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Visit us at the Franklin Farmers Market

Franklin Farmers Market

The Franklin Farmers Market is a special place where farmers and artisans from Middle Tennessee gather each Saturday to meet our customers and sell our wares. It is a producers only market which means that everything at market is grown or made in Middle Tennessee by the market vendors. We have a booth at the Franklin Farmers Market where we sell our handmade goat milk soaps. We have been part of the Franklin Farmers Market for over four years. It is a wonderful venue with a loyal following of customers who come out every week to support their local farmers and to purchase fresh, local foods and handmade wares. The Franklin Farmers Market summer season begins this Saturday at 8:00am and we are so excited to be there again!

We look forward to Saturdays at the Franklin Farmers Market because that is where we do our socializing and shopping for the week. This time of year we are able to get fresh strawberries, tender salad greens, farm eggs, goat cheese, local milk, meats and seasonal veggies. We have fun catching up with many friends we’ve met at the market. Some of our friends are fellow farmers like the Lingo family from Beaverdam Creek Farm who grow and sell chemical-free produce, organic corn grits and grass fed beef. We also have friends from the Franklin Farmers Market who are artists like Rockin’ Robbin. Robbin creates handmade jewelry that is inspired by her Texas roots. She also sells vintage cowboy boots!

Last year we enjoyed a fantastic summer season at our booth which was in the parking lot just outside the main shed. But this year we are happy to announce we will be in a new location beginning this coming Saturday. We are expanding our space at the Franklin Farmers Market and will be in two booths, side by side. The extra space will give our customers more room to browse, and to take their time smelling and looking at our large selection of goat milk soaps, lotions, body powder, shaving soaps, and lip balms. It will also give our customers room to stand while we process their credit cards. We are thrilled to run credit and debit cards at the Franklin Farmers Market, right on our cell phones. Being able to accept credit and debit cards makes shopping so much more convenient for our customers.

If you’ve visited us at the Franklin Farmers Market before please remember you won’t find us in our usual summer location. This year we will be in a 20 foot wide, white tent at the far end of the shed next to ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Rocky Glade Farm and Sue’s Flowers. Please stop by and see us if you are in the area. We love meeting our customers and making new friends at the Franklin Farmers market!

Green Thumb Goat Milk Soap

 

Goat Milk Soap

 

Our Green Thumb Soap is a great goat milk soap for spring. Working in the garden, planting, pulling weeds, pruning, picking, mowing, working on your mower, etc. gets your hands dirty enough that you need Apricot Seeds-1a little (or a lot) of extra scrubbing power to get your hands clean. The apricot seeds we use in our Green Thumb goat milk soap are just the right ingredient for the job. When you wash your hands with Green Thumb soap you can feel the fine grit of each tiny apricot seed as it exfoliates and scrubs the dirt away. We chose the fresh scent of rosemary mint for this exfoliating, apricot seed soap because it reminds us of working in our herb garden in the spring and early summer. Our Rosemary Mint Soap is just like Green Thumb soap but without the scrubbing apricot seeds.

Green Thumb is the favorite hand soap of our loyal customer, Tom the Furniture Guy. Tom is one of our neighbors here in Hickman County, Tennessee. Tom doesn’t garden but he works with his hands all day taking down barns and making custom barnwood signs with the salvaged wood. Tom says our Green Thumb goat milk soap cleans the paint and sawdust off his hands without being rough on his skin.

Our Green Thumb goat milk soap is the perfect choice to keep in your mudroom, greenhouse or workshop. It makes a great gift for friends who love to garden or work with their hands. If you like the rosemary mint scent of our Green Thumb soap you might also enjoy our Rosemary Mint Body Powder and Rosemary Mint Goat Milk Lotion. We also make two other apricot seed soaps, Nitty Gritty and Ancient Mariner.

Our goat milk soaps are handmade on our small farm in Duck River, Tennessee. We are located about 50 miles southwest of Nashville. Here, on Tottys Bend Soap Farm, we raise a small herd of registered nubian dairy goats and we milk them by hand each morning. Each bar of our soaps contains one ounce of real goat milk from our own goats.

Milking Goats on Tottys Bend Soap Farm

Milking Goats-1Milking Goats is a part of every morning on Tottys Bend Soap Farm. We use milk from our own goats in each batch of our goat milk soaps. Our season of milking goats begins when the first kids are born, which is usually in January, and goes until late fall which is the beginning of breeding season. Making milk requires a lot of protein and the proper combination of vitamins and minerals. That is why when we are milking goats we supplement their intake with a special diet that contains everything they need to produce high quality, fresh goat milk. Our goats also graze and browse outside on pasture all day, every day. The nutrients in their diet is what makes the milk we use in our goat milk soaps so good for dry, sensitive skin.

