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Maiden Hill Farm Summer Giveaway Winner.

And we have a winner!

Congratulations Nicole! I will be contacting you about your prizes in just a bit.

A big thank you to everyone who entered and remember to stay tuned for more giveaways in the future.

And if you didn’t win, but would still like to purchase one of the many items available in our shop, visit Maiden Hill Farm on Etsy here (use code 10OFFMHF to receive 10% off your order).

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MHF Summer Giveaway!!!

I’m thrilled to be hosting our next giveaway for reaching 500 likes on our Facebook page. 
This giveaway will have one winner. The winner will receive one (2 ounce) bottle of goat milk lotion (made with fresh milk from our herd that I personally milked out. . . thank you!) and a handmade eggshell necklace (made with eggshells from some of our hens).  

You can visit our Etsy shop here
For the whole month of July, use code BRYONY15 at checkout to receive 15% off your order. 

Now for the legal part: Open to entries from the US only. One lucky winner will be chosen at random when the contest ends on August 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM CST. The winner will be contacted by email to obtain their mailing address – if after 48 hours I haven’t received a response, a new winner will be chosen. When you sign in to Rafflecopter make sure to include an email address so that I can contact you. Prizes will be mailed out as soon as possible. 

Thank you for participating and good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A look at the Festival on the Rivers.

The last weekend in April I attended the 39th Festival on the Rivers in Geneva, AL, and I thought I would share a few pictures from it.

It all started in the days leading up to the festival when I restocked all of the lotions, lotion bars, lip balms, sugar scrubs, etc.
Late nights/early mornings became my M.O. for over a week. Anyone that has ever worked/vended at a festival or fair, you have my deepest empathy. I never realized how much work it involved til we started selling soap.
After a lot of planning and a little tweaking, I think the booth display turned out kind of cute.
Grandma’s metal rooster displaying my eggshell pendants. More on those later.
Of course, you know you’re chicken obsessed when they’re even a part of your display. I know, I’ve got it bad. 
And I even managed to find some real chickens later in the day. They were part of a camp set up by civil war renenactors. 
As were these ladies. Isn’t their clothing gorgeous? I seriously would have loved to have joined them, but I imagine they were burning up in those clothes. It was hot, hot, hot out there as it was. Could you imagine having to wear that many layers? Yikes.
These gentlemen were kind enough to take a picture with my mother.
The festival was held in a beautiful park where the Choctawhatachee and Pea Rivers meet. If you’ve never heard of the Pea River (and no, there are no peas in it – the name comes from its Creek name, Talakhatchee, which means “pea green stream”), it also runs through my hometown (Elba, AL) and happens to be the waterway that caused a lot of upheaval for Elba residents during the 1990s (by that, I mean the floods of 1990, 1994, and 1998). By the way, check out the video on the 1990 link and look closely at the 4:32 mark and guess what? You’ll see my grandfather wearing blue coveralls standing in the road in front of his hunting buddy’s house. I was so happy to find him in that video a couple of years ago 🙂
Now, back to the festival.
The Choctawhatchee River. 
And the Pea River.
There were concerns that the festival would be cancelled because of all the rain we received in the days leading up to it. Both rivers had overflowed their banks and in fact, the area where our booth was set up was underwater. Luckily, the rain stopped and the water quickly dried up. 
There was a tranquil dock to walk out on.
And in between the soap selling, talking shop (which, for me, means my favorite subjects, chickens, goats, and soap making), picture taking, and eyeing a really cute rooster window from a neighboring vendor, there was also a little bit of goofing off and mugging for the camera.
And a little more (with goat milk glycerin mustache soap at that).
The next day wasn’t quite as busy, so I took a little stroll to see the singing.
And the living witness oak tree, Constitution Oak, that I had read so much about (it more than lived up to my expectations). It’s one of the oldest and biggest oak trees in the state of Alabama. 
It may not look like it, but that’s all one tree and it was unbelievably massive.
The plaque reads, ” The Alabama Forestry Commission recognizes this tree as a “living witness.” This tree lived here at the time of the signing of the United States Constitution and continues to grow with out nation in strength and character.”
Look closely and you can see names carved into it.
The limbs were as big, if not bigger than our oak trees. And I thought we had some big trees on our farm, but they’re nothing compared to this. 
A close up of the carved names. 
And at the end of the day, my new rooster window:
Ahh, doesn’t it look so perfect on the mantle? I couldn’t possibly come home without it 😉
A big thank you to everyone who stopped by our little booth – we really appreciate your support 🙂 You can find me next at the Kick-Off event for the Farmer’s Market in Enterprise, AL on May 31st and again in Enterprise at the Fabulous Fourth Friday event on June 25th (Bryony will be with us at that one and possibly wearing something extra special). 
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Goat Milk Lotion

