The Barnowl herd is the most recent generation of the Acton dairy goat enterprise. Established in 1999, Ardis Lyons (mother), David Acton (father), and Mariah Acton (daughter) have managed this quickly maturing LaMancha herd. The roots of the Barnowl herd lie in Laurie Acton’s fine Alpine and LaMancha herd, Tempo, as well as the des Ruhigestelle Saanen herd maintained by Laurie and Fern Acton since 1962. With Mariah, granddaughter of Fern, the Acton (and now Lyons too) family has been breeding high quality dairy goats for three generations and over 50 years. In the course of this time, nearly every breed of dairy goat has crossed our fields.
Fern passed away at 97 years old on August 29, 2012. Up until the very end she remained involved in the Saanens, with goats at her house until she was 94 and attending shows and appraisals until just weeks before her death. The magnificent Tempo/des Ruhigestelle herd is with Laurie in Molalla, OR. In the past few years, Ardis has become the primary manager of the Barnowl herd while Mariah pursued her Bachelor’s degree in political science and international environmental studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and is now living in Portland pursuing opportunities within the urban and regional planning field. Almost every summer the family travels around the West Coast and sometimes across the nation showing our lovely animals. Recent long hauls, include a three-week expedition to Louisville, Kentucky for the 2008 National Show, a much shorter jaunt to the 2009 National Show in Sacramento, and a snow-flurry filled trip across to New York for the 2009 National Convention. And it was at the 2009 ADGA Convention in Buffalo that the des Ruhigestelle herd name was announced as a Historical Herd Name. For an in-depth history of the Tempo/des Ruhigestelle herd, please visit Laurie’s website at www.ruhigestelle.com.
Barnowl goats owes gratitude to many wonderful people, who are members of our goat family if not members of our blood-related family. First and foremost, a big thank you to Sonia Thyssen, Heather Arts, and family from the Purple Thistle LaMancha herd out of Eastern Washington. These truly amazing friends have supported our ventures by caravaning across country with a gourmet kitchen in tow, sharing bucks, and supporting us in multiple Spotlight Sales. They are the home to numerous Barnowl dairy goats and I can’t imagine a better home for any of the does. In 2010, they even won multiple Dairy Herd classes with all Barnowl-bred animals! And in 2011, they made the amazing journey to the Massachusetts National Show where SGCH Barnowl Quasi Q *M won the Total Performer Award for the LaMancha breed, as well as swept the milk production awards by receiving the award for High Individual Production, High Individual Butterfat, High Lifetime Butterfat & High Lifetime Production. For more information on this outstanding herd, we encourage you to visit their website at http://www.purplethistledairygoats.com/.
Throughout the years, Mariah has been seen many times on the collar of outstandingly well-bred Oberhasli at shows across the nation. These lovely does have all been bred by Jeanne White, who has been the queen of the kitchen and milkroom at many of shows with Laurie, Ardis, and Mariah over the years. When Jeanne sold the majority of her herd in 2006, two gifted Oberhasli made their way to the Barnowl homestead. While one of these does has since found her way to a new home, SGCH White-Haven Solace remains our beautiful and loved token eared-doe. As an age doe in the past few years, Solace has done exceedingly well in the show ring, winning Grand Champion, Best of Breed, and Best Udder Oberhasli at the 2010 Oregon State Fair, and Reserve Champion at the 2010 District VII Oberhasli Speciality Show. We thank Jeanne immensely for her continuing support of our herd and the local dairy goat industry as a whole.
Locally, numerous long family-friends have kept our herd going. We would never be able to leave home for a show without our faithful and passionate relief-milker Ruthie Shirley of Farm-Tails LaManchas and Boers. In recent years, her young children have practically become Ardis’ adopted grandchildren when they come out to visit the farm. Similarly, Virgina Triplett of Finn-Hill Acres Alpines has been a close and supporting friend of the Acton family since before Mariah was born. In 2000, she loaned us her little-known LaMancha buck +*B Miscellaneous Sid’s Caesar, the following year a truly remarkable group of foundation does were born, including Bewitched, Aphrodite, Amaltheia, and a few years later, Curlie Q. At local fairs year after year, Virgina is our pen-neighbor with constant laughter and good food emitting from our shared tack areas. Additional thanks go out to Jessica McDonald of Son*Sational LaManchas who along with taking exellent care of Barnowl does such as Curie’s twin sister Suzie Q, has also been a most generous and entertaining help at local fairs in recent years. Finally, much thanks goes to Mariah’s boyfriend Jeremy who has quickly taken to being a top-notch baby goat playmate, an informative fair helper, and who has generously put together our new website.