Category Archives: goats

Nutmeg Classic 2024

Last weekend was our first goat show of the year and the only ADGA sanctioned show in CT. The Connecticut Dairy Goat Association 2-ring Nutmeg Classic is held in Somers, CT and we took 8 goats. Quinn and Amanda did all the clipping to get the goats ready. Since the temperatures in CT this time of year can still be rather cool in the evenings, we opted to only use a 1/2″ guard to leave a longer coat to avoid dealing with blankets for the goats. For showmanship, the judge commented that the longer coat impacted placing for both Quinn and Amanda. Maybe next year we will do a shorter clip for the May show. The judges were Todd Biddle in Ring 1 and Aprit Hitch in Ring 2.

Both Quinn and Amanda used new goats for showmanship this year. Amanda chose E.B. Farms Sunstone Tulsi and Quinn used Lucky 4-Leaf E Red Hot Chili. They clipped udders at the show on Saturday morning. Amanda placed 5th of 13 and Quinn was 2nd of 3.

For the breed classes, Chili is a recorded grade due to a DNA exclusion in her pedigree after we bought her. Unfortunately, there were not many Recorded Grade at the show, but she still won Sr. Champion, Best Recorded Grade, and Best Udder in both rings.

Tulsi was the only Lamancha milker we took. As a 2yo, 2nd freshener, she placed 8 of 9 in Ring 1 and 5 of 9 in Ring 2. While she isn’t as big as some of the others in our herd, her udder has great texture and capacity.

For the Junior Doe Show, we took 2 dry yearlings and 4 kids under 3 months old. Sawfish Kipu (recorded grade) is Chili’s daughter and was 2 of 2 in both rings. In the Lamancha under 3 month class there were 9 entries for both rings. Sawfish Chrysi was 2nd Ring 1, 1st Ring 2; Sawfish QS Bali was 6th Ring 1, 3rd Ring 2; and Sawfish Tahiti was 9th Ring 1, 4th Ring 2. For the yearlings, there were 11 entries in both rings. Sawfish QS Ferrari was 11th Ring 1, 6th Ring 2 and Sawfish AS Tesla was 3rd Ring 1, 5th Ring 2.

Overall, we had a good first show. In particular, we were very pleased with how Tesla looks in the ring and think she is going to continue to do better as she matures.

The Spice Girls’ Baby Goats and Phaylene kids

Can I just say crazy couple of baby goat weeks…We had 7 baby goats in mid March. Two from Tulsi, two from Carolina and preemie triplets from Jasmine.

On Monday March 18, Chili was giving me all the indications she was planning to out her babies, but she wasn’t due until Friday, so I left her out with the others. She is a drama queen goat, and doesn’t like to be isolated by herself.

Well, after morning chores I decided to check on her and then go deal with milk dishes. An hour later I came out to check on her and she had two babies on the ground already. An almost 9 pound buckling and a small 5 pound doeling. We named them Kauai and Kipu. Kauai got Chili’s frosted nose and ears, but Kipu certainly got her personality as she is a little diva already. Chili has been great settling into being a milking goat and is super easy to hand milk. She is still opiniated and will let us know if we forget to bring out the alfalfa.

Later that week, on Thursday, Rob and I had been invited to an equine educational evening sponsored by Flemings Feed. It was informational and dinner was great with some awesome desserts. We came home and went to check on Pepper in the barn, who was due Saturday, and low and behold, she had one buck kid on the ground and was pushing out a second! Pepper had eaten dinner on the stand 45 minutes earlier with the kids…

We named Pepper’s boys Principe and Palau. Our naming theme this year is Vacation islands.

Here are some pictures from the foursome being outside last week. The three boys are available as pet wethers, as is Tulsi’s buckling Trinidad, if anyone’s looking. Kipu is staying here.

Last Tuesday April 9 Phaylene, our aged doe, kidded with triplets. We had been watching her all day, but it wasn’t until we left the barn to have dinner that she decided to kid. We sent Amanda out after dinner and she called the house screaming “babies!”. There were two kids out and a third on the way. Two doelings, one buckling, all pretty small at 6.6-6 pounds. Phaylene did great and is already cranking out over a gallon a day.

