A New Adventure with Goats! | Living the Country Life
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A New Adventure with Goats!

James and Eileen Ray envisioned a small dairy with grass-fed cows and farmstead cheese. Then came the goats—and their new adventure began in earnest.
  • Fair Warning

    James and Eileen Ray admit they were dutifully warned. “Pretty much everyone told us not to go with goats when we researched farming,” James says, citing the creatures’ high susceptibility to diseases and their escape-artist tendencies. Thankfully, the Rays didn’t listen.

    Date Published: March 21, 2019
    Date Updated: March 21, 2019
    Tags: Goats, Dairy, soap
  • Changing Speeds

    The couple began imagining life on the land nine years ago while working in New York City—James in finance and Eileen in fashion design. Moved by Michael Pollan’s watershed book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the couple questioned their impact on the environment and began seeking a sustainable lifestyle connected to the land.

    Date Published: March 21, 2019
    Date Updated: March 21, 2019
    Tags: Goats, Dairy, soap
  • Tough Terrain

    Volunteering at small local farms, they got their work boots in the door and eventually settled on the idea of starting a cow dairy to make cheese. However, when a search for affordable pasture led them to 84 acres about 40 miles east of Nashville, they knew cattle wouldn’t take to the land’s brambles, briars, and rocky terrain but that goats would eat it right up. Plan B began and Little Seed Farm was born.

    Date Published: March 21, 2019
    Date Updated: March 21, 2019
    Tags: Goats, Dairy, soap
  • Caring for Skin

    About two months after they acquired four milk goats, a visit from Eileen’s grandmother instigated a second change. “She had a patch of dry skin on her arm for which her doctor had prescribed a steroid cream,” Eileen says. “But she’d heard that goat’s-milk soap was healing, so we made a batch using coconut and olive oils, essential oils, and goat’s milk.” The soap’s creamy lather healed Grandma’s arm and impressed family and friends.

    Date Published: March 21, 2019
    Date Updated: March 21, 2019
    Tags: Goats, Dairy, soap
  • Getting Soapy

    “It was one of those things where you make something and you’re not really sure if you love it because you’re just proud of it or if it is actually really good,” Eileen says. “It didn’t really occur to us that we had something special with the soap.” But when James’ company closed (he had planned to work remotely for two years), they needed to go to market with something and what they had was soap.

    Date Published: March 21, 2019
    Date Updated: March 21, 2019
    Tags: Goats, Dairy, soap
  • A Full Line

    Today, the farm’s line includes 16 bar soaps, moisturizers, facial mists and toners, deodorant, creams, and more. James mostly relegates his earlier roles as chief soap maker and milker to the couple’s eight employees so he can better concentrate on the overall business. Eileen handles branding, marketing, and product development.

    Date Published: March 21, 2019
    Date Updated: March 21, 2019
    Tags: Goats, Dairy, soap
  • Balancing It All

    “There’s administrative and wholesale work, but then you’re also out in the pastures moving the goats or foraging for plants to use in production,” Eileen says. “So, we’re bouncing around and wearing a lot of hats, which is something we both enjoy.”

    They also treasure country-style family time with Cecilia (3) and George (6), whether it’s spent cuddling chickens, enjoying a bonfire, or taking over weekend chores.

    Date Published: March 21, 2019
    Date Updated: March 21, 2019
    Tags: Goats, Dairy, soap
  • Here to Stay

    “From a business perspective, it’s entirely different from what we set out to do,” James says. “But from a lifestyle, career perspective, it’s pretty much what we had envisioned.”

    “Soap was never in the plan,” Eileen adds. “And my first encounter with goats felt like a mauling—they chewed half my zipper. But now I can’t imagine life without them.”

    Date Published: March 21, 2019
    Date Updated: March 21, 2019
    Tags: Goats, Dairy, soap

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