Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Naked Bird Blues

The hennies and roos have undertaken their annual molt in earnest, and man are they looking ROUGH these days.

One sad-looking Polish hennie, our Gracie-girl,  mid-molt.

Beyond the sorry look of them, chickens in molt are also non-layers. It has been over a week since we've had an egg from them. My Fall weather-induced baking binge will have to wait until the gals are feeling more forthcoming, because the idea of buying eggs has become downright, well...

... inconceivable!

And the irony of feeling thusly about the lack of a good egg is not lost on me.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Homegrown Lavender Soap

Bill and I made our second batch of soap yesterday, we're calling it Homegrown Lavender.

The soap is still caustic, so I can't poke and prod it like I'd like to, but I can smell it and take its picture, so viola.

It looks like most of the poppy seeds have floated to the top, so there'll be a scrubby side and a non-scrubby side to this soap. Interesting...

As you can see, the color is not perfect. We chose to use all-natural scents and tints in our soaps, so they tend not to be the technicolor explosion that synthetically colored soaps are. I'd rather err on the side of boring at this point. Trying to imagine myself standing behind a product made with laboratory-designed scents and colors makes me squirm. Our beautiful goat milk deserves better than that!

As much as I'm not crazy in love with this color, I have to concede that it has improved drastically overnight. When we first poured it into the mold (a fancy term for a cardboard box lined with visqueen), it was the brownish-grey of elderly oatmeal.

Six more weeks until it's ready to use and sell. We'll be right down to the wire as far as selling this at our bazaars. I'm going to buy some pH strips at the homebrew store so that I can make doubly sure that this is completely saponified and 100% safe and gentle before offering it for sale. And while I'm at the homebrew store I might pick up a little citric acid, so I can give these homemade bath bombs a go too. They use a lot of the same ingredients that we already have on hand for soap making, and I think they'd be a neat complimentary product to offer alongside the soap and knitted washcloths and scrubbies.

It's a little weird that my Postmodern Milkmaid ventures have taken a toiletry-esque turn, after having been pretty much all about apparel last year. Hopefully, using the lessons learned from last year's sales, and the unique resources that are available to us through our little farm (goat milk, homegrown botanicals) we'll get a little leg up this year, and set ourselves apart from some of the other makers and crafters.

Six weeks until we know for sure if any of this worked, let alone whether or not people find it appealing. That niggling little worry should be great for my insomnia!

Back to knitting my face off in the meantime. ;)