Of course the female goats are the milk producers. They are called does. Their milk comes in each year when their babies are born. They will produce milk for about nine months. Young females are called doelings. From the time they are babies we handle our doelings every day and prepare them to be good milkers. They learn to follow us from the barn to the milk parlor. They learn to get on the milk stand and to let us handle them. Our goats learn that milking is a time when they get special food and lots of attention which are two of their favorite things. Most of them learn to be patient while we do the milking which usually takes about ten minutes per doe.  Each doe produces about half a gallon of milk at each milking. They are always happy to go back to the rest of the herd when their turn is over (and their food is all gone).

This short movie is about milking goats on Tottys Bend Soap Farm. Watch and you will see how our goats literally run to the milk room for their turn to be milked. You will also see the milking process, which is all done by hand, and some of the special equipment we use.

We make hand made goat milk soap on our dairy goat farm in Duck River, Tennessee. Our soap is made in small batches with milk provided by our own goats. We sell our goat milk soaps in Tennessee at the Franklin Farmers Market every Saturday. Come see us if you are in town!

Barn Cleaning Blues

Barn-Cleaning-BluesWe’ve had several days in a row of beautiful spring weather in Duck River, Tennessee. The goats are loving the warmer days and fresh, green grass. They also really love weeds, which we have plenty of. Some of their favorite weeds are dandelion, plantain, and bee nettle. These and other types of weeds contain nutrients that are very healthy for goats to eat. Goats need lots and lots of protein, carbohydrates, and minerals, especially now that it is kidding season. Kidding season is when the baby goats are born and the mamma goats are producing lots of milk. Here on the Soap Farm, we use that wonderful goat milk to make our goat milk soaps. But don’t worry, there is still plenty for the baby goats too. Dairy goats are bred to be high milk producers, which is the main reason they need so much healthy, nutritious food to eat.

Along with greener pastures and longer, sunny days, spring brings a laundry list of various chores that need to be done. Barn cleaning is our least favorite spring chore because it is one of the toughest jobs on the farm. The hardest part of barn cleaning is breaking up the layers and layers of barn litter that have accumulated over the winter. When it’s cold outside, these layers of manure mixed with wood chips and straw act as a kind of heater for the goats because the layers release energy as they decompose. During the winter we just add dry straw and wood chips when the barn gets damp or stinky. But in the spring its time get rid of all that poo and start fresh again! This year, we had the brilliant idea to put our tiller to the task. The tiller really worked great to break up all of the layers of barn litter which N8 then loaded into our wheelbarrow and dumped in a pile a little ways downhill. Next spring that pile of poo, straw and wood chips will be perfect to use as garden compost.

While N8 was barn cleaning I noticed the other farm critters lounging around enjoying the beautiful spring weather. How nice for them! I also observed the cutest, little inchworm making his way around a fencepost.You can see it all in this short movie we made.

Dot’s Surprise Baby Goat, Patrick

Dots Surprise Baby GoatLast Saturday morning Nate went out to feed the goats and make sure they were all OK before we headed to the Franklin Farmers Market. We have a booth at the Franklin Farmers Market and sell our products there every Saturday. The market is an hour or so from our farm and we try to get there by 7:00 AM to set up our booth. Needless to say, it was quite early last Saturday morning when Nate was tending to the herd and it was still pretty dark outside.

After putting out grain and hay, Nate went into the barn to get some minerals to refill the mineral feeders. Our goats love their minerals! He was surprised to find Ernie in the barn all by himself. The other goats were up the hill eating their breakfast but Casey’s baby Ernie was laying alone in a dark corner of the barn. You can read all about Casey and her baby bucks here.

Nate tried to get Ernie to N8-with-Patrickstand up but Ernie was wobbly and could barely keep is balance. Nate was worried. Then he noticed Dot was in the barn too which was very unlike her. She is always one of the first goats at the feeder and the last one to quit eating. She should be up the hill with the rest of the herd. All of the sudden Nate realized what was going on. The little brown and white buckling in the corner wasn’t Ernie at all; he was Dot’s surprise baby goat! We didn’t know Dot was expecting. She is always kind of on the fat side because she is the only one in the herd with horns and she uses them to bully the other goats off the grain bins. Plus we weren’t going to breed her because she injured her hip a couple years ago. You could say, Dot is one of our special needs goats. Apparently another one of her anomalies is her ability to be bred through the fence!

Baby Goat Playing with CatWe named Dot’s surprise baby goat Patrick. He was an immediate hit with everyone on the farm! He was out and about by day two. Dot follows him everywhere to keep him out of trouble and because she is totally in love with her adorable little buckling. Dot is pretty much the cutest mom ever! Percy our cat also loves playing with Patrick. Raising goats is always full of surprises. We think Patrick is the best one so far.

