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    • Homesteader Recipe - Making your own mayo!

      If you are interested in removing as many processed foods as possible, then making your own mayo is a step in the right direction. This is the recipe we use here on the farm and it's really quite simple. Here's a little lesson about mayo before you dive in. 1. We use whole eggs instead of just egg yolks so you can skip separating the eggs. 2. Mustard — I know what you're thinking, but when it comes to making homemade mayonnaise mustard is sort of a magical ingredient. It's main purpose is to keep the mayonnaise stable. Along with the egg yolk, mustard helps emulsify the mixture, reducing the risk of our mayo breaking. Broken mayo is a pile of mayo soup, which can be fixed. Do not skip this ingredient. It is essential to the production of mayo. 3. Pick a neutral flavored oil — By neutral flavored oil, I mean use an oil that is light in flavor. Quite a bit of oil is added to make mayonnaise, so it’s important to like the flavor of the oil you use. For a clean tasting mayonnaise use something like grape seed, safflower, avocado or canola oil. I actually use a combination of grape seed and avocado oil, as the avocado oil can be strong on it's own. 4. Food Processor - VERY important. There are other ways, but this is by far the easiest. 5. Room temperature ingredients are best when making mayonnaise. If you’re not able to wait for the egg to come to room temperature, submerge it in lukewarm (not hot) water for a couple of minutes. 6. I double this recipe and it'll fill up a 20 ounce jar. Alrighty - enough will all that jibberish - let's jump in! Ingredient List: 1 large egg at room temperature 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard 1 Tablespoon red or white wine vinegar (champagne vinegar also works) 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste 1 cup (240 ml) neutral flavored oil, grapeseed, safflower or canola are best 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, optional Instructions: Step 1: Prepare your food processor. Plug that puppy in and choose the blade attachment. If you have multiple bowl sizes to choose from, choose the smaller bowl, unless you are doubling. Mine comes with one size and it works perfect. Step 2: Add 1 large egg to the bowl of your food processor and process for about 20 seconds. Step 3: Add 1/4 tsp of dry mustard, 1 TBS red or white wine vinegar, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt (table or sea salt will also work) then process for another 20 seconds. Step 4: VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Slowly add 1 c oil (I use 3/4 c grape seed & 1/4 c avocado), in tiny drops, until about a quarter of the oil has been added. Adding the oil slowly is really important. If you were to dump it all in at once, you’d have mayonnaise soup! TRICK TIP: My food processor comes with a cap to cover the shoot (hole the food goes down if you will), which happens to have a tiny hole in the in the cap AND it's PERFECT for controlling the oil. I can't tell you how much I hated pouring the oil SLOWLY until I figured out this little magic trick. Step 5: Once you've gone through about a 1/4 cup of dripping oil, you should notice your mayo has emulsified or thickened. If it has, you can now add the rest of the oil as a steady stream instead of drips. If it hasn't emulsified, keep dripping. Step 6: After all the oil is added and you have a nice thick and creamy mayo, add 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice and blend for a few seconds just to mix in. At this point, you can taste test your mayo and add more salt or lemon juice to your liking. How long does homemade mayonnaise last you say? As a good rule of thumb, homemade mayo will last as long as your eggs would have lasted. Assuming you keep it covered in the fridge and you're using fresh eggs, it can last several weeks. Some say a week or longer, depending on the freshness of your eggs. Our mayo lasts (my eggs are FRESH) as long as it takes us to eat up that delicious jar of mayo. We enjoy sandwiches on the farm and usually end up making a jar once a month or so. We have yet to throw out bad mayo. YOU can determine the shelf life by sniffing and dabbing your clean finger in for a taste test :).

