Tag Archives: Tottys Bend

Kidding Season

Kidding SeasonIt’s kidding season on Tottys Bend Soap Farm which means spring is just around the corner and new baby goats are bouncing around in our field. Kidding season is exciting and there are many things to anticipate. Will the deliveries go well? Will everyone be strong and healthy? Are we going to have to get up in the middle of the night and assist with a difficult birth in freezing cold weather? These are all things we worry about during kidding season. But so far so good! Our first two does have had successful and relatively stress free deliveries, blessing us with two girls and two boys. Our does will continue kidding from now until the end of May. When our last doe has kidded we will have between six and twelve new baby goats on our farm. Baby goats are just about the most adorable things you will ever see! The cuteness overload of kidding season makes up for all the worrying we do this time of year.

We kicked off kidding season with the birth of two beautiful does, Godiva and Gucci. Godiva was the first born and is the more outgoing of the two. She is brown with white ears. Gucci was born within minutes of her twin sister. She is the first solid white goat kid to be born on our farm. Gucci is a little shy. Daisy is their momma. Daisy is four years old and is an experienced momma. She gave birth on a Saturday afternoon while I was at home and Nate was at the Franklin Farmers Market. We knew Daisy’s due date was near so we were keeping a close eye on her. You can determine a goat’s due date by counting 150 days on your calendar from the time of their breeding or you can use an online due date calculator programmed for goats, assuming you know the exact date of the breeding.

Gucci & N8On our first day of kidding season Daisy ate grain for breakfast and then went out with the herd to nibble on some grass until about noon. That is when I saw her go into the barn by herself. Goats rarely leave the rest of the herd so I knew this was a sign that the babies were on their way! I went to the barn to keep her company and to make sure she didn’t need any help. I sat with Daisy for a couple of hours as her contractions came and went. Soon the contractions were getting pretty close together. She stretched and yawned, pawed at the floor, and began to push when the time finally arrived. Both of Daisy’s does were born in the diving position which is one foot in front, then the face and then the other foot. This is the ideal position because it allows their head and shoulders to pass through the birth canal easily. I was relieved because I didn’t have to reach in and reposition either of her kids which can be very stressful for everyone. As the babies were born I picked them up one at a time and placed each one in front of Daisy so that she could clean them off. This is an important part of the bonding process for momma and baby goats. They learn how each other smells and this will be how they recognize one another. Within ten minutes both babies were standing and walking. Soon they found their momma’s teats and had their first taste of colostrum. I was extremely proud of Daisy for bringing us two healthy, beautiful does. When she was ready I gave her a treat of warm water with molasses and a big basket of hay. She and her new babies stayed in their special stall for a couple of days until it was Windy’s turn to kid.

RockyWindy is two years old. This is her first kidding season. We anxiously anticipated the arrival of her babies because Windy is very shy and does not like to be handled by people. It is always hard to predict how new mommas will react to their first babies, and to us if we need to help. Sometimes new moms get confused and do not want to accept their babies at first. When the time came Windy delivered two bucklings, who we named Rocky and Jimbo. Her baby boys were delivered in the diving position without any complications. It took Windy a few minutes to get warmed up to her new babies but soon her instincts kicked in and she began to clean them off. This was a relief. The next step was to get the boys to eat. This task was more of a challenge because Windy’s udder was very small and the boys couldn’t find her teats on their own. We had to help. Helping newborn goats eat for the first time is extremely tedious! They are clueless and will nibble on just about everything except for the teat that you are desperately trying to place in their tiny mouths. Eventually each of Windy’s new bucklings had a taste of her colostrum and we knew Windy had bonded with them. It took a couple more days for Windy’s udder to fill with milk. In the mean time we supplemented Rocky and Jimbo’s diet with goat kid formula which we fed them from a bottle. Rocky was the first born and was a little bigger than Jimbo. He seemed to be getting enough from his momma and wasn’t very interested in the bottle. But little Jimbo happily took his bottles until Windy had enough for both baby boys. We are still keeping an eye on the boys to make sure they are getting enough to eat and growing like they should. We are also supplementing Windy’s afternoon grain with a top dressing called Mo’ Milk. This supplement is formulated to increase milk production. We haven’t used it before so we are interested to see how it works.