Phaylene’s triplets

Quinn and Amanda named the kids Minna, Malta, and Mykonos (where Rob and I honey mooned). These may be Phaylene’s last kids depending on how she looks this year, as she is 9 years old, and Quinn wants to retire her. One of Phay’s doelings is likely to be available.

The current baby goat count is 14, with one goat left to kid.

Porsche is our last pregnant doe, due May 10, with kids from Fox’s Pride KS Smooth Swagger. Amanda is really hoping for a doe kid out of this breeding, as she doesn’t have one yet this year from her project does. Porsche is a yearling, and while we don’t usually breed our yearlings, Porsche was on the heavy side and plenty big enough at 110 pounds last fall. Keep your fingers crossed for her!

More Baby Goats!

It’s been a busy few weeks on the farm. Rob has been traveling a lot, and when not traveling, he has been running, a lot, in preparation for his 50 K in April. Both Jasmine and Carolina kidded the first week of March.

Before Jasmine’s and Carolina’s kids arrived we were dealing with an abortion by Camellia about a month out from her due date. She ended up testing positive for CVV, Cache Valley Virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes and a threat to does in their first or second month of gestation. There is nothing you can do to avoid it, other than not breed until the mosquitoes have died off. This last fall was so warm, that wasn’t really an option. Does that contract the virus are then immune. Amanda was disappointed, of course, since Camellia is her project animal, and they have a special bond, but that is part of life on the farm. To top it off, Camellia ended up having a retained placenta, and we had to watch her carefully and give her some medications to help her clean out and recover. Camellia did not come into milk, so she will be taking the year off showing, unless she goes to a pet class or two at the fairs.

Jasmine was not due to kid until March 10, but went into labor on March 3. Her udder had been filling that weekend, so we knew something was up. She delivered three small triplet does, 6.5, 6.3 and 5 pound babies. They were 7 days early, and were a little quiet and needed to stay in the house a few extra days, but are growing and eating, weighing in in the mid teens currently. The kids named them Bahamas (Baha), Bali (the one with all the white), and Barbados (Barbie). The B babies are holding their own. Two of Jasmine’s doelings will be available. Likely Barbie, and Baha, but Quinn hasn’t finished deciding between Baha and Bali yet.

Carolina kidded on March 5. She was due on March 7, but kidded two days early which is within the normal window. Her labor stalled and we had to investigate what was going on. We found two heads, and three feet (not good). After Quinn and I trying to push one back and find the missing leg of the other for a while, but they were tangled, we decided it was time to call out our vet. The kids were big, and we just could not dislodge the first one. Of course, Rob was on travel to DC. Our vet, Cara Kneser, lives close to us and was on site in less than 15 minutes. After some pulling, pushing and lots of lube, she managed to get the first baby (a buck of course) unstuck and out, and the second kid, a doeling, was pulled right behind. They were both alive, which was a miracle, and poor Carolina was super sore and needed some tlc for a few days, but she appears to be bouncing back. The kids named the buck Crete, and the doeling Chrysi (greek island). They are both retained.

Carolina’s kids, Crete and Chrysi barely an hour old

The kids are now living in the garage pens, and we took them outside in the drive way for some play time, Chili and Pepper are up next for kidding, due on Friday and Saturday next week.

We have also been looking at ways to save on our hay bill, because as we all know, alfalfa at $50 a bale and second cut upwards of $12, the cost has been rising here in the Northeast. We decided to try out using a round bale with the goats after sourcing some nice second cut bales. We used a combo panel to wrap around the bale and covered it with an easy up. So far, the goats approve. It’s also their new favorite napping spot.

First baby goats of 2024!

Last Sunday Tulsi was due to kid. We had been bringing her in at night for a few days, as her udder was filled and her ligaments were getting soft. Sunday morning she was clearly uncomfortable breathing heavy and starting to paw, so we knew it was the day. We had ultra sounded her with twins, so that was what we were expecting. I fed her and went about morning chores. Not too long after that she went into labor and delivered twins, one doe and one buck. They were both nose and toes, though the buckling had one front leg bent back, so I had to assist a little with that.

