A dragonfly paces the car as we roll down the drive to Hearthside Farm. A sharp curve reveals a few barns and a log house. We're greeted by a couple of excited corgis. A paint horse whinnies hello and a few sheep bleat. Kevin and Maureen Anderson are well into chores for the day and wave us over to the barns, where a line of goats are not so patiently waiting for food and milking. A group of kittens stare intently at the bucket, waiting for their morning treat. Yeah, the internet is practically dial-up, sunburns are an issue, friends are not exactly next door, and all errands need to be combined, since there is no "just popping out to the store," but these seem to be minor inconveniences to this family of 8 who homestead their 31 acres in Pungo and are the makers of the very popular Tasha's Own brand of handmade goat's milk soaps. Here's the lineup, including Tasha(her great grandma is the namesake of the company.)
A kitten, ready for her take in the morning's milking routine - keeping the barn rid of mice, snakes and other pests is hard work.
The calf gets out and the corgis go to work getting her back to the barn- small and mighty!
However, they get in trouble, annoying the horses every so often.
In the kitchen, there's cheese being made, potatoes roasting, and soap curing. Jars of home canned veggies line the cabinets and hams and herbs hang to dry from the ceiling beams. Some necessities are bought from the store, and there's an admitted cappuccino vice, hand delivered by a daughter who works at Starbucks, but most of what's eaten at Hearthside is raised and grown on their farm or traded and bought from other farms. Bags of grain are bought for bread and other baked goods. (Little shop plug here: Those amazing earrings Maureen is wearing? They can be found at Kitsch- they're made by her daughter. :))
In the open living room, wool from their herd of sheep(two rare breeds favored by early colonists, Jefferson and Washington) sits in a cradle, ready to card and spin. A piano, stand up bass and drum kit share space with the furniture, a game of Risk spread out on the table and the evidence of a serious Lego session hides next to the drums. A few corgi puppies poke their heads out from under the sofa. Daphne the Lamb has to be shooed back outside.
Beeswax from their hives, ready to be turned into candles or use as an additive in soap and balms:
Kevin cutting soap - a batch of mint(which we found out is a great soap to use in place of shaving cream - the mint cools as the moisturizers in the base soften skin and hair)
The soap will now finish drying and be wrapped and packaged for sale:
We were ready to put up a tent and a swing and not leave. Ever.
If you're as enamored with them as we are, you can get a taste of the homesteader life that the Andersons enjoy at one of their camps! They run a series of kid's camps during the summer and adult camps in the fall, where you get to make candles, felt, take care of the animals, learn about the many uses of herbs and other home remedies and so much more! You can learn about them and all the great things they have to offer at The Fullness Thereof and the Tasha's Own blog. At Kitsch, we proudly carry their soap and adorable handmade creations.