Luxurious, handmade,
healthy soap made with the
help of a few goats at a small
mountain farm in
North Carolina.

Would you Like Notes from the Goats?

:

Blessings!

 

Blessings

It has been a crazy, beautiful, amazing summer.  Molly went off to Canada for 10 days, and I went to Michigan to a family reunion and we have made soap and even more soap.  Molly milked the goats enough to supply us for the entire summer!  Our days are full beyond imagination.

We have had sad times with the death of a close friend.  Life is lived until we die and how we fill our time is our choice.  Our friend filled her time wisely.  We have once again learned the value of hard work, loving families and sweet friendships.  Time is a precious, precious treasure.  We only go around once and I am finding the world is whirling as my time grows shorter. I find myself getting more careful on how I spend my time.

Molly’s days are filled with working and watching four little ones grow into strong human beings each completely different from the other.  Surrounded by family love, each child is connected and unique.  I feel blessed to be connected to this wondrous group and Molly who connects everyone to one another. 

Sometimes I am asked, “Why in the world are you making soap in your retirement?”  The answer is simple…I love it.  I have always loved goat milk soap and the way it feels on my skin.  I always wanted a small business but had no idea what I could do.   So here I am, over 60, running my own business.  I am having so much fun.  I love working on our displays, updating our blog (have not done a good job of this but have recommitted myself!), going to market, working with our retail clients, hanging out with Molly and filling orders.  It is a blast!  Sometimes I am a bit overwhelmed but that is a rare moment. 

Mostly I am grateful….grateful for our lives, our businesses and our time in this beautiful place…Asheville on planet Earth.  How lucky, I am.

Here's to the Clean Life and Good Friends,

Sydney

 

Why Molly Likes to Make Soap

Why I enjoy making soap:

1.  While the actual work is fairly easy, it appeals to my (mostly) logical, scientific mind.  We have developed a soap-making recipe and process that makes soap-making quite a bit like following a cooking recipe (I also love to cook).  But, like cooking, making soap has a lot to do with chemistry.  Real soap is made through a simple acid-base reaction.   We mix an acid (fatty acids in the oils) with a base (lye, also called sodium hydroxide or NaOH) to get a salt (soap).  Pretty cool!  Or, at least to me. 

2.  I love that making and selling goat milk soap pays for the goat keeping.  Usually my animals, from chickens to pets, are money sinks.

3.  I enjoy hanging out with Sydney while we make soap.  We talk about life, local gossip, and world issues.  She offers advice, support, and tells funny stories.  She is easy to work with and that is so important to making any job enjoyable.

4.  I love our soap!  And, I get to use as much as I want at our home—in our bathrooms, as a face soap, in the showers, on my children.  It is such a great all-natural, moisturizing soap.  I love trying the different scents and deciding on a temporary favorite.   It is a wonderful soap and I enjoy making a quality product. 

Here's to the Clean Life!

Molly

 

Sydney's Perspective on Mating

What does the "Bachelor" and Goats Have in Common?  Read on!

Molly's last blog explained the breeding process to you all. Animal “romance” really is a wonderful thing to observe. Since I really am a big city girl, I thought I would share my early reactions to goat mating. Needless to say that while I pretended to not be squeamish, I was amused, awed and yes, a bit squeamish watching those goats mate!

 

I want to start with the buck's chuckling. It is absolutely hilarious. It's like watching the “Bachelor” when he is first surrounded by all those beautiful women. I imagine that the bachelor and the buck actually have a lot in common and are thinking the same thing and chuckling. Even the scenes are the same. The buck has these beautiful does all over him – just like the bachelor has the women surrounding him in those awful hot tub scenes. But ultimately the animal world seems to make a lot more sense – mating is all about reproducing. I don't understand the hot tub scenes because I pretty sure the women just want to end up in Hollywood as some big time actress which never seems to happen.

 

Then there is the urinating portion of the courtship. When Molly first told me about that, my reaction is probably just like those of you who have never seen it before. How is that possible? Well, it is and trust me there is not contest between the length of a goat's penis and a human's. It is a very adaptable tool. The buck in rut does have a powerful smell. The combination of the urine and the smell of the buck in rut made my first ventures into the yard a bit overwhelming in an officious way. If it were not for the beautiful cuddling and rubbing, I might have chosen to not watch the ritual. The buck covers his beard with pee and then sweetly rubs it all over the doe in heat. The picture of our Bucky show what his face looks like after weeks of being in rut. She loves it and she wags her tail in appreciation. They nip and cuddle and chuckle together. It is like a story book romance except the characters are goats.

