Lisa Graham McMinn
I’m a Quaker, spiritual director, keeper of goats and hens, soap maker, and small-scale farmer. My job is to love Creation—to hold hope, to nurture, to laugh, to pray and to pay grateful attention. So I tend heirloom tomatoes, nurture kid goats and chicks, and the people whose storied lives I hold. And some days I work alchemy with goat milk, oils, and lye, and in other ways preserve my grandmother’s simple grateful way of life.
Why Goat Milk Soap?
For starters, soaps made with milk are creamier than soaps made with water. Milk soaps lather more, and the lather is silky. Goat milk is particularly high in butterfat, and natural oils and acids in goat milk contribute an extra layer of skin-renewing goodness, especially when used in tandem with quality oils and butters. This soap doesn’t strip the skin of natural oil but instead is moisturizing. You don’t feel like you need to use lotions after using it.
Our Fern Creek commitment to organic and fair-trade practices means that I purchase my primary oils and fats (olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, castor and canola oil) from fair trade and organic sources. Occasionally I use other oils and butters, especially while experimenting. These are not always organic, and fair trade is not always relevant. They include sweet almond oil, mango butter, and sunflower seed oil. I am avoiding palm oil, which is difficult to harvest sustainably, and always learning what I can about which oils and butters are environmentally friendly and how to source from socially and environmentally responsible suppliers.
That choice is reflected in the price of these soaps. As is my choice to use essential oils and rather than synthetic fragrances (though I do love and use a few synthetics) and natural clays, oxides and pigments for color instead of synthetic colorants. Soaps are available locally in the Fern Creek Market, as well as on-line.
Our herd of goats includes Clara and Sophie (two ADGA--American Dairy Goat Association--registered does), and their buddy, Zeke (a wether who keeps them company). They are friendly, full of personality and add much to our little farm. Their milk, while a wonderful gift, is secondary to what they bring in their goat-ness. We look forward to welcoming their babies to Fern Creek once they are old enough to be mamas.