Yule is fast approaching and so I have been busy trying to make some frugal festive gifts for some of my friends and family. This year I made some pure unbleached natural cotton washcloths/ flannels (separate blog post to follow some time soon about making those) and some lavender scented goat’s milk and olive oil soap, and of course I used the raw, natural, creamy milk from my own goats to do so.
As you know I currently own a tiny herd of just 4 dairy goats. Boer and Toggenburg crosses, with some Saanen thrown into the mix for good measure. They have provided our home with plenty of milk for cheese making, ice cream making, drinking and for use in fermented products like kefir. It is lovely stuff! Facebook video of me milking Tansy
Tansy, our matriarch goat, milked through two seasons happily, hardly lowering her yield at all despite not kidding this year. My other milker, Marigold, reduced her yield over time and dried up slowly and naturally by the end of her second milking season. Tansy has now been put back in kid, along with Marigold, Anemone and Heather.
We had a rather gorgeous British Alpine boy pay us a visit, a bit earlier this year and so (fingers crossed) the resulting kids will be a real mix of breeds and will hopefully have that all important hybrid vigour. If all four of my girls give birth to twins then my herd may grow considerably overnight. From four to twelve! Exciting times!
The female kids will be kept here to grow on and will be added to the Riverside herd, and any males will be castrated and raised for the freezer. All kids are reared on their mothers and weaned naturally. I simply share the milk produced ,by separating the kids for a few hours overnight, whilst the mums get some sleep, then I milk the mothers very early, first thing in the morning (but I don’t strip them out completely) and I then let the kids back in with their mums by 8 am to finish emptying their udders… and the milkers simply produce a bit more milk for me as time goes on. Demand increases production naturally. It is a nice stress free system.
We shall have to wait and see how many kids we get this time. Singletons would be just fine! Triplets could be ..erm….interesting! Twins are the most common, so we shall probably have at least one set of those…. Two of the girls are due to kid at the end of Feb and two are due end of March. So watch this space!
Anyway back to the soap making.
I store my excess milk in my freezer, in bags and plastic milk bottles, and so even after the girls had dried up, I still had home produced raw milk available to use.
This is the soap making method I followed for my soap bars > ( click here to see video link) but remember that I substituted the distilled water for some very cold and icy defrosted goat’s milk. The milk being so cold helps prevent the caustic soda from boiling up too much, when you add it to your liquid, (goat’s milk in my case, but distilled water in the video). You must always add the lye to your liquid (carefully) and not the other way around. It can react quite explosively if done the other way around, bubbling up and splashing the caustic lye all over the place. So take note and always use lye with caution and add the lye to the liquid.. carefully!
I also used a hand whisk rather than a blender to get it to trace stage, as I don’t own a blender. But feel free to use either. Both work! As you can see below.. it reached trace just fine by hand and was thick and glossy when poured into the lined tray.
So my ingredients were just > lye (caustic soda), organic olive oil, raw goat’s milk and organic lavender essential oil.
You are advised to wear some rubber gloves and protective goggles when you are making soap and it is a good idea to keep some vinegar nearby to neutralise any spills that get on your skin, as the lye is a strong alkaline and can burn your skin quite badly. The vinegar will help neutralise the alkaline and reduce any burning if you should happen to spill any on yourself.
(Keep pets and small children out of the room whilst soap making) .
But PLEASE don’t be afraid of it. My twelve year old daughter can safely make soap and we have incorporated saponification into one of her science ‘lessons’ with great results. Here are a couple of links to saponification chemisty lessons/ resources for any other home educators out there .
And for all those of you still wondering if I have found a new home for us all yet..Sadly no I haven’t..I am still looking, so if you hear of anywhere in East Lincolnshire UK to rent ( as close as possible to Alford) then please let me know. Must be animal friendly and preferably have a very large garden in order for me to grow lots of fruit/vegetables and keep my poultry …..and/or have land to rent nearby.
Thank you. Blessed be xx
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