    • Chooba choobs

      Meet Chewbacca Lorraine Bradley aka Chooba, Chooba choobs, Choobaline, Booch, the Booch Ness monster, and Sweet potato. Of the 5 dogs we currently have working and lounging on the farm, she is definitely the most spoiled. She just showed up one cold winter evening, her beaded skirt of icicles chiming in the wind. I guess she decided we looked like suckers and she has stayed here ever since. Except when she disappears to one of our neighbors' house for a few days of being spoiled over there. At least we don't let her sleep in the bed. Shortly after Choobs adopted us, she started getting after the chickens. We would put a stop to it whenever we saw her going after them, but a smart dog pays attention to how occupied her humans are. And Choobs is a very clever dog. Once when we were both away, she got into a pen of laying hens that were five and a half months old and just beginning to lay. Five and a half months of feed and expense, and they were just starting to produce. She killed 17 of the 24 birds. We didn't know what had caused the massacre for several days until a neighbor mentioned that he had seen the attack and could ID the culprit. It got so bad that we eventually tried to re-home her to one of our friends. She went on a tear at his house and killed several of his cousin's birds at the farm next door. On the day that he returned her, within 20 minutes of being back on the farm, she got into another chicken pen. That's when Heather took over Choobs' discipline. Up to that point, I had been responsible for trying to keep her in line, without any real success. My main punishment was to put her on a chain for a few hours or even a whole day. Choobs loves her freedom, so the most effective punishment was to take it away. Or so I thought. Heather had a much more direct training regimen in mind. Every time she would go outside to feed the chickens, which usually happens 3 or 4 times a day, she would take Choobs with her on a leash. She would also take along a rolled up magazine. If Choobs looked at a chicken, even looked at it, Heather would swat her butt with the magazine. A few weeks of this caused a marked improvement in her behavior. In fact, she only had one relapse to her chicken killing ways after a few weeks of the magazine treatment. I was trying to do some repairs on the inside of a moveable chicken pen (called a tractor) that had some birds in it. This style of tractor that I used at the time was about 2 ft tall and covered with tin, so to do the repairs I had to crawl inside it. I also had to leave the lid slightly open, so that I could get back out when I finished my repairs. As I was working on the repair in the rear of the tractor, I glanced back behind me and noticed that a bantam chicken that someone had just given me was trying to fly up and out of the gap in the lid. I yelled at it and tried to scramble up to get it, but the distance was too great, and that bird managed to fly up and out of the tractor. Its flight path was beautiful to behold, but rudely interrupted when Choobs caught it with her mouth. I chased after her, but was too slow to save the bird. When Choobs finally came back within range, I grabbed her and put her back on the punishment chain. This time, I left her there for 3 days. The first two days she was defiant and proud. By day three her head was bowed and spirit was broken. She hasn't chased a chicken since. I could keep telling stories about Choobs all day. Like the time she caught us a turkey. Or the fact that she brings me rabbits as presents. Or I could tell you all about her habit of whining to be let out at 11 so that she can wake me up barking to be let in at 3 in the morning. But instead I'll leave you with this picture of her and her best friend.

