Pure, Old-fashioned, Handmade Goats’ Milk Soap!

“Thou art my Hiding Place, and my Shield: I hope in Thy Word.”

Psalm 119:113

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Well, after too long procrastinating – maybe not procrastinating, I just had too many posts to write in between – I finally share with you our latest adventure in using the products of our farm and turning them into usable items.

Our dream – as I’m sure most of you who have been following my blog for a while well know – is to to have a working, raw milk dairy.

Laws and regulations, however, make that very difficult for a family like ours so progress towards products we can sell to eat or drink is very slow.

But we can make soap!

Making soap is something I have long romanced, but only lately have we been able to really find a recipe that suites our tastes and creates a lovely, moisturizing bar of soap, and seems to turn our well every time!

We’re so thankful to the Lord Jesus for opening this way to us, and opening it in something both my sister and I (who run the farm) enjoy doing so much.

It is so much fun to make soap!

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So, after many months of working and struggling with our herd (please don’t remind me of February!), the Lord has finally allowed us to turn out some lovely soaps, and also to purchase molds for those who are looking for more decorative styles – as opposed to our all-natural, square-formed, wooden-mold soaps which is all we are using ourselves right now. 🙂

We are offering Unscented, Lilac, English Rose, Gardenia, and Oranges and Creme varieties with many more to come.

(Do you think we’d stop here? 🙂 )

There are the designed varietes and the all natural style, all made with all-natural ingredients; gentle oils to soften and moisturize skin, and our own farm-produced raw goats’ milk that is so richly nourishing to the skin.

(If fact its nourishing to everything in your body! We love our goats’ milk! 🙂 Yum!!)

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We are offering 4 oz bars of soap at $6.00 a bar which we believe is fair considering others’ going prices for goats’ milk soap – not to mention all the effort and love that goes into making each bar; starting with kidding season in February and moving right on up ’till September or October when our cramping hands milk the last quart from our once-again-pregnant does! 😀

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I’m going to look into how I could offer soap for sale directly from my blog, but until then, we are selling it from our Etsy store, “Bouties of His Goodness“, with a starting price of $5.00 a bar.

Our first batches are running out fast, so if you’re interested in trying skin-nourishing, all-natural soap that is made the way our grandmothers used to make it, then hurry over (following the above link), and get your bar!

Leave us a message on the order form telling us what design/scent you prefer.

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I know this isn’t my usual blogpost, but we’re so excited about our new soap – and this new adventure in attempting to sell items made from our farm. 🙂

Its a beautiful Saturday though and my sister and I have wonderful plans for our day at home. I’ll probably post again with news of our day – a more-like-me post. 🙂

Until then, the Lord Jesus bless you all, and enjoy your Saturday!!

Spring Hay

Today we are back at work, trying to finish up our “Prince” job; painting touch ups, trim, replacing doors, finishing counter tops, and then adding things like curtains etc. that the city asked us to add in preparation of putting the house out to rent.
We were here yesterday too for about half a day, but in the late afternoon/evening we were home.
Hauling 154 40-50lb square bales of hay.

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Our farmer friends from down the road brought their equipment and did the baling yesterday afternoon. They did their share in round bales and ours in square. All total there were 11 of the rounds and 154 of the square.

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A view f the square and round balers.
We thank Jesus for the clear weather He has given us all through the weekend and Monday and Tuesday.
We try to get our hay cut when it’s at it’s peak for nutrition, but to have it rained on and all the nutrients leached out would defeat the purpose. We’ve had rained-on hay before and our goats didn’t do well on it – or even eat it for the most part.
A little note to all of you who still think goats will eat anything, including tin cans. 🙂 Goats are picky.

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A view of the field with the round bales and a few of the square. (We’d picked up over half of them by the time I took this picture.)

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Hauling hay – especially with three girls and just one guy – is not the easiest of farm jobs. In fact, though I love having the hay and am so thankful to The Lord that we don’t have to buy it for our herd, haying is one of my most dreaded summer farm jobs.
But I thank The Lord Jesus for His love and Strength.
I was surprised last night, as I scribbled to my silent friend before bed, that I was not so exhausted and aching as the previous seasons.
The Lord truly is our Strength when we know our inability and ask Him to be in us what we cannot be.
Praise His Name!

