SALEM, Aug. 30 - A farm known for decades as Carl B's place is home to about 40 dairy goats and a homebased business named for the owner's grandfather.
The idea of raising goats came from Julie Kolbeck's mother and brother.
"My mom had always wanted goats. Then my brother had goats," she said.
The Kolbecks moved to Carl B's near Salem in 1997 but didn't start raising goats until 2004. Kolbeck, and her husband, Ron, raise Nigerian dwarf and American Alpine goats. They registered the herd as Carl B's. The "B" is the middle initial of Julie Kolbeck's grandfather, Carl Larson, and the initial was used to distinguish the farm from other farms owned by people of the same name.
The Kolbecks produce and sell many products using the goats' milk, and others without the milk, calling them all Carl B's Naturals. But it didn't start out that way.
Julie Kolbeck started by using a melt-and-pour method to make soap.
"I was afraid to work with lye, since Georgie was so young," she said. "But I'd always wanted to utilize the milk."
But as her youngest daughter grew, Kolbeck started using lye and the goats' milk to make soap and other items.
The biggest seller is the soap, in a variety of scents. She said the goats' milk soap is good for the skin because it retains natural glycerin, which draws moisture to the skin.
Goats' milk soap is a cold process soap, meaning the milk is kept cold and slushy in order to keep the lye from overheating the milk. When the lye is mixed with the milk, the milk can heat to 180 degrees Fahrenheit if not kept icy.
"You want to keep it at 130 degrees," Kolbeck said. "Then you stir it until it's a golden color."
While the lye and milk are mixing, she heats the oils she wants to use for that batch of soap, such as coconut, olive, sunflower or rice bran. All the oils she uses are natural, she said.
Once the milk and lye reach the trace stage - a puddinglike state - then she'll add scent and other items, like petals for color or oatmeal for exfoliation.
"Then I'll pour it into the mold," she said.
The basic mold Kolbeck uses is a wooden box, which she lines with a small plastic garbage bag. She said she's seen many vendors spend hours cutting and shaping bars of soap for display and sale. She, however, does not bother with that, saying the rough edges of the soap give it character.
The soap has to sit for 24 hours as it heats up again to a gel phase, and then it cools off and is ready to cut.
"Soap keeps saponifying for the life of the bar," she said. "So the longer it's on the shelf, the milder it is."
Saponification is the chemical process that takes place when the lye and oils are mixed.
In about an hour, she can produce 16 4-ounce bars of soap, which is one block from the wooden mold. She works approximately 15 hours a week, which includes making labels, figuring recipes and packaging.
Goats' milk soap has many advantages, particularly for sensitive skin. Kolbeck said her family no longer experiences tight, itchy skin in the winter. The vitamins, protein and fat from the milk make for healthier skin, she said.