Breeze Hill Farm

  (Powhatan, Virginia)
Sheep, Goats, Alpacas, Llamas, Border Collies
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Stupid! But True Story

As you all know, Saturday we went to a Chicken Swap. What I didn’t mention was one pretty stupid thing that happened while we were there. Included in this Swap were all livestock..bunnies, goats, etc. One of the “so called” goat farmers in our area brought 2 of his goats to sell. The way he transported them was a recipe for disaster to begin with and if you can image this..that is exactly what happened.

Maybe some of you all have done this before but I found it to be terrible. He had strapped those poor goats into a flat equipment trailer (you know the kind the guys use to transport lawnmowers) with equipment straps. He took them out on a 55 mph 4 lane road to the Swap. Now if you can image this..one of them got loose, jumped out of the trailer and started the journey down the middle of on-coming traffic. The cops were there trying to stop traffic, the poor goat was running like hell and then it beared off into the woods. Now I happen to know this farmer (I’m sorry) and I know that his farm is about 5 miles from where the Swap took  place. He told the cops “don’t worry, he’s headed in the direction of home so he’ll get back there soon”. While all of the “whoha” was going on the other poor goat stayed strapped in the equipment trailer for a couple of hours in the pouring rain. 

I know I’m probably nuts, but to begin with I would never traumatize any animal like this..if you don’t have a livestock trailer, or sides on your pick up or a kennel carrier..buy one, build one or leave your poor animals at the farm. This guy not only put the animals life at risk but several hundred drivers and their passengers as well. As for the goat finding his way home! I have goats and yes I do find them to have some intelligence but if I took any of them 5 miles from here and dropped them, I would never expect to see them again..unless one of our neighbors found them and brought them back.

It just seems strange that the term “livestock” must mean trash to many people. I know that the way we coddle and baby our livestock is not really normal but I look at what I get in return for the way we take care of them..gorgeous fleeces from the sheep, goats, and llama, wonderful goats milk, fairly tame animals, which helps at shearing and milking time, minimal to no vet bills, just to name a few advantages. I am by no means saying that what we do is perfect nor that this is how everyone should treat their animals but come on, a little common sense is really worth it’s weight in gold!

Don’t know if the goat “found” it’s way home or not. Is it so hard to think about what you’re doing before you do it? It must be.

 
 

The Nutritional Benefits of Goat Milk

The following is a great article about the benefits of Goats Milk and I wanted to share it with you all. Click on the link to learn more….

 

Agoat

The Nutritional Benefits of Goat Milk by Miriah Reynolds from the July/August, 2009 issue of Dairy Goat Journal. Presenting information, ideas, and insights for everyone who raises, manages, or just loves goats..

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Fall Fiber Festival & Sheepdog Trials

Yesterday we decided a day off from everything was necessary for mental and physical health. We got up early, took care of the livestock and headed for Montpelier in Orange county, VA, to the Fall Fiber Festival & Sheepdog Trials.

What a beautiful day! We still can’t believe how clear the air was . It was a little cool when we left home but by the time we arrived, it was in the mid 70’s. An added benefit to the trip was the leaves are starting to turn. We took in everything – all 5 large tents with rows of vendors selling everything fiber – beautiful hand dyed silk and wool blend yarns and rovings – there was a lot of yarn. It seemed that the vendors choose to cater more to the hand worker than the spinner.

We passed by the outside tents and went over to the Livestock Exhibit tent. They had a good example of various different fiber producing animals – the Angora Rabbits, Llama and Alpaca were not represented very well in this exhibit but I later found more of them in the outside tents. After looking around we found our friends Magi & Jay from Magi’s Wood Farm, you know, where we just got our Icelandic’s from.

Magi & Me

Magi & Me

She was happy to see me because she had let a child play with her wheel and it wasn’t working. She’s been having a problem with it every since she got it but it was worse. Later in the day, hubby found the same wheel and discovered her problem is incorrect set up. Hopefully the pictures he took of the correct set up will fix her problem.

