Winter 2012- This winter is the total opposite of last year, mild temperatures and virtually no snow. I am not complaining. We did set records again but for rain. Had a blast working at the 2011 ADGA National Show in Springfield, MA and rooming with my goat pal Ellen Gould and catching up with my friends John & Judy Nelson. I had been contemplating purchasing a Toggenburg, at the show, but then I was star struck by the glitter covered Lamancha kid from Lynn Haven and ended up bidding on her and winning! I have plans to add 2 more Lamancha does this spring, if all goes as planned. Super excited about my kidding this year, as I have made hard cuts, keeping my herd a manageable size. I added a lovely doe from Jasper Pines in 2011 and a new herdsire from Algedi Farm.
Winter 2011- Well this is a winter to remember! We are setting all kinds of records here in Connecticut. The big news is we moved in December to a beautiful house in Woodstock with 8.5 acres of land for goats! Can't wait until spring when I can put up permanent fencing and get my hands dirty planting Christmas trees and all kinds of amazing plants. Last year I went through chemo and radiation for breast cancer so now I am a survivor! My reward for finishing treatment was a trip to the 2010 ADGA Nationals with my friend Ellen Gould, we had a great time and saw the first showing of Nigerian Dwarfs at Nationals. Thank you to all my wonderful family and friends and those who helped me navigate my goat kiddings during treatment. Extra special thanks to Rebecca Wentworth, Ellen Gould, Sue Barry and John and Judy Nelson!
Fall 2009- Having a little trouble not making reserves despite my vow below, I have made 2 at PromisedLand but one probably wouldn't even kid until 2011 and I am second on reserve for the other doe so these really don't count right?!!!!! ( I am so weak).
Fall 2009- My last kidding of 2009 produced quads and a total of 26 kids were born in the Sunnydale Farm herd name this year. I have acquired a new buck, Atwood Acres Jefferson, and I am very excited about the genetic potential he possesses. I also have brought in a few new does and with the exception of one outside reserve for 2010 from J-Nels, I VOW, not to buy any new goats for awhile, and work with what I've got!!! Goats are addictive so it is hard not to shop around. With the help of my good friend Joanne Karohl I have put together a small but promising herd and I am quite excited about the bloodlines/pedigrees these animals have( I also love them all). Sunnydale Farm now has 4 chickens. My friend Becky gave me a pair of Polish bantams and then I bought 2 New Hampshire Red bantams. They are amusing to watch and produce the cutest little eggs. I guess I needed to fill my empty nest since both boys are away at college now. 2010 breedings are underway and there are some exciting match ups and some first freshening udders I can't wait to see.
Summer 2008- The 2008 show season is in full swing and I am having a great time. I am still some years away from the coveted purple rosettes but feel my breeding program is moving in the right direction. The second annual Sunny Sisters Show July 12th was well attended with 116 goats shown. We had an exceptionally nice day for the show. I think my kiddings are wrapped up, as it doesn't appear my last 2 does settled, so now I will look ahead to 2009.
Spring 2008- The kidding season is underway and everything is going well. All the does are terrific mothers especially Mako and Clueless who both have quads. I was worried about having winter kiddings but vigilantly kept watch and listened to the static of the baby monitor for many a day and night and all went well. The kids seem extra robust having been born in the winter. I spend every free minute watching the crazy antics of the kids racing around in their joyful fashion. All my babies are sold to wonderful homes and the new owners have been visiting frequently to bond with their kids. I still take pause when any of my goats drink from a clean bucket of water and delight in the day to day interactions I have with each goat.
Fall 2007- It looks like three of my does are settled to my new bucks and that is very exciting. The opportunity to pick up 2 does from the Flat Rocks herd has presented itself and I will be getting 2 does with stellar pedigrees this winter. As an added bonus one is bred to MCH Ponder's End Minstrel Show"E". Other 2008 prospects are doe kids from J-Nels and Laurel Haven that complement my Caesar's Villa and Flat Rocks buck's pedigrees.
I have settled into a nice after school routine with my bucks. I let them loose for some grazing and doe ogling . They go to our lone apple tree and I let them share an apple, which they relish before cruising over to the weeping willow for some tree trimming, followed by some avid consumption of dandelions. They get a daily brushing which they also enjoy. Buck scent does not bother me.... but it may turn out to be a husband repellant!
It is back to school and the crazy routine that goes with it but I still make sure I have lots of quality time with my goats(I think it benefits me more than the goats). The show season is winding down and hopefully I can make good use of the feedback I have gotten from the various judges to help with developing my small herd. For the last show I milked one of my goats and secretly put the goat milk in my husband's and son's coffee and they had no idea! I plan to be more committed to milking next year and experiment with cheese and soap making and maybe even a one day milk test. I am hoping to pick up my Rosasharn doe kid in early October, a nice little present to myself!
I love my bucks Topaz and Comfy and they spend a lot of time curled up in my lap, taking walks and they love being brushed. They are very tame and gentle and love lots of attention. I'll have to figure out how to spend time with them as they grow and not wreak of "Odor de Buck". They are starting to "notice" the does but as of yet my girls aren't taking them seriously.
