Meet Our Goats
Grateful Goat Soap began with a simple premise. One that actually had very little to do with soap in the beginning but a lot to do with gratitude.
When we took over the little heirloom rhododendron farm once known as “Steiner Farms”, the entire farm was enveloped in blackberries. A deep and uninviting jungle thicket. Impenetrable thorns you couldn’t see more than foot forward through.
A non native and invasive species, blackberries are great for that short spell at the end of summer when the fruit is ripe and easy to pick. Any other time, blackberries are an absolute bloody nuisance. Literally and figuratively.
Which is why we were so grateful for the goats.
Initially, this was the simple premise. We planned on renting goats to help deal with those vicious blackberries. But it wasn’t cheap by any stretch. So what if we just got a couple of our own goats? We found some on Craigslist, which can be dicey, but luckily the goats were healthy and not some kind of scam. Like really being dogs dressed to look like goats or something typical of a Craigslist style con.
They looked adorable driving home with us in the back of our Audi wagon.
Our first pair consisted of an Oberhasli male and Nigerian Dwarf female. We knew breeding them was in the plan. Figuring we had six months or so to figure it out, we learned one winter’s night that estimate was a little off. Like about four months off. Surprise, surprise… We had actually purchased a pregnant goat.
Time to learn quickly about delivering a kid.
Fortunately, and again we are so grateful for this, nigerian dwarf goats make excellent mothers. She did all the hard work of course and we just learned how to make her and the baby comfortable. Just for the record, keep some molasses handy. It is great for the new mother to drink mixed in some warm water.
So now we had three. As big Grateful Dead fans we decided to name them after songs and fortunately there are a lot of Dead songs to choose from. Which was ideal, because we started having more goats. Ripple. Samson and Delilah. Cosmic Charlie. Rider. Stella and Blue… you get the picture, now listen to the music play!
The thought did cross our mind to rent the goats out. But the thought of dealing with someone else’s blackberries didn’t seem all that appealing. Perhaps there was another way to get them to earn their keep though… After all, goats have been working side by side with humans even longer than dogs.
In fact, dogs were hired into the prehistoric picture just to help deal with the goats so many millennia ago.
And that led us to learning about cheese and goat soap. Based on the number of goats we now had, the latter made a lot more sense. You can make a lot of great goat milk soap with a little goat milk. Compared to making a little bit of cheese with a lot of milk, we had to work within our limitations.
So we studied the art of soap making, from saponification, through essential oils, and all the best ingredients in between. Along the way, learning just how amazing goat milk soap actually is for skin? Well, that just made the journey up the learning curve all the more interesting.
Goat milk possesses many properties that are ideal for skin care. Full of both exfoliating hydroxy acids, yet also nourishing moisturizing properties like vitamin e, goat milk is well known for helping heal or treat a variety of skin ailments like eczema and some forms of psoriasis.
Inspiration for the essential oils in our soaps comes partly from our natural scents of the Pacific Northwest, but also partly from our goats. We can source lavender oil locally here as well as other beautiful essential oils like cedarwood. Fun for the nose and good for the skin ingredients.
For those incredible qualities, so helpful, so healing. We are truly grateful to these amazing goats. Ours still have all the blackberries that they can forage. We milk them only by hand, not machine, and only after the kids have drunk their fill. We believe their happiness needs to also be nourished as well.
There are many good reasons people and goats have formed such a tight bond all these thousands of years. No other creature provides and receives in equal measures so gratefully. You can’t milk your dog to provide food and sanitation. Well, I guess you could, but there is a reason you don’t. Goats will voice their gratitude every morning you go to meet them. Then thank you again at the end of the day to say goodnight.
Naturally we had to pay homage to these amazing creatures, for which we are so grateful. Hence “Grateful Goat Farms”.