Oh Goodness

Well, I did it again - almost 2 months without a peep from me :(  I know this excuse gets old, but I've been busy, of course.  Spring is always just crazy:

-- Lambs come first, starting in early March

-- Then the goat kids (started first week of April, the last one finally kidded today!! There's something like 45 on the ground now)

-- Those both mean that I start milking, I'm doing 3 goats and 3 sheep right now, I may streamline the line-up eventually - I added a yearling sheep and couple of new goats and I'm really liking them, especially Elvira, she's just a sweetheart :)

-- That means I am making cheese 2-3 times a week, I'm getting a little under 1/2 gallon of sheep milk and over 1/2 gallon of goat milk every morning! 

-- That means I need to get a bona fide, legal agreement for a raw cheese herdshare - which is almost done, just waiting for the final document - and then I can sell 4 herdshares this summer (many thanks to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund!)

[Notice I haven't mentioned a garden - we really don't have one this summer, just the garlic we planted last winter, a bed of greens, carrots, and a handful of peas in the hoophouse, and the random volunteer potatoes, mustard, and cilantro]

My online sales have been slowly climbing this spring, so I've been consistently devoting time to either soapmaking or spinning & knitting - more about that in a minute!  I've also been really making an effort on my overall "business" side of things - my Etsy shop (most of my effort so far), this website, my 2 online farmers markets, and locally the 3 stores that carry my products.  I've also been working on participating in craft fairs, so I was a vendor at the Trails & Trilliums event in Monteagle in April (a fun experience, in spite of the thunderstorms all day), and the SACA (Sewanee Arts & Crafts Association) fair this past weekend in Sewanee that went really well.  I'm also signed up for the Sewanee 4th of July craft fair, the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly Bazaar, and the Swiss Celebration at the Stoker-Stampfli homestead here in Gruetli-Laager (the farm we caretook for the first 2 years after we moved back here) - all 3 of those are in July - and I'm hoping to get into the fall Sewanee craft fair as well, and maybe the Beersheba fair in August?  If you're local, you should definitely come out to those events this summer!

Before you all rush over to look at my new, improved Etsy store (which of course I'd love for you to do!) I should clarify that so far, my efforts have been limited to behind-the-scenes work, tweaking things like titles, descriptions, and shipping profiles to be more accurate, etc. - boring stuff!  As soon as I get all the existing items in tip-top shape (after months of neglect) then I'll finally get some "new" products listed.  That's in quotes because a number of my soaps have been in my line-up for months, if not years, and I've just never put them online!  Same thing with my alpaca fleeces, I have multiple years'-worth for several of the pacas, and I've just never gotten a listing made!  Can't sell what no one knows I have...

My most recent big news is that I finally decided to see what the fuss is all about on Instagram!  I don't do Facebook, and I realize they're virtually the same thing, but I also realized that Instagram is really well suited for our enterprise here, and my busy life!  I struggle to blog even once a month sometimes, much less weekly like I'd prefer - but I can manage to pop up a picture or even a short video as much as 4-5 times a week (or maybe 1-2!), with a quick sentence caption - so much more manageable!  I am in no way going to stop this blog, but at least now I won't feel so guilty for going 3 and 4 and 7 weeks at a time without posting - y'all can still keep up with the news by checking us out on Instagram @solace_farm_homestead :)

My post over there yesterday was about my just-finished project for a custom knitting order my Etsy shop - I made a set of felted chickens, a mama hen and 5 little chicks.  I'll get a photo up here when I get a chance, but for now it's stuck on my phone, so until then - take a peek on Instagram :)  I also made a little cat toy special-request for a Sewanee customer from the SACA craft fair, a little felted mouse that I thought turned out really nicely, for totally winging it :)

Well, Ewan is desperately waiting for me to finish typing so we can dig into some fresh strawberries over chocolate meringues with a bit of cream - I should go before he has an aneurysm :)  Til next time!


great updates

i have been seeing your photos come through on Facebook that you posted on instagram. Such fun! Love hearing from you when you can, sounds like a much more successfull birthing year than some of the past. Love you all!!!


Glad it’s working well, I like the cross-posting to FB feature, and I really like the ability to just put up a quick picture! I hope to keep doing a good job with Instagram :)

Duck eggs and beef hearts.

So stoked that my duck egg supply is back! Your ducks must do nothing but lay eggs because you seem to have 20 dozen available everytime I go to Manchester lLically Grown.
Question, do you think it is alright to eat two every day? I'm a grown man, eat healthily, and work out a lot. I just wonder about cholesterol, even though research shows that eating chicken eggs every day wont necessarily affect cholesterol levels.
I bought a beef heart a few weeks ago. Any suggestions on how to prepare it so it is yummy!?

Sounds like you are keeping pretty busy. Let me know when/if you start selling goat chees.

Vollie Stone.

So many ducks!

Yep, we have 30-40 ducks - new guard dogs ate a few so not real sure of a recent count :-/. They lay so much better than chickens, we always have tons of eggs right through the summer.
I just read a BBC article this morning on a study that discounted worries about egg consumption.

"One - even two - a day is absolutely fine," says Dr Frankie Phillips, of the British Dietetic Association.
"People shouldn't be frightened of eating too many eggs."

We often eat 3 eggs a day, I love an egg on a kale salad for lunch, and we continue to have great cholesterol.
Beef heart - I haven’t actually cooked very many of them but it’s like any other lean muscle meat - long slow cooking, ideally with moisture, should make it tender. I’ve seen recipes for stuffing them like a fancy roast - just do an internet search for “grassfed beef heart recipe”, I bet there’s a bunch out there!

Goat cheese - I’m waiting on the final paperwork but I hope to start soon, I’ll shoot you an email or announce it on Manchester Locally Grown (and hold a share for you!).

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