Mother Earth Living

Westfarm Goats: Raising Goats as Part of a Self-Reliant Lifestyle

Lori Tigner’s desire to live simply has led her to build a thriving farm, a blossoming soap business and a self-reliant lifestyle.
By Brooke Lindquist
March/April 2011
Add to My MSN

Forrest, a 12-year-old with ADHD and sensory processing disorder, visits Westfarm Goats every Saturday to help Lori with her chores. “This is the first time he’s ever been able to stick with something,” his mother says. “The physical labor, the life lessons, his increased responsibility and confidence—I’m continually blown away.”
Photo By Povy Kendal Atchison
Slideshow


Content Tools

Related Content

Adventures in Chickensitting

I've never thought of myself one to carry on the family tradition of farming - but now that I have t...

Heading to the Mother Earth News Fair

The upcoming Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, Mother Earth News Fair promises hundreds of presentations ...

Flavor Pork with Rosemary Garlic Jelly

I had one of the best pork chops of my life last night, thanks to a homegrown hog and Nancy, also kn...

Green Your Life: Green Product Review: growbottles by Potting Shed Creations

If you’re looking for a unique container gardening experience, look no further than growbottles from...

Sitting at the table in her cozy kitchen, Lori Tigner’s face glows as she talks about the pure satisfaction of collecting a basket of eggs or a bucket of goat milk. “It’s like you’ve discovered gold,” she says. Thanks to Arlo, Christopher, Daisy and the 29 other goats she keeps, Lori’s known among folks in the foothills west of Denver as the “Goat Mom.” In reality, she’s the owner of Westfarm Goats, a 3-acre farm where Lori and her husband live simply raising animals, tending gardens and producing artisan soaps from fresh goat milk.

Lori first got to know goats in the early 1990s when she worked part-time at an Oklahoma museum that kept a couple. “It was love at first sight,” she says. “From that moment on, I knew I had to have goats in my life.” At the time, Lori was participating in weeklong historic reenactments, and she was captivated by the early 20th century’s simplicity. Hoping to bring some of that simplicity into her modern life, she and her then-husband handbuilt a log house with no electricity or plumbing—except cold water in the kitchen sink—on a corner of her grandparents’ farm in southeast Colorado. The family referred to it as Westfarm.

At Westfarm, Lori dug into the simple life, creating a self-reliant homestead. In addition to goats, she kept a donkey, a Jersey milk cow, hogs, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens, peacocks, guineas and turkeys. She spent five years living in the log house, gathering wood, washing all of her clothes by hand, spinning wool, collecting her food from her animals and a garden, and teaching classes at the local community college to cover her few remaining expenses. Eventually, Lori divorced and relocated to her current farm between Morrison and Conifer, Colorado, where she and the goats—and a new husband—continue to build a legacy under the Westfarm banner.

Living Her Self-Reliant Dream 

Lori rises every day before 5 a.m. and eats breakfast, then feeds her 32 goats, two sheep, 12 bantam chickens, 21 hens and two roosters. She milks about six goats, eats a second breakfast, then heads down the mountain to teach at a community college. Upon returning home, she does the evening chores—feeding, milking more goats and collecting eggs—then has supper with her husband and reads or knits before falling into bed.

“I do what I’m passionate about, and I don’t care what other people think,” Lori says. Her dream is self-reliance, and she’s living it. “I love that at the end of the day I can say, ‘I did this. We—the animals and I—we did this.’ I can feed myself and feed my family.” The joy she experiences, whether from something silly the goats have done or from creating a particularly beautiful bar of goat milk soap, keeps her going. 

“I think a lot of people are unhappy because they don’t realize how fulfilling it is to be able to do something by yourself,” Lori muses, as she pulls on her boots.

The Dish on Soap 

About five years ago, when Lori’s goat milk supply surpassed demand, she read a few books, did some experimenting, and created refreshing soaps that work magic on chapped skin. She uses herbs she grows in her garden, honey from a local mountain producer, high-quality essential oils and olive, sunflower, apricot kernel, rice bran, soybean and coconut oils. She also uses a variety of molds to create soaps that are as much a work of art as a body-care product. Lori loves picking out different molds and designing soaps with seasonal themes. “The fun part is making them look and smell pretty,” she says. “It’s like a chemistry experiment, figuring out which essential oils work together.” Lori sells her soaps online, as well as through her area farmer’s markets. She says of her soaps, “Here at the farm we try to live simply. My hope is that our products fit with your lifestyle of living simply, too.”  

Brooke Lindquist is a Denver-based writer. When she’s not writing or doing yoga, she can be found up on the trails with her dog Hailey. 

Resources 

Further Reading 

Living with Goats: Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your Own Backyard Herd by Margaret Hathaway

Goats: Small-Scale Herding for Pleasure and Profit by Sue Weaver

The Field Guide to Goats by Cheryl Kimball

Milk Soapmaking: The Smart and Simple Guide to Making Lovely Soap by Anne L. Watson

Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses by Ricki Carroll  

Websites 

GoatFinder.com 
nationwide listing of goats for sale

Dairy Goat Journal 
bimonthly magazine on raising goats

American Goat Society 
registry for all breeds of dairy goats

American Livestock Breeds Conservancy 
information on heritage goat breeds

Raising Goats blog 

Goat Milk Cheese and Soap Recipes

Easy Homemade Soap

Goats Milk Soap Recipe

How to Make Goat Cheese and Goat Soap

See "Easy Chevre: How to Make Goat Cheese At Home" for a simple homemade goat cheese recipe.


Previous | 1 | 2 | Next






Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.