Archive for the ‘All In A Day's Time’ Category

www.anniesgoathill.com spotlightMost of us, with the exception of my friends (whom I sort of envy right now) that reside on the bottom side of our globe, are into winter – dark and cold days. As I was scrolling through blogs, photos of animals, the promotion of small businesses and farms, and posters of positive thoughts, I thought about all of the brightness that those people brought to me and came up with the idea of an Annie’s Goat Hill spotlight. Why not bring good news into the world during this, seemingly, long season? We can all use a Spotlight of Warmth, it spreads.

So, beginning today, if you would like to share, or link to, one of your photos, blog posts, an article about your small business, most anything of taste relating to natural, farm, small business, encouragement and faith, and handmade personal care products on this blog – I encourage you to contact me (anniesgoathill@gmail.com) with your submissions and ideas.

I have some folks in mind already, which leads me to remind those of you that are small business owners and authors to always provide contact information.


Share, Encourage, and Grow

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We have had our share of electric outages, but who hasn’t?

The most current outage happened before a storm came through, three evenings ago.

We were watching television, relaxing, and noticed that a fan had shut off by itself.  No lights or clocks were blinking.  Minutes later the power went out and it did not return for 36 hours.

We waited until the following morning to drag out the generator.  In the meantime, my cell phone went dead because I could not find the charger for my truck, and I could not remember if I had bought one for my newest phone.  You believe me, right? I thought so.

So, thanks to our ever-trusting generator, 12 hours later we had one fan, a refrigerator, a hot plate, and a television.  And I had enough power to charge up my phone and my laptop.  We had heavy-duty extension cords running through the windows, across the floors.

It was crude and rude, and then I said, “We are camping out!”

I could not believe how quiet the first night was, before we decided we had to beat the 95 degree heat with a fan.  We experienced complete darkness, and not a sound.  Not a bird, not an insect.  It was amazing.  Nearly awesome.  We tend to forget how loud the hum of a refrigerator is, or even a motor on a laptop.

Late Saturday evening, we were startled by a honk in front of our house.  Our neighbor was driving door to door, Paul Revere style – less the horse, announcing that he just got off the phone with the water company.  We were not going to have county water much longer.  Apparently the pump stations had lost power too.

So, it was 95 degrees, we had no power, and we were soon not going to have water.

I filled my large soaking tub with water, thinking I could at least dip water out for a few days if necessary for general bathing and other purposes.  I filled all of the water containers (empty water jugs, troughs and buckets for the goats).  I kept thinking, “If everyone is doing this, we will soon drain what is left.”  But, then I thought, “First come, first serve.”  Was that bad? Perhaps.

The animals were my concern.  How were we going to keep them from dehydration in the oppressive heat? Could they survive for the predicted 3-5 days without a drop of water? I decided then to take it day by day, moment by moment.  I figured we were not the only farmer facing the water issue, and we would somehow co-op if conditions became dire.

I learned later that evening that a large generator was being wired into the water plant, and the water, which was already down to a trickle, would be restored by morning.  What a blessing!

The following morning we had full water pressure.  But it was still muggy, and the power company was reporting an additional 3-5 days of outages.  Bleh!

Lo and behold, the bedroom clock began flashing.  I said to my husband, “We have power!” His words, “I don’t believe it, turn on the light.”  Funny, huh? Yes, we had power.

As I began reclaiming the house…which was accomplished by turning on the central air conditioning (getting the humidity out), shutting the windows, rolling up the heavy extension cords, guess what I found? My cell phone charger, in plain view.  Right where I left it.

What did I learn? Be prepared.  Know where your phone charger is, and keep it fully charged, especially when you know storms are approaching.  Know where your shoes are, better yet, put them on.  Have candles on hand, or some type of lantern.  Keep your generator in an accessible area (if you own one).  Remember batteries for your flash light, or even for a radio if you have one.  I am not sure who has battery operated radios these days.  I could be wrong on that count!  I get all of my news from the computer, not from the dramatics on television.

We lost very little milk during the outage.  Our kitchen freezer was full and never thawed out at all.  The freezer in Annie’s Red Barn studio was not so full.  All of the milk stored in it had to be discarded.  I knew to not open the freezers until power had been restored, and it worked for the most part.  Tips:  the more full the freezer, the less thawing occurs, and refrain from opening the door as much as possible.

We are still battling with some issues, like poor cell phone signal, and a very poor internet signal, along with missed email here and there.  But we are working our way back into full business at hand!

What else did I learn? Camping out, that term helped my spirits.  Taking it moment by moment, know there is always a solution.  Keep the faith.

Thank goodness for good health, and thank goodness for our safety.  What more could a person need? Some were not so fortunate.

I went a bit over with my word count here…yawn.  Are you still with me?

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Trailing in halfway through my month of seeing life through the eyes of a child blog series, Seeing Life with Imagination,  and The Best Day Ever, I began to think it was impossible to stay on top of this way of thinking.  But, much to my surprise, I am very much aware of it now and am beginning to spot the new attitude.