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It was a good time of working with the family, despite the hard work, and I’m my dreading the next cutting quite so much. Our barn is full of fresh, sweet-smelling hay, and our goats are loving their feeder once again being full!

The Lord Jesus is so good!

Monday – a different sort of Monday

Well, contrary to what we all expected, we stayed home again yesterday and were able to do a lot more work at home.
As I may have mentioned, our hay was cut last Friday. Thank The Lord for the warm, sunny weather, because its dried well over the weekend and was tettered yesterday to dry more. This evening, Lordwilling, it will be baled up and brought to the barn.
But first we had to get the barn ready, and we took advantage of the time home and worked on our garden too!

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Of course, the garage was full of junk and old hay from the winter’s store. It’s terrible the things time can do to a perfectly organized place if you fail to keep up with it.
Issy made the job easier. 🙂 she came along and kept everyone company.

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Then we planted in our “hill” garden, as I call it, up near the apiary. We also covered the entire plot with hay – which was a task! Even with how small it is! – to keep the weeds out, and to help nourish the ground.

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We weren’t quite alone here either; Missy laid in the grass not too far away, and Tucker the cat lounged IN the garden. 🙂
It was late – after four – by the time we finished planting a nice stand of tomatoes, cucs, eggplant, peppers, and squash.
Mama had the idea to send Daddy for a pizza, and by the time we were washed up, he was back and we all settled down to a very unhealthy meal of pizza, soda, and ice cream with a nice movie of Abbott and Costello. 🙂

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It was a full day’s work. But a good one. 🙂 Mama and Daddy worked longer in the garage and gardens after supper. We helped some, but then left to do our chores before dark.
Before bed, we had to in mold our batch of unscented soap and mix up a new one – this time with orange and tea tree oils. It smelled soooo good!! 🙂

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Here’s pictures of the finished unscented soap, and of the milk/lye mixture for the next batch.

I scribbled to my silent friend late before I turned out my lights and went to sleep.

It was a lovely, hard day – full of hard work, sweat and achy limbs, but full of family, Jesus, and our farm.

Just the sort of day I love.

Only, with a bit longer rest in the evenings after all that work! 😉

How did you spend your Monday?

An update

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A quiet blessing from Jesus on the way home last night, after a rainy day.
Today we have taken off work to get a few things done in preparation for special visitors tomorrow. Its going to e quite a day – quite a fun day, Lordwilling 🙂 – and we’re praying the Lord will bless the fellowship with our new brothers and sisters in Him.
This evening we’re in town again, but in order to do some shopping which is much nicer than working! 😀

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Here is a glimpse of part of what we were doing this morning. Milked over two gallons at chores to bring up for home use (other went to goats and cow). We used our little home pasteurizer to be sure it is safe for giving to our visitors tomorrow. We drink our milk raw, and believe that’s the best way so long as clean milking methods are followed and the milk is strained. Our visitors tomorrow have very small children however, who have a tendency to get sick easily, so we don’t want to be the indirect cause of illness because the children are not as immune to things that may be found in our milk as we grown-ups would be.
It’s made me think of how I may like to feed my own children if one day The Lord gifts me with a family and little ones. I wouldn’t want to take any chances with them, despite that I think the natural way is better. Our home pasteurizer may come more in handy one day.

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Here’s a little peek at the goings on in our little micro garden. (I say micro because 13 tomato plants is only a smidgen of what we want to put in.) As I just said, we put in 13 tomato plants last Saturday. They are doing very well, thank The Lord for the rain! The chickens don’t like them so they’re surviving despite our birds and growing very nice and tall. But instead of having 13 now we only have 11.
This picture shows a hole – bigger than what a tomato plant requires – where one of the plants once stood. Something is eating them up from under the ground! Carra dug down, and there are definite tunnels beneath the plant spot.
We’re suspecting voles, whatever they are.
Anyway, just a little mobile post to update everyone about the what’s happenings in My Life in Him.

I pray everyone is enjoying their Friday. Remember, the weekend is only a few hours away! 🙂

Jesus bless you all!

Lift Your Eyes to Jesus

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I wish I were back home with my family on our little farm; instead I am in the city working in a business I feel is not the best for our family.
But only Jesus knows; and He knows what is best for each of us each day.

Lift your eyes to Jesus, where there’s a higher power. He’ll be a comfort in life’s darkest hour. Do unto others as you have them do to you. Then you’ll be rewarded for the things in life you do.