Meet Bert and Ernie

Nate-with-baby-goats-bert-and-ernie-2015

Meet Bert and Ernie! They are our first kids of 2015. Casey is their mother. She had a hard time having them because they both tried to come out at the same time. Bert’s back feet were out and Ernie’s front feet were out and they were stuck. Nate had to push Bert all the way back in, which Casey was very unhappy about. But that gave Ernie room to get in the right position. Once Ernie’s little head was through, everything went smoothly. Now babies and mom are doing great! You can read about Casey and the rest of our herd on our Goats page.

Here is a video we made of Bert and Ernie with their mamma during our recent “ice storm”. In the Middle Tennessee area we didn’t get that much precipitation but the couple inches we did get turned into solid ice. Consequently we were iced in for nearly a week. The goats had a hard time navigating from the barn up the hill to their hay feeder because the ground was so slippery. We fed them in the barn most of the time. On Day 6, we had a break in the weather and the ice began to melt. It was then that I took this video from the living room window as Casey and her babies ventured out for the first time in days. The black buckling is the one we call Bert and his little brother with the white patch is Ernie. You can tell from the video what a caring mamma Casey is. She is showing Bert and Ernie different good things to eat. They will learn everything from her. Just like with people, goats pass on life skills to their young. The big, white, fluffy dog trying to steal the show is our Great Pyrenees. Her name is Paris. The Great Pyrenees is a livestock guardian breed that originated in the Pyrenees Mountains in France. Paris’ job is to make sure our goats and other farm animals are safe. As you can see she loves the ice and snow!

 

Winter Skin Care

winter skin care-2Winter skin care can be a challenge especially for those of us who already have sensitive skin. It is seems harder to stay hydrated and to keep dry skin at bay. Because of the cold temperatures and snow, I have been using electric heat in the house and the car. Unfortunately the heated air really dries out my skin. It doesn’t help that it’s kidding season on our farm (the time when baby goats are born) which means going to the barn in windy, cold weather to check on our goats at all hours of the night. We don’t want any babies freezing to death and sometimes our mamma goats need a little help delivering their kids. Needless to say, all this results in less sleep and more stress. Unfortunately it is also taking a toll on my poor, sensitive skin! Recently I noticed tiny dry lines around my eyes and lips and even a few breakouts. Yikes! Not cool at all. To remedy the situation, I looked to the experts for some practical, inexpensive ways to improve the look and feel of my skin during winter months. Besides drinking lots of water and using handmade, goat milk skin care products made with all natural ingredients there are a few things I found that have really improved my winter skin care routine.

HUMIDIFYsteam bowl

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally thankful we have central heat and air but running the heater dries out the inside of my nose along with giving me cracked lips and dry skin. To make matters worse, the dry air began causing me uncomfortable, sleepless nights. So I did some research and found a few DIY room humidifiers. I discovered lots of easy tips online like getting a few house plants, setting bowls of water around, and misting the curtains. But the best thing I started doing lately is heating up a pot of water, pouring it into a bowl, adding a few drops of tea tree oil and leaning over the steaming bowl of water with a towel covering my head and the bowl. The tea tree oil infused steam works wonders on my skin and brings much needed moisture to the inside of my nose. It is so easy and makes a huge difference.

EXFOLIATEfacial brush

I am a huge fan of exfoliating. I’ve found it to be the one thing that has improved the look and feel of my skin the most. Exfoliating is even more important for winter skin care because your skin cells are turning over faster and need to be removed in a gentle fashion. The lactic acid in goat milk is perfect for this because to binds to water and won’t further dry out your skin as it exfoliates. This is just one of the many benefits of using goat milk skin care products. But even with using goat milk soap and lotion, sometimes my skin needs a little extra exfoliation. I can usually tell it is time to use my facial brush if when I apply my goat milk lotion it feels like it is sitting on top of my skin rather than quickly absorbing. In these rare instances I reach for my brush! If you’ve never used a facial brush before, you are in for a treat. Although it is tempting to get the brush sudsy with soap and water, DO NOT DO IT! Instead, thoroughly wash your skin with an all-natural cleanser or handmade soap and pat it dry. Then take your brush and using it dry, gently exfoliate by lightly brushing your skin in a small circular motion.  Afterwards, apply a high quality, all natural lotion.

