Monthly Archives - July 2020

Artistry vs. Functionality: Why We Make it the Way We Do

Artistry vs. Functionality: Why We Make It The Way We Do

If you are looking for a bar of soap that is pleasing to the eye in an artistic way or a soap that acts like aroma therapy in the shower...don't shop in my store.  Haha!

The fact that our skin is the largest organ of the body makes you really have to stop and consider what we're putting on it.  I mean, come on, how many of us won't eat or drink certain things because we know the damage it will do to our hearts, gut, etc.? If we are so conscious about what we take in to protect our bodies, why wouldn't we do everything in our power to protect the organ on the outside?  This is the thought process that lead me to the decision that I wanted only the BEST to be on my skin without any additional additives including fragrances.

I LOVE making soap especially when I get to create something totally from scratch starting from the ground up that I have 100% confidence is going to be safe and healthy for my skin.

For my family's own personal use as well as our shop, I've been working on formulating each soap recipe to meet an exact need without all the fancy bells and whistles.

Please don't get me wrong, I think artisan soaps are AMAZING!  The skill used to create all those designs is truly praise worthy.   I mean, they are GORGEOUS - so intricate and creative – beautiful! However, I personally don't buy soaps to hang on my wall.  They need to serve a purpose other than fancy artwork. If I wanted all the pretty colors, I would have to add mica powders, and there's still a lot of debate on the safety of those minerals...so I don't even want to take a chance on it.   I just stay clear.

Of course, there are ways to use colors that come directly from plants and foods to mix into soap batter to give subtle color changes, but I typically stay away from those too because I don't want to increase allergy chances with customers or have to increase the cost of a soap for an unnecessary ingredient.

Look at it this way, if you're out working in a field, would you rather have a "work horse" or a "prancing princess" to help you do the job?  I’d personally want the work horse because it needs to help do the job.

In order to get the soap fragrance to hold up over time, I'd have to add chemical "fragrance/perfumes" which, already, not going to do it.  I’m staying completely away from anything chemical.  The other would be to add a boat load of expensive essential oils.  Two things I want to avoid with the essential oils, one would be the exorbitant amount of money to pay for the good oils which would then increase the cost to our customers.  The second thing is that a lot of the oils are not safe for skin usage in high doses.  This means in order to get the stronger scent… you know you pick up the bar and smell it…you walk a really thin line of it becoming harmful.

Like the old adage goes, "Too much of a good thing is bad."  These essential oils that are normally very beneficial to use on your skin and help with all different manner of issues that you could be having, when you have too much of it, it goes from being good to being bad.

So that’s all the stuff I don’t want to add to my soaps. But the things that I do want to add are hand-picked.  The ingredients are all customized to do a specific job.

And a good example of that would be the shampoo bars we sell in our store right now.

There are 3 different bars - Thinning Hair Shampoo, Coconut Milk Shampoo, and Goat Milk & Honey Shampoo.  Each shampoo variety is tailored for the different hair types with no additional colorants or fragrances.  Every ingredient is in there for a purpose whether it be the dried nettle to help control oil production in the scalp or the goat milk, honey and beeswax which adds luxurious hydration.

I may not offer all the pretty soaps to tickle your senses, but I can offer soaps that make your skin/hair feel and look amazing with total confidence in the quality and effectiveness of every single ingredient.

Product Information

Handcrafted Soap

Chocolate Peppermint Bar

Handcrafted Soap

$6.00

In stock

$6.00

Our 100% all-natural, cold processed Handcrafted Soaps are specifically designed to be gentle and ultra-moisturizing.  Customers can choose between our four soap base varieties: Bastille, Coconut Milk/Oils, Goat Milk, and Sheep Milk.