The kids named the doeling Tahiti, and the buckling Trinidad. The doeling was 7.3 pounds and the buckling 7.5 pounds. Vacation islands is our naming theme for this year. Last year was car makes. Tahiti is the one with less white on her. The babies get to hang out with us in the kitchen for a few days, and then transition to living in pens in our garage until the winter weather has passed and they are ready to go live in the baby pen. We choose to bottle raise to socialize the kids to like people, which makes them friendly and easier to handle and show. Raising them separate from the does also allows us to keep their environment cleaner to reduce their parasite load and they can be sold sooner as bottle babies if desired.

Tulsi is doing great. She is producing a gallon of milk per day already, and her udder has increased capacity from last year when she was a milking yearling.

The babies have unfolded and are enjoying the attention they get from the kids when living in the kitchen, they got disbudded last night and starting tomorrow they will go out to the garage during the day, to stretch their legs and not make such a mess in the house. They are currently getting bottle fed five times a day, and will transition to the grey nipples and their lambar over the next few weeks.

Next up for kidding is Carolina on March 7 and Jasmine on March 10. Jasmine is huge, likely carrying triplets, so she might go early, Hoping for easy deliveries and healthy kids and mamas.

God Jul!

Merry Christmas! Happy holidays! God Jul! Feliz Navidad! We are enjoying a quiet Christmas at home this year.

Due to Anna’s surgery and Rob’s injury, Christmas cards fell to the wayside this year. To those of you who sent cards, thank you! We will likely send out cards again next year.

Rob has had a busy and productive year at Sonalysts. When he was not working there, he was working on the farm, or hunting, running, riding, fishing, and whatever else he could find to not sit still. As many of you know, he had a cart accident with Huey in September that he is still recovering from, but he is back to running, riding and hunting, so that is a good sign.

Anna became a US citizen this year! She voted for the first time as well. Anna spent a lot of time training Fiona and let the kids compete Amira in all but one distance ride. This December Anna had a total right hip replacement, and will be recovering from that into the spring.

Alex finished the nuclear technology program at Three Rivers and spent the summer interning at Millstone Nuclear Plant again. This fall he started at URI to finish a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Nuclear minor. He still enjoys riding Mojo, going trail running, and is the protector of his siblings.

Quinn graduated high school and is attending Eastern CT State University for a double major of computer science and data science. Quinn has claimed Fiona as theirs, and enjoys sewing dresses and other creations, along with showing our dairy goats.

Amanda is in 8th grade, working on making her high school choices. She is currently riding our new horse JJ and it seems to be a great match for her. She is also going hunting with dad, biking and running as time allows. Amanda went to the Big E with our dairy goats this year and enjoyed showing them at fairs and shows throughout the summer.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We hope to see all our friends out there enjoying life in the New Year.

Biosecurity Testing

We draw blood and test annually for “the big three” diseases in goats: CAE, CL, and Johne’s disease. In addition, we quarantine new goats for at least three weeks and we buy animals from other herds who test or make sure new animals are negative before turning out with our current goats.

CAE stands for Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis and can be transmitted through blood, milk and other bodily fluids. Symptoms include arthritis in adult goats and encephalitis in young goats and kids (ataxia, progressive weakness, proprioceptive deficits). Subclinical symptoms include interstitial pneumonia, hard udder mastitis, and a failure to thrive. The most common method of transfer is through milk and colostrum. It is common for goat breeders to bottle feed baby goats with pasteurized milk and heat treated colostrum as CAE prevention. Breeding with a CAE infected animal or in utero infection can also transmit CAE, although it is less common.

CL stands for caseous lymphadenitis and is a highly contagious chronic infectious disease that is caused by a bacteria. CL results in abscesses in the lymph nodes, open or not, and/or general poor condition if the infection is internal. Affected animals are often culled to avoid transmission to others. Once established on a farm, the bacteria can live in the soil for a long time.

Johne’s disease, or paratuberculosis, is a bacterial infection of the intestinal wall. Symptoms include weight loss, submandular edema and weakness. The typical transmission route is oral-fecal, but transmission through milk is possible. The bacteria can remain in the environment for years.

We tested our whole herd in November for all three and the results can be found here. We continue to maintain a herd free of all 3 diseases.