After making goat milk soap for a while and seeing first hand how nourishing it is, I started wondering what other wonderful things could be made with it. Enter goat milk lotion. Who would’ve thought you could make lotion with milk? But you can, and it’s actually very easy.

When I first started making it, I honestly thought it would be super complicated and involve a lot of chemistry and math (neither of which I’m at all good at), but it honestly doesn’t.  In fact, it’s less complicated to make than cold process soap.

4 oz bottles of lotion on display at the Festival on the Rivers.

Follow me on Vine, here.
10 oz Distilled Water
8.5 oz Goat Milk (Pasteurized)
1.2 oz Shea Butter
1.7 oz Grapeseed Oil*
1 oz Avocado Oil*
1.2 oz Emulsifying Wax
1 oz Stearic Acid
.25 oz Preservative**
.1 oz Fragrance Oil (make sure it’s body safe)
*You can substitute these for other good skin-nourishing liquid oils, such as Olive, Jojoba, Macadamia Nut, Sweet Almond, etc. 
** I use Optiphen, a paraben and formaldehyde free preservative.

Bottles and lids (I like the 4 oz bullet bottles best, but I recently made a batch of lotion with the 8 oz teardrop and 1 oz bullet bottles)

1 ounce bottles of lotion. . . I’ll be listing these soon on our Etsy shop.

I know preservatives don’t exactly have a great reputation for being healthy, but because this lotion has water based ingredients in it (and those particular ingredients can/will contain bacteria and are of a decomposing nature) a preservative is very necessary if you’re going to sell or give away this lotion. Now, if you want to leave out the preservative, be sure to refrigerate your lotion and realize that it’s going to have a very short shelf life. If you don’t want to fool with keeping it in the refrigerator or using a preservative, a great skin nourishing alternative are solid lotion bars.

A 1 oz bottle of Optiphen preservative.

And if you want to try out our goat milk lotion, you can purchase it here (use code 10OFFMHF at checkout and receive 10% off your order)

Equipment that I use:
3 or 4 Microwave safe glass bowls
Glass Measuring Cup
2 Spoons
Digital Scales
Note: All ingredients are measured by weight not volume.

How To:

Clean bottles drying. 

1) Sanitize your equipment (bowls, spoons, measuring cups, ladles, and blenders) and the bottles and lids by washing in a bleach solution (1 oz of bleach to every 1 gallon of water).

Measuring the oils and combining.

2) In a medium sized bowl, combine the avocado and grapeseed oils. Set them aside.

Measuring the stearic acid and emulsifying wax.

3) Measure out the correct amount of stearic acid and emulsifying wax, then add them to the avocado and grapeseed oils.

4) Microwave for about two minutes or until they’re completely melted.

Shea butter melting.

5) Add the shea butter to the oil mixture, stirring to help it melt faster.

Measuring and combining the milk and distilled water.

6)  Add the distilled water to the milk and microwave for about 1-2 minutes until warm.

Pouring the warmed oil mixture into the water/milk mixture.
It’s already starting to thicken up.

7) Slowly pour the oils into the milk/water mixture, stirring the entire time. The mixture should begin to thicken right away. Don’t worry if it sort of resembles curdled milk, that’s completely normal.