Hubby wanted to take in the sheep shearing demos and I really did want to check out those outside tens, so I left him. My first stop was the Fleece Sale tent. Lot’s of beauties in there.  I found a CVM Sheep fleece that was really beautiful – when I looked at the price, I came very close to passing out – 2.2 lbs./$102.00. Needless to say that didn’t come home with me.

As I walked by the outside tents – something caught my eye – A spinning wheel! It looked to be very much like an Ashford Traditional but then again..it didn’t. I’m not going to tell you the price yet. This wheel had suffered a child assult on Saturday and it was broken. I got a handful of roving and a chair and set out to fix this cool little wheel. Whatever this child had done to it, I don’t know but it would not spin at all. Hubby came to find me and got involved in the fixing process. An hour later, I walked away with a fixed $60.00 spinning wheel! It is a mystery wheel though. I’ve added a photo, maybe one of you may have an idea about who made it. It does need work but it will spin yarn.

The New Old Wheel

The New Old Wheel

Armed with mystery wheel, we set out for food and Sheepdog Trials. I was a bit disappointed in the food options. In years past there has been lamb chili and fruit plates. Not so this year, so we got a heavy BBQ, set up our chairs and became spectators. The dog trials were great! We stayed to the end and we got lots of photos.

At The Pen - Look real hard..see the green on her shoulder? It's a Parrot!

At The Pen - Look real hard..see the green on her shoulder? It's a Parrot!

Trial Shot

Trial Shot

Trial Shot

Trial Shot

"Nice Job"

"Nice Job"

This lady works without a crook or a whistle..she's amazing!

This lady works without a crook or a whistle..she's amazing!

"The Shed"

"The Shed"

"The Pen"

"The Pen"

It’s so enjoyable watching a dog work..they take their job seriously. I am so happy we have 7 Border Collies of our own to work with.

We left the event feeling invigorated and hungry. In the town of Orange we went to a restaurant called the Silk Mill Grille. As you may have guessed from the name, it is an old Silk Mill and the place is decorated much of the old salvaged accessories and processing equipment. Had a great meal and we were home by 7:00.

I have a lot of readers that know very little about this side of my life – they know me for the goats and goats milk products. You see fiber and fiber arts is my true passion. Any opportunity I get to do a day like this, I will put all else aside to do it. My only regret – Didn’t go both days!

I’m going to add an events page to my Blog so everyone might have an opportunity to see and possibly attend what’s going on the rest of 2009. Some I will be a vendor..some I will just visit.

Parting comments and a little rant! Please, if you bring your children to events like the Fall Fiber Festival, try to pay attention to what they are doing. One of the wheels that was messed up yesterday is a several thousand dollar wheel. We want everyone to come to these events..especially children, they are the ones who will keep this going in the future but vendors and demonstrators put their life into this and it shouldn’t be destroyed by an adults carelessness of not watching their child. At this event, I saw big pulls of rovings run off with, a driveband ripped right off a spinning wheel, Angora bunnies being plucked through the sides of their cage by uncontrolled little fingers, hand crafted wooden knitting needles being used as swords and a grape snow cone dropped on a beautiful silk scarf. Please bring your children and please be good, aware parents! Rant is done.

Have a wonderful day!
 
 

Noil Silk – Fiber Arts Friday


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As most of you know the other side of my farm business is goats milk products. This time of year I am kicking it into high gear getting ready for Holiday Markets, Open Houses, and Shows. One item that I make (knit or crochet) is a big supply of wash cloths. Usually out of organic cotton. I keep them simple because the only time I can knit or crochet is late evening after chores and dinner.

This year I am changing up what the cloths are made from. I’ve noticed many specialty facial and body cloths are made from a dense over twisted cotton and are sold as exfoliating cloths. Not being a super cotton spinner and not liking any of the yarns I had found in cotton to try that would accomplish a cloth that would be exfoliating too, my search brought me to Noil Silk – raw rough spun silk.

