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Love on an Arkansas Farm, My Handmade Goat Milk Soap Story

IMG_20140720_173343_kindlephoto-124570705Wanting to make something natural and yummy for your skin for me goes back a long ways, to when I was a little girl living with my grandparents on a farm near Little Rock, Arkansas.  Waking up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and hearing the sizzle of eggs and bacon being lovingly prepared in a cast iron skillet were a daily part of living on my grandparents farm in the mid-1970s.  I can still see the glistening dew that shown like glass on the autumn fields as I opened the front door to catch the bus for school one October morn.  It was like a picture from a much loved book, but there I was, watching a cloud of dust behind the old bus, on the narrow dirt road, in my own life.  Those were simpler, much loved times.

IMG_20140719_221038_kindlephoto-125065817My grandmother did everything on her own.  From canning, to butchering, baling hay, bush hogging fields, driving fence posts into stubborn rocky ground, to filleting the catfish we caught in her large pond.  Memories of her chasing that night’s dinner, round and round, trying to catch it, are as fresh as if I were sitting on the hand-laid stone steps that trickled out of the tiny house, once again.  Homemade fried chicken, hand picked green beans, and potatoes that were dug up just hours before and made into delicious buttery mashed potatoes made this young girl’s childhood wonderful and cozy.   My Grandmother showed me what natural living was all about, because she lived that way all of her life.  It wasn’t something she tried to do, it was all she knew.  She also showed me love, and isn’t that the best?  None of the rest really matters unless you have love.  Genuine sweet wonderful love.

I joined the Army in 1986, served my country for 8 years, living in Germany and traveling to many European countries.  I have stood at the top of the Eiffel Tower, walked the beaches of Normandy, marveled at the majestic Berlin Wall and all of its history, watched a Kuckucksuhr (Cuckoo clock) being crafted by hand in the Schwarzwald (Black Forrest), and admired the grand mountains in Austria that Julie Andrews made famous in the Sound of Music.  I married, had a family, and then somewhere along the way, life sort of fell apart.  In the midst of the difficult years, a homemaker from Tennessee taught me how to make Cold Process Soap.  That was October of 2002, nearly 12 years ago.  I made quite a bit over the years, experimenting with different recipes, fragrances, Cold Process, Hot Process.  By the spring of 2014 I had made 2,000 bars of soap.  But really only for friends and a few local folks who enjoy handmade soap.  The benefits of goat milk soap are numerous.  Many never have to use lotion because handmade soap leaves your skin feeling so amazing. Life sure surprises you, huh?  Before I knew it I was a single mother, living in a town far from where I grew up, with no family or close friends near by.  I have debilitating anxiety and arthritis and was not able to work outside of my home.  And, as a United States Army veteran, that is tough.  A tough thing to realize you need help.  One thing after another went terribly wrong.  From selling off most of my furniture, my computer dying for good, having no car, stopped receiving much of my child support, one thing after another,  Then, a friend mentioned making and selling soap on a larger scale.  And, memories of the simple life on my Grandmother’s Farm came back to me.  I am about the age that she was then.  She passed away this past November 22.  And, so many things about her and what she taught me started to fill my thoughts.  And, I began to have hope.  Could I make enough soap to help support my girls and I?  Waves of anxiety filled me with so much fear and doubt.  It took months of working out the details and raising money to open, but on the Fourth of July, I did it.  I opened my little Soap Shoppe on Etsy.  My battle with anxiety is daily.  And, likely will always be so.  But, I have found a new joy in making wonderful, yummy soaps.  Soaps for you and for your family. I offer a wide variety of soaps, from 100% goat milk soap, called ‘Simply Goat Milk’, which has scrumptious oils like calendula-infused Rice Bran, and Coconut Oil, and decadent Shea Butter, to colorful, fun soaps.  One of my soaps is called ‘Baby Yourself.  This is a really nice soap, with calendula-infused rice bran oil and decadent shea butter. Yummy for your skin. For you and your baby. Whether your baby is small enough to carry in your arms or tall enough to wrap your arms around, this soap will be wonderful for you.     For the first time in a lot of years, I have hope.  I am excited to have this opportunity to make soap for you and the ones that you love.  I am hoping that not only will you try some yummy soaps now, but think about purchasing from Robin’s Soap Shoppe for your Christmas Gift giving this year to help support a United States Army Veteran and single mom who is thrilled to have found a way to support her family.  From my home, my heart to yours, thank you. *Written by Robin B., as a guest on The Razor Family Farms blog.
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  • MaryJo Banks - Nice story!ReplyCancel

  • Mary H. - Thanks for sharing your story. I heard about your soap shop from an online friend, and I am so glad that I tried it. Your unscented goat milk soap is amazing! Most soaps irritate my skin, but yours leaves it so soft and smooth I don’t even have to use lotion. I will definitely be buying some for Christmas gifts this year. With best wishes and prayers for the success of your soap venture.ReplyCancel

  • Winter Bisbee - JOE T. ROBINSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PTO

    Hello, my name is Winter Bisbee. I am the Fine Arts Night and Silent Auction Coordinator for Robinson Elementary School PTO located on Hwy 10 in Little Rock, AR. We are preparing once again for our Fine Arts Night and Silent Auction to be held on May 5, 2015. We will provide dinner and each class will perform and auction off a piece of artwork made by the students.

    We would like to ask you for a donation for our silent auction. Any donations would be greatly appreciated, products, gift cards, theme baskets, etc. In addition to having your item displayed at the silent auction, you will also receive a mention on our Facebook page, and if possible a link to yours.

    Please contact me at robinsonelempto@gmail.com with any questions. If you are mailing a donation, please send to the address below. Don’t forget to include any brochures or business cards you would like displayed along with your item. Any gift cards or certificates will be framed for display.

    Thank you so much for your time,

    Winter Bisbee
    Robinson Elementary School PTO
    Joe T. Robinson Elementary (tax ID # 716021158)
    21600 Hwy 10
    Little Rock, AR 72223ReplyCancel

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