DE-STRESSBreathing-to-relax

OK so it is easier said than done, but according to the experts reducing stress really does improve the health of your skin because stressors can cause breakouts. My favorite stress reducer (besides drinking wine which is not recommended for healthy skin) is controlled deep breathing. This technique involves focusing your attention on your breathing. Each deep breath brings energizing oxygen into your body witch is a natural stress reducer. Also, by focusing on your breath, you take your mind off your worries and forget about your to do list for a few minutes. This mental shift helps me get grounded and regain perspective. The extra oxygen and mental reset is relaxing and doesn’t dehydrate me like a couple glasses of wine tends to do!

INDULDGEdark-chocolate-heart

I’ll be honest, I really haven’t tested to see if eating dark chocolate and fresh berries has improved my winter skin care but what I do know is that I’m loving every bite! I’m pretty sure all these yummy treats are least lowering my stress level. But seriously, experts say the antioxidants found in blueberries, cherries, and dark chocolate (just to name a few of the super foods I’ve “studied”) have healing effects on damaged skin cells. Other recommended foods for winter skin care include foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids like wild salmon, avocado, and walnuts. Oh, and of course goat milk yogurt is on the list as well!

So, don’t let winter get the best of your skin’s health! Just remember winter skin care is more than cleansing and moisturizing. Make sure you are taking measures to reduce stress, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, properly exfoliating and eating delicious super foods!

Why Goat Milk?

Goat MilkGoat milk soap makes your skin look and feel fantastic. But why? What’s so great about using goat milk soap? Many things in goat milk make it ideal to use in handmade soap. It is full of healthy vitamins and triglycerides that are easily absorbed by your skin. Goat milk also helps exfoliate dry, damaged skin cells and protects against dirt and germs.

Compared to other ingredients used in soap making, goat milk has a high natural concentration of Vitamin A which is an essential vitamin for repairing dry, damaged skin. It is also high in Vitamin E and Selenium. When you use goat milk soap the nourishing vitamins and minerals in the milk are absorbed by your skin and help repair damage done by harsh chemicals in commercial soaps, free radicals in the environment and too much sun.

Goat milk also contains lactic acid which gently weakens the bonds between dead skin cells and encourages exfoliation. The gentle exfoliating effect of goat milk is the most visibly noticeable benefit of using goat milk soap. By removing the dead outer layer of skin goat milk soap helps prevent dry cells from trapping in oil and dirt. The clean, smooth cells on the surface of your skin reveal its natural beauty.

Goat Milk Healthy SkinWhen you use goat milk soap you will immediately notice that your skin does not tighten or feel dry after bathing. It just feels good. That is because the triglycerides in the milk make it an ideal moisturizer. As the lactic acid in goat milk soap sloughs away dead skin cells, the triglycerides are directly absorbed into the skin. Triglycerides also help hold in moisture by filling in the gaps between surface cells for an overall skin smoothing effect. Our customers rave about how soft and smooth our goat milk soap makes their skin feel.

Goat milk is loaded with so many things that are beneficial to skin health, it’s no wonder why our customers say using our soap has improved many of their skin problems including bumps, dryness, eczema and psoriasis. The benefits of using goat milk soap compound over time as the vitamins, minerals, lactic acid and triglycerides gently work together to reveal smooth, younger looking skin.

Our New Goat Milk Soap Website

Goat Milk SoapTottys Bend Goat Milk Soap is celebrating our 4th birthday with the launch of our new website, www.TottysBendSoaps.com, featuring our famous goat milk soap in over 30 varieties. We make Tottys Bend goat milk soap with milk from our own goats right on our farm in Tennessee. What began in a small corner of our kitchen has grown into a full time business complete with a custom made goat milk soap studio and in-house marketing office where we design and create our distinctive, gift-ready packaging.

Goat Milk Soap LatherTottys Bend goat milk soap is soothing to dry, sensitive skin. Some of our customers say our products have literally changed their lives. If your skin becomes dry or itchy from the harsh chemicals in commercial soaps then you may want to try our extra-mild goat milk soap. Tottys Bend goat milk soap has an amazing lather and we cure our soaps on special drying racks which makes them last longer than many handmade soaps on the market. Our customers love the wide variety of goat milk soap we offer including our unique apricot seed exfoliating bars and shaving soaps for men. We always use the highest quality ingredients available. The fragrances we use are made in the USA, phylate free and never tested on animals. When you buy Tottys Bend goat milk soap, you support humane animal husbandry and small scale, sustainable farming.

DSC_0690We designed our new website with you, our virtual neighbors in mind. It is easy to navigate and loaded with stuff about our goats for you to enjoy. We invite you to join our web community and explore our story of how we moved from a 600 square foot apartment in Atlanta, Georgia to fulfill our dream of living on and making a living from our 16 acre farm in Duck River, Tennessee.  Check back often! New goat milk soap products will be added frequently along with videos and recent photos of our goats. Please feel free to leave a comment and share your experience when you visit us at www.TottysBendSoaps.com.