Monday, December 31, 2012

Wow! I can't believe it has been 5 years since my last blog!  I guess life got in my way.
I am working at the most amazing engineering firm now.  They have all the same philosophies of work that I have.  They think you shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes, because that is how you learn,. They think they should not limit themselves to one specialty, because when that specialty goes out of style, they will have something to fall back on.  They think they should show their appreciation to the people that work for them, because without them, the company would not be where it is now.   In my opinion, the company is in a wonderful place.  I have never enjoyed working at another job as much as I love working for this company.  I am the Quality Manager, and the Electronics fabrication Manager.  I also am the Manager of the Human Factors and System Safety Engineering department.   I have never been a part of upper management before, and certainly not upper management in 3 areas.  I have found that it is lots of work, but I also like 1working for a company that listens to what I have to say.  I have always been happiest when my opinions (of which I have many) are actually taken seriously.

I have also decided to cut way, way, way back on the soap company work.  I have spent 13 years making soap, posting on a website that I have said soap, lotion, lip balm, and scrubs for sale.  People have purchased from me, and some have become friends, thanks to their repeat purchases, or their reasons for purchasing.  I want to continue to provide soaps and lotions for those people, because they need me.  But the one-time purchasers, and those that are just as happy with anyone's handmade soap, while important to me, are not depending on me, so I am not going to produce just for them. So, if you have been  buying soap from Spencer's Farm Soaps please, prepare yourself for some serious changes.  First, I no longer will be posting my products for sale on my website.  Everything I have for sale will be posted on my Facebook page, and then will be put on ETSY.  When it is gone it will be gone.  I only plan to continually make Aloe and Oats, and AuNatural soap, and unscented Lotion.  Everything else will be made according to my whim on the day I decide to make soap or lotion.  I have been producing according to a schedule for so long, and keeping my creative urges under wraps for so long, that I feel like a new person knowing that I can make any fragrance I want, or color, or with any ingredients...It is invigorating....

I am an artist, both by upbringing, and by nature.  I am looking forward to doing artistic things instead of production things, for a change.  This, being my first week of  'freedom', I have made a necklace, set of earrings,  a wreath, and a painting.  Those were all things I have been planning to do for ages, and ages. I feel like I have been freed from a life of servitude.

I spent several days going though art museums and galleries.  I am amazed at the prices artwork commands these days.  This should be a tip off about how long it has been since I have gone through a gallery!  I did a quick inventory of the original artwork on my walls....holy crap, I need more insurance in case of the unthinkable.  I had no idea how much my collections would be worth.  I feel like I just woke up from an extended nap.  Anyhow, it is nice to be awake again.  I'll try to remember to come blog occasionally.  Remind me to tell you about chocolate covered bacon sometime.


Saturday, March 8, 2008


Living in the South, I don't see much snow. I like it that way. I have visited the North in the wintertime, and I just don't know how people cope with it. Down here, everything closes when it snows. That doesn't have anything to do with how much snow, either. Looking out my window, I'd guess we got about three quarter inches of snow. All the roads are closed, there is a runner across the bottom of the television listing all kinds of closures. Our school always build a couple of snow days into their calendar and the kids get to take those days at the end of the school year because it almost never snows. As luck would have it, this is Saturday, and the snow will all be gone by Monday, so the kids still have this snow day available.
I am spending this lovely, white day drinking my favorite hot beverages (flavored coffees)and watching cooking shows on satellite. I watch all the cooking shows, not just low carb ones (as if there were any low carb shows left!) But I am constantly on the lookout for wonderful recipes that can be de-carbed. Boy, today is a good day for de-carbable recipes. Paula Deen made a Marguerita Mousse....YUMMMYYY! OK, I can de-carb that using lemon-lime diet soda instead of lemon and lime juice, and Splenda instead of sugar. Everything else was legal (eggs, unflavored gelatin, and Tequilla) She topped it with a dollop of homemade whipped cream, and what low-carber turns down homemade whipped cream! LOL
Sandra Whatshername who specializes in semi-homemade stuff made baklava rollups. Hey, I happen to love baklava, and I do believe her method can be de-carbed enough to eat. She used a total of 4 sheets of Phyllo dough for 5 servings of baklava. I could eliminate 1 sheet without sacrificing the Phillo crunch. I could use the sugar-free honey (or possibly low carb pancake syrup) instead of the real honey. She didn't use much honey anyway, about 2 TBS. The other thing she did that I really liked was that she mixed half pecans with half pistachios. I know we could lower the carb count by using half pecans and half walnuts instead, but I just might stick with the pistachios for the flavor and deal with the carbs. About 25 total carbs before nuts. Add 5 grams for the nuts (assume just 1 cup pecans, no other nuts) and you have 30 grams. Slice the baklava roll into 6 chunks and you get 5 grams of carbs each. For something as decadent as baklava, I think that's pretty good. It is strange that Phyllo dough isn't used more in low-carb recipes. 36 grams in 5 sheets is a lot, but how often would you actually eat 5 whole sheets in one serving? In this recipe we used only 3 sheets and it makes 6 servings. Not bad.