BASTILLE SOAPS

  • Apple Cider
  • Roesmary-Peppermint

COCONUT MILK/OIL SOAPS

  • Charcoal & Clay Face Soap
  • Chocolate Peppermint Coconut Cream

GOAT MILK SOAPS

  • Lavender Vanilla
  • Oatmeal (recommended for those who suffer from eczema or dry, sensitive skin)

SHEEP MILK SOAP

  • Peppermint
  • Unscented (recommended for those who suffer from eczema or dry, sensitive skin)

SPECIAL BLEND

  • Honey + Beeswax
  • Custom Blend   – * See “Custom Blend” tab below
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Description

Handcrafted Goat Milk Soap is a winner!

Rated 5 out of 5
September 30, 2021

Very good quality soap that works wonderfully. Highly recommend. Bar size is generous and consistent, not too hard or soft. Lasts quite a while and a pleasure to use.

Britt

Awesome Soap

Rated 5 out of 5
April 29, 2021

I LOVE the charcoal/clay face soap. It takes all of my makeup off with ease, and my face feels super clean after using it. I just bought some for my mom, mother-in-law, sister, and sister-in laws for Mother’s Day. Highly recommend and shipping was super fast.

Kirsten

Amy's Soaps and Creams

Rated 5 out of 5
December 21, 2020

I ordered soaps and creams from Kinnard Homestead for Christmas gifts. It arrived in only 3 days despite the Christmas rush! The individual packaging is very professional and will make great gifts, plus some for me!

Jane

Great Results with the Thinning Hair Shampoo Bar

Rated 5 out of 5
April 22, 2020

I started using the thinning hair shampoo bar a few months ago, and love it! Leaves my hair soft and shiny, yet still not slippery and has “grip” without having to use hairspray. It also doesn’t seem to get as greasy between washings. I’ve noticed that my hair is growing faster and seems stronger. My hairdresser mentioned that I have a lot of new hair growth as well and that was only after about 1 1/2 months of use. It works!! Be sure to use the ACV rinse after shampooing. Makes it much easier to brush.

Joy

Custom Soap Blend:
Choose either a coconut oil or bastille (olive oil) *base and add your preferred fats (oils/milks) and scents. All custom blend soaps will take 4-6 weeks to cure before ready for shipping or pickup. Amy will contact you within 24 hours to discuss your order details to ensure a perfect blend.

  • Milks: buttermilk, coconut milk, goat milk
  • Oils: avocado oil, beeswax, castor oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, hemp oil, honey, jojoba oil, lard, olive oil, palm oil, shea butter, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil
  • Essential Oils: cedarwood, cinnamon cassia, clove, lavender, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary, sweet orange, tea tree, ylang-ylang
  • Exfoliants: activated charcoal, bentonite clay, lemon zest, oatmeal, orange zest, poppyseeds, sea salt

*A soap base requires either a higher amount of olive oil or coconut oil to create a stable soap and castor oil for lather.  Other oils, milks, essential oils, and exfoliates are then added to acquire the desired lather, moisturizing level, and minerals.

Additional information

Weight 3 oz
Dimensions 3 × 2 × 1 in
Scent

Apple-Cider, Charcoal-&-Clay-Face-Soap, Chocolate-Peppermint, Lavender-Vanilla-Goat-Milk, Oatmeal-Goat-Milk, Peppermint-Sheep-Milk, Rosemary-Peppermint, Sheep-Milk-Unscented, Honey-Beeswax, Custom-Blend

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Born-Again Dirt | A Book Review

There’s a book I stumbled across a while ago written by Noah Sanders with a foreword by Joel Salatin called “Born-Again Dirt.”  When I first saw this book on Amazon, or whatever online store I was looking at, it immediately grabbed my attention.  It grabbed my attention particularly because of its subtitle which is: “Born-Again Dirt: Farming to the Glory of God.”  The title is then expanded further with the description: “Cultivating a biblical vision for God-Glorifying Agriculture.”

When I first saw the cover, I thought “What a refreshing premise for a book!”  I say the premise is “refreshing” since when one typically thinks about all-things-agriculture—from compost heaps to barn-yard stalls—“The Glory of God” isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind.

