Monday, September 30, 2013

Q&A Monday!

  I *almost* forgot to write today's post. Almost. Between trying to get an appointment set up with my vet this week (need to get a health certificate for Summer. She's going to a friend in Pennsylvania!!!), harvesting and planting the microgreens, and eating lunch; well... I was just about to post something else on here when I realized that it's Monday and I'm supposed to be answering questions!! I'm so off on my week days, and the week's only just started. This does not bode well. LOL.

  But here we go! I remembered just in time that it's Monday!

Penelope, you left a comment asking about making soap; specifically goat milk soap. I love making soap!! And especially the goat milk stuff! It's way easier than most people think, and much less dangerous than it's said to be (yes lye can do damage, but it's pretty easy to stay safe).

  My favorite recipe that I use these days is from a small raw milk dairy down in TN. I've used this recipe countless times, and I've also bought soap from these folks (yeah, ironic. A soap maker buying soap... I wanted to compare theirs with mine, okay!?). You can grab the recipe by clicking HERE! If you're serious about making soap, then I would highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend buying a good quality stick blender. The cheapest one at Walmart won't do it, either (trust me; that's what I bought and still fight with every time I make soap. It overheats really fast, stinks, and is poor quality).

 One tip I like to offer to soap makers is a twist on the stirring part. Pretty much all recipes (including the one I just gave you) will tell you to "stir the oils until you hit trace". This is code for stirring until your liquid oils/fats/lye turn into what honestly looks like banana pudding in consistency and you can trace smiley faces into it. I get really bored with all that stirring though, and when you've got an awful stick blender like mine AND you're doing a large 5+ lb. batch of soap, it can take an easy 1.5 - 2 hours to come to trace. I'm an impatient soap maker. So here's my tip on stirring: Stir with your stick blender for 15 solid minutes right off the bat. Then let the liquid sit still for 15 minutes. After that, stir for 5 minutes at 15 minute intervals. So basically you're letting it sit more than you're stirring. I love doing it this way, as I can go do other things while it's sitting, and my total stirring time comes out to about 20 - 25 minutes. I can handle that.

  I can't think of any books right off the top of my head that I like for soap making, but I have a couple websites. One is The Goat Spot, in their "Crafty Cabin" section. If I mess up a batch, or have a general question about something, then I usually go here to ask it since I get a pretty quick answer, and folks there are accustomed to using goat milk in their soaps. When I'm looking for soap making supplies, I like to shop at Bramble Berry. Their prices are decent, and their quality is really good. They also have a handy, dandy thing called a "lye calculator", which I prefer to call a "recipe creator". Hehe. This is what I use when I find I'm out of an oil that I needed, and now suddenly need to make up some sort of random recipe that will still make soap. You just enter the amounts of each oil that you want to use, and it tells you how much liquid and lye to add. Kaboom. You're cookin'.

  Those would be my tips and advice for you. I hope they help!!

Tasha, you had the next question, and that was "can does (female goats to new readers here) be bred in December? Breeding season typically starts in August/September, so not many people think about December breedings. To answer your question bluntly, yes. Goats will *usually* continue to come into heat up until January (I've had a few does keep cycling until March, and I ended up with August babies!). Nigerian Dwarfs will cycle all year around, so you can breed them whenever you want. I've always bred my does in November and December since I don't like cold weather kiddings, and I don't want them born during March which is our mud season (well, it's muddier than usual.). Breeding in November will give you April babies, and breeding in December will give you May babies. Lots of green grass and warmer weather during those months. :)

Kaia, I answered your question in the comments. Hope you don't mind!

 So there you have it folks! Soap and baby goats! Fun topics, if you ask me. ;)


Penelope Tabari said...

Thank you so much, Caitlyn! I can hardly wait to try this soap recipe. I love that it only has two oils. So many of the recipes online have 4+ oils in them, and you can't find most of them at your local grocery store.

Thanks for the stirring tip. I'll definitely be using it soon. I also already have a stick blender. Yay! My dad bought the "no sale" pile at the end of an auction for a $1, and amongst the pickup truck load of "treasures" was a high quality stick blender! I claimed it for soapmaking. ;)

Thanks, too, for the links. When I get some experience under my belt, I'm looking forward to making my own recipes.

Well, I'm off to plan my soapmaking adventure! Thanks!

Melanie said...

Okay, my turn for a question :) Can you explain more about micro greens? Do you have a system that you bought? How is it different than fodder? Cheap places to get the seeds, etc.