I had a lovely video call with my daughter, who is studying to be a midwife in Australia in her last term. Finally, the farm has acquired internet with a new product offered by Telus. It is a hub that picks up the signal wirelessly and either connects wirelessly to a computer or through a LAN. After paying around $350 a month for phone and internet for the past two years, the $75 for the internet hub with 250G is a dream, plus the bed and breakfast guests can connect to it as well! Setting it up was no problem except the password is not easy to find. I was on hold with Telus for a long time and while waiting, kept typing in possible number. Jackpot! So I hung up and am good to go!
The chicken coop got its spring cleaning really early today too. Usually it is still frozen solid, but we have had above zero temperatures that have completely melted the snow and thawed the coop, so I took the opportunity to give the ladies and Roo a nice fresh home, including emptying the nesting boxes and restuffing them. They are just starting to lay after a bit of a winter break. I do not supply supplemental heat or light and it is their biological timing that gives the hens a break in the midwinter. They can be forced to lay with extra light and a little heat, but their bodies get spent more quickly and they do not have a very productive long life. I prefer the natural way, even though eggs are scarce in winter. I also put a fresh bale of straw in the day house where the ducks and geese also go in inclement weather and to sleep.
Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on about 50 pounds of beef tallow when I picked up dog scraps at the abattoir. My friend, Dale, butchers occasionally and I phoned him to see if he was using his meat grinder. He was, and agreed to run the tallow through the grinder for me, since it is so much faster to render. The roaster is really large, but it only holds about 25 pounds so I had to do the tallow in two lots. I set the oven to 350 and the rendering only took about an hour for each batch, which resulted in about 40 pounds of lovely pure tallow. This can be used for cooking, but most of it will be for soap and body butters. It would take me a long time to use that much for cooking!
I am going in a craft fair on April 8 and am producing some small batches of soaps and body products, plus laundry soap to vend there and I will promote Moose Hills Inn as well. So, I made sea buckthorn soap yesterday, hot process and today, hemp and tallow soap. The sea buckthorn was lard based, with a little coconut oil, castor and lanolin. I love lanolin in soap and I am a sheep farmer..
The dishes got done, but the floors did not. There is housekeeping to do, and it will simply have to wait. I seized the opportunity to get the coop done and that took a couple of hours, but it is nice and fresh now. Happy chickens lay happy eggs! And that, my friends, was a day on the Fat Ewe Farm! I miss my Charka so much. The last day he was with me, Harley and the cat came for a drink too.