I’ve made a dozen or so of them and used one as a test. So far, after using it in the shower and laundering it 6 times – it’s definitely a winner! The cloth keeps it shape, of course no shrinkage and it maintains its exfoliating quality. I am only using yarns that are natural colored or natural dyed and organic.

From my standpoint…I think their great!

To see what other are doing this Friday check out Fiber Arts Friday
 
 

I'm Easily Excited!

It's amazing how little it takes to excite me anymore. I just joined several Ravelry Groups in hopes of sharing some of what I do and make new friends in the fiber world. If you don't know what Ravelry is check out their website at Ravelry.com. It's pretty cool stuff! My screen name is "Breezhill" if you'd like to check out the Groups I've joined.

We have now determined that our Icelandic sheep are not that bright. Yesterday evening we were at the barn pulling a couple of sheep fleeces that are sold. We took a little time to just sit with the animals and visit. Apparently, Ricky and Holly didn't see any food in this visit so they went off on their own. The next thing we knew, they were on the other side of the fence looking at us. When they realized that we could see them, they leisurely walked back to the hole in the fence and stepped back in. Now maybe I'm not being 100% fair here..possibly they are not dumb but incredibly smart. Do you think they may have been trying to let us know there was another hole in the fence??  Can't wait to see what they come up with today. I swear they remind me more of goats than sheep.

Tomorrow is Fiber Arts Friday on Alpacafarmgirl.com. It's a lot of fun to see what's happening with others and their new creations. Come on over and join in.

I am working on our new goats milk soaps and fragrances for the Holiday's and would love some input from you all. Each year I try to come up with at least 2 special fragrances and a new mold for the season. Something to make the bath smell good and a gift that people will enjoy giving and receiving. Leave comments as to what you think would be nice. If I pick your idea, we'll send you a gift box with the new fragrance soap and some other goodies!

 
 

It's Been Awhile..Again

Good Morning Everyone! It's been awhile again since my last entry. If this happens again you will know that I have been too busy to Blog. Everything is going very well here. Business is great and we are adding more every day. All of the animals are surviving the high heat that we've had for the last few weeks and the first part of the garden all came in at one time. So, on top of making soaps and lotions, milking goats, going to markets, filling orders, etc., I had to roll up my sleeves and start canning and freezing. Occasionally, I get to sleep!

We were all kinds of excited Saturday when we finally had rain. Of course, we couldn't just have a normal rain, we had to be under a Tornado Warning for several hours and it ended up raining about 5 inches. Then last night before we went to bed we took a look at the weather radar and noticed that there was a storm right on top of us. Well, we got 3 more inches of rain from that. This morning, with the warm sun shining,  you can actually hear the grass growing! I am so thankful we finally got rain. Apparently, our geographic location has some kind of anomaly that makes weather patterns go around us. We can actually stand in our garden and watch storms divide and go to either side of us. My husband is a ham radio sky warn spotter and he says that he can't explain why this is, only that when we move again he is going to look at the weather history for an area before we move there.  Each summer we pump too much water from the well to keep the garden going. Save money on growing food so we can pay the power company for extra electrical usage. Catch 22 much?

We have added some new products, they are not on the website yet but keep checking back. We are in the process of revamping the site too. Busy, busy, busy. I think that once all of the work is done on the new site, people will find it a little less distressing to navigate.

 I asked this question a while back and didn't get a response from anyone,  but I am curious if anyone has any idea for what we can use on our tobacco plants that is safe and natural for eradicating Hornworms? Thank God, it's only 100 plants because our current approach is to pick the worms twice a day and as the plants are getting bigger, it's becoming a full time job. I'd appreciate it if anyone could make suggestions.

It's off to soap making! Have a wonderful day.