    • Coyote Madness

      People ask me all the time how we come up with the names for our soaps. Sometimes they seem to name themselves, and sometimes it takes a little work to come up with the perfect title. This story is all about how we came up with Coyote Madness. I wasn’t home. Of course. I’m always away from the farm for the truly bizarre occurrences out here, and the night in question definitely fits that bill. It was winter, and we had some friends over hanging out with Heather while I was away. Our friend Erin and her daughter Zoe had come to spend the night. Two other friends were over too, let’s call them Larry and Curly. Even though it was December, we still had some chickens in a small movable pen by the garden. For those of you who haven’t visited the farm before, our garden is in between the farmhouse and the barn. It’s about an acre in size, and there is enough room around it for me to move the chickens onto fresh grass daily. We usually finish processing birds sometime in November, and only keep a small flock of laying hens over the winter. But we had been having bad predator problems that year, so we were still raising some roosters for meat at the time. Chickens are fun to raise, but unfortunately they are tasty to every critter that walks, crawls, or flies across Tennessee. I thought we were having issues with raccoons, but it turns out that our predator problem was a little more aggressive than those masked bandits. We had lost quite a few birds out of this batch, but had not had any attacks in several weeks. False sense of security, you see. At about 10 o’clock, Heather heard a ruckus from out by the garden. Our sort of guard dog Ophelia was barking nonstop. Thinking that she was going to catch some raccoons up to no good, Heather let our other two dogs out and pulled on her boots. It had been raining for days, so there was quite a bit of standing water in the yard and the mud was thick as molasses. Willy Mays and Choobs (the other two dogs) ran straight to the chicken pen and started barking like crazy. Heather followed them over to the pen, where she was greeted by an unexpected sight. Feathers were flying, chickens were squawking, dogs were barking, and inside the pen was a live coyote. Being unsure what to do and unarmed, Heather went to the pen door. She held it closed from where the coyote had entered, and tried to get the dogs to come to the door. She thought maybe she could get the dogs into the pen with the coyote so they could deal with it. The dogs were not having it. They were on the other side of the pen where the coyote was, and no matter how loud she yelled Heather could not convince them to come to her. She was raising quite a ruckus, but no help was coming. Erin was putting Zoe to bed, and could not come assist even though she was aware of the dire circumstances. Larry and Curly had had too much to drink, and thought that the neighbors were arguing. At least that’s what they claimed. I think they were scared, personally. I’ve heard a lot of arguments over the years, but never confused a squawking bird for an angry person. Either way, she was on her own. So what to do? Heather is very protective of her goats, and they were hanging out in the barn, just a few hundred feet away. The possibility of a coyote getting in among them was too much to bear; she had to act and fast. She decided that her best bet was to go into the pen and take on the coyote barehanded. Her plan was to snap its neck or try to drown it in the mud. That’s right folks, my wife was going to enter a pen containing a terrified coyote, unarmed. She thought about her goats, screwed up her courage, and started to open the pen door. Fortunately for the coyote, he was able to escape before she could get her hands on him. As soon as she entered the pen, he was able to burst through some chicken wire on one of the side walls, landing in a pile among the barking dogs. That coyote took off with Willy Mays and Choobs nipping at his heels, and hasn’t been back since. Although the attack cost us about a dozen chickens, it did provide the inspiration for a soap name. And knowing that Heather is brave enough to face a coyote one on one makes it easier for me to face my fears. Like my fear of writing our first blog. Leave us a comment with a fear that you have overcome, and check back in soon for more tales of mischief and mayhem on the farm. #howitallstarted #howwenameoursoaps #quarterspringfarm #allnatural

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    • Meet the Goats | Quarter Spring Farm

