Farm living is the life for them
Photos & Story By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
When Jeanette and Joe Ross bought their house in the southeast corner of Oxford in 2016, it came with a pasture, so they decided to get a couple goats.
They used the milk to help their daughter’s eczema by making soaps and lotions. “Goats milk is actually really healing for eczema,” said Jeanette, CEO and head goat farmer at Goat Life Farm. “So that’s actually the reason I started making products, was because of her. It helped the eczema tremendously.”
Then the family started breeding the Nigerian Dwarf goats, and using their extra milk to make all kinds of natural personal care products to sell through an online shop as a side business (Goatlife.farm). It’s a whole family project, and their daughters Lily, Addison and Grace all help out.
Now they have a herd of 14 Nigerian Dwarfs, which are a smaller breed. “They’re not a really big goat, they’re the size of a large dog, about 50-60 pounds,” Jeanette said. Their milk is much creamier and sweeter than other goats. “There are some larger goats that are specifically for milking and they’re high producers. Nigerian Dwarfs don’t produce as much milk, but it’s a better quality milk, if that makes sense.” The goats are registered with the American Dairy Goat Association.
Recently, they have expanded to chickens, bees and even dandelion picking. “This was the first year we got some honey,” Jeanette said. “Not enough to sell or anything like that, but I actually started using it in my soaps. I started making a honey oatmeal soap.”
And like goats milk, “dandelions are super healing.” They use the dandelions to make a special salve, cleverly named “Eczited the Rash is Gone.”
During the pandemic shutdown in the spring, they offered private Zoom video calls with the goats, charging $40 for a half hour session. It was basically a virtual petting zoo, with a tour of the pasture, meeting all the goats and watching adorable newborn kids play around.
Many of the clients were school fieldtrips or corporate meetings or just families stuck at home. “That was super fun because we were able to talk to people all over the world. We talked to people in Argentina and Cuba,” Jeanette said. She hosted 100 meetings in all.
They donated ten percent of the proceeds ($400) to Oxford-Orion FISH food pantry. “We consider ourselves fortunate and truly blessed to have a farm that we can enjoy with our family and customers who enjoy our products. We believe that giving back to our community and helping others is a reasonability that comes with our good fortune.”
They are not currently offering any more Zoom calls, but they hope to start again in the future, especially since a lot of kids are distance learning right now. In the meantime, the do occasionally offer in-person experiences like goat yoga and “storytime with the heard.”