 

 
 

New Products

What a beautiful morning this is. It was 62 degrees at the farm when we got up, bright sun and almost no humidity. That’s really saying something for summer in Virginia. A morning like this made fixing a country breakfast mandatory. The most enjoyable part of it was including our first tomato of the season. It was nice finally getting something out of the garden that wasn’t zucchini! For the past month, it’s been nothing but zucchini bread, fried zucchini, sauteed zucchini, mock zucchini crab cakes (these are amazing!) and veggie mixes..with zucchini. The freezer is full of it, friends run when they see me coming, it’s a sad state! This is the down side of putting in a late garden, it's not easy being patient.

It’s been months in the fine tuning and testing and finally our new Jewelweed Products are ready for sale (they are not on the website yet so you will have to email me breezehillfarm@verizon.net  to order). For those who do not know the significance of Jewelweed, it is wonderful for shortening the duration of an out break of poison ivy and oak and in some cases stopping an outbreak from occurring.

The two new products are a Jewelweed Balm, which is made with all natural and organic ingredients and Jewelweed Soap. Not being a person who has bad reactions to poison ivy or oak, I had to take the product to quite a few people for testing. The positive results were 100%. Both products benefit from having a variety of oils that help clear up the problem and leave the skin feeling soft but the soap has an extra bonus of containing goat’s milk. These two items are a must have for the summer first aid kit!

Well I’m off to take a look at 3 possible new goat doelings that were born in March. Because of the increase in business, we need to add to our herd and these girls will make a wonderful addition. Then it's back to get the Co-op (www.farm2udirect.com) orders ready for delivery tomorrow. Busy day!

 
 

Breeze Hill Farm in Local Harvest Store!

Has everybody missed me? Wow, what a past couple of weeks! We've finally gotten some of the garden in, most of the sheep have been shorn, llama shorn, most of the fiber is packed and ready to go to the processor, filling orders at a much slower pace than I am taking them, goat's milk soap and lotion has definitely become something that everyone wants NOW, life is good. I am tired. Always remember, you can order our soaps and lotions through our website.

By the way, we now have a Store on Local Harvest and the Spring 2009 Fiber CSA is available through it. In the listing it shows that when you order you will get 5 skeins of yarn. That's not necessarily so, it's just listed like that to give LH a quantity to work with. Before making the decision to purchase, be sure to check out our website www.breezehillfarm.com for more details and be sure to email me at breezehillfarm@verizon.net with questions or concerns. As with so many other things in life..knowledge is power! Being fully educated in this process is very important. Knowing what to expect makes all of us happier. The sheep wool and alpaca fiber blended yarn is just wonderful. I worked up some samples for potential shareholders and I think that has made the decision to participate for quite a few folks. 

Within the next week or so, I will be sharing some new and exciting ideas and plans for Breeze Hill Farm's future. Keep checking back to see what's happening.

 

 
 

New Farmer's Market Opens Tomorrow at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

This Farmer's Market is in Richmond, VA at the interesction of Grove Avenue and Three Chopt Road from 8:00 til Noon. We can't wait it is a new market and it is an all producers market. They have really done a good job of getting the word out so it should be a great market. So far, we gotten a lot of calls asking if we are going to have our goat's milk soap and goat's milk lotion available..of course we are and we'll be selling "shares" in the Spring fiber CSA too. It may not be the best day for that since Maryland Sheep & Wool is this weekend too, but not everyone will be heading in that direction tomorrow.

It's going to be so much fun to introduce our new products too! This will only be the third time we've put our Collina Breeza in front of people, so I can't wait to see the reaction to a lotion and cream that is "paraben free" and is made from 92% organic materials. So many of our customers are cancer survivors and they appreciate how gentle our soaps are on their skin and now they will have a lotion and cream that they don't have to worry about it harming them. If any of you are ever interested in what we carry you can check us out at www.breezehillfarm.com .

To everyone heading out to the market's tomorrow have a great successful day!

 
 
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