      Meet the Goats We currently have 21 goats on our farm, with 8 females pregnant. Check back soon for more goat profiles. Dizzy Dizzy is almost 2 years old and an Oberhasli/Saanen cross. When we first met Dizzy, we had big plans for him to become our first pack goat. Unfortunately however, when he was 3 months old, my herd queen head butted him way too hard and injured his spine. Because of this injury, he can no longer walk in a straight line, and he will not be able to carry a pack for us. Lucky for him, he is super personable and has won a place in the herd as a freeloader. We have lots of those. Dizzy enjoys taking charge, especially at the hay feeder, where you will find him head butting the other goats until he is the only one snacking. Silly Dizzy! He’s a big, super sweet, cuddly teddy bear that loves scratches behind his ears. Read Dizzy's Goem: 'Dizzy' ​ Babs Babs is our matriarch of the herd and will be 8 years old this spring. She has given us lots of beautiful girls over the years and tons of milk for soap making!! We still have all of her girls on our farm to date! She is one of our biggest goat-lovers, always rubbing on me, looking for some pets, kisses and scratches. She’s just a sweet little angel, so kind and gentle. ​ She helped us get our feet wet, teaching us so much about how to care for goats. We’ve had lots of memorable experiences with her over the years and plan to put her in early retirement. She has certainly earned it! Here’s to Babs, our little lovable trail blazer! Read : Bab's Goems 'Babs' ‘What did you say?’ ‘A pensive goat’ ​ Margarita Margarita was born on Cinco de Mayo almost three years ago, hence her name. She is one of our most vocal goats, usually the first one to say hello in the morning. One thing she is known for, is making some good-looking kids. She just had her second set of twins, last month and they are incredibly cute! ​ A couple of things that sets Margarita apart from the others are, her sweet, floppy ears, her slight head tilt and sideways gait, which is especially cute when she’s running. That rumen, aka stomach, of hers is always filled and jiggling when she’s trotting in to feed her babies in the late afternoon. Here’s to Margarita, our beautiful baby maker! Read : Margarita's Goem 'Margarita' ​ Cleo Cleo is 4 years old and full of attitude. She is an attentive mother and is usually covered in dirt from letting her kids jump all over her like a trampoline. She may be sweet to her kids, but she doesn’t put up with any nonsense from the other goats or any of the dogs. As the biggest girl on the farm, she usually gets her way, especially around the hay buckets! She loves banana peels and back rubs, so be prepared if you come pay her a visit. Read : Cleo's Goem 'Birthday Goats' ​ Baby Queen Baby Queen, aka Khaleesi is one of the most spoiled and attention hungry goats on the farm. She was in the first group that trained to be pack goats, and she loves hiking. And snacking. In fact, when we take her for a hike, for the first 20 mins she has to snack nonstop before we can even attempt the trail. Baby queen shares a birthday with Heather on March 22, and has had 3 beautiful, bouncing, baby goats. Sometimes she eats so much in the summer that her stomach swells and she looks like a triangle from above. Rain Boots At first we were not planning on keeping Rain Boots. His size was promising, but his attitude was a little too timid and skittish. Fortunately for all of us, he has warmed up to humans and now has a place on our team. He is not yet the largest goat in our herd, but he is well on his way. Still slightly skittish at first, once he feels comfortable around you, Rain Boots can be super affectionate. Easy big fella! Holiday Holiday is one of our most loving goats. Whether she is mothering her babies (always born at or around Valentine’s Day) or nuzzling her humans, she is always affectionate. And for a 2 year old, she has grown an impressive goatee. Her kids are always as sweet as she is, which is why we chose Holiday to be July’s goat of the month. Sox Sox is such a trouble maker. We sold her to a friend. She got out so many times, and taught her goats so many bad habits, that our friend sold Sox back to us. So in honor of her wicked ways, and to welcome her back home, Sox is our August goat of the month. Elvis Meet Elvis. He is the only intact buck on the farm. All the does think he is a real hunka hunka burnin’ love. His favorite bumper sticker reads, “In spring I strut, in fall I rut.” And it’s fall, y’all. He has a special cologne that he uses to lure in the ladies, and this time of year he is ripe. So be thankful that we do not make a soap with his special scent, and tune in early next year during kidding season to see how good of a job he did. Todd Named for Mary Todd Lincoln, Todd was born on President's Day in 2020. We tried something new with Todd, and let him keep his boy parts longer than we usually do. We wanted to see if we could get him bigger than our pack goats usually get. We succeeded. At 8 months old, he is the same size as goats who are a year older. But he is as sweet as any of the little babies. And one cool side effect of our experiment is his superb goatee. Winston Last month this goat was named Marvin. Marvin got sick and it got worse fast. We didn’t think he was going to make it. But he is a determined young caprine. It took a lot of effort from Heather and a lot of willpower from the goat, but he got better. In honor of his resolve, determination, and general fighting spirit, we renamed him Winston. His namesake said, “Success is never found. Failure is never fatal. Courage is the only thing.” True for goats and Englishmen.

    • Goat Soap for a Dirty World

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