The Lord’s Day

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”

Psalm 121:1

Yesterday was such a beautiful Lord’s Day that I must share it with you all.

Usually on the Lord’s Day we make a special effort not to do any kind of labor that is not especially required (such as chores, cooking dishes, and sometimes laundry). We aren’t legalistic about what to do or what not to do – sometimes we even make an exception and sell/buy something on the Lord’s Day – but we try to set aside a special day for Jesus; especially from the usual work and labor of the week (like cleaning house, doing yard work, working on our jobs/paper work for our jobs, even usually sewing or doing things like making soap etc. – you get the idea.)

Yesterday was a special day for all of us, though. We have visitors coming next Saturday and will be working all week, so only able to fit in preparations for their visit late in the evenings when we come home and are so tired. So yesterday, even if it was the Lord’s Day, we did a little special sewing and a few other things.

And enjoyed it. 🙂 I think the important thing about reverencing the Lord’s Day is that we set it aside for Him. If we do have to work, it should be something that is not all-consuming; something we can set aside if need be, and something we can enjoy as we do it.

And I don’t think I have to mention how much we enjoy sewing, cheesemaking, trying new things, cooking, or anything else that pertains to homemaking. 😀

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Of course we had our usual chores.

We have begun weaning our seven bottle babies, so even with the cow drinking two gallons a day we’re getting much more fresh, delicious, rich goats’ milk than we can ever use!

We’re keeping most of the milk in the mornings and making cheese out of it in preparation for Saturday – as well as making soap and hopefully later this week we’ll get to make Mama some cajeta! 🙂 She loves caramel. 🙂

We did have a sad side of chores yesterday morning though.

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Excuse the bad picture, but this is trying to show the eggshells and feathers we found from our destroyed hen and her brood of 20 or so eggs. Some varmint got in the barn last night and busted up all the eggs with chicks in them and made off with the hen as well. Needless to say, this was very discouraging.

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The cheesemaking as well was discouraging.

Simple mozzarella gone wrong. Sigh…. Just wasn’t our day I guess. We accidentally left the curd too long in the rennet while we were dressing and preparing for morning services. It was difficult to cut and stretching was impossible. But still, its cheese. It mightn’t be mozzarella  but its cheese and we’ll enjoy it on onion sandwiches – or maybe even pizza! 😀

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The rest of the day, however, was a quiet joy.

(Excuse the tiny pictures; Iphone has its own mind sometimes….)

We went out and picked roses and lemon balm to try our hand at essential oils and Daddy showed us the plants he’s been working on in his spare time.

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We both enjoyed wearing our new dresses we finished Saturday. 🙂

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The roses and lemon balm were cut up, bruised and cooked for long hours in olive oil in the oven and crock pot.

We poured it up into jars last night but did not remove the leaves.

We’ll do that today, Lordwilling, and see how it turns out. Our roses were not very aromatic, but it did smell ok by the time it was done cooking but the lemon balm oil smelled much better!

While that was cooking we had a nice, sweet visit with some very dear friends, the Clarkes. They visit about once every two weeks and buy eggs from us and we sit and chat and exchange plants. 🙂 Daddy and Mrs. Clarke are both very avid gardeners. 🙂

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Daddy came down to the barn in the evening and helped us block off the remaining broody hen’s nest with all her eggs in it. She had deserted them and was laying on new ones. All we can do is pray that the older ones weren’t chilled; we put them back under her.

It was a blessing having Daddy down at the barn last night. He’s not all that involved in the animals – goats aren’t his favorite four-leggers 🙂 – but I think he really saw the work and love we put into the animals last night; we stood around at least a half hour just petting the goats and talking about their individualities.

It was a lovely evening.

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Before evening service we cut up the batch of soap we made Saturday. (Its the batch in the front). Our supplies are supposed to come Tuesday. I can’t wait – we’ll be soapmaking like crazy then! 🙂

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After service we finished the evening with a family movie time; Abbot and Cosetllo’s Who done it? 

It was a special time we all enjoyed together – and the movie was great. 😀

I love my family, and I love the times we spend together – surrounded by the things we love and the animals we love and the things we love to do.

At home.

A Look Back, So We Can Look Ahead

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but them shall I know even as also I am known. 

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

I Corinthians 13:12-13

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Going through pictures yesterday, I was reminded of how things change.

