Friday's Featured Farmer ~ Susan in Virginia

Whispering Pines Farm, Ferrum, Virginia

As for me, I believe I live in paradise, most times, except when the electricity goes off for six days, or getting up the driveway is impossible due to the snow, or keeping water to the animals when it’s freezing outside. I am about 4 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway in Southwestern Virginia, about six miles from a small town called Ferrum, Virginia, home of the Ferrum College Panthers, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival and Whispering Pines Farm (which is us!).

I grew up in the city but my favorite memories are on the farm in downstate Delaware where my aunt and uncle lived. I’ve always loved animals but never had any except a parakeet and a cat or two, until…

We moved to Virginia in the spring of 1992. We had 3 acres and a small house. LAND FOR ANIMALS!! Sure! I’d always thought about raising something, but goats were never my first thought. Started with chickens, then got tired of them and traded an incubator for my first herd of 9 pygmy goats. It went from there. I went from pygmy to angora, to pygora, to Boer, to Nubian. I fell in love with the Nubians and decided that would be the direction in which I would continue.

In addition to goats, I also sew, and people with whom I was involved, talked me into making goat flags.

With this new idea, I made new friends, among them is a lady in North Carolina who raises Nigerian dwarf goats. She heard about mini-Nubians and figured she had the Nigerian stock and I had the Nubian stock, so we should start a mini herd. This was 2002, I think. I had my first mini-Nubians in 2003 and have been raising them ever since.

In addition to the goats, we have 3 great Pyrenees guard dogs, all of which are rescues. I raised two litters of pups before I realized that these dogs need specific environments to do their jobs properly, and people were buying them as pets and not using their abilities. I decided rescue is a better way to spend my time.

We also have three cats, a rabbit, two peacocks (both rescues, believe it or not), two ducks, guineas and chickens.

Funny, my husband was raised on a farm in Ohio and couldn’t wait to get away from it. Now he’s stuck back on the farm and insists he dislikes every critter, but you should see him with the new babies in the spring. He’s done his share of mid-wife duties when I was not around, and even when I am around. He insists the only time goats are cute is when they are babies, but I think he’s full of goat pellets!

While I do milk from time to time, I don’t do it as a matter of course. However, those that I do milk have done well and I am very pleased at the Mini-Nubian breed. The size allows for older people or people without a huge amount of land to have a milker or milkers with less hassle.

When I moved to Virginia, I brought my younger son with me. A few years later, my older son moved to go to college at Ferrum College. He has gone on to become a professor there and he and his wife and my three grandchildren live about 4 miles from me. My other son is successful in computers and lives about an hour from me, so I have my family around me, too.

I guess that’s about all I can tell you. I love what I do and who I am. I am looking forward to the day when I can retire and not have to drive an hour each way to work, but when I pull into my driveway at night, I know I am where I want to be.

Thank you, Tammy, for allowing me to share!


Thank you for sharing, Susan! 

Susan has been a wonderful friend and an awesome mentor to me.  When I got my first two goats, I did not have a clue what I was doing (and still don't).  It's nice to know that she is always there and willing to help me out with any questions that I might have and to lend moral support!  I couldn't have done it without her!  I am currently leasing one of her bucks to breed my girls.  Once again, I just couldn't do it without you, Susan! 

Susan often has Mini Nubians for sale including does, bucks, kids and sometimes doe/kid combination packages. 

You can visit Susan's web page or get in touch with her by email.


Joanne Seamans said...

Nice story. Susan is a facebook friend. Enjoyed reading it.

~*~ Shar ~*~ said...

Nice write up, Susan! Thank you for doing it. I'm off to visit your website now...