GOAT SCHOOL
ABOUT US!
 
HomeJUNE 2014 NEWSLETTERFall 2014 Goat School RegistrationGoat School MissouriGoat School ShopComing EventsSoap Making ClassesGoat School BooksWant to Host a Goat School?Past Goat SchoolsDirections to our FarmFlights and AccomodationsABOUT US!Goat Schools on the Road


 

A short history of Jan & Ken Spaulding and our goats

                        February 28th, 2013 marked our 32nd wedding anniversary. It seems like all those years have been busy with either raising our children (4 daughters) or raising our "kids" (goats numbering well over the thousand mark... possibly two thousand). Both enterprises have their good and bad aspects.  Our children are all grown with children of their own so that has left us with our "kids".

We started our goat raising long before Al Gore invented the Internet and long before cell phones. This was back in the days of long distance telephone charges and monthly periodicals with breeders lists in their classified ad sections. Imagine trying to do that today! 

Our first goats were located in Lebanon N.H. Two angoras gave us our start.  One was a doeling and the other a bred doe.  We very quickly became hooked. Just like potato chips "you can't have just one". It didn't take long to have a herd of 40 pampered mohair producing goats. 

We enjoyed our angoras because we could have the love of our goats and produce a non-destructive product (the mohair). As with most things the angora goat craze came to an end and we switched over to the new "next best thing" the Boer goat. Even though Boers are a meat goat, our plan was to raise top quality breeding stock (which we did) so that others could be assured of utilizing locally grown animals for their breeding programs.Maine has a very cold climate so hearty, locally grown stock is important to ensure a thriving goat population. 

While our meat and fiber herds expanded, we also purchased some dairy goats and enjoyed the fruits of their labor... fresh milk and cheese.

 

jankisseschami.jpg

 

Where did the idea of Goat School® originate?

 

            This is a great question! From the very first days of our goat raising experience we were struck by the lack of information available to beginning breeders. It seemed like no one wanted to share any information. For us it became a trial and error experience. This has gone on even to the present time. The remark most often heard, by us, from our "students" always has to do with their surprise in our willingness to share information. Maybe it comes from our own frustration in having to learn "the hard way". This to us has always been unacceptable. Goats are wonderful, loving, giving creatures and deserve the absolute best care that we can provide. The "financial bottom line" has never been the focus of Stony Knolls Farm or Goat School®. Our bottom line was, is and will continue to be the health and well being of goats.

            That being said we tried to participate in every event that promoted the utilization of goats in the state of Maine.

In November of 2004 Janice decided that there were people who wanted more information about the proper care of their goats and Goat School® was founded! As with most things it had a very humble beginning. If memory serves we had about 12 people who attended a 2 hour session on a cold Saturday afternoon.  We provided a small folder with a few handouts in it. We never expected it to grow beyond that point. Much to our surprise we started to get inquiries about doing a similar event in the spring of 2005. Our first spring Goat School® was held the weekend before Memorial Day. We realized that a 2 to 3 hour session was not enough time to adequately answer all the questions that people had so we expanded it to a full day and included a small lunch.

            Fall classes came about in 2006 and two day sessions started with the introduction of guest speakers in the fall of 2007. Our first guest speaker was Bob Glass from Pan Am Vet Labs in Hutto, Texas. The Goat School® hand-outs had grown into a three ring binder and the pages and topics were greatly increased from the original. By then we were seeing an increase in the number of attendees from the 12 or so to groups of 60 or 70. We thought that was excellent! Our first attendees "from away" came from New York State. Soon the word spread and folks were coming from as far away as West Virginia. Needless to say we were very excited to see that much interest in our little endeavor.

            The big jump came in 2008 when we were contacted by Hobby Farms magazine. They wanted to do a feature story and photo shoot of our fall Goat School®. It debuted in their Nov/Dec 2009 issue. Fortunately for all concerned the weather cooperated and some wonderful images were snapped of both the school and the beautiful Maine foliage. The Hobby Farms article was fantastic and the response was overwhelming. Our spring 2010 school had 112 attendees from 22 states, coming to Maine from as far away as Texas, Colorado, Louisiana, Florida and Georgia. We were astonished at the turn out. It was a cold, damp weekend but everyone came to learn goat husbandry and have a good time. By the way the Goat School® Manual had expanded to over 100 pages and was being printed at Staples simply because we couldn't keep up the demand with our copy machine!