 

And after all is said and done, the goats go back to the business of eating, sleeping and in five months the does will be caring for the new kids....maybe that is just like human romance story after all.

 

Here's to the Clean Life!

Sydney

 

 

Mating

 

The goats are mating

Goat mating runs the gamut from grotesque to amusing to sweet.

Does (female goats) go into heat (ovulate) in the fall when temperatures cool down and days shorten. They go into heat every 3 weeks until sometime in January, unless they are bred.

Bucks (male goats), like deer, go into what is called “rut” at this time too. They puff up their neck and back hairs and strut around making funny deep chuckling sounds. They pee on their face (yes, they can) and rub their smelly faces on all the does they can. The does, somehow, find this attractive.

When in heat, the buck and doe do a courtship which involves the buck peeing on his face, rubbing his face on the doe in caressing movements. She will start to rub her face on him also and it can turn into a sweet dance of cuddling and caressing with each goat emitting that strange chuckling. This ritual can be repeated for a few days if the doe is not in full heat. After some cuddling and rubbing, the deed is done, and fairly quickly I might add. The goats go on their way to eat more hay or graze.

Hopefully, in 5 months we’ll have some kids and fresh goat milk.

 Here's to the Clean Life!

Molly

PS.  This is Bucky before mating season.  Next week we will post a photo of him during rut.

Sydney's Story

Sydney's Story

Hi, I am Sydney Green and am the other half of Farmer Jane Soap! I am also the wife of Mike Green and we have been married for 36 years. We are the parents of John Green and Hank Green, the Vlogbrothers. If you are nerdfighters, I do not have to say anything else. If not, just google “vlogbrothers” or John or Hank and you will soon know about them and the wonderful Nerdfighters, who have loaned over a million dollars to small business people in the developing world via Kiva.org! One of many Nerdfighter projects. We also have two wonderful daughter-in-laws, Katherine and Sarah. Sarah and John are the parents of the cutest grandson ever, Henry.

 

But back to Farmer Jane....

 

I came to farming and goat herding late in life. We lived in Orlando, Florida for 25 years and moved to Asheville , NC when we retired. I did a lot of civic work in Orlando from heading up Mayor Glenda Hood's Transition Team to being president of several civic organizations. After all my life changes, my sweet, but baffled mother would shake her head and say that her daughter used to be Junior League president and now she herds goats. But I've got to tell you, goats sure are a lot easier. So here I am a 60 year old goat farmer living out in the country milking goats and making soap. And finding out that a simpler world is indeed a better world.

 

I am often asked why I decided to raise goats. The answer was easy... while goat husbandry does take work, the goats have lots of personality and taking care of them keeps me from having a boring retirement. But most importantly, goat milk could be used for goat milk soap and I was a huge fan of goat milk soap. For years I would go to the fancy bath product store and buy their goat milk soap. Now I don't want to brag but I love our soaps better. They are so rich and luxurious. And they have no preservatives which I find dry out my skin.

 

At any rate, I probably would never had taken this idea any further if it had not been for Mike. He was walking the neighborhood one day when we first moved and found goats! He found the owner, Molly, and after a long discussion, he began to think that having goats was actually a great idea.

 

He came home totally excited about Molly and her goats. As a young mother, she was hoping someone would help her when she was unable to care for her two kinds of kids...you know, human and goat. So began my goat career. We took it very slow. Partnerships with animals involved can be very tricky. You really do need to have the same values and skills. I must admit Molly has greater skills but between Mike and myself, we almost equal her abilities.

 

Thankfully, the idea of making soap appealed to Molly. I went to the John C. Campbell School, www.folkschool.org, and took a soap making class. It was amazing and by the time, I finished the class I was ready to start making soap. Molly and I had a few spectacular failures but mostly we were successful. We went to our first few markets and fairs and our soaps sold with folks often returning for more. Thus, Farmer Jane Soap began.

Here's to the Clean Life!

Sydney