After 28 years as a litigation paralegal at a large Portland law firm, I desperately needed a change of lifestyle. Boy, did I get one! Our girls were out of college and on their own when my husband and I bought a beautiful octagon-shaped home with a large 2-car garage which we turned into a barn and licensed dairy. Our life as goat farmers began and we chose the name Bending Birch Farm!
We first began making soap and cheese using the milk from our herd. I left my job at the law firm after our first year on the farm, as the goats and business required all my attention. My husband continued teaching in Gorham.
Creating a logo, starting an LLC, becoming a licensed dairy, learning how to make all things goat milk, caring for (milking, breeding, feeding the herd), plus starting a website and social media platform, giving soap-making classes were just some of the things that filled my time!
Those days were a lot of work but filled with a lot of joy! Nigerian dwarf goats are extremely smart and extremely gentle and social. I found them to be very therapeutic. We had many visitors to the farm, especially on Snuggling Sundays where families would come to hold our new baby goats and share in our experience of goat farming. I would sell my hand-crafted products to our visitors and it motivated me to continue creating new products. Craft fairs and farmers markets were also part of the job to provide some income to the farm.
After having two knee surgeries, I was unable to keep up with the physical demands of properly maintaining the herd. After three years of goat farming, we made the tough decision to sell the farm in September 2020 and the herd moved to Honey Brook Farm in Garland.
Because of our hands-on experience with the benefits of goat milk soap for our skin, (and because I had a freezer full of milk) I chose to continue making and selling goat milk soap and spread the goodness. Since we had sold the farm, we changed the business name to Maine Seaside Soap. I expanded my line into beer soap, salt spa bars, beard balms and oils, shampoo bars and conditioners, lip balms and most recently, soy candles.
While I truly miss my goats, I have moved on to the next chapter of my life. I am now a proud grandmother (Gigi) and my life is full. I most recently made my granddaughter Adelaide some Baby Shark soap and plan on selling them to the public! I look back at my farming days and feel nothing but pride and happiness about choosing to take that leap of faith into the unknown and coming out forever changed!
My studio (where all the magic happens) is now at my home in Saco.