So what happens next?

                        Our dream has always been to teach the love and care of goats to as many people as we are able. Of course not everyone has the resources to travel all the way to Maine. We are a bit remote from the rest of the country. This is where "Goat School® on the Road" comes into play.  We were contacted by several former students and some folks just interested in goats about the possibility of bringing Goat School® to their community. While "Goat School® on the Road" is certainly not the same as rural Maine we feel that we can bring that genuine atmosphere and experience to farms all over the country.  We can supply all the information to the promoter of the event to ensure that it will be a fun, learning experience for their attendees.  If you can't get to the mountain... we can certainly bring the mountain to you!  "Goat School® on the Road" brings the knowledge, experience, and humor of Ken and Janice Spaulding to a farm near you!

If while reading this you are thinking about hosting your own Goat School® and want more info  Click here.

Reducing our carbon footprint is very important to us, so bringing us (one couple) to you, and having us do a Goat School® at your farm for several couples in your general area, is a great way to do that!  

We can do a three day event that includes Janice's easy to learn soap secrets. In order to be able to sell milk and cheeses in most states a license is required... not so with soap. Janice takes the mystery out of simple soap making!

 

Publish or Perish

            If you're lucky enough to get your picture in the newspaper or maybe the local TV station comes out to your farm for an interview, that notoriety will set you apart from your peers. But what does it mean when you are featured in many, many national and international publications?  In our mind, that means you must be doing something right! Our expanding operation has been featured in all the top trade publications. Our goats have made the cover of "The Boer Goat"... the official publication of the American Boer Goat Association, which, by the way, was the very first time goats from the Northeast were honored in that way.

We've also been on the cover and featured in two Texas based publications: The Goat Rancher magazine and Meat Goat Monthly. (yes there is a magazine published for just meat goats). The United States Boer Goat Association has published several articles written by Janice.

The cover, along with a well written article in the July/August issue of "Dairy Goat Journal" brought some good notoriety from the dairy goat world.  Most recently, Janice was asked by "Mother Earth News online" to be their new goat blogger!  If you are interested in following this adventure of goat activities and news, go to www.motherearthnews.com and click on blogs.

Our endeavors have garnered attention from all the news media and this tends to have a snowball effect. Get published once and the likelyhood of future articles is really good. For example the feature article in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of Hobby Farm that highlighted Goat School®  resulted in a dramatic increase of interest in what we are doing here in Maine. Our "next best thing" was the publishing contract Janice signed with Downeast Publications in Camden Maine (you may know them from "Downeast Magazine"). They are excited to be the publishers and national distributors of a combination book featuring Janice's Goat School® book and a compilation of 100 of her ever popular Goat School® buffet recipes. The hard copy book premiered in world wide distribution, September 2011 and is now also available digitally.

Publications that have shown an interest in our activities.

            Just in case you were curious

Here is a listing of some publications and their issue dates ...

 

4/2003     The Bangor Daily News                   

10/2003    Maine Farmer (Farm Bureau)

2/2004       Maine Farmer                                 

3/4/2004    The Boer Goat Magazine  (with cover photo)

3/4/2004   USBGA (United States Boer Goat Association)

4/2004      Maine Farmer

5/6 & 7/8 2004            USBGA (United States Boer Goat Association).

6/2004          Country Folks Magazine

9/2004           Maine Farmer

2/2007           Meat Goat Monthly with a cover photo

9/2007           Farming Magazine

2/2009           Goat Rancher with a cover photo

9/2009           Meat Goat Monthly

11/12/2009    Hobby Farms Magazine (feature)

5/2010           Local Maine TV and newspapers

8/2010           Downeast Magazine

7/2011           Dairy Goat Journal

1/2012           Mother Earth News Goat Blog

You can follow our exploits or get in touch with us through the following:

 

                                                         http://www.goatschool.com

                                          kenjan@tds.net                            info@goatschool.com

Ken & Janice Spaulding

Stony Knolls Farm

P.O. Box 322

49 Maple Lane

Saint Albans, Maine 04971

207-938-3714

 

Home of the ORIGINAL Goat School®

 

Identity theft?  Click here to see how Stony Knolls Farm sees it.