Summer 2007- Kidding season is over here at Sunnydale Farm and I am happy to say that everyone kidded easily with happy and healthy kids and they are all sold! My new bucks are settled in and very loveable, that is a prerequisite for being here! I am starting to look ahead to the 2008 breeding season and look forward to seeing what my new bucks produce. I have trimmed my numbers down to keep the work load manageable during the school year. I am hoping to add one doe from the Rosasharn Farm this fall and will enter the winter with a total of 8 or 9 goats.
The Sunny Sisters Show went really well, that Ellen Gould and I did, and we will probably repeat the venture next year. Thanks to all who attended and for your feedback. Special thanks to Joanne, Ellen and Rebecca for being such good "goat" friends.
I really enjoyed going to the AGS Nationals in Virginia with Ellen and Emma Gould. A girls road trip is a lot of fun and a lot different than traveling with my three guys(husband and 2 sons). We didn't take any goats with us so it was nice to just roam around admiring everyone else's goats and watch the shows. It is always fun to meet email goat friends, in person, and make new ones such as John Nelson of J-Nels. We drove home with 5 goats we had purchased from other parts of the country.
Winter 2007- Max has returned home and it appears all my goats are settled for May and July kids. Arriving soon is my first herd sire from Flat Rocks, a Five Alarm Prism/Flat Rocks Gem buck kid. I am watching my goats fill out and develop udders as I await the first kids due in May. July 14th my goat friend Ellen Gould and I are hosting an AGS Nigerian Dwarf goat show at the Bolton Fairgrounds in Lancaster, MA.
Flat Rocks Miracle Max is vacationing here for a month and having a great time with my "girls". Max is a diminutive fellow and has the sweetest face. His small delicate stature should be a nice complement to my does powerful builds. It is a good trial borrowing Max as I hope to get a buck this year if the right opportunity presents itself. If not I will continue to borrow bucks from Joanne, she has some of the best pedigrees around.
Finally 2 does are settled! It has been a strange winter and it seems that it affects the breeding cycles in some goats. I am fortunate that I have been able to breed to some outstanding bucks at Dragonfly Farm and Sisters Three. However, making so many trips this year, to settle my goats, has led me to the decision to acquire a herd sire! I am hoping to acquire something from the Caesar's Villa Stetson or Flat Rocks Gem line. I also have purchased another shed to help with storage and kidding. I have acquired 3 very well bred does in 2006 and made some difficult choices in parting with others to keep my numbers manageable and move ahead with developing my own herd. In June I will be traveling to the AGS National Show in Virginia and look forward to spending time with my goat friends old and new, as well as picking up my goat Lantanna and hopefully her kids. In August 2007 I will have had goats for 4 years and I truly love it more each day. I feel lucky to have made some really wonderful "goat" friends who help me grow and learn and share my obsession with goats!
How I got started...
Welcome to Sunnydale Farm, established in 2003, home to a small herd of very loved Nigerian Dwarf Goats. It seems every goat owner has a story so here's mine. I had Toggenburg goats as a 4-H project in Junior High and High School. I had wanted a horse but my parents said I could have a goat. I didn't know anything about goats but I learned quickly along with my younger brother Thad. We enjoyed showing goats in the Tolland County 4-H Fair and at the Big-E. Goats were pretty popular in the 1970's and we also belonged to an adult goat club. I felt it was unjust that there was not a Connecticut State 4-H Goat Show so I organized one and even got the renowned judge Helen Hunt to be the judge. During college I had to sell my goats but I always knew one day I'd be a goat owner again, probably when I retired. Well retirement started looking too far away...
I started buying goat books and subscribing to Dairy Goat Journal and I discovered goat web-sites and knew I was in big trouble!!!! Then I came upon Nigerian Dwarf Goats, new on the scene since I had had goats twenty+ years ago. With a little research I located Debi Swanson, of Swanson Doemain , about an hour from here and I eventually purchased my first two does from her. At first I took home a 2 month old weaned doe, Maeve, and a sweet 2 week old doe called Honey, who I romantically thought I would bottle raise even though she was being dam raised. Well Honey wanted no part of a bottle and I nearly had a nervous breakdown with severe postpartum like depression. After a few sleepless nights, lots of tears and exhausting all the tricks of trying to get a kid to take a bottle, Debi graciously took back Honey (and luckily so did Honey's mom take back her baby). In exchange I got the sister of Maeve, Stormie, who we renamed Buffy and it was mostly smooth sailing..... except the first time we left the goats home alone they jumped through the screen window of their new shed. So when I got home no goats were around, but I could hear some very pathetic bawling from the tall grass at the horse farm next door. Two very "sheepish" goats were waiting to be rescued, and a very accommodating husband put wire mesh over the windows to prevent further escape attempts.
Getting goats has been the best thing I have done for myself. It might be a strange way to deal with a mid-life crisis but for me it works. A pleasant surprise is how much my two teenage sons have come to love the goats and help out. Do they think I'm a little wacky? Probably... but I'm also enjoying meeting people with a passion for goats just like me. I am finding goat people to be the most friendly, helpful people I have ever met! The highlight of my day is "You've Goat Mail"!!!