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Dragonfly Farm is
just under 4 gently sloping acres in the small town of Harvard,
Massachusetts. We are Joanne (the certified goat nut), my husband
Randy, and our two sons Declan (from the 1994 kid crop) and Kieran
(from 1995). Right now, in addition to people, there are 1 cat,
3 dogs, 15 assorted chickens, 1 Border Leicester sheep, and about
45 Nigerian Dwarf goats living here on the farm, along with the
numerous wildlife that insist on sharing our garden produce with
When we first arrived
in Harvard, I was a refugee from academics, about to be a new
mother. Armed with degrees in physics, aerospace engineering,
biophysics and biochemistry, I was looking for the real world.
I feel that I have found it here.
I started in livestock
with 4 sheep intended for use as herding victims for my wild and
crazy Australian Shepherds. My partner in sheep management was
my neighbor and friend, Bonnie Chandler at Fairlea
Farm, who kept telling me how much more interesting and fun
goats were than sheep. ("No," I said. "They have
ideas. My life is already too interesting." ) Finally, in
a weak moment, I agreed to "buy" (for what she charged
me, it was really more like "accept as a gift") a Nigerian
Dwarf yearling (Meg)
and a bred doe(Rona,
bred to Paco). When my first
kid, Ariadne, was
born, it was all over. I thought she was the most beautiful and
elegant creature I had ever seen. I went to a couple of shows
that first year, won a couple of seconds and thirds, and was hooked
good and proper. The Nigerian Dwarf people here in New England
are the most friendly and congenial people I could ever imagine
spending my weekends with through the warmer half of the year.
Every single one of them has been as helpful as can be, and I
would like to thank them all.
I've ended up with all these goats . . .
Bonnie and I thought
so much of what Paco had produced in Ariadne that we leased him
for a season, which resulted in Dragonfly
Calliope and her half sister Fairlea
Clio (bred by Bonnie), as well as a number of other beauties.
The next year, when I heard Judy Veale was looking for a home
for Paco, I was very happy to bring him home to stay. Calli proceeded
to give me a big thrill by winning a RGCHJr in her first year
and two more as a dry yearling. Various combinations of Ariadne,
Calli, and Clio, along with a 4th Paco daughter, MCH
Old Mountain Farm Dubonnet (bred by Cheryle Moore-Smith; owned
by Nicole Brown), won several Get of Sire group classes for Paco
as well. There's nothing like a taste of success to cement an
In the summer of
2002, I started to research pedigrees in earnest, because I wanted
to learn more about the history and evolution of the breed, and
because I had an obvious need for a new herd sire, since all of
my "show string" does were daughters of my only buck.
The strong tendency of outstanding Nigerian breeders to be web-savvy
is very helpful for the new student of the breed! Because Nigerians
are such a young breed and still evolving so rapidly, it is fascinating
to see how certain individuals have had far-reaching influence,
both on the breed as a whole and on regional types. I was amazed
at how few foundation animals (mostly progenitors of the Goodwood
herd) are responsible for so many representatives of the breed
found in New England today. I decided to choose a buck from lines
unrelated to mine, as far as possible--my goal was to begin a
breeding program with an outcross, to be followed by judicious
line breeding, to try to create something of my own. My first
choice would have been a buck line-bred on the great doe MCH/PGCH
Raha Acres Twink's Pixie *D 'E', who had come to represent my
ideal of the breed. Of course, such creatures are much sought
after and require long lead times! Therefore, in the meantime
I was very happy to be able to buy a proven herd sire, Piddlin
Acres SC Maestro 'E', from his breeder, Valerie Ciesynski.
I proceeded to breed him to almost everybody (much to Paco's dismay).
Maestro is a grandson
of MCH Twin Creeks BH Bay Watch *+S 'E', a Twink's Pixie grandson,
and is therefore distantly related to Twinkie, but he also goes
back multiple times to the Willows herdname, and I had reason
to believe that this outcross might prove to be very synergistic.