The Big E Goat Show 2023

Before we start, thank you to everyone who has checked in and sent well wishes, cards, baskets, etc since my (Rob’s) injury. I am recovering well, even if I do overdo it occasionally. My lung capacity is back to full strength and now its just a matter of letting the ribs finish healing. I have been hiking (5 miles this weekend) to restore some fitness.

September 29 – October 3, most of our herd of Lamanchas was at the Eastern States Exposition, aka The Big E. The Big E is essentially the New England Fair. Thursday through Saturday is all about the 4-H goat show and Sunday is an open goat show. Last year was Quinn’s first time attending the 4-H goat show and this year Amanda was old enough to attend as well. The animals move in on Thursday afternoon and the kids move their gear into the on-site (15 min away) dorms. Since Rob was recovering from the broken ribs, he camped in our travel trailer at the Big E instead of chaperoning 4-Hers in the dorm. Quinn and Amanda had 10 of our goats at the fair: 4 milkers, 2 dry yearlings, and 4 2023 kids. There were only 2 other lamanchas attending: 1 milker and 1 kid.

Thursday evening at 7pm, all the milkers get milked out as part of a milk test to see how much each doe produces in 24 hours; Thursday evening establishes the zero point for each doe. The goats are then milked again at 7am Friday and 7 pm Friday. The weight of the milk is recorded for the Friday milk outs and samples are sent off for testing. For milk outs, other 4-Hers jumped in to help get the does milked quickly. Sawfish Camellia (owned by Amanda) ended up winning the milking competition for Lamanchas producing 7.4lbs in 24hrs as a first freshener that kidded in February!

The kids have to be in the dorm at 10pm and get up at 5:30. After the Friday morning milk out, there were competitions for showmanship and fitting. Showmanship is all about how well the exhibitor has prepared. It includes handling ability, knowledge questions, and overall presentation. Fitting is all about preparation of the animal, mainly the clip job and hoof care. Showmanship and fitting competitions are conducted by age groups of the exhibitors and the breed of the animal doesn’t matter. These competitions took well into Friday afternoon.

The judge for the event was Julie Matthys, a well known Lamancha (and other breeds) breeder from Indiana under the herd Mint Leaf Lamanchas. She did a seminar with the youth on Friday afternoon covering topics such as nutrition and disease prevention. Friday evening the kids had to participate in a stations activity before the ice cream social. I think they made it back to the dorms at 10 on the nose.

Saturday morning was the breed competitions. This time, the judge was placing each class against others in the breed. Again, Quinn and Amanda recruited other CT 4-Her’s to help show since we had multiple animals in the same classes.

Around 3pm Saturday, the 4-H show ended and many of the animals departed. Later in the evening, another 200 or so goats started arriving for the Open Show on Sunday, which included a decent number of Lamanchas. Sunday was a standard ADGA show and Anna even entered the ring! Quinn and Amanda enjoyed talking with other breeders and learning details from more experienced herds.

Even though we didn’t have any huge wins in the classes, we were surprised to find out Quinn won Premier Exhibitor and Premier Breeder for Lamanchas! We assume this was based on total points and the fact that we had about half the Lamanchas in the show probably helped.

We wanted to get some nice setup/show photos of all the goats, but honestly it was so busy that things just didn’t work out. We did get a few.

We made it home at about 9:30pm on Sunday and the goats and everyone was exhausted. Breeding season is now in full swing as the does have been coming into heat. Late February to early March will be busy around the farm as we are breeding 8 does this year. At the end of long weekend, we actually came home with 1 more goat than we left with: Majenli LK Carolina joined our herd. This is doe is one that Rob fell in love with at the Big E in 2022 and when we found out she was available for sale, there was no discussion required. Carolina has already been bred to one of our bucks, Majenli LK Rip Wheeler.

Anna decided to add a goat to the herd in August. Her name is E.B Farms Sunstone Tulsi. She was a yearling milker this year. We have dried her off and she has been bred to E.B. Farms LL Regal for late Feb kids.

Sawyer Summer Update

It’s been a summer. You know how some years it doesn’t seem like things align and happen like you planned? Sh*t happens everywhere you turn? Well, this summer has been a bit like that. We tried to make the best of it. We haven’t blogged in a while, because really who wants to write about life when life gives you lemons? Anyways, here it goes, a summer update as we move into fall.