If you stop to think about it, though, the profession of agriculture really is by design meant to be all about God’s glory since it’s the profession of agriculture that God first assigned to man to “work & keep the garden” (Genesis 2:15).  And why did God assign this task to man?  For the good of creation, and for the glory of its Creator.

So, with an interest to learn more on the subject, I decided to give Noah’s book a read and, I’m happy to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

To give you a short synopsis of the book, the first thing I want to comment on is the book title itself.  Because, while the subtitle is what made me click “add to cart,” I admit the title made me raise an eyebrow because the phrase “Born-Again Dirt” sounds a little like an oxymoron.

Most people are familiar with where the phrase “born again” comes from in Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3.  It’s in that context Jesus makes the salvation appeal, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  So, when Jesus uses the term “born again”, he’s talking about a persons’ soul.  One’s soul must be reborn and remade into a new life that God’s Spirit enables.

When I saw the title, “Born-Again Dirt,” my first impression was, “I’m afraid I don’t see the connection.  How can dirt be reborn?”  But as I started reading, it became clear the author must be using a double meaning.  Because, from a biblical perspective, man was created from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7).  So, in that line of thinking, we are the dirt that needs to be re-made.

But it’s not just man’s soul that needs spiritual redemption, but quite literally the soil needs it too.  We know this is true because with the effects of sin, according to Genesis 3:17-19, the ground became cursed because of us.  God says,

“…Cursed is the ground because of you.
In pain shall we eat from it;
Thorns and thistles it shall bring forth.
By the sweat of our brow we shall eat bread,
until we return to the ground, for we are dust
and to dust we shall return…”

So, again, the title “Born-Again Dirt” carries a double meaning in that we need to be born-again, and by extension, the ground we work needs to be born-again as well.  Or, I think, a phrase that speaks a little clearer to the point is “redeemed.”  The ground we work needs to be redeemed.  Noah often uses the phrase “redeeming the dirt” in his materials.

Ultimately, we know God is the One who will accomplish that redeeming work when he one day remakes the heaven’s and the earth, undoing the effects of the fall in both the soil and our hearts.   But, in practical terms, one of the things Noah argues for is a “redemption of the dirt” in terms of how we as born-again Christians manage the dirt in a still fallen world.

Does the Bible speak toward how Christians—specifically how Christian farmers—do agriculture from a Gospel-centered perspective?  Noah makes the case that the answer to that question is a resounding “yes, the Bible speaks to this subject!”  If you want the full explanation to the case he makes, you’ll have to go pick up a copy yourself, but I can try to summarize it for you:

As a disclaimer, the following summary doesn’t follow the format or chapter order that is used in the book, but after I finished reading it, what I picked up were 3 major layers of thinking woven throughout the book that are understood to be necessary for cultivating a biblical vision for God-glorifying agriculture.

The first layer Noah seems to spread out for his readers is what I would simply call “A Biblical Method to Agriculture.”

Now, if you’re like me, the suggestion that there are certain methods of farming out there that are more biblical than others can sound a bit presumptuous of God’s will since the last time I checked there aren’t many portions of Scripture where God tells us how to plant out carrots and potatoes.

And yet, a closer look at Scripture, and not only Scripture but a closer look at God’s good design in Creation itself, does offer us some very practical methods we would be wise to apply.  For example, there are both principals & patterns clearly intended by our Creator in his creation in respect to things like:

  • The role of soil in God’s design, and in what soil conditions things are meant to grow.
  • The role of the seasons in God’s design, and how deliberate timing and planning makes a difference.
  • The role of people, plants, and animals in God’s design, and how a proper relationship between them is supposed to work.
  • The role of rest in God’s design, and the practical purposes for that rest.

There are so many things to point to.  One of the specific things the book gives attention to, going back to God’s design for the soil, is a method of farming that adopts God’s use of mulch in nature, or what another Christian farmer calls “God’s Blanket” of recycled organic matter, that seems to serve as God’s intended ground cover for things to grow.

There are other specifics talked about, but applying biblical methods in agriculture is the first big emphasis I noticed.

