More than just farmyard companions

Milk from goats used for soaps, lotions

One of Donna Ebner’s goats. Photo by Karen Flaten

“Going natural is trending now,” Donna Ebner explained, as she displayed the soaps, lotions, body creams and bath fizzies that she makes from goat’s milk. “People are concerned about the ingredients they put on and in their bodies.”

Donna is one of a growing number of people who have become interested in living a more natural life. Thirteen years ago, Donna and her husband moved to the Clearwater/Silver Creek area, where they purchased acreage and built a home. With a friend who raised goats, and a pasture area that was already fenced, it seemed like raising goats was a natural choice.

“At one time, we had 57 goats here,” said Donna, reminiscing. “Now we just keep a small herd of seven goats. We also have a donkey, and we have five hens.”

It didn’t take long after the move for Donna to begin making soap and other products from goat’s milk.

“There are so many benefits to using soap made with goat’s milk,” said Donna. “Soap and other skin care products made with goat’s milk are especially good for people who have dry or sensitive skin, or who have conditions such as eczema or psoriasis,” she said.

Donna Ebner uses goats milks to produce soaps and lotions. Here area few of the goats at her rural Clearwater farm. Photo by Karen Flaten

Goat’s milk contains several vitamins – but many people consider the most beneficial to be Vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to repair damaged skin tissue, helping to care for healthy skin. Also, the alpha-hydroxy acids contained in goat’s milk soap help remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, so the new cells on the surface of your skin are smoother and younger looking. Goat’s milk also lowers the pH of the skin to allow the skin to fight bacteria.

Making the soap itself can be a time-consuming process. Donna spends an hour making each batch, working in her kitchen. When she is making soap, she usually makes 2 batches per day. She heats the oils and other ingredients on the stove, then mixes in the goat’s milk and beats them together. Whichever fragrance she is planning to use in the batch is added at the end. Then the soap has to be removed from the molds, cut, and allowed to cure before it can be wrapped and labeled.

Donna makes a variety of soaps and lotions, including bath fizzies, a face wash made with sunflower oil, lavender soap, lemongrass body cream, and orange lip balms. She uses a whole range of oils in her soaps, including coconut, palm, olive and sunflower oils. Fragrances also vary, depending on what people request and what she likes. Her men’s shaving soap is usually orange scented and contains clay and castor oil “to give it a nice slide.”

Donna has also experimented with creating herbal remedies. After attending a session with an herbalist in the Cedar area, Donna made a Dandelion Cordial (made from dandelion flowers), and a Dandelion Tincture (made from dandelion leaves), which is used as a laxative. She has also made a salve from jewelweed which can be used to treat poison ivy.

Donna Ebner in her kitchen. Ebner likes to use goats milk to make various products like soaps and lotions. She also experiments with other natural products such as oils and plants. Photo by Karen Flaten

“The back area of our land contains all kinds of wildflowers and what most people would call weeds,” said Donna. “But they are useful plants. You can make a tincture out of mullein, and nettles can be used to cook with. There are so many things I want to learn more about!”

The Ebners situated their home so that it overlooks the pasture area, so they can watch the goats as they graze and play. Their large porch stretches across the front of the house. From the porch, they can look across their pasture and see another small farm, where draft horses can sometimes be observed grazing in the field.

It is only a short walk across the lawn to the shed where bales of hay are stacked. When Donna pitched some hay from the shed into the pasture, the goats came crowding to the fence. The donkey came too, not wanting to miss out on the food. Donna ducked into the shed to check for eggs and, finding a couple, took them to the house. The two large dogs begged for a stick or ball to be thrown and a large yellow cat strolled across the yard to find a patch of late afternoon sun, rounding out a beautiful day at the farm.

#GoatMilk #NaturalProducts

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