Lady on the Hill

Last summer we took the children to visit the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.  We absolutely loved it.

biltmore_blog_1

While shopping at their retail store, I picked up the book, Lady on the Hill* by Howard Covington.   It’s the story of how the Biltmore Estate  managed to stay in the family and become a profitable venture after decades of being a drain on the family’s finances.  I found it one of the most encouraging books I’ve read in a long time.

As a small business owner, it really “spoke” to me.  This is one of my favorite Cecil quotes (Cecil is the man who resurrected the Biltmore and turned it into the profitable venture it is today) from the book:

“There was always this negativism that it can’t be done,” he said. “If you ever want me to do something, just say, ‘It cant be done,’” Cecil said. “Everyone told me it couldn’t be done, so I just stuck my feet in it and I said, ‘We’ll see about that.’ And that is what motivated me.”

It’s that kind of “make it happen” attitude that has made America great. Do you have that kind of attitude?

I generally do.

When I was first making our goat milk soap, I was told point blank, “You can’t support your family making soap.”

When I tried to get a loan to build the soaprooom, I was told by my ex-banker, “You will have to wait years before you can build something like that.”

But I wasn’t willing to accept either of those opinions.  I pressed on and within a year of launching Goat Milk Stuff, Jim was working the business full-time. And within 3 years of talking with that banker, not only had I secured a loan for the soaproom. But I had built the soaproom and fully paid off the entire loan as well.

soaproom

Do you know how I was able to do it? Because I was not willing to accept defeat. I was going to make it happen and not let the naysayers discourage me.

What in your life are you being challenged by right now? Are people telling you that it can’t be done? Are you telling yourself that it can’t be done?

I’m here to tell you not to defeat yourself by listening to negative talk.  Don’t give in.  And most definitely don’t quit.

(Of course don’t be stupid. Don’t say,”I can jump off this roof and fly.” In that case it is important to listen to the people who tell you that you can’t fly.)

The road to Goat Milk Stuff success was NOT as easy as we’ve made it look or that you probably think it was. It was filled with excessive hard work, mistakes, wasted money, and tears. But we never let the dream die.

It doesn’t always happen as quickly or as easily as I would like it to happen.  But I have faith in God, prayer, myself, my family, and my business.  And when the going gets hard (which it often does), I just remind myself that, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13)

I’d love to hear what your biggest challenges are right now!

PJ

 

 

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iGoat

Unlike Jericho (read about her birth story), Idina was clearly pregnant. She is a very active, very curious goat but throughout the last month of her pregnancy, she became more protective of herself and spent more time in the stalls than she usually does.

She’s usually one to be out in the woods, leading the herd on a wild adventure to the best greenery to browse on.  Her belly was also was dropping very low (that’s where the does keep their babies).

Idina did a great job giving birth. We were sure there was more than one baby, but we’ve also learned that you can never guess how many are inside a momma doe.

The first baby to come out was a buckling who had some difficulty coming on.  It was a normal presentation, but just a slow process.  We helped clean the baby and got him off to the side and Emery was checking for another one and we were shocked to find nothing else inside her.  Idina was huge, and we were positive there was more than one.  First fresheners typically have one or two babies, but its not unheard of to even have three.

We named the buckling iGoat!  What a funny name with there being an “i” everything in today’s world. Our surprise was quickly resolved when we weighed iGoat. He weighed a whopping 11 pounds and 7 ounces. Now it made sense why she only had one, but looked like she had 6! iGoat was a quick eater and a super strong buckling.

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We were very proud of Idina, and she was very proud of what she had done!

2015 kid count: 28 doelings, 28 bucklings
2015 doe status (33 total): 24 does kidded, 9 left to go
2 set of quads, 8 sets of triplets, 10 set of twins, 4 singles

Signature Greyden

 

 

Greyden: I think we should take a nap in the woods today.
Emery: Great idea! I’ll bring a chicken, they’re nice and fluffy.
Greyden: I’ll bring fickle, she likes to cuddle.
Emery: Hey Hewitt what would you bring?
Hewitt: Um, my pillow?

Cranberry Spice Goat Milk Soap

Colter is in charge of making all the soap around here. This month in addition to Daffodil, Emery’s Flower Garden, and Spearmint Lime, we have Cranberry Spice! It has the sweetness of cranberries with the spiciness of cinnamon, nutmegs, and cloves.

cranberry spice soap

This scent is so popular around the holidays that it sells out in a couple weeks. We have made some this spring so you don’t have to wait until this fall to get it!

PJ

 

 

Jade: “Who do you think will be the last of us to get married?”
Jim: “I don’t know. Maybe Hewitt?”
Jade: “No, not Hewitt. He’s too much of a ladies’ man.”

Sometimes The Solution is Simple… and FUN!

I have a confession to make.  I am not a big fan of mowing a lawn.  Oh sure, it was one of my first businesses when I was a kid, and I did plenty of it for my own family as well.  I just don’t feel it’s a great use of my time, and I try to be very economical in my use of time.  Come to think of it, I try to make the most out of everything I have, including both time, and land.  A lawn, while sometimes looking great is rarely a great use of land.  It comes as no surprise then, that PJ & I have always tried to use most of whatever property we’ve had for growing food instead of a lawn.

Sometimes The Solution is Simple... and FUN! old garden

We’ve had gardens, and I mean big gardens, everywhere we’ve ever lived together.  As we got more property the food we grew wasn’t always for us.  Sometimes it has also been food for horses, or a cow, or bees, or chickens, or sheep , and of course for goats.

Sometimes The Solution is Simple... and FUN! hay field

Since we make use of most of our property for growing things, it should also be no surprise that we never use chemical pesticides.  Round Up and the like have no place at our place.  The weeds, however, are not as easy to keep out.  In the gardens we pull them.  In the hayfield we let them grow.  In the woods, we let the goats eat them.  But we also get dandelions and other tough weeds in the driveway, and in the sidewalk cracks.  These are hard to pull because they have their taproots locked in concrete or hard-packed gravel.  That’s a problem.

Sometimes The Solution is Simple... and FUN!

I’ve always looked for innovative solutions to our recurring problems and this is no exception.  This solution also happens to be a real blast.  Literally.

Sometimes The Solution is Simple... and FUN!_2

Yes, that is a backpack mounted LP flamethrower known commercially as the Weed Dragon*.

It is an effective, safe, chemical-free way to get rid of those pesky weeds.  Oh, yeah.  It is fun to use.  Just open the valves, squeeze the hand lever, spark it up, and blast away!

The instructions say that you only need to heat the weeds and the cells will break down and wilt.  Once this happens they no longer produce food for the roots and the weed will die.  As a former science teacher I understand that, and I’m sure it would work.  Practically though, I can’t seem to help myself.  I just torch ‘em.

Sometimes The Solution is Simple... and FUN!_1

It’s just way more fun!

Oh, and as an added bonus, you can torch your sidewalks in the winter instead of using salt or other ice removal chemicals which can be not only bad for your concrete, but also for your soil.  It sure beats scraping, beating, and chipping away with a shovel to get the ice off!

now that is a tool! Jims flame thrower

Please note, if you live in a populated area, you may want to check with local ordinances before you get your Weed Dragon*, because when you’re handling weeds and ice looking this hard-core, someone is bound to freak out and they may have made this kind of fun illegal in your location.

Jim Signature