Now the babies are a couple of weeks old and they are running, playing and getting into everything. One of their favorite games is chasing each other around the oak tree. This is the time during kidding season when we are the happiest and most proud because we know our goat herd is healthy and their offspring are starting their little lives off on the right foot.

Fall Leaves

autumnleavesHere in Duck River, Tennessee, we are having one of the most beautiful displays of fall leaves I can remember. The view from our back deck is a kaleidoscope of color. The oaks are showing their deep red, leathery foliage. The thin, crisp fall leaves of the maples turn bright yellow and orange while the poplars and sweet gums are covered in magnificent golden yellow fall leaves. Even the fiery red leaves of the sumacs add touch of beauty to this year’s fall splendor. The peak time to see fall leaves in Tennessee usually begins in mid to late October in East Tennessee, reaches into Middle Tennessee in early November, and spreads to West Tennessee by mid to late November.

Fall Leaves 1While we are enjoying the scenic views this autumn, our goats are loving it because fall leaves are a prized treat. They spend hours each day hoovering up as many leaves as possible. Dried hardwood leaves are a wonderful source of nutrition for goats because they are loaded with many deep-earth minerals like carbon, calcium, silicon, potassium, and trace elements. However, some fall leaves are toxic to goats, especially wilted cherry and azalea leaves. Even a small amount of these poisonous plants can be fatal to goats. Luckily we do not have any azalea bushes and the few cherry trees on our property are out of range. The most abundant hardwoods growing in and around our pasture are white and red oaks, silver maples, hickories, sweet gums, and poplars. We also have a few pines and cedars which make good winter snacks for our herd. It would be awesome if we could rely on our goats to keep the fall leaves from piling up in our front yard. But unfortunately our goats can’t keep up with the huge amount of leaves that fall in our yard each autumn.

Wet Goats 1If it rains on the fallen leaves, the goats refuse to eat them. Contrary to popular lore goats are picky little creatures, as they should be. Too much water in their diet can cause them to become bloated, which is a dangerous condition that can result in death. We’ve had quite a bit of rain lately and there’s nothing our goats hate more than getting wet. They don’t seem to mind the fog or misty fall mornings but as soon as a single drop of real rain hits the ground the entire herd heads for the barn as fast as possible. They will camp out in the barn all day long if it is raining. As soon as the rain stops the goats will come outside again but they will not eat soggy hay nor will they eat the wet fall leaves.

Autumn TreesSoon the fall leaves will be gone, or at least they will have all fallen. Chances are that a good bit of them will stay piled in our gutters and on our “lawn” (a term I use loosely) until spring. We tend to procrastinate when it comes to yard work, especially raking leaves. Right now there are leaves on our roof, on the front porch and the back deck. There are leaves covering the tops of our boxwoods and piled all along our walkway. There are leaves practically everywhere you look. But around here there is always something more important to do than raking leaves, like making a batch of goat milk soap, playing with the baby goats, milking the mamma goats, or enjoying an afternoon view of the autumn trees.

Moms Love Our Rose Soap

Rose Soap

Our Duck River Rose soap is one of the very first scented soaps we made and it continues to be a favorite with our customers, especially this time of year. Here in Tennessee, we had an abundance of rain this April and just like the saying goes, May flowers are now in full bloom. The delicate scent of spring blooming roses is captivating and has become a symbol of love and beauty. Those qualities are what inspired us to create our very own rose soap. It took experimenting with several rose fragrances until we hit on just the right true rose scent for our Duck River Rose soap.