8) Using the ladle, pour the mixture into the blender. Pulse (very important that you pulse it only as it thickens very quickly) a few times until it gets creamy and a little thicker. . . . I usually pulse the mixture between 5-10 times and no more than that. Pour the thickened mixture into a different clean bowl.

Pouring the second batch of blended lotion into a bowl. 

I usually blend the mixture in two different batches or more I’ve doubled, tripled, or quadrupled the recipe. In this case, I was making 6 times my normal recipe.

9) Your lotion mixture may now have a lot of bubbles on top, but as you stir the mixture the bubbles will dissipate.

Just before stirring in the fragrance oil

10) Measure out the preservative and fragrance and pour them into the lotion, stirring to combine. Make sure they’re both completely stirred in really well.

11) Using a funnel, fill your bottles up. If your lotion has thickened too much and is filling the bottles slowly, simply place it back in the microwave and heat for about 10-30 seconds or until it’s thinner.

And the finished bottles. 6 x the recipe above produced over 30 bottles of lotion of varying sizes and scents.

The recipe above makes about 5 four ounce bottles of lotion with a little leftover that I usually pour into a bottle for us to use. It will also yield 1 eight ounce bottle + 1 one ounce bottle + 3 four ounce bottles all together, with a little leftover, of course, for me to keep. The batch of lotion pictured above and in the Vine video was six times the recipe listed in this post. It produced. . . . well, I honestly can’t remember exactly how many bottles (over 30 for sure), but it was a lot (and I was very happy to be through with lotion making that day).

Have fun and enjoy your lotion!


If you’re planning on selling this lotion, be sure to label it accordingly. In the US and since lotion is considered to be a cosmetic by the FDA, that means it must have the ingredients listed in INCI format (Internation Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients). Some of the ingredients listed above are linked to a supplier – most of those will have the INCI name listed somewhere on the page you’ll be redirected to. For the INCI names of other ingredients, visit here or here

Example: For the above recipe, the ingredients list might look something like this:

Ingredients: Water, Goat Milk, Grapeseed Oil (Vitis Vinifera), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Fruit) Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima), Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, and Fragrance.

Also required on the label is the name of the product, the amount of lotion each bottle contains (such as 4 ounces, 8 ounces, etc) and the physical address where it was made.  

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Lotion Bars

Lotion in a bar? That’s right! Lotion bars are made of nourishing oils and beeswax that begin to melt from the heat of your hands, and since they don’t contain any water, they’re preservative free.

I made two types of lotion bars last week: Pink Champagne (scented with strawberry & champagne fragrance oil and a little rose essential oil) and Bed of Roses (scented with rose essential oil). Both were unbelievably easy to make. Here’s what you need:

2.25 ounces beeswax pastilles
2 ounces shea butter
2 ounces coconut oil
Fragrance or Essential Oil
Colorant (optional)
A mold of some sort.

1) Measure out the ingredients on a scale. Then, melt the beeswax and coconut oil by using a double boiler or the microwave. If you melt them using a microwave, like I did, stir after each minute and remove the mixture as soon as the beeswax and coconut oil are melted.

2) Add the shea butter and stir it in well – the heat from the oil and beeswax should melt the shea butter.

3) Stir in the fragrance or essential oil. If you’re going to add a colorant or anything else, add it at this time.

4) Now, pour the mixture into your mold. I used this one, here.

Once the lotion bars have cooled and hardened completely, you should be able to easily pop them out of the mold, but if you have any problems unmolding the bars, simply place the mold in the freezer for about 20 minutes and then remove and they should come out easily.

I packaged our lotion bars in reusable deep 4 oz metal tins (purchased from Nature’s Garden). Next time, I think I’ll purchase the flat 4 oz metal tins they sell instead.

Update: I now use these tins. They’re 2 ounces and a much better fit for our lotion bars. Want to purchase our lotion bars? Visit our shop on Etsy here to see all of the different products we carry.