Dragonfly Farm Introduction

updated 4/25/09

For Sale
Bucks New Arrivals Kidding Schedule Links  
Our herd is free of CAE, Johnes, CL, TB, and brucellosis.

What do you get when you buy a Dragonfly Farm goat? Click here.

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 us.

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.

Dragonfly Farm History

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.

How 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 obsession.

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 reserves.

Further research 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 daughter, Ocean 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.

Thanks for visiting; I hope you enjoy looking over all of our beautiful goats!

For Sale
Bucks New Arrivals Kidding Schedule Links