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.

| March/April 2011

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. 

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