A second layer of discussion that gets a lot of attention is what I’ll call “A Biblical Manner in Agriculture.”

It’s not just about applying biblical methods but going about those methods in a biblical way.  We’re not just concerned about strategies for growing tomatoes, but just as important is how we’re growing as “people” in our attitudes & actions.  This point is particularly relevant for born-again Christians, right?  Because the idea is, we shouldn’t just be concerned with how well we cultivate the ground,  but with how well we are cultivating our hearts as stewards of God’s creation.

Noah talks a lot about the importance of having an outlook, or worldview, that acknowledges God as the real owner of all we manage and, therefore, the importance of viewing ourselves appropriately as his mangers.  We’re ultimately subject to him, and as such we want to develop faithful hearts that respect that.

Having a faithful heart toward God means we need to be hard-working, deliberate, diligent, and wise.  It means we need to be humble, able to admit our mistakes.  It means we need to be joyful and grateful, knowing from whom we receive what we have.  It means we need to grow in our faith, trusting God as our ultimate Provider.   In short, it means we need to repent from sin and become like Christ even in our farming.

One of the chapters puts it this way:

“Our role as farmers who are born-again, or redeemed by the blood of Christ, is an important, but it’s not an easy one.  To embrace the role of a Christian farmer goes against our sinful, selfish nature.  If we want to see agriculture renewed, if we want to see a healing of the land that has been torn by the effects of sin, if we want to see an abundance of fruitfulness that can’t be matched by other farmers, then we need to surrender to Christ and let him create new hearts [in us]…” (pg. 57)

So, there is a biblical manner we need to have as we seek to conform to Christ and as we seek to be faithful in implement biblical methods in managing what he gives us to manage.

A third layer I’d point to in Noah’s book is the emphasis he places on what I’ll call “A Biblical Motive in Agriculture.”   This focus goes back to the subtitle of the book.

To what end should a Christian farmer go about his work?  The answer to that question is “to the glory of God, and for the good our neighbors”

On this point, I love the following statement:

“I know it’s shocking, but if we want to have born-again dirt, we must realize that farming isn’t all about us!  Again, we probably all agree with this, but it’s easy to become selfish farmers, just like it’s easy to become selfish in anything we do…

…The goal of farming isn’t just to make money off the land.  The goal is to love God by reflecting His image as we care for His creation and produce food and fiber that provide for the needs of others.” (pg. 15-16)

So, the whole point behind our wanting to produce fruitful soil and fruitful Christ-like souls is to give honor to the Creator, and to serve our neighbors around us.  I appreciate how the book devotes part of it's focus to to discussing the aim Christian farmers should have to produce food in such qualities and quantities not only to improve the industry but to serve their own families well, to serve the church well, and to serve the less fortunate well in giving much of what we grow away to those in need.

So, all of that I think is laid out as necessary layers to cultivating a biblical vision for agriculture to the glory of God.  We want to be about implementing biblical methods, adopting a biblical manner, and, ultimately, being led with a biblical motive, to the glory of God.

If you’re interested in other materials by Noah Sanders, check out his website at www.reedemingthedirt.com.

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Turning a Blind Eye and Deaf Ear to Criticism and Flattery

One of the interesting challenges that has come along with our homesteading journey is the amount of both criticism and praise we’ve received from those watching what we're doing and how we're doing it.

A lot of the feedback we get has to do with our original decision to move out to the country to get our hands dirty in the soil, to live a more frugal and quiet life, and to raise our kids in the old fashioned traditions of farm chores, tree forts, and home schooling.  But we also receive plenty of comments dealing with our lack of experience in the farming world.  Amy and I both grew up in more urban areas with little to no experience in agriculture.  It’s obvious to many we’re not 100% sure what we're doing as we learn to grow things in our garden and to raise different kinds of animals.