This is how it happened today.  It is Sunday, the birds are singing, the ground is damp from the rains we had overnight, the sun is finally peeking out – the fog burned off.  There is promise of so much.  Promise of green growing things.  Promise from the sound of live tiny creatures – the songs of birds.  I am reminded once again of being a child.  I am taken back to my grandparent’s expansive yard.  I am walking through the rows of the garden, with plants trellised much taller than myself.  I am walking between the apple and pear trees.  Like a beautiful mansion with no ceiling to stop the view.  I can hear the bees buzzing, the birds singing, and I can see the grasshoppers jumping.   The sun is sheer warmth on my shoulders.

I then find myself at grandmother’s flower garden.  It isn’t so tall, so large, that it allows me to walk through and pretend that I am the master gardener, creating the beauty of nature and green growing things from my own hard work.  There is no maze to wander through.  No, the flower garden becomes my palate.  I can grow those flowers, painting an intricate design in my eyes with the colors, and with beauty that touches my soul through my nose.

Hours upon hours I am the master of the gardens.  I am at peace.  I am in the land of the giants, of nature alone.

Big sigh.

Now, how do we hold onto that child-like thought while sitting at our desks on Monday morning sorting through the pile of paper? Or while checking in with the screen filled with technical challenges?

You become what you want to be.  I am a strong believer in you are what you think.  30, 40, or 50 years ago, would you have imagined having thousands of contacts at your fingertips at one very moment? Seriously, I write a blog post, 150 people read it tonight.  I do not know who many of my readers are, but they obviously enjoy reading.  I keep writing because they are reading.  See? I post a Tweet that could potentially reach 1700 followers, and then when retweeted, 25,000 more (or more).  I am not just affecting my own moment, my own life, I am affecting many, many more.  So, when life becomes overwhelming, boring, intimidating, frustrating, you (I) can (and should) become the owner of what we are doing.  We are the Queen (or King) of our desk, our office, our studio.  We have so much to give, so much we can do with imagination.  We are the master gardeners at whatever we do.  We are writers because we think we are.  We are weavers because we think we are.

It isn’t about what we think we can or cannot do for the world, it is about what we are that is unique (and that includes our imagination, because each one is unique).  Our value is about what we teach.  You are the teacher.  Believe.  And share.

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – where you can Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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The Best Day Ever

With the mindset of Seeing Life With Imagination, a blog post I published a few days ago (with a focus on seeing through the eyes of a child), I saw this beautiful stray violet this morning.

The violet popped up alone, right below the utility trailer where I store the hay for the goats, in a patch of dirt that we recently worked – hoping to sow and grow some lush green grass.

What did I see in the tiny violet? Hope.  Beauty.  A promise that even though we may feel tired, alone, overwhelmed, and even discouraged, the small things in life are wonderous.  We need to pay attention.

My remarkable coach and friend, Donna Maria Coles Johnson from the Indie Beauty Network, said the words yesterday (and it isn’t the first time I’ve heard her say it), “Today is the best day ever!” Donna Maria sees the violets.  She sees life with gusto.

The best day ever.  Be the violet.  Make your world happen despite anything else in life.  Are you there with me?

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – where you can Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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When was the last time you looked at things in life as through a child’s eyes?

I read a great post today, Once Upon A Child, by Danny Brown.  I love what Danny said, “Our minds are so free as kids. We imagine anything and everything. Our creativity knows no limits and our imagination is boundless.”

Danny made me think.  In fact, I decided to give Annie’s Goat Hill (myself) an assignment.  This month I will be blogging about the things I look at with fresh eyes, allowing myself to look at things with no (fewer?) limits, with imagination.

When I was a child I loved to draw.  I drew a lot of animals (horses, cows, cats and dogs).  Then I started drawing interiors of houses.  Seriously! I drew floor plans, along with furniture and appliances, drawn to-scale.  I even hoarded the family Sears and JC Penny catalogs to see what the latest carpet, paint, and drapery colors were.  I still recognize my love for animals.  But interior design? Not so much.  I was absolutely fascinated by it, with ruler and pencil in hand, hours and hours of imagination.

So…today I forced myself to not touch a computer  ALL DAY LONG.  Instead I raked (most) of the goat barn.  I hand washed my truck.  I did a lot of healthy things, outdoorsy things, things that got me up and active.  We all need that! But, guess what else I did? I sat in the barn with the goats.  One by one the dairy girls came in and nibbled on my chin.  Even Annie, the farm namesake, a boer goat with an attitude, came in to visit.  I recently read a story about a photographer who got down on the ground, and in the water, at eye level, with the alligators.  I wouldn’t want to take that risk, but he did.  He found himself understanding the creatures at a level he didn’t expect to know, and he took photographs that were extremely unique.  He used his imagination, and he set his fear aside.  He learned a lot.  We can learn a lot by getting down to eye level, as I did today.  We don’t just feed the hay and the grain, we see the magic of the animals that we tend to.  We see the magic of the world that surrounds us.

Tomorrow I will continue this challenge (both business and personal).  It should be enjoyable and I look forward to sharing the adventure with you.  If you want to join me in this trek, leave your comments.  I would love to hear what you discover!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Feel and Smell the goodness!