Maestro has proved to produce outstanding feet and legs, and to
improve over the dams in all areas of the scorecard--see his milking
daughters Dragonfly M Kestrel,
and Dragonfly M Skylark.
He has at least 5 daughters that have won junior legs and his
oldest daughter, Piddlin
Acres Shanghai Noon, has a junior leg, a milking leg and several
convinced me that the Willows avenue was worth exploring further,
and I contacted Sunni Florence Milligan of Flat Rock Farm, in
search of a buck line-bred on Willows bloodlines. She was intrigued
by the plan to cross Raising Arizona granddaughters to a buck
of Willows descent, and steered me to a buck of her breeding for
sale in my area, Flat Rocks
Diamond Rio E. ,
a coveted son of Flat Rocks Gem and Flat Rocks Holy Terror with
perfect feet and legs. He is a grandson of the tremendous
doe MCH Flat Rocks Surprise (Goodwood Alamo Messenger +S x Willows
Bonehead (a daughter of Willows Beauregard)), who was still producing
kids at 13 years of age, and whose udder at that time was as beautiful
as ever. We think Rio represents just what we were looking for.
We expect him to help us hold down our size and solidify
our udders, and as a bonus, he is polled. Rio's oldest
Spray Seabreeze (now owned by Mandi Babcock, Indigo Kids),
represents a stunning improvement over her dam. Our own petite
and beautiful Harlequin is also a good example of Rio's good work.
We have 3 yearling daughters (Atalanta, Gaia, and Danu)out of
some of our best does, all of whom have at least won their class,
who will freshen in 2008.
In 2004 we also
added that long awaited line-bred Twink's Pixie buck kid-- he
is now MCH Twin Creeks BW Giacomo
Puccini *S E . I was going to hold off on adding another buck,
but Giacomo was an opportunity not to be missed. He was a lot
of fun in the show ring, something that is not always true with
bucks, winning several Reserve Grand Champion buck awards as an
8 and 9 month old, and his first GCH and Best of Breed in August
2005, and finishing his MCH and classifying E in August 2006.
We expect Giacomo to have a strong influence on the breeding program.
He has a beautiful first freshening daughter, Dierdre, and we
look forward to his other daughters freshening.
For the 2005-2006
breeding season we were also very happy to have purchased PromisedLand
Incredible Hunk. He is a Luck of the Draw son out of a Raising
Arizona daughter, and therefore combines the Twinkie and Arizona
lines we have been working with already. We retained a whole slew
of daughters, one of whom, Electra, freshened this year (December,
2007) with a truly beautiful first udder. That season we also
took the opportunity to make use of two fine bucks in the area
related to Raising Arizona: another son, Stonewall's
Turner Ashby, who was just stunning at 7 years of age and
who died tragically soon after we were able to breed to him, (we
retained 3 daughters and a son), and Rosasharn's Watercolor, who
is linebred on Arizona from both Paco and Kingwood and from whom
we kept a beautuful daughter, Birgitte.
For 2006-2007, we
made extensive use of Hunk, Rio, and Giacomo, and added a second
Turner Ashby son, Doe-Sy-Doe's TA Appomattox, as well as another
Surprise grandson, Flat Rocks Miracle Max. We have a new master
champion doe, ARMCH Flat Rocks Here For The Party *D E, as well
as several does that only need one leg to finish their MCHs--Clio
and Ariadne. We also went on 305-day milk test, with some pretty
good results, including a potential Top 10 milker, Stellaluna.
(She won't finish her lactation until March, 2008, so it will
be a while before we know if she pulled it off!)
We have reached
the point where we have to start to winnow our herd and keep only
the very best breeding stock, so I expect we will be offering
some mature does for sale this season. If you are interested in
some good buys, watch the For Sale page...some of these are girls
that have stayed because we love them, either because they have
great personalities or they are wonderful to milk but not top
show does, or both. They all have teriific pedigrees.
visiting; I hope you enjoy looking over all of our beautiful goats!