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An odd little post about Betty, er, Elizabeth.

I bought this lovely old cook-stove from an acquaintance who needed to downsize. I admit my heart fluttered and my brain, well, I vanished down the rabbit hole of childhood memories.

Memories. I grew up in a small town in the interior of British Columbia, Canada. My parents owned a summer cabin and at the end of the school year would stay until the end of August. Joyous, wondrous, childhood memories. I imagine I learned to walk about the same time I learned to swim. I digress. The stove.

Wood smoke. As a young child I remember the sound of my father waking and the grating sound as he moved the lid from the top of the cook-stove aside before striking the match to light the kindling in the firebox beneath. Crackling, then not a whooshing, but the sound of air moving as the flames picked up and drew the smoke up the chimney. He always brought my mother a cup of tea. Each morning I would climb out of bed and drink a quiet cup of tea beside him as the magic of the wood-stove took over and the cabin heated. Milky tea. I drink it to this day.

Bacon with rind on the griddle. Once removed, endless pancakes. Or, on other days, oatmeal. These things best cooked on a wood-stove. A magnificent creature, that stove. Blue and white, with a warming oven. My mother mastered baking bread and cakes in the temperamental oven and canning cherries, peaches, pears during the summer until one fated day, electricity arrived. My mother and her capabilities. The extraordinary heat from a wood-stove in summer. Some things however, never changed. The kettle boiled on the wood-stove. Breakfasts cooked on the wood-stove.

Elizabeth – Betty, I bought her. She weighs a ton. It took two strapping young guys to move her from the truck into the house. They cussed the whole way. Once in place, they admired her.

Not WETT certified, which means she can’t be connected inside the house, but she can be used outside if one day I build a summer kitchen.

For the moment, my baked bean pot, bread-bowl and old scale sit on top. I store platters and dishes in the warming oven and cast iron pans wait to be used on the cook-top. The milking equipment dries on a wonky rack.

Please, meet Betty. A beautiful old gal.

Do you have an old childhood memory like this? If so, please share!



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Why ducks?

In May, 2019 I never thought I’d be a poultry person – specifically a duck person. One look however, and I was besotted. I can’t imagine my world without them. Take a look –

Could you ignore such cuteness? Not me!

I set up a four foot by two foot tote with shavings in the bottom, waterer raised up and surrounded by a moat of shavings. A piece of chicken wire folded over the top, and my ducklings were home.

The cat followed their shadows on the outside whilst the dog took one look, sniffed, and with a disgusted huff, walked away. It was clear I was the one enamored with them.

Within no time we settled into a routine. A starter mash mixed with warm water into a revolting sort of slurry was gobbled up and between gummy dishes of feed and emptying the pan of sodden shavings and grotty water, I was duly initiated into the world of duck ownership.

Wet. Everything about a duck is WET! So, if you have intentions of getting ducks, be prepared.

In no time, these three ducklings looked like this:

And then, this:

Soon, they’d outgrown the tote and needed a proper duck house. I repurposed a three foot by five foot shell of a dog house. With hardware cloth underneath and covering the windows on either side, the front has a latched door and the back opens wide for easy cleaning. Two windows on the sides drop down in warm weather and latch closed during the wet or colder periods of the year. It works beautifully.

Within no time, the ducks were dibbling around the veggie gardens for tasty morsels – ie slugs and snails. Yay!

These girls fill my heart with joy. It gives me immense pleasure to watch them waddle around the property.

A year later, Clarence joined the flock. His mate was killed by a predator and his owners asked if I’d take him. They sent a picture of him looking sad and wanting company. Of course, I said yes.

He takes his job watching the girls seriously.

It goes without saying that of course I hatched some of their eggs. The accompanying two pictures show their offspring and two Pekin ducks I was asked to raise with them.

I think my favourite photos of the ducks are when they are “helping” me in the garden –  endlessly searching for bugs and waiting for me to turn over soil in the veggie beds, rocks, logs, anything in the hopes they’ll have a tasty snack.

And, of course, what would a picture of ducks be, without water!

I can’t imagine my life without these curious, fun, sensitive creatures.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little picture story.



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My journey to goat milk soap

Soap. It’s a funny, personal thing. Isn’t it?

Do you remember the ‘90’s and Gain detergent? I distinctly remember the first time I smelled it. I thought, “Ooh! How lovely!” I promptly bought it and used it regularly along with scented dryer sheets.

