It's a Process...
Finally, it’s back! It’s taken awhile but we are finally back in milk and that means we can finally make lotion. Last year, we had a total of twenty-six goats, twenty-three of the twenty-six were girls. Last year, we did not have a billy goat. We paid a stud fee and took the girls to visit the billy goat a few girls at a time. We took nine of our girls up to visit the billy goat. It was a tedious process. We had to load the girls, drive them 40 minutes away, leave them for a few weeks, then go back load them and bring them home. It was stressful for the girls and I hated to have them confused and upset. However, we make goat’s milk soap and lotion, to make soap and lotion you have to have milk, in order to have milk you have babies, to have babies you have to have a billy goat. It’s a process.
Talk about the best laid plans, of the nine girls we took up to visit the billy, only one of my girls got pregnant. One goat out of twenty-six! What are the chances? Ask my math genius husband, he will give the probability and statistics version… (insert exasperated eye roll). Luckily, the doe who got the job done was Mama Boo, aka Honeysuckle. I call her Mama Boo because her daughter is my favorite goat and I call her daughter My Sweet Baboo…shortened to Boo, thus the name Mama Boo. Mama Boo has given us quads two years in a row and last year was no different. Again, I ask what are the chances? The four babies that were born to one Mama Boo were all little boys. Four little boys! I have trouble finding good homes for my boys. I insist they are good homes because up until this year, my babies have been bottle babies. Bottle babies are friendly, attentive and view humans as their mother figure or food source. They are pets and lovely pets at that. However, all the milk had to go to raise the quads for eight weeks. Once the babies were weaned, we had more than enough milk to make soap and lotion. As the lactation year goes on, the milk production goes down. By the time we hit the Christmas season, milk levels were critically low. The good news is, we made it through the year. The bad news, we knew we could not take a risk like that again, so we would have to buy a billy goat.
Dear reader, have you ever been around a billy goat? If you have, you know he’s within a mile radius because you can smell him! I was adamant I did not want a billy goat on my lovely farm. They pee everywhere. They pee on themselves, on their beard, on the nannies, all around the barn and barnyard. They are gross, to be quite blunt, simply disgusting creatures. However, with what we had spent in unsuccessful stud fees, we could have bought a champion billy. So, it was time to put hygiene, farm fresh air, and the calmness of a heard of nannies aside and buy a billy goat. Jordan decided to purchase several meat goats or Boer goats. Rather than buy a Nubian billy, Nubian is what my girls are, we decided to buy a Boer billy and hopefully have dual purpose baby cross breeds. Introduce Abu, Jordan named him after the monkey on Aladdin. There is nothing charming, playful, or monkey like about Abu. He is a billy goat. A young billy goat who is handsome, not too stinky, and completely lacking in personality. He wouldn’t permit us to come within two feet of him for the first six months he was here. I had to put a collar on him because he has the uncanny ability to be wherever I don’t want him to be and there was no way to remove him from said unwanted place. My girls begin to cycle in the fall when the days begin to shorten. I braced myself for all the general male grossness to begin. He did curl his lip and make funny noises at the ladies but they seemed to find him charming, attractive, and very attentive. He surprisingly did not stink up the whole farm. Alas, when all the courting and coupling was done, he became friendly. We can actually pet and brush him now. He will even approach us, be it once in a blue moon, to seek out scratches and treats. I’m sure that will end when we have whole herd spa day. Once the temperature reaches over 70 degrees for several days in a row, the girls get a bath, a sugar scrub on their udder, a haircut and hooves trimmed and polished. For Sir Abu, I intend to trim that beard, give him a good haircut so there is less hair to pee on and shine up those horns. He’ll be a new man! He’ll probably also hold a grudge. He seems like the grudge holding type.
Fast forward, baby season 2020. Abu did an amazing job!We have a ton of beautiful spotted babies. There is a nice balance of girls and boys and they all have delightful personalities. Even though they aren’t bottle babies, we spend so much time with them that they are absolute doll babies! So much for my theory of I won’t be feeding them so I won’t be attached. The babies are weaned from their mamas at eight weeks old. Many of our babies are moving into that age bracket and we are milking five of our girls in the morning. From the five, we are given about a gallon and a half of milk each day. Once the babies are completely weaned, we will be given probably close to five gallons of milk per day with the addition of four yearlings to milk.
We are thrilled to be able to begin making lotion again. I sometimes think the lotion is a better seller than the soap but lotion isn’t nearly as much fun to make. I do enjoy creating new scents and offering natural, wholesome products. Lotion production is also a process. We take sanitation very seriously. Before lotion making commences, we deep clean everything in the studio, including the floor with a strong bleach solution, soak all our pots, utensils and anything that will come into contact with the lotion in a bleach solution, wear gloves and pull our hair back, unless you are Eric. Today was the first day we made lotion and it went well. We were able to create five different varieties, including the facial moisturizer which has been frequently requested. We should have lotions updated and posted on the website before the end of the week.
I hope you enjoyed some insight into how the girls, the events in the barn and the products all tie together. As with everything, it is all interconnected and each piece plays an important role. No one piece more or less important than the other. As with anything, it is all a process.