond well to kindness, gentleness, and patience. However, in this precarious situation, extreme measures were needed. The pigs looked insulant and slightly put out, but they cleared the way and left Eddie and Eric alone.

 

We got Eddie carried to the goat side of the pasture field, the gate shut and locked, without any other pigs making it over. Once away from the other pigs, Eric lowered Eddie to the ground, hoping she would walk to the barn on her own accord. Unfortunately, this is not the way things went. Big Ed was able to walk maybe twenty feet on her own. Exhausted, cold, and injured, she lay down and refused to get up. We allowed her to rest for ten minutes and then tried to help her to her feet. Again, she growled, squealed, and bellered, stirring up the other pigs safely on the other side of the gate. After much encouragement, explanation, and gentle pats, we understood that getting her to the barn with her abilities was impossible.

 

Again, we created a sling out of the tow ropes and gently lifted Eddie just off the ground. Eric slowly made his way to the barn while I spotted Eddie, ensuring the ropes did not slide, or her feet dragged on the ground. It felt like it took us forever to get her just a few yards. The Bibbed Wonder would gently lower her to the ground every few yards to give her a bit of a rest. It took us forty minutes to make it halfway across the pasture field. I ran ahead to open the barn doors, let the goats out, and shoo them away from the barn doors so we could get Eddie inside the barn.

 

Once Eddie was within just a few feet of the barn door, she began to struggle. Eric gently lowered her to the ground. We quickly removed the ropes, and Eddie clumsily made her way inside the barn to the back, where a large pile of hay awaited her. Once she settled in, we covered her with a blanket of hay, shooed the goats back outside, closed the barn doors, and gave Big Ed a large bowl of feed mixed with warm goat's milk and marshmallows. Eddie ate until she was satiated, then began making a nest in the hay and settling in comfortably.

 

Besides a few brush burns from the tow rope, Eddie appears unscathed. She has a small gash on her left hip, probably from being bitten by one of her bunkmates. It appears to be scabbed over and merely superficial. It is her hip that seems to be giving her the most trouble. Pigs are not known for their gentleness or empathy. I'm sure once Eddie showed weakness, she had a target on her. Now, safely removed from the other pigs, she can rest, relax, and heal peacefully. The goats give all the pigs a relatively wide berth but avoid Eddie in particular. She is not the most pleasant creature on the farm on a good day.

 

Once she settled into her new quarters, she was content to make a nest, bury herself in the hay, and commence sleeping. It was a very stressful morning. If I had had my wits about me, I would have snapped a picture of poor Eddie hanging precariously in midair. However, there was too much going on and too many angry pigs to deal with to take the time for a photo op. I also don't believe Eddie would like to be photographed in such an undignified pose—our poor Eddie.  

 

After getting Eddie settled, I took my Heavy-B for a walk. I knew two people we allow to hunt on the property had gotten deer over the weekend. Two successful hunts mean two large gut piles. Bus, of course, sniffed out the gut piles and gorged himself on them. I love my boy, but he is disgusting. Just as I sat down to begin writing my blog, I heard the horrible sound of Buster getting sick in the living room. I jumped up to try to get him outside, but alas, I was too late. I walked into the living room to find the most enormous pile of vomit I have ever seen. Since I am recovering from a three-day bout of stomach flu, this did not sit well with me. I can't think of anything else to polish off such a glorious morning…sigh.

 

After I share my tale of woe with you, I look forward to a long hot shower with some fresh-smelling goat's milk soap. My scent of preference is Comfort and Joy. Anything will smell better than a pig or dog vomit. After a morning such as this, I honestly think I could sell everything and move to a condo on a tropical beach. However, think of how boring life would be. Who would entertain you with tails of pigs hanging off the tractor like a pinata, gross dogs doing gross dog things, and, of course, goat's milk soap? It is a heavy burden I bear to entertain you, dear reader. On this chilly December day, stay safe, be smart, help even grumpy old piggies if needed, keep your dog leashed during and after hunting season, and wash your hands for the love of all that's holy. After all, there is a nasty stomach bug going around.  

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