I guess everyone is inclined to do that when they look through pictures – even if their not really old, per se.

I was looking through pictures of a couple years ago. 2011.

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Carra was 18, I was 19, going to turn 19 and 20 later on in the year.

Daddy had taken a day job in town for the first time in our memories, and us girls were at home most of the time; cooking, canning, and doing things we later would come to love (though at the time it was mainly work).

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 This was the year we began doing some outside jobs; four or five in this year actually.

Daddy had begun working on getting his GC license again and we were picking up a few small jobs for individuals.

Earlier in the year we had traveled so far as Statesville NC to work.

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It was also the year of the big snow (something very rare for South Carolina!).

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That was the last time I remember sledding – and the first time I remember sledding since 2003 when we had a huge snow over in Gaffney, SC.

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Our herd of goats was still small; Daisy, her two daughters Joy and Princess, and our buck Silver. We had scores of chickens though! And we loved every minute of chores. 🙂 I don’t think the goats liked the snow as much as we did though! 😀

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It was the first year we had more than one goat give birth at once (and the last year that kidding season was not so exhausting). It was also the year our little Rosie was born. 🙂

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We would take long walks on the dam behind our house, Carra and I together, and K would read to me.

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We had a special mothers’ day – of course, this was before we knew how much we would need to use that grill when a huge storm came through shortly afterwards and took away our electricity for two or three days! 😀

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Things were changing in our family; so slowly, but they were.

We weren’t always happy with the changes, but come they would, and the things that went on in this year, and the years before that, the Lord put within our lives to change us into better servants for Him.

Of course we didn’t know it at the time, and still are not often aware of it when He is working.

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I could go on and on about the changes of 2011. The things we went through; all the learning we did – a lot of it in cooking and canning! We had tons of pickles that year and preserves.

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Carra, I’m sure you’ll remember this blurry picture!

We thought this was the very pits of life, didn’t we? The month or more we spent at this home, working – and learning so much about our work!

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Glazing windows.

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And painting them – then trying to get them unstuck! 😀

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We thought this was just the worst part of our lives that could be imagined.

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It was the first time in 11 years that my sister and I ventured to have separate rooms.

And it worked.

Mainly because one sister was on the computer a lot at the time, while the other wanted to sleep!!

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And though we thought we were so, so unhappy….

We can look back now and see the joy that’s hidden in these pictures; the joy we didn’t really know that we had.

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It was a year of learning; of doing things we’d never done before, of experiencing changes we never imagined would come, and of touching new relationships that for a while seemed to send our family on rollercoasters – when really all the were doing was showing us hills and valleys that weren’t really all that deep or tall.

If only we could have seen this then.

If only we could have seen the Lord’s Hand in our circumstances, and learned then to love everyday as if it were our last, and to put our most into each moment for the glory of our Lord Jesus and the love of each other.

If only we could have seen this then.

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And today; as we work…trudging through hours of labor we outright despise, having no time at home as we think we ought, and struggling with relationships – within our family and without – as well as laboring in our own personal relationships with our Jesus….

If today we would just look up.

If we would take a lesson from our past.

All those hours we could have enjoyed and rejoiced in, even in trials and trouble, if only we would have seen Jesus’ working.

And what of today?

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In the simple things in life – and the most difficult – He is still here, still working.

Why can’t we just trust Him?

Why don’t we ever learn this lesson?

Instead of being downcast and depressed and drug down because of tribulation and struggles? Why can’t we embrace these hardships and hold onto Christ, knowing His is always a better plan?

At home.

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

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Though it may seem like it right now, my life is not all construction work. 🙂

Yesterday, Daddy had to go to a contractor’s class, so all us girls were able to stay home and do things around the house that have been needing done.

Before even going out to do chores I cut out my new dress and sewed the cape on.

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Yesterday was a beautiful day for me. I love being at home. Home, home, home….

I love sewing, cooking, gardening – even cleaning! So long as I’m home. 🙂

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The day was beautiful. Things are really beginning to blossom and grow in this early summer weather of the south!

It was up to 91F yesterday! That’s HOT!

Thankfully, we got out in our garden before it was too hot and planted 13 tomato plants (four different varieties).

Its not much, compared to what needs done, but its a start!

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Before we could plant the plants we had to put up more fencing.

Our garden is very near our chicken coop and chickens love gardens….. We ran out of wire (again) before we could finish, but thank the Lord its just a small spot that we can finish pretty easily once we get more wire.

