Jul 13

Horses: My Love and My Bully

My Bully (1)My mother grew up loving horses and when we moved to the country we always had a barn full of horses. Horses were my best friends growing up and when I left home I worked at racetracks and breeding farms for the first three years on my own. It wasn’t until my children were almost grown that we ended up getting horses ourselves. We carefully searched and rode many horses before we decided on two that were not only beautiful but we deemed safe to ride and work around.

One of our horses, Sir Bay’s Fascination, (Facsi for short) has always had a bit of an attitude. Although she would never hurt people; she likes to have her own way if she can get away with it.  Mostly she argues about food. She lives for eating. Right now she lives with the goats because she bullied the last horse we had. We don’t dare put her together with our little pony Caddy, he thinks he is big and tough and would tell her, “make my day”(in horse speak of course). Fasci would not take kindly to being challenged and I’m afraid Caddy would get hurt.

But Fasci has always been kind to her goats.  She shares her hay with them and lets them push her around. So I was surprised to see her standing in the stall door with all the goats outside in the rain. The goats hate the rain. I can tell when it is starting to rain because there is a small stampede of goats headed to the barn.  It has been raining a lot lately. Today I watched Ruth (our most stubborn goat) trying to get past Fasci into the cover of the barn. Fasci was putting on her best mean face, ears back and shaking her head at the persistent goat. The goat slipped past her into the stall a few times. Fasci would turn around and disappear into the stall and Ruth would scoot back out. Fasci was right behind, resuming her post as door guard again. This happened several times. The goats were all crowded up against the side of the barn trying to escape the rain looking miserable. Finally Fasci gave up and went back out to the pasture. We are guessing she wanted to eat in the rain and was trying to make them come out and keep her company.

Fasci is 23 years old and not likely to change but I love her, even when she is ornery. Funny thing is her caring for our goats in a strange way is her caring for this great soap we make.

Do you have horses you love and a crazy story about one of them?

Jul 13

Barn Chore Surprise

pileated-woodpecker-Two girls, eleven-year-old twins, help me with my weekday morning barn chores. The girls love to help and all the barn residents love them too. It is nice to have help and what little girl doesn’t like horses! I very much enjoy their company; they are so sweet and fun.

On weekends I do all the barn chores by myself, I enjoy the solitude of weekends too. Everybody gets a little hay and then I clean the stalls. This particular Saturday morning, after I had picked up the…well… you know, out of the stalls I was emptying my wheelbarrow, and I was startled by something big moving behind the manure pile that is at the edge of the woods!

It was a pileated woodpecker! If you don’t know what they are think woody woodpecker, alright I know I’m dating myself but I’m sure he is still on TV somewhere today!  Anyway they are the largest woodpecker and always have reminded me of some kind of prehistoric bird. They are big, up to 20 inches long with a wingspan of up to 30 inches! They are black and white with a long neck and a bright red crest on their head. They have a loud distinctive call just like from the song “Wipe Out” (ok, just dated myself again…lol) and I enjoy hearing them. I hear them much more then I see them.

This wonderful bird mates for life and the pair has a territory of up to fifty square miles. Sometimes I hear them calling and look up and see one or two flying overhead. But I had never seen one on the ground before. We have some old dead trees in that area so I guess that’s why he was there. I think we might have startled each other. I watched him in awe as he flew almost silently away into the thick woods, quite a feat I thought for such a large bird.

I will take these kinds of surprises over barn chores any day!

Jun 13

Who Is Creative

Soap Cutter3I have always had an artistic creative bent. I remember a picture I drew when I was about 4 of our dog. I showed it to my mom and she asked me what all the little dots were and I told her they were the fleas. When I married Dean I didn’t think he had a creative bone in his body. He was stuck at the stick figure stage of art that honestly weren’t as good as the dog I drew when I was 4. But over the years I have realized how wrong I was.  The director of the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild had a tour of our shop and was so impressed with all of the inventions Dean had made she asked Dean to speak at their annual conference. When I looked at all the gadgets Dean had thought of to solve problems, that I thought were roadblocks to our growth, I realized just how creative he is. I had always thought of creative as making something pleasing to look at. But looking at a problem and visualizing a tool that you can put together in a way to make it work is way more creative than just looking pretty. Thank you Dean for being a visionary and always proving me wrong when I say it cannot be done.

Who is Creative?  I discovered much to my surprise that Dean is very creative!

Checkout the 3:45 min video of our soap making process.  It  shows many of Dean’s creations.

May 13

What are Essential oils anyway?

Aromatherapy stil lifeSince I have been going on about Essential oils, I thought it was past time that I should explain what they are. Essential oils are extracted from plants. Even though they don’t seem oily, that are classified as one because it will not mix with water. Essential oil come from different parts of the plants; Citrus oils come from the rind, flower oils from the petals and other oils from leaves, resinous bark, berries and roots.

Plants use these oils for many different purposes; for protection they are used to deter herbivores, inhibit bacteria and fungi. They are also used for communication; to attract pollinators and alert to predators. Essential oils evaporate at room temperature, a term a called volatility. This is how it is transported into the nasal cavity and lungs and into the bloodstream. Essential oils have been used in medicine since ancient times. Today medical research now exists that supports the healing qualities of essential oils.

May 13

Essential Oils for Memory?

smelling rosemary-1I read another interesting post by internationally recognized aromatherapy authority Robert Tisserand.  I knew Rosemary Essential oil was reputed to increase memory but here is research to back it up.