Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Touring Amalthea Ridge and Soap Giveaway

You long-time readers know that I have reservations about goats in general, due to a sordid past with said critters. I’ll admit that the aversion was mostly to the smell, and also that I was a rather dramatic teenager at the time of my exposure, and given to typical adolescent embarrassment. (OMG my mom is making me milk the goat when my friend is over! Curl up and die a thousand deaths.)

Well, after my experience last week at the charming homestead of local Amalthea Ridge, my cold shoulder toward goats became quite a bit warmer, I’m surprised to say. I went with my friend Micaela, otherwise known as SuperNOVAmommy, and her two boys. We drove to Great Falls, only about 15-20 minutes from our house.

The weather was wonderful and we found Sarah’s Amalthea Ridge homestead nestled on a hill full of trees and flowers and flooded in morning sun. Sarah and her three year-old daughter first took us to the goat pen and little barn. I admit I was bracing myself for the smell, and I kid (ha!) you not, there was no goat smell. Quite frankly, I was baffled. In my experience everything goat was always smelly. We met the milk goats and their cute little babies, and gathered some warm eggs from under the hens. Sarah informed us that she had never intended to own goats, but it all just kind of happened. Read her and her husband's full story here

Inside, we tried fresh goat milk from earlier in the morning. Again I was surprised at the lack of goatiness in its taste. Cal and Clark drank it up and in fact are still talking about it. I asked Cal if he liked it and he said, “I did. It was a little…snicky.” No idea what that means, but I think it’s good. Sarah made us some yummy frittata from the fresh eggs with her Fromage Blanc goat cheese and chives. Delicious! And none of it tasted goaty to me. She even let the boys try to crack the eggs, which required more patience than I have. All four boys devoured the goat cheese on crackers until we had to tear it from their sticky little hands.

Sarah then showed us her soap room and different molds and oils and scents. I recently have been introduced to the world of handmade soaps thanks to my sponsor Spunky Suds, and I’m a big fan of their soaps and body butters. But this was the first time I remember ever seeing a home soap-making setup and it was impressive. Sarah said her soap has much more oil (she uses sunflower oil) than soaps you buy at stores. She's a biochemist and so her knowledge and curiosity lead her to be constantly developing new varieties. I’ve been rationing her ginger and lime body soufflé that I received when I first met her in February. In my experience, handmade soaps and lotions leave skin feeling so much better and moisturized than store-bought products.

To the lucky winner...
After the soap room, the little ones then got to stamp some soft heart-shaped soaps with letter stamps to take home. Great trip! And we barely had to drive anywhere. I love Northern Virginia!

Sarah has generously donated a gift basket of her artisan soap from goat milk to Whispers & Shouts readers! Just leave a comment below to enter. I’ll end the contest on Friday, when one of the boys will draw a name from a hat and I’ll contact the winner.

SuperNOVAmommy also wrote about Amalthea Ridge on her site this week, so check out her write-up as well.

Clark gets brave enough to try to feed a baby

Four curious heads. They all loved feeding graham crackers to the chickens.

Real eggs!

Just like a baseball!

Which prompted them to pretend to pitch and hit...

Just a glimpse of the landscape

Turkey eggs in an incubator! 

Slurp

Egg cracking 101 (Clark did not pass this class)


Looking at the oil...

...and a mold 

...and a LONG bar of recently-crafted soap

PVC pipe mold

Heart soaps for the kids

Hands on!

Gentle stamping

Cal picked a D "for Daddy?" "no for dog" (we have no dog)

Ready to take home to show Dad (and imaginary dog)

11 comments:

  1. Looks like fun!! Please enter me in your contest. Thanks

    Amanda

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  2. Looks like such a cool place. I'd love to try out those soaps!!

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  3. I recently met Sarah at the mommy networking event. I would love to win the basket to try her products!

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    Replies
    1. not sure why it showed my name like that!

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    2. But it's such a creative name!

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  4. Your crunchy sister in law would love to win some goat soap!

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  5. Goat Milk soap is my new fave, I'll have to check this place out! Thanks for the info Dawn!

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  6. Love me some goat milk products!

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  7. What an adventure and great soaps too!

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