We hear from an interesting mix of people.  Some hold the opinion that what we're doing is crazy, foolish, and ignorant.  They believe the life we’re giving our kids is more of a disservice than a service to them since we’re “robbing them of their childhood” by asking them to help pull weeds, feed pigs, and check for eggs.  I guess that’s as opposed to letting them play video games all day.  Though, we will sometimes hear from those who do share a love for farming and have a bit more experience that we do, who make it a point to let us know that practically everything we're doing could be done a better way and, of course, their way is that better way.

There's another group of people out there who think what we're doing is absolutely amazing and who praise us for our efforts.  They call us “good parents” and “respectable people” for trying to escape some of the craziness of our modern culture and to try and re-learn some of the wholesome values of country life.

I’ll go ahead and tell you that both kinds of feedback—both the criticism on the one hand and the high praise on the other—can be a challenge for us to deal with.  On the one hand, whenever we hear the criticism, both Amy and I can get really discouraged and be tempted to throw in the towel. On the other hand, whenever we hear the flattering praise, we can be tempted to a great amount of pride.  We can start to get the big head and boast to ourselves, “yeah, we must have been pretty smart to make the decisions we've made to get us to where we are today.”

I’m convinced both lines of thinking are deadly dangerous.  Speaking from a Christian perspective, both self-condemnation and self-adulation are toxic thoughts for a Christian to let take root in their heart and mind. Knowing full well that I'm not alone in this struggle, I want to share a simple piece of advice when it comes to receiving both criticism and flattery.  The advice is to “turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to it” as much as possible.

I remember reading a chapter in Charles Spurgeon’s, Lectures to My Students, written primarily for pastors, warning them not to get too distracted by all the gossip and chatter taking place about their ministry, but rather took to develop a blind eye and a deaf ear towards it.  Writing about the challenge of criticism, he says:

“You cannot stop people’s tongues, and therefore the best thing is to stop your own ears, and never mind what is spoken. There is a world of idle chit-chat abroad, and he who takes note of it will have enough to do.”

In other words, if you're going to give attention to every ill word spoken about you, you’re going to be occupied for a very long time.  You're better off just ignoring it and getting back to the work that you should be doing.

Later addressing the equal challenge of flattery, he adds:

“Endeavor to improve [in your work], but do not want to hear all that every Jack, Tom, and Mary may have to say about it…[Even if] the people should happen to agree with your verdict, it will only feed your pitiful vanity…In any case it is: all about yourself, and this is a poor theme to be anxious about; play the man, and do not demean yourself by seeking compliments like little children when dressed in new clothes, who say, “See my pretty frock.”…Besides, it is a crime to be taken off from your great object of glorifying the Lord Jesus by petty considerations as to your little self, and, if there were no other reason, this ought to weigh much with you.”

What a great reminder for all of us!  As much as we may like to be praised in what we're doing, it's the Lord who really deserves the credit for any good we do.  Of course, none of that is to say we shouldn't be gracious whenever we hear criticism or praise.  Obviously, the point isn't to be rude and uncharitable when we hear from other people.

Another article I’ve found helpful is titled “The Cross and Criticism,” written by Alfred Poirier.  One of the points Poirier makes is, that to whatever degree we are subject to criticism, let us listen to it while keeping a clear view on the message of the Gospel.

The Gospel, of course, reveals that whatever bad things are said about us, God's judgment against us is a whole lot worse.  We haven't just fallen short of some neighbor's standards, we've fallen short of God's standards, and that's a much worse problem.  If there's any truth in the criticism we receive from others we should look into that, but the fact of the matter is what people are saying about us isn't even the half of it.  We fail a lot more than they even realize.

But then the good news about it all is that because of Jesus's work on the cross, we've been forgiven of our shortcomings and accepted on Jesus's merits not ours.  In him, therefore, there is no condemnation!  Sure, it's nice to receive praise from others and to get pats on the back for our accomplishments, but no one else's praise or acceptance can compare to the acceptance we receive in Christ.

That is a very liberating thing to think about.  So, don't get so caught up in what others are saying.  Rather focus on what God has said in the Gospel.  That’s what ultimately matters.

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