What's not to love about an Arland family with three young children raising goats and making products from the milk they produce?
If you’ve not met them already at farmers markets, fall festivals and other events, let me introduce you to Shawn and Reanna Chaplin and their three children—9-year-old Brady, 7-year-old Annabella and 5-year-old Jackson.
Shawn was a city boy who grew up in Barron.
Reanna was a country girl who grew up in the same neighborhood where they now raise kids—both the four-legged and two-legged varieties—on their 3-acre farm.
Both are 2005 Barron High School graduates.
He supports the family by driving truck. She likes the idea of being self-sufficient—homeschooling their kids, growing a garden and creating a variety of homemade products, from soaps for skin and laundry, to bug and stain repellents and tooth powder.
“Everything is made from clean/natural ingredients with tried and true recipes that work great for our family,” she noted on Facebook.
Reanna, whose maiden name was Degerman, grew up on a dairy farm and always drank cow milk. But she and her husband ended up getting milking goats when their third child came along. He had a sensitive digestive system. When cow milk didn’t agree with him, they got some goat milk from a family friend, and that seemed easier for him to digest.
“Maybe we should get our own goats,” she suggested to her husband. Reanna has always loved animals, had horses, cats and dogs when growing up and nursed them back to health whenever it was needed. “I was always an animal nurturer,” she said. “I had a tender heart toward animals.”
“So we started with the amount of goats we could have on the amount of land we had,” she said.
As they got the hang of milking the goats, one at a time, they soon had more milk than they needed for drinking.
“I try to use it for all different stuff,” she said. That has included homemade yogurt, cheese and ice cream. “As the kids have gotten older, we realized that we want to raise them knowing where their food comes from.”
She said they also want to raise their kids with a good, work ethic like their grandparents had.
Another part of their kids’ upbringing is to encourage them to honor God and appreciate his creation. The Chaplins are part of a local homeschool association as well as a smaller Wild and Free adventure club.
Products, pure and simple
While the Chaplin children are doing their homeschool lessons, their mom is educating herself, by research and trial and error, on how to use their extra goat milk by making products that the public can enjoy. She also does the labeling and marketing.
After stocking up on products over the winter, she was ready when the farmers markets opened this spring.
She wasn’t able to get into the Country Lane Pantry farmers market because they already have vendors who make similar products.
So she settled on going to the Amery Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, and if she had enough product she went to the little markets on Tuesday evenings at Ridgeland and Friday evenings at Clear Lake.
She does some special events and vendor shows as well.
She displayed her products at the Feralfest on Aug. 24 and the Barron Fall Festival on Sept. 14.
“For my first year, I’ve had great feedback,” Reanna said.
Although her inventory is continually changing based on supply and demand, a rundown on what she has made and sold so far follows.
Her soap varieties include Charcoal and Clay, Lemongrass, Creamy Honey, Oats and Honey, Lemon Poppy Seed, Orange Creamsicle, Coffee Bean, Vanilla Bean, Sweet Soap (hint of vanilla), Hint of Mint, Chocolate Mint, Coconut Passion, and Lavender.
Of them, she said the Charcoal soap is her best-seller. She explained, “Charcoal goat milk soap is pH balanced so it won’t dry out your skin and helps pull out toxins with the addition of the charcoal. It was originally formulated as a face soap, but many use it for so much more such as for rashes or to get grease off hands.” Prices are $3.50 for the 3 oz. bar, $4.50 for the 5 oz. bar $3.50 and buy four get one free.
She said her laundry soap is another winner.
“By surprise this laundry soap has been one of my best-selling items this summer,” she noted on Facebook. “This is made from a recipe that I have used and loved for years. It’s made from my handmade soaps, it’s completely natural and gentle but effective. It’s smells amazing and looks like cool whip.”
The laundry soap comes in Citrus and Odor Protection formulas. She sells it for $10 each or two for $15.
Stain sticks are quick and easy to use. Simply get the stained area wet and scrub. Cost is $3.50 each.
Being outdoors a lot, her family also likes her homemade Bug Off sticks and Lotion sticks. She explained, “Created with the same nourishing ingredients as the Bug Off sticks, just with different essentials oils, the Lotion sticks are great for on-the- go. Not diluted with water, they last a very long time and are extremely moisturizing. These work great on cracked heels or dried hands from being in the garden.”
They are sold in “completely recyclable containers” for $7.
Tooth powder is another product that has her customers smiling. It comes in two flavors—cinnamon mint and lime mint.
The soapmaker also shared some natural benefits of creamy goat milk soap. She said it contains Vitamin A, which is necessary to repair and maintain skin. The cream in the goat milk moisturizes. Goat milk also contains minerals, such as selenium that is believed to have an important role in preventing skin cancer. In addition alpha hydroxy acid helps remove dead skin cells from the surface for a smoother feel and younger look.
Reanna said her tooth powder is loaded with minerals such as silica, calcium, potassium and magnesium that accelerated the remineralization process of teeth and reduces bad breath by removing bacteria and toxins.
Activated charcoal whitens teeth by pulling out stains and plaque and balances oral microbiome.
Khristeen Librande-Carlson said, “My whole family uses the goat milk soap, and I personally love it because it is 100% natural. I know she loves her goats and takes great care of them, therefore making a wonderful product.”
“I absolutely love all the products I have tried so far,” posted Shelli Swanson. “My mission is to try everything!”
Jakki Pageau posted, “These handmade, small family farm products are amazing. Scented soaps made from pure products and essential oil are amazing. Lip balm is better than any I have ever tried. Cinnamon tooth powder leaves my teeth feeling squeaky clean. I love how the products have no chemicals and garbage in them, just pure natural ingredients. Cannot recommend Chaplin Farms products enough!!”
To contact the Chaplins, call or text 715-418-1206 or visit Chaplin Farms on Facebook.