Well, the snow has melted, so I have to go out and take care of the farm critters.
Until Next Time.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy Yulebocken

Yesterday was Christmas Day, and we got to spend a relaxing day at home. Well, not as relaxing as it might have been. We began the day with the delivery of a set of twin goats. Then a Single doeling was born from another mother. It's a good thing we were home, because it was so cold here, they could have easily frozen to death. As it was the little buckling from the twin delivery was very cold and almost dead when we found him. A few hours in the warm house and some warm colustrum and he was good as new, though. Yulebocken is the Swedish Christmas Gift Giving Goat. So, I guess we had a couple of Yulebocken visits yesterday.
After all the fun with goats, we came in the house to have our traditional Christmas breakfast of steak and eggs. In the afternoon, we fixed hot chocolate using Hood Calorie Countdown milk (spiked with spiced rum...yummmmm). I have to admit, the Hood Chocolate makes great hot cocoa substitute with a dash of vanilla flavoring and a teaspoon of butter. Throw a shot of rum and a dollop of whipped cream in and you have a really great special treat.
Today hasn't really been any better. I was awakened at 5:30 am (19 degrees outside) to be told that one of the does just had quads! OK, I dressed and heated up some colustrum, knowing that with 4, I'd end up bottle feeding at least one. At the very least, I would have to supplement mom's milk for all of them. Darn if I wasn't right. The mother has some kind of blockage in one teat that feels like a big marble and the milk can't come past. I'm having to work on that, hoping to work it loose or down, or something. The other side really didn't appear to have much milk. So it looks like I am bottle feeding the 3 survivors. The littlest baby just didn't have enough get up and go to uhm... well... get up and go.
Anyway, as far as goat deliveries expected this holiday week...3 down and about 10 to go. This has turned into a Holiday tradition in my house. I don't know how the goats know that if they mate in July (WE try to get them bred in May!) they will have babies while we are here to help out, but it sure works out well, except for the cold weather.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Still here

I know it seems like I never update this thing. I guess I have been busy. I am trying to get my goats dried up for the winter, but they seem to have other plans. I have three that appear to want to give 3 quarts a day forever! The only good thing about that is that I can still make lots of cheese. I finally got a cheese press. In fact, I bought one and a few weeks later, a friend of mine gave me one he made. I have used them both, and they work just WONDERFUL!!!!
I have been making hard cheeses (big enough to eat) for the first time ever. I bought cheese wax, and everything. I have a refrigerator full of cheddars, goudas, and colbys. The one on the left is waxed with beeswax, and the one on the right is waxed with red cheese wax. It sure looks nicer with real cheese wax. Those are 2 pound cheeses resting on a handmade cheese board. I also have made some lightly pressed cheeses that don't have to age. They are called Queso Fresco, and they aren't just faster to make, and have ready to eat, but they are just great cheese...firm and tasty! I just finished marinating one in Chiante, just to see how it comes out. It sure turned a pretty color of purple, anyway! Robert is out of town until tomorrow night, so I'm being a good girl and leaving it alone until he is here to try it first. Talk about a test of willpower!


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another great cheese recipe

Yesterday I decided to break into my home made Brie cheese. I wrapped it in about 4 sheets of Phyllo dough (8 carbs per I didn't eat the crust) and baked it for about 20 minutes at 350 until the pastry was beginning to brown. I used sliced apples and scooped up melty cheese and it was just heavenly!

Today, I took my other Brie to work (I always share with the guys at work! They really appreciate cheese). I cut the top rind off the cheese, and made a sauce using about 3 or 4 Tablespoons of DaVinci B-52 Syrup, and imitation honey, with a teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove mixture, and about 1/2 cup of thin sliced almonds poured over the top, wrapped in aluminum foil, and baked in the office toaster oven at 350 for about 15 minutes. Once again, I provided sliced apples for scooping it up, and everyone was wowed.


Not low carb, but its my life

Today, on the way home, I saw a hawk struggling along, trying to fly carrying a big ol' black bird. All I could think was, HOW LUCKY AM I??? I get to see things nobody else ever gets to see. Another day, I saw hawk flying over my farm, carrying a snake and landing in the trees. I have actually awakened to find a deer in my bedroom. I doubt anybody else has done that! (long story, the guard dogs adopted her, she now guards right alongside them). I have seen a Great Dane laying on the floor of my kitchen with tiny 4 day old chicks hopping all over his great big head.
I have watched groundhogs play tag, seen mating squirrels, and have a dachshund that has helped me round up escaped baby rabbits (and never hurt any of them). The typical farm stuff is pretty neat, but the things that just happen without anyone expecting it are just fantastic.

I feel sorry for anybody that never lived in the country, because they just never have really lived.

May you enjoy all the things around you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Holy Goat Milk Batman!

Her name is Chaos; I couldn't resist her.
I needed another Dairy Goat like I needed a hole in the head, but she was so beautiful!
She has turned into a pretty decent milker for a young little girlie. Unfortunately, she had her babies in late JULY! That means she will be milking all winter, in fact, my other goats will deliver their babies before I manage to get her dried out. I'm going to try to get her bred before the end of December, so I don't have to milk all next winter, too! But I am getting really tired of milk....I've been at it since last March, and it is looking like I'll be milking until at least next September.

I finally broke down and ordered a cheese press so I could get some of this milk under control. I can use 2 gallons at a time to make hard cheese now, so that gets rid of larger quantities of milk at one time than I have been used to. I have made cheddar and gouda (2 pound cheeses) and I am getting really excited about trying them (in FEBRUARY). Anyway, tune in in February to see if the cheeses thrived and turned out edible.

People don't realize that cheese is full of living organisms and such things that kind of make it into a live thing in and of itself. It has to be treated gently, and given just the right amount of humidity and optimal temperatures to mature into a good tasting cheese. Otherwise it will just rot. Cheese is similar to beer and wine in that respect. Feed and care for it and it will reward you. I hope.

Other than cheesemaking, I have been making lotion and soap about as fast as I can. I have shows almost every other weekend until Christmas. I love making and selling soap, I love hearing my customers tell me how much they love using it, but like milking, it can really get old.

I am ready to do something different for a while, so in a couple of months you will probably be reading about how I am tired of making sausages (my next scheduled endeavor), and how my freezer is full of sausages, and I'm tired of eating sausages, but for some reason, I just can't sit around and do whatever it is that normal people do to pass their time. I MUST be making something. Maybe I should take up least I could end up with some new furniture!