These scented products gave me a rip-roaring headache, and, increased the pain I felt in my body. I became more self-aware what my body was telling me. I began the search for products that contained purer, less harmful ingredients. At the time – they were only found at Health Food Stores. My education truly commenced. (And, continues).

Our skin is our largest organ. We wash our skin daily. What we wash our skin with, and put on our skin, should be top priority – along with nutrition.

My life’s journey has always been one of hope, exploration, learning, and progress. If I don’t feel I’m moving forward in some way, be it gardening (nutrition), living a sustainable, regenerative lifestyle that promotes well-being for myself (and the planet), then, I feel I’ve let myself down in some way. I set out to encourage myself to create my well of well-being on my tiny patch of land. My .6 acre.

My goats, namely, Iris, will play a major role here. Alex, a wether – gelded goat, is her companion. Iris’ mother currently provides the milk for all our soap.

Many soaps aren’t real soap. “Say, what?” Yup. Many soaps aren’t real soap. They use synthetic detergent products which can contain surfactants that can strip your skin of natural moisture and oils. Personally, I don’t like the sound of that.

Goat milk, in this case, La Mancha goat milk, contains all the healthful, natural, basic ingredients to promote a healthy, creamy, soap rich in both saturated and unsaturated fats ideal for soap production. Goat milk fats, namely caprylic acid, allows for gentle removal of dirt and debris without removing the skin’s natural fatty acids. Goat milk is rich in fatty acids and cholesterol, which make up a large part of the skin membrane. Saturated fats increase soap lather and unsaturated fats provide moisturizing and nourishing properties. And, the milk is a good source of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin shown to have anti-aging properties. Goat milk is also a good source of selenium, a mineral shown to support a healthy skin membrane. Goat milk soap has tremendous benefits.

In our soap, per batch, we add one litre – 4 cups – of raw, organic goat milk plus plant-based oils like organic olive, coconut, and sustainable, traceable, ethically sourced palm oil and almond oils which increase the content of healthy, nourishing fats.

We make a creamy, gentle and conditioning bar of soap supporting a healthy skin microbiome. I’m all for a healthy microbiome, aren’t you?

Have questions? Please, ask!

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A lot of catching up!

Much has happened on Point 6 Acre between January and July. Projects were completed around the property, not the least of which was the exterior of the house got painted – yay!

I love it. The house looks fresh and accents the gardens. In the photo on the right, Paul’s Himalayan Musk heritage rose puts on a show.

This is a bizarre growing year. Spring alternated wet and cold, hot and dry, with no indication of when it would do what. Consequently, the plants and trees had no idea what season they were in. The plum and peach trees were full of blossoms, but it was too chilly for the pollinators. Red currant bushes were pollinated, gooseberries – not so much. Beets and onions were a bust. Peppers and basil are in the poly tunnel and seem unperturbed. Bush and pole beans are up and growing. We’ll see how they do. No guarantees. New to me, are chick peas and soy beans. At this point, they seem to be doing well. Seen foreground in the photo below (raised bed), the chick peas have a lovely feathery foliage. I’m curious to see how they turn out.

Iris (doe) and Alex (wether) moved in in April. I am besotted. They are the La Mancha breed known for their even temperament, steady production of fairly high fat milk, and tiny ears. This rich milk is what I’m after for both luxuriant soaps and cheese production.

In May the broilers arrived. British Columbia suffered extreme flooding in the Lower Mainland which had an impact on the availability of broilers. As Cornish Cross were unavailable, I opted for a heritage variety, known in some areas as Freedom Rangers or Meat Ballers. I find them to be a personable bird that behaves like a chicken, rather than eats non-stop like the CC. There also isn’t the same time crunch to process them, which is a relief.

In this video they are offered supervised free-range time. There are cases of Avian Flu in British Columbia which means all my birds: layers, ducks, and broilers, are in lock-down. The chickens and ducks have their runs, the broilers have the BABmobile and BABmobinette, but I take a small chance and let them free-range whenever I can.

I’ve attended two Sunday markets this season. All the other Sunday’s it rained.

The irony of having a goat milk soap business is it can’t get wet until you want it to get wet.

Busy time of year. I’m glad to have Iris and Alex on blackberry control. I look forward to showing Iris at the West National Goat Show in August.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this snippet of a catch-up.