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Your Job Matters

There are things in life that I wish could change.

The first is, I would love to flip a switch so every living being could see their own talents, their own gifts, and I would love to see them find their “oomph,” a sense of empowerment, to make their unique gifts work for them in life.

I also would like to flip the switch to the “on position” for people who do not see the value of the jobs they do in life.

Flipping a hamburger may not be what you want to do.  You may not want to sweep the carpet.  You may not want to be a bank teller.  You may not want to drive a truck.  Regardless of what you are doing right now, with the exception of unethical work, what you do is a valuable part of the puzzle of life.

When you flip that hamburger, do the people you respond to (the customer standing behind the counter, your manager, your co-workers), know that you are making an effort to complete a part of someone’s day?

When you drive that truck, do you realize that your attitude affects 100’s, or even 1000’s on the road?

When you make that bar of soap, are you honest and careful with your ingredients, knowing that someone is trusting you to their skincare? Do you realize that each bar of soap that you make reflects on your entire industry?

Do your job sloppily as a customer service representative and watch how many lives you affect.  You affect your own demeanor, the well-being of the company you work for, and you affect the person at the other end of the phone conversation.

Here is how I see our work in life:  there is nothing wrong with not liking what we do.  We all do a lot of things that we may not 100% enjoy in life.  Money is a necessity for keeping the lights on.  But, we are very much like ants.  Yes, ants.  Each ant has a job.  One carries a blade of grass.  One carries dirt to build the anthill.  Notably, ants do not complain.  They may spat occasionally, but they do not stop working to display a single ounce of protest.  It is about teamwork.  Does an ant need to be told what to do?

In the human workforce, I see levels of responsibilities, of course, but I also see each and every service performed as a level part of the big picture.  As I write this, I am part of a picture, part of your picture.  Part of a business picture.  Part of a human picture.  We are all on that very same level.  We contribute in one way, shape, or form.

And then there is what I call “dropping the ball.”  Deliberately, because you see no value in your contributions in life.  A person CAN change their role, but until that happens, be responsible for your puzzle piece (your job, your contribution).  Protect it to ensure it still fits the puzzle securely until it is handed to someone else.  Be responsible for your business (or what you do in life), what you say, how you do it, and, #1, be responsible to the people you come in contact with.

You have no excuse.

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness

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Merlot Wine Soap

Annie's Merlot Wine Soap

No, no whining here.  No cheese needed.  Just soapmaking.

I started 2012 with a bit of loss-of-words.  Did I really say that? Yes, you bet, I did! So, I am firing off the new year with pictures.


Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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Merry Christmas

Have a Very Merry Christmas!

From our family at Annie’s Goat Hill, to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas.  May it be filled with joyous peace, love, and warmth!


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Mountain Dulcimer

A month ago my husband popped a question out of the blue, “Would you be interested in playing any musical instruments?” I didn’t hesitate, “Oh yes, I would!” He was taken aback.  He really shouldn’t have been.

He didn’t know that in the 1960’s I wore my father’s acoustical guitar out while he was in Viet Nam.  My father had barely played it.  He had also put up a few self-learning music books.  Some practices later – I never learned how to strum the guitar, and found that my fingers were too small for the chords, but I could pick a very simple melody.  At the same time, I had a small child’s electric organ.  It was large enough to sit a bench.  I also learned notes, chords, and some tunes on it as well.  I taped music, on reel to reel tapes, and mailed them to my father.

So, back to the present.  I replied to my husband, “I want to play the dulcimer!” He didn’t know what a dulcimer was.  Actually, a lot of folks do not know what one is.

Off we went in search of a dulcimer.  It wasn’t too difficult.  We do reside in an Appalachian county in Ohio.  I did not make the connection, though.  We quickly found out that there is a “Mountain Dulcimer” and a “Hammered Dulcimer.”  They are very smiliar sounding instructions, but are played in totally different manners.  It was the Mountain Dulcimer that I wanted.

After a month, and with the help of 4 dulcimer books, I am picking and strumming a few songs.  The one I wanted to play for you tonight is Away In The Manger.  Fitting for 9 days before Christmas.  But I do not quite get the chords right (yet).  So, instead, you are going to hear an old piece called Boil That Cabbage Down.

You will need Windows Media Player, click here:  Dulcimer Practice 12-11

I am learning Ode to Joy, which I treasure! I hope to record it on a video soon!

Okay, so, I give my husband so much credit for listening to me practice.  He says he loves it.  I am glad.  I love it too.  My thoughts were, this could be like the child learning the tuba in his/her bedroom.  With the parents in the next room covering their ears!

Love the humor…life is good!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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I see visions of a Sunrise soap, to match this beautiful morning.

What better time of day is there to think, meditate, enjoy the peace? Even while standing outside in the crisp air, taking a photo, listing to nothing but the birds waking up, it was beautiful.

Sunrise soap – something citrusy, clean, fresh, and filled with hope for a new day!

Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – Smell and Feel the Goodness

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