IMG_3426In addition to a true rose scent our Duck River Rose soap is infused with an all-natural rose clay. This clay is what gives our rose soap its rosy color. The clay we use in our rose soap gently draws out impurities in the skin which makes our rose soap a good facial bar. The clay also creates a richer lather with smaller bubbles which makes Duck Diver Rose soap good for shaving too!

Our rose soap got its name, Duck River Rose, from our neighbors Larry and Connie Baird who are award winning rosarians. They have a rose farm, with a view of the Duck River, a few miles from us on Tottys Bend Road where they cultivate over four hundred rose plants. You can tour their rose farm this May 22nd and 23rd during the Arts & Ag Tour. Our farm will also be open to visitors taking the Arts & Ag Tour. The tour is a free, self-guided event on the back roads of Hickman County, Tennessee. Stops on the Arts & Ag Tour will feature farms, art, and music as well as southern style food and hospitality. You can visit the Arts & Ag Tour website for more information.

Duck River RoseOur Duck River Rose soap is as classic, and classy, as it gets. Imagine how the fresh spring air smells at Larry and Connie’s rose garden and you will have an idea of what this special rose soap smells like. Duck River Rose soap makes a great gift for anyone who enjoys true old fashioned scents with vintage style. We also make Duck River Rose body powder and Duck River Rose goat milk lotion. We make our rose soap and all the rest of our goat milk skin care products right on our farm in Duck River, Tennessee. Nate hand milks our small herd of dairy goats each morning. He weighs the milk and freezes it to use in every batch of our goat milk soaps. We pamper our goats so our customers can pamper their skin with our goat milk skin care products.

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!

New Baby Goat Welcomed on Easter Sunday

Maybe we wrote down the wrong due date or maybe Magic really was six days overdue? Either way, we welcomed baby goat Cinnabun into the world Easter Sunday, after several days of anticipation. Cinnabun is our first girl baby goat of the season. Girl baby goats are called doelings and when they get older we call them does. Cinnabun was preceded by five bucklings. The first two, from our doe Casey, are named Bert and Ernie. Then, Orange-y had twin bucklings during the ice storm. They are named Sherlock and Watson. Next, Dot had a single buckling we named Patrick. All of our kids so far this year share the same daddy. He is our herd sire and his name is Blaze.

GoatCinnabun has different coloring than any of the goats on our farm. She is an all over mix of brown and black with solid black legs and a bright white stripe on each side of her body. Her ears are kind of short and flare out like Magic’s ears. Goat breeders prefer long flat ears but we don’t care. We are head over heels for this little goat. Magic is in love with her doeling too! She has kept her new baby goat in the barn since Cinnabun was born, making sure she gets enough milk to eat and keeping her safe. We took mamma and baby out to the side yard for this picture and short video but Magic wanted to take Cinnabun back to the barn as soon as she could. You can see from the pictures that Magic has a very full utter. She makes tons of rich, wonderful goat milk.

Right now we have several of our best producing does in milk. They will continue making milk for the next seven to nine months, reaching peak production in mid-June. Spring and summer is when we restock our supply of goat milk that we use to make our goat milk soaps. We put one ounce of goat milk in each bar of soap we make. Fortunately we use frozen milk when making our soaps. That works out perfectly because we can freeze the milk when our does are in full production, and store it to use later in the year when they have dried off. There is always plenty of milk for the goat kids to eat and for us to use in our goat milk soaps.

We plan to keep Cinnabun in our herd because Magic is such a good milker. We hope she has passed on those genes to her new baby. Over time we will train any doelings we keep how to walk with us from the barn to the milk parlor, how to get on the milk stand and how to behave while being milked. We always want to have a good stock of up and coming young milkers. That way we will always have enough goat milk to make our soaps and lotions.

Come visit us at the Franklin Farmers Market, we are there every Saturday of the year. We are happy to answer any questions about our goat milk soaps. We love our goats and the vital part they contribute to making all our goat milk soaps.

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.