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We only planted tomatoes since chickens don’t seem to like tomato plants. (They’ll devour the fruit though, but hopefully we’ll have our fence up before then!!)

We planted four varieties;

Marion

Rutger

Beafsteak

Betterboy (hybrid)

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I love the little plants and how fragile they are – and look at that root system!!

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A tiny tomato plant, hiding in its spot. 🙂

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Carra, planting a tomato plant.

We did all this before we even ate breakfast! Needless to say we were hot, tired, and hungry by the time we came tramping back up to the house near 11.

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After resting a bit and eating brunch I got back to work on my dress.

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The Lord be my Strength, I was determined to finish it – even down to the cuffs on the sleeves.

After filling a dress order for a dress with long sleeves and cuffs I decided to try one.

I like long sleeves for two reasons; modesty and protection from the sun.

I don’t like long sleeves because we’re out in the heat a lot in the summer on our farm and on our job sites and long sleeves make the heat even worse.

On top of that this material we bought several months ago was purchased for winter-time dress making (that never happened) so its dark blue.

I may just have to put this dress back in my closet and wear it when it gets cooler!

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While I was sewing and Mama was cleaning, Carra made up a batch of English Rose Goats’ Milk Soap.

I don’t know if I ever shared our last batch on my blog. It was Lilac scented and turned out so well!

We sold two bars, are giving some to our friends and only had two bars left for ourselves!!

So, hurry, hurry, make more soap!

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The oils that go into the soap.

We’re really enjoying soapmaking. 🙂 Its something I personally have wanted to do ever since I was very young (nine or ten) when we read about soapmaking in our homeschooling.

We made our first soap in 2010 or so and since then have been trying new recipes and searching for the right base.

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I think we may have found it in this recipe. Its our second time trying it and its turning out marvelous! Can’t wait to see how it cures.

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One big hurdle in soapmaking is finding a place to buy the oils and other ingredients from.

We have the milk, but that’s all. 😀

So yesterday, after pouring up the soap, Carra grabbed Mama’s laptop and started searching the web for a good place to buy reasonably-priced ingredients and equipment.

We think the Lord might have led her to just the perfect place!

We’ll have to make an order and see how it goes!

Lordwilling, our order will go in today. 🙂

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A poor up-close shot of the soap in the mold.

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Meanwhile, I did finish my dress, thank the Lord, all save the shoulder zipper (must buy a zipper).

It turned out just as I had planned; the apron creating the waist line for the dress. I plan to make a half apron of the same color fabric as the dress as well to go with it when I don’t feel like wearing the full apron (though that may be a while; I’m enjoying my new apron 🙂 ).

I’m searching for a way to make a nonelastic waist – have been searching for at least a year and a half! But last night as I was going to bed, I think the Lord has given me a thought on how to do one. Lordwilling, I’m going to try it on my new dress ( even if that will mean a bit of taking apart! 🙂 ).

So, all in all, we had a wonderful day at home – doing things women are supposed to do, instead of hammering, painting, pulling up carpet, and installing insulation.

But we’re back at that today. 😀

And I don’t really mind. 🙂 I hope one day to make a living off our farm, but until then, this is what the Lord has given us to do and I’m embracing it!

Lately.

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.”

Psalm 42:1

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Seeing: The fresh, morning sunshine peeling into my bedroom windows. A bright blue sky outside. A slight, soft frost tinting the ground a gentle white. The smooth edges of my new coffee cup; the dark depiction of a snowy cabin landscape painted on the side. My pink-covered Iphone going on standby. The stickers we bought for scrapbooking yesterday.

Hearing: The hum of my space heater. The tap of the computer keyboard. The gentle cries of the five-day-old goatie romping with Missy in Carra’s room.

Smelling: Fresh brewed coffee. Fresh laundry. The smell of a heater burning.

Tasting: The strong, nutty flavor of fresh, black decaf.

Feeling: Tired – I usually feel tired in the morning. A little like I need to clean up the house, take care of goats, write, blog, and go to work all at once; what’s that called? Confused or disorganized? But happy. Enjoying life – even with its hard, low spots. Enjoying life as the Lord Jesus gives it to me.

Learning: To be content. To be happy where I am, whatever I’m doing, because the Lord Jesus has put me there for a reason. To be myself. Whatever that entails.

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