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Calendula Balm!

This all-purpose balm has been everything I needed it to be and more!

Bruce has had red, dry, irritated, cracking cheeks just about all winter long and I could not find a solution. Every lotion (even the most expensive, unscented, “gentle” face lotions) brought tears to his eyes because they burned his sensitive skin.

After doing some research on healing salves and homemade “boo boo” balms, I decided to infuse some of my favorite oils with Calendula (Marigold), Lavender, and Chamomile.

  • Calendula, because of it’s history. This flower has been used as a natural medicine for centuries. It possesses anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral capabilities! Definitely the main punch behind this balm.
  • Lavender, because of it’s antibacterial properties and it’s aid in the healing process.
  • Chamomile, because it calms your skin – just as drinking a cup of Chamomile tea helps you relax! It contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, but most importantly it’s full of antioxidants.

Then, I put together a recipe with a shea butter and beeswax base that would create an easy to use, mess free balm!

Bruce LOVES IT! It does not hurt, burn or sting in the slightest, and he really likes that he can apply it all by himself! I couldn’t dream of any better feedback than my three year old son telling me his cheeks feel all better – especially after this ongoing battle in searching for some relief.

The first picture was taken on Friday afternoon, and the second one was taken this morning. I applied it twice a day for less than three days and I could not be happier with how much it is helping his skin!

I have also been applying this balm on my cracked knuckles and it has done wonders for me!

I plan on making much more, but for now there are a couple available in our shop! Get it while you can! 

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Meningeal Worm

Meningeal worm. Also known as M-worm, brain-worm, or P. tenuis.
The natural host of the worm is white tailed deer and it’s picked up by passing slugs or snails, then accidentally ingested by camelids, goats, sheep, or other domesticated farm animals. M-worm doesn’t cause any problems for the deer, but in a foreign host the worm gets “lost” and finds it’s way to the brain or spinal cord causing all sorts of neurological disorders.

You can see in these pictures how his back legs crossed.

Recently, Patrick started acting a little off. It started with a small limp in one back leg. I checked him out and couldn’t find the problem. So we gave him some time to come around, but a week went by and his entire hind end seemed stiff. Then, he started dragging his toes on both his back legs. His front half was fine. He was eating, drinking, and alert. He didn’t have a temperature, but it was like his back half was drunk and stumbling around. He crossed his legs with every step and we decided it was time to call a vet. Based on his symptoms and lack of other illness, she diagnosed him with meningeal worm and we began treatment right away.

His treatment included: One intramuscular shot of Ivermectin (wormer) for three days, two intramuscular shots of Banamine (pain reliever/anti-inflammatory) for three days, a large dose of Safe-Guard (wormer, 10x what is recommended on the bottle) for five days, and plenty of extra vitamins.
We finished his treatment on January 4th, but healing from the neurological damage can take up to a year. Unfortunately though, sometimes the animal never recovers fully and lives with the neurological problems for the remainder of their life.

Once his shots and oral medication were finished, he still received 30mL of nutri-drench a day for one more week. I mixed it in with his grain to make it easier on both of us. Let me remind you guys, bucks stink. Very bad. My buck coat, gloves, and pants now stay outside after this very hands-on time with Patrick. I don’t think I’ll ever get that smell out of them. Yuck!

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Welcoming 2019

Along with the new year comes new goals, personal and business related. Last year, I struggled finding my niche in the soap making world. I saw businesses that strictly focused on soap, very pretty pictures and wonderful combinations of scents and colors. Some that focused on many different skin care products and others that focused on homesteading and natural health. All of them had a theme or a style different from the next. I never really felt like I found ours though. My very busy mind had tons of ideas, but a hard time focusing on what direction to take them.

My initial thought was, because we’re selling soap, our pictures needed to be clean and fresh.. but as the year went on, I realized what we do is not always “clean and fresh” – because making soap isn’t the only thing we do around here. In fact, making soap is a very small part of what we do around here.

Tending to our small farm comes first and it takes up a huge part of every day. It is dirty! Really dirty sometimes! Taking all these nice pictures is fun and I love sharing them, but I want to share the hard and not so pretty moments too! So, this is my vow to change the direction of our business. We want to be informative and really show you guys what we are doing here – outside of making luxurious goat milk soap for you!

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Pea milk soap?

I know, you’re wondering “why?”, right?

You may have heard of other plant milks, such as coconut milk, almond milk, and maybe even cashew milk, but pea milk? Sounds strange. I didn’t know it was a thing until about a year ago and never tried it until about eight months ago. I was shocked at it’s complete lack of pea flavor and happily surprised to read about all it’s nutritious benefits! (High in protein, branched-chain amino acids, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, iron, and more!) Long story short – my family and I, now drink it regularly in place of cows milk or goats milk. I am not a vegan, so I wont pressure you with all the details or encourage you to switch your diet. Dairy milk is great, but plant milk is just as good.

