Hour-Long Cuddle Sessions with Nigerian Dwarf Goats? 
Yes, Please!


WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY THERESA ST. JOHN


I'm not sure about you, but these last 18-20 months have been tough on my mental well-being. So, finding things that cheer me up and make me feel better – naturally – are high on my list of must-dos. 

Sperry Family Farm is a great place to spend a few hours out in the countryside of Argyle, New York, especially when it's with a group of rambunctious Nigerian Dwarf Goats and their mom and dad John and Dorothy Sperry.  

I first visited in early spring when Dorothy had a pop-up shop selling her goat-milk soaps, lotions, lip balms, and more. 

The baby goats had just been born, and everyone shopping for the items mentioned above stopped to laugh over their antics. Talk about tons of energy! The little guys were so much fun to watch – we even got to hold them for a few minutes.

Later, I caught up with John and Dorothy to learn more about the couple and their small family-run farm in beautiful Upstate New York.  

"We handcraft our soaps in small batches," Dorothy tells me as we watch the playful goats romp around their enclosure. I laugh as one of them climbs up the playground stairs and goes down the child-sized slide without even hesitating. Man, they are gosh-darn-cute! "We use raw milk from these little guys." I ask if that's all they sell, and she shakes her head 'no.'

"We also sell beeswax lip balms, goat milk lotion bars, even men's beard products," she states. 

Dorothy explains that their hand and body lotions are formulated professionally because of the delicate nature of perishable items. "Preservation is key," she says. "This prevents microbial growth and spoilage. It also means the products last longer, don't need refrigeration, and are an overall better value for our customer."  The couple packages, labels, seals and sends everything right there on the farm. 

"We have egg-laying chickens here and sell extra eggs to family and friends," John pipes in. "Here's the thing: this business income goes right back into producing stock or is set aside to take care of our goats. The money has paid for hay, grain, vet bills, and helps with improvements to the farm infrastructure."

I look at him quizzically. "Including the goat's housing and fenced-in areas - which we're working on expanding this year," he says with a grin.  

John and Dorothy purchased the farm in 2014 and moved there in 2016. Initially, they wanted to move to the country for the peace it affords. They also wanted a more sustainable lifestyle to be more aware of where their food comes from and how it is cared for. Their love for Nigerian Dwarf Goats came later. 

"Watching a live birth never gets old," Dorothy laughs. Unbelievably, she is there for every birth. Although things usually go as planned, she tells me sometimes human intervention is necessary for 'bouncing babies and their mama's doing what they do best.' 

"It's truly the most amazing -and stressful event we're part of." 

They plan to run some 'Yoga with Goats' classes, limited to seven people per class. I would be kicked out of the session, for sure, as I'd be giggling the entire time! I smile when I picture goats running around, looking to people for a cuddle.

The Airbnb experience I could handle, though: Imagine an hour-long goat therapy session. Dorothy explains it's a very interactive visit, held inside the pen with the girls. The cost is $25.00 per person, with reduced rates for kids, and those under 2 are free.

"Most folks find us through the Airbnb website and are already traveling through the area, looking for unique things to do. I share stories about caring for the farm animals, how we choose their names, tell them apart, answer any questions the guests might have while here."

Dorothy and John both laugh when I ask what the #1 question is. "Is Cedar pregnant?" They say at the same time. The #1 comment in the barn is about how cute the goats and their antics are. 

When we talk about the future, John reveals their hope for the farm's expansion to include selling fruits and vegetables to the public through different events on the property and local farmers' markets. 

Dorothy shares the couple's vision of putting a tiny house on the land for an Airbnb stay on the farm – sort of like a 'glamping' experience. I laugh and tell them I want dibs on an overnight there. 

"Farming life is difficult and hard work that requires dedication from both of us," John tells me. "There's sacrifice, and we need to change from one thing to another and another – with fluidity." 

They both agree that farming is full of life experiences, happiness, and heartbreak.

I think Dorothy says it best: "We're all part of this circle of life, aren't we? John and I are grateful for the valuable lessons our farming life teaches. We're better people because of it."    

Find Sperry Family Farm here:
www.sperryfamilyfarm.com 
www.instagram.com/sperryfamilyfarm 
www.news10.com/off-the-beaten-path/off-the-beaten-path-sperry-family-farm 

And you can find them at other local sites, too; just look on their events page. 

The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm
The Sperry Family Farm

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