Let’s start back with the last weekend of July when Quinn and Amanda participated in the Windham County 4-H fair. It was a very small fair compared to New London County, which is our home county. The New London County 4-H fair was moved to the second weekend in August, due to a popular local fair changing their dates. This is an ongoing conflict for us with our annual trip to Fryeburg ME and the Pinetree Endurance Ride. The kids are deciding on changing counties, moving clubs and/or going independent. Attending another county’s fair makes them miss out on club challenges and other participation at the fair, such as being a superintendent of an event or species show. They are also not eligible to compete in Premier Showmanship, even if they win top showman for their project animal. It turns out Quinn and Amanda had the only goats at the Windham 4-H Fair. The judge still gave them decent ring time and practice for their showmanship, even though they were only competing with each other. Phaylene won best senior doe (duh) and Pepper was best junior doe. Quinn and Amanda enjoyed entering the obstacle course challenge with two of the goats. A massive storm swept in Saturday night and the goat barn flooded, so Rob brought the goats home to stay dry.

In the week between the 4-H fair and leaving for Pine tree, we lost two animals on the farm. Amanda’s 8 year old Rhinelander rabbit Pretty Paw and our barn cat Barbie. Barbie had developed a massive tumor, and was getting really skinny so we decided it was time.

The following weekend we packed up and headed out to the Pinetree endurance ride. Our friend Sonja came up on Saturday and stayed over at our place for the night. The next morning we loaded Amira and Mojo and headed for Fryeburg. About an hour out from the fairgrounds Sonja started having some engine trouble with her truck. We sent the kids and horses on to camp (Quinn was driving the horse trailer). It turns out Sonja’s aux fuel tank was low on fuel and was sucking air each time she went up a hill. Rob stayed with Sonja and we drove on to camp on her main fuel tank. Excitement before the ride even started! We got camp set up and all was well.

Monday we went tubing, it was cold, like low 60s, the river was high due to all the recent rains and then it started raining while we were still on the water. A lot. We were frozen by the time the tubing shuttle got us back to the car. We were quite thankful for nice hot showers in camp.

Liz and Ken made it to camp that evening, just in time for the torrential rains to continue. We stalled the horses and Amira was not happy (understatement), we had to literally close her in with the dutch doors shut and she kept spinning in circles. We had vetted in to ride Tuesday, but decided not to in the morning, because the rain was cold, Amira had not been drinking well, and we didn’t want to feel like the previous day and have wet saddles for the rest of the week. I know, we are fair weather riders…

On Wednesday we got up and sent Alex on Mojo and Quinn on Amira out on trail in the 25. The trail was wet and slick. They made it to the vet check and vetted through. Unfortunately at the finish check back at camp, Amira was lame. She had a cramp on her hind left leg in her inside groin area. We worked on her for an hour, but she was still off. So, Quinn did not get a completion. It became clear, in the next 24 hours that she had a tendon sheath injury to her left hind based on the swelling that built up.

We planned to send Amanda out on Mojo Thursday morning, however, Mojo was lame when he was checked before the start. It appeared to be in his shoulder. It’s been 5 weeks of rest and he is still not quite right so we are investing in more diagnostics to see what we can figure out. Since we didn’t have any horses to ride, the family spent time volunteering at the away hold and with vet checks or anywhere we were needed.

On Friday, Amanda got a catch ride offer from our friend Jenn Jacobson. Jenn’s young Arab, Haley, had already done 2 days of LDs and Jenn wanted her to go out for a 3rd. Amanda rode with Mary Palumbo as a sponsor. Unfortunately, at the end of the ride, Haley was lame with the same symptoms as Amira 2 days prior and they also didn’t get a completion. Haley did recover after a couple of days, so we are glad that wasn’t a bigger problem for her.

Ken and Liz have a tradition of blowing bubbles with the grandkids and any bystanders get sucked in to participate as well.

In late August, goats went to the Brooklyn Fair. Quinn didn’t attend this show due to orientation at Eastern Connecticut State University. Rob and Amanda showed 10 of the goats in the 1 day event and came home with a decent amount of premium money.