Recently we stopped milking Joyful and Sandy because it’s breeding season. Fun fact: A stinky buck makes for stinky milk. Yes. Their musk is so strong it taints the does milk. Anyways, I’m getting low on my frozen goat milk supply, so until next kidding season I thought I’d try something new! A vegan/plant based soap!

I had been researching what it takes to make your own pea milk and decided to try it. It didn’t take much, split peas, some sweeteners, a dash of oil, and water. I held off on most of the sweeteners, adding only a teaspoon of honey, and because soap is made with a lot of oil I left that out completely. I didn’t intend to drink a whole glass of it, I mostly just wanted to make soap out of it. Therefore, the little bit of pea flavor it had wasn’t a big deal. It was comparable to a very bland, watery, unflavored split pea soup. If I were to make this for us to drink I would definitely add more sweeteners, use yellow peas, and strain it more thoroughly.

Enough reading, lets get to the making process. First, I rinsed and cooked the split peas.

Then, put them into a blender with 4 cups of water and a teaspoon of honey.

Next, I began straining the mixture to get it as smooth as I could.

After straining it several times, the consistency was just right for what I needed it for. I poured it right into some ice cube trays and waited a few hours.

Later that same night, I decided to makes some soap with my new plant milk! It was very weird at first. The lye changed the green ice cubes into a deep orange color. Then, it changed from a liquidy mixture to a much thicker mixture – nothing like the lye and goat milk. Odd, but I went with it!

I finished the soap making process and poured my soap into the molds to cool. Now this next part was the most strange… when it cooled, it turned green again!!! Very light green, but still not what I expected at all! Whatever the color though, I was excited to try the new soap! After waiting a couple weeks, I did just that. I love it! The pea milk gave the bar that same creamy lather the goat milk does and it was an all around very mild, cleansing bar of soap.

Soon this product will be available in our online shop! For now, we are including FREE samples in every order – that is, until they’re gone! So order soon to receive yours!

Thanks for reading! Happy New Year!

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Lip Balm: Behind The Scenes

Making the actual tubes of lip balm is not the most time consuming part of the process. There is much more to it than just melting, pouring, and capping each tube. I’ll start with how I get the wax in the first place, then I’ll walk through the rest of the process, ending with labeling and shipping them to you!

I hope you enjoy this inside look on our lip balm making process!

Our lip balm starts with rendering wax from our honeybee hives. I use an old crock pot with an inch or so of water in the bottom, some cheesecloth, and paper towel to do this. The cheesecloth and paper towel get draped over the crock pot and secured with a thin wire, then I set the crock pot to low, add some wax, and wait. It takes a few hours for it to melt down and strain, then another few hours to cool and separate from the water. Pictured below is a fresh disk of rendered beeswax.

Once the wax is cleaned it is ready to be made into lip balm. I have three different recipes that I use, but I’ll be focusing on the Hint of Orange variety for this post.

First thing’s first, I take my time to measure out the correct amount of oils. (I have learned the hard way that taking an extra moment to double check EVERYTHING never hurts… many wasted lip balm tubes later.) The Hint of Orange recipe is about 25% wax and 75% oil.

I have a small double boiler pot that is used specifically for this next step – combining and heating the wax and oils. Here is the melted down beeswax, coconut oil, Shea butter, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil. I then add some concentrated vitamin E oil and Young Living’s Orange essential oil.

This next step is the hardest… pouring the liquefied lip balm into each little tube. I use a syringe for this, but it still can make quite a mess. (Luckily, this time, I did pretty good with not spilling any!) I also use a rack to hold the tubes in place while I fill them, which was probably one of my best investments! Each batch is measured to make approximately 50 tubes. Once they’re filled it takes about 20 minutes for them to cool enough to start capping.

Next comes labeling.

Our lip balm labels are similar to our goat milk soap labels in that they also have a picture of one of our actual honeybees on them. (I’ll go into detail about how I do all that in a different post.)

I buy blank labels from amazon, print them using my at home inkjet printer, and hand stick each one. After that, the process is finished and they are ready to be shipped to you!

Our Hint of Orange Beeswax Lip Balm is now available again in our shop! Thanks for reading!

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Hint of Orange in the making!

Our Hint of Orange Beeswax Lip Balm was the first online sell out! I am impatiently waiting on more supplies so I can restock this variety. Check back within the next week and there should be more for sale in our shop. Any reviews or testimonials for this product are more than welcome!

 

Not in any particular order, the ingredients include: coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, vitamin E oil, and of course *Section 24 Farm’s beeswax*! Plus, Young Living’s Orange essential oil.

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New soaps, new labels!

Thanks to all the support we’ve received, we’ve been able to invest in some new labeling and behind the scenes materials!

Featured here are five of our newest homemade goat milk soap varieties.

*Joyful’s Cedarwood Clove, Cypress Chamomile, Lavender Field, and Rosewood*

*Sandy’s Lavender Sweet Birch*

We are so excited to expand beyond our small Michigan town of Howard City. Our goal is to continue our usually very personal, farmers market relationship with all of our customers. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions, comments, or concerns!