Labor Day weekend meant camping with goats at the Haddam Neck Fair. There were over 80 goats at the fair and I believe 39 of them were Lamanchas. Quinn spent a fair amount of time studying for college classes, while Amanda enjoyed hanging out in the pens, teaching the public about the goats.

Rob’s company, Sonalysts, had their 50th anniversary party in September. We got all dressed up for an evening out.

This past weekend, the Connecticut Valley Driving Club put on a driving demonstration at the Berlin Fair. The agenda included introductions of the various horses and ponies, some background on their breeds, discussions about different carts and carriages, how to harness, and of course, driving demonstrations. The space being used was between the tractor pulls and an amphitheater, so it was quite loud. The event was being held on the go cart track which has a clay track and grass inner circle. Rob and Amanda were driving Huey when the nearby concert stage reved up and spooked Huey. He bolted across the field and as he hit the clay, Huey crashed and Rob was thrown from the cart onto the track.

Amanda was able to jump while still on the grass; she is bruised but otherwise ok. Huey bolted out of the area but was caught with some assistance from the rest of the club. He was stiff afterwards but not injured.

Rob was taken by ambulance to a trauma center with 4 broken ribs and a collapsed left lung. They put in a chest tube for the collapsed lung and to drain fluid build up from the broken ribs. He also has a severely bruised hip. He spent 3 nights in the hospital. He is back at home, but it will be 6-8 weeks for full recovery.

Our immediate plans include an end of the 4-H year trip with the goats to the Big E next weekend. Amira looks sound, but still has a bump on her tendon where the fluid accumulated so she will get another ultrasound to check things out. Mojo will get some diagnostics to figure out why is still lame and a path forward, hopefully to soundness. Fiona is doing well, walk-trot in the arena and about 50 miles of walking on the trails. Not having friends for her to go out with lately has put a damper on trail riding. Huey will rest for a week, get some trail walks by hand in the forest next week, and we will evaluate whether we put him back to work or not. We definitely want to rule out any pain reasons for the wreck last weekend.

The goats will all get bred next month, fingers crossed, for late Feb-March babies. We have a few changes happening to the goat herd, but that will be another post. Maybe after the big E. Stay tuned.

Spring Break 2023

This past week was Spring Break for Quinn and Amanda. Quinn had their wisdom teeth out of 4/7, so Spring Break was mostly spent at home eating soft foods. I had to travel to DC for work, so Amanda went along. My 3 day trip was turned into a 5 day trip so we could do some sightseeing together.

Monday morning, Amanda and I hit the road to drive down. She was asleep within 30 minutes of leaving the house.

Amanda sleeping in the car

We made it to Baltimore in the early afternoon and went to the National Aquarium. Amanda enjoyed the Amazon exhibit and seeing the all the fish. But she was especially happy for ice cream afterwards. In fact, she ended up eating ice cream all 5 days.

Tuesday morning, we headed to Annapolis to visit the Naval Academy. It’s amazing how much prettier the campus is as a visitor instead of as a midshipman. Amanda enjoyed the tour, including me showing her where Anna and I met in April of 1996 at the International Ball.

We went for a walk in DTA (downtown Annapolis) and had an early lunch at Chick & Ruth’s deli. Chick & Ruth’s is known for the all-day breakfast/lunch/dinner menu and milkshakes, but it’s also where I took Anna for a milkshake the night we met. Amanda had a milkshake and was still talking about how big it was tonight at dinner.

Amanda at Chick & Ruth’s deli in Annapolis

I had a meeting after lunch, but then we headed to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Amanda particularly enjoyed the gemstone exhibit (she likes shiny things).

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

I had told Amanda we were having dinner with a friend from the Navy, but I didn’t exactly tell her the truth about who it was. About 18 months ago, Mark and Tricia Gordon left Griswold for Mark’s orders to the Pentagon. Amanda and Olivia were best friends, so I had arranged with Tricia for us to surprise the girls for a get together. We couldn’t have done it any better – Olivia opened the door to find Amanda on the porch and both were completely in shock. They had a blast playing and painting fingernails throughout the evening.

painting nails

Wednesday I had to work, but we got finished early enough to head to the National Zoo in the afternoon (with temps in the low 90s!).

After the zoo, we met the Gordons for an evening at the Museum of Illusions.

Thursday morning we headed out on the metro early to get tickets for the Washington Monument. While waiting in line, there was an announcement up front that we couldn’t hear. Amanda went up and found a couple to ask what the park ranger had said. Long story short, Amanda’s cute looks were rewarded with the couple getting 2 extra tickets for us to ensure we go to go up into the Washington Monument.

After overlooking DC from the top, we rented some scooters and rode them to Arlington Cemetery. We did the tour and got to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.

Next, we headed back downtown and went to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Amanda spent almost 2 hours looking at all the paintings and portriats.

Since temps were again in the 90s, we called it done around mid-afternoon and headed back to our hotel. We both enjoyed the air-conditioning and crashed for a nap before dinner.

The drive home on Friday was uneventful. We did have a nice shopping excursion at Bass Pro shops. Once we got home Anna’s birthday was celebrated with sushi for dinner.

On Saturday morning, Alex and I ran the Traprock 17k trail race. Last year, he stayed with me throughout the race and we finished together. This year, he was a little less prepared and finished about 16 minutes behind me. He has decided more training is needed for our Ride and Tie plans this year.

Saturday afternoon, Quinn and Amanda helped me mark the courses for the CT Valley Driving Club. Saturday evening was spent at the West Greenwich Horsemen’s Association steak fry. Sunday morning, we loaded up Mojo, Amira, and Missy to attend the RI Federation of Horse Clubs Blessing of the Horses and trail ride. Originally, I was planning to drive Huey, but last weekend’s crash prevented that.

This afternoon, Anna and I went back to Arcadia to take down markers from the driving course we marked while Quinn and Amanda went to a 4-H meeting. When they got home, Rainbow was kidding. The kids handled it without us and Rainbow delivered a 10.4lb buckling and 10.0lb doeling. That brings our count to 5 does freshened with 6 does and 5 bucks; the next kiddings are in June.

That’s all for now!

March catch-up

Time flies when you are are having fun. Or when you are crazy busy (which is always the case here) and realize it’s been almost a month since we gave a big update.

Anna and I attended the Eastern Competitive Trail Riding (ECTRA) Winter getaway in New Jersey. The weekend included a full day of AERC vet Susan Garlinghouse talking about distance riding nutrition, metabolic issues, supplements, hydration, and more. Saturday evening was a banquet with the other attendees. The only down side of the weekend was we had to drive to New Jersey. It took 2.5 hours to get home on Sunday but over 4 hours to get there on Friday afternoon.

While we were gone, the kids picked up Anna’s parent’s from the train station as they flew in for the first time in 3.5 years. They stayed for a week and a half. While they were here, we did manage to hitch Huey for some driving. We didn’t get a photo with all the kids, but we did catch Alex with Roland and Sylvia before they left.

On March 16th, Phaylene kidded with triplets – 2 does and a buck. The have our two classic colors of either black with white splashes and brown trim or just the black and red. At 8 years old, we aren’t sure if we will breed Phaylene again, so we are thrilled to get 2 does kids out of this breeding to E.B. Farms LL Regal. That brings Regals count to 5 does and 4 bucks out of 4 kiddings. Not bad for his first season.

Anna and I get fancied up for Sonalysts’ annual gala at the Mystic Marriot. This is an event that had been cancelled in 2020 and 2021, so it was a ton of fun to enjoy dinner, drinks, and dancing with others from work.

The February doelings are growing great and enjoying their time outside on a daily basis.

We now have 4 does in milk. 3 of them are first fresheners and 1 is an 8 year old. We have some really impressive udders in the barn right now, which is great to see, and we are getting almost 5 gallons of milk a day off the four goats.

Quinn is taking a Horticulture and Design class at school that’s actually a UCONN. This results in fresh floral arrangements regularly. Here is the one that came home most recently.

Anna has been working with Fiona almost every day. Her teddy bear dummy is the token rider for now, but that will be changing through April.

Temperatures hit 60F this afternoon, so we took the three big horses over to Arcadia for 11 miles of trail work. Anna rode Amira, Amanda rode Missy, and I rode Mojo.

We have 6 weeks until our first competition of the season and 1 goat left to kid